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Friday, May 5
 

7:30am

Registration, Hot Breakfast Buffet, Bookstore and Authors’ Bazaar Browsing
Limited Capacity seats available

Friday May 5, 2017 7:30am - 9:00am
TBA

9:00am

Welcoming Convocation & Opening Keynote
Limited Capacity seats available

The entire conference gathers in the Georgian Ballroom for a welcome from the conference director followed by an interactive discussion on the conference theme, "What's a Writer For?" led by John Freeman and featuring Aleksandar Hemon. Exploring the question of the writers' role in society, we will address questions including: Is it enough for writers to “entertain?” Should entertainment even be our goal? How political should a writer be? Is everything we write political anyway? Do we have a particular responsibility to the audience that aligns with our cultural background? How can examining our purpose and individual mission open up possibilities for our fiction and/or nonfiction that we have yet to consider? 

Speakers
avatar for Chris Castellani

Chris Castellani

chris@grubstreet.org, Artistic Director
Christopher Castellani is the artistic director of Grub Street and the author of three novels: All This Talk of Love (2013), a New York Times Editors’ Choice and finalist for the Ferro-Grumley Award; The Saint of Lost Things (2005); and A Kiss From Maddalena (2003), winner of the Massachusetts Book Award. In addition to his work at Grub Street, Christopher teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and at the Bread Loaf... Read More →
avatar for John Freeman

John Freeman

Founder and Editor, Freeman's
John Freeman is an award-winning writer and book critic who has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal. Freeman won the 2007 James Patterson Pageturner Award for his work as the president of the National Book Critics Circle and has also been the editor... Read More →
avatar for Aleksandar Hemon

Aleksandar Hemon

Author, THE BOOK OF MY LIVES
Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Question of Bruno, Nowhere Man, and The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2008. Born in Sarajevo, Hemon visited Chicago in 1992, intending to stay for several months. While there, Sarajevo came under siege, and he was unable to return home. Hemon wrote his first story in English in 1995. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a... Read More →
avatar for Claire Messud

Claire Messud

Author, THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS
Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children, was a New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Her first novel, When the World Was Steady, and her book of novellas, The Hunters, were both finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award; and her second novel, The Last... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 9:00am - 10:15am
Grand Ballroom

10:30am

1A: Public Speaking for the Painfully Shy Author
Limited Capacity seats available

Does the thought of meeting potential readers at a book signing or author event scare you? Does the prospect of getting up in front of an audience make your palms sweat? Let author and former stage director Victoria Noe give you the confidence to face any audience.

No matter what publishing route we choose, writers have to find a way to rise above the crowd. Like any good business, we have to establish a brand. How do we stand out, particularly in person? We'll consider ways to gain new readers without being pushy, what to wear, and how to feel comfortable in front of an audience. You'll also learn how to choose a reading and introduce yourself.

Bring a three-minute excerpt from your work; time permitting, up to three audience members will be chosen to show off what they’ve learned.

Speakers
avatar for Victoria Noe

Victoria Noe

Author, FRIEND GRIEF AND MEN: DEFYING STEREOTYPES
Victoria Noe began her career in Chicago’s theatre community as a stage manager, director and administrator in addition to being a founding board member of the League of Chicago Theatres. In the late 80s she moved to fundraising in the AIDS and arts communities. But when a conc... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
Charles River Room

10:30am

1B: Essentials of Structure
Limited Capacity full

One approach to solving the puzzle of structure is to think about what information the reader wants, and when. Presenting your personal essay or short story in an unbroken chronological way usually won’t result in the most engaging read. Why? Because readers tend to privilege the emotional arc of a story (what it means) over the narrative’s bare events (what happened). But how do you organize your material into such an arc, so that readers feel a pull toward meaning, rather than simply an accumulation of events, tugging them onward? What narrative shape will maximize your story’s impact? In this session we’ll explore these issues by reading short sample texts to glean tips from published writers, analyzing some basic structural models and doing guided exercises to get you thinking about your material from new angles.

Speakers
avatar for Dorian Fox

Dorian Fox

Nonfiction Writer
Dorian Fox’s essays, stories and articles have appeared or are forthcoming in december, Under the Gum Tree, Gastronomica, National Parks Magazine, Alimentum, and elsewhere. His work has also been shortlisted for awards by Ploughshares and Bellingham Review. He received his MFA in... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
Beacon Hill Room

10:30am

1C: Outsourcing for Writers: When Does It Make Sense, What You Need to Know.
Limited Capacity seats available

There was a time when selling your book to a publisher marked the end of what you had to worry about. But with publishers now being overtaxed and understaffed, writers must frequently turn to outside help to ensure their book’s success. From editing to cover design to PR, outsourcing can sometimes be the missing piece needed to create the highest possible quality book and get it the attention it deserves. In this session, two authors who are also outsourcing pros will walk the group through what they need to know when considering “hired help” and arm them with that knowledge so they can make a strategic long-term plan for successfully publishing their book.

Speakers
avatar for Sharon Bially

Sharon Bially

Founder and President, BookSavvy Public Relations
Sharon Bially is founder and president of the PR firm BookSavvy Public Relations, named a "Best Firm for Book Launches, Publicity and Authors" by Everything PR. A lapsed writer, she’s the author of the novel Veronica’s Nap. | | Prior to founding BookSavvy — which happened accidentally in response to... Read More →
avatar for Nicola Kraus

Nicola Kraus

Co-Author, THE NANNY DIARIES
Nicola Kraus is the co-author of the international #1 Bestseller The Nanny Dairies and nine other novels, including Citizen Girl, How to Be a Grown-Up and this year's USA Book Awards Finalist So Close. Her work has been translated into 32 languages and in 2007 The Nanny Dairies was released as a movie starring Scarlet Johansson... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
St. James Room

10:30am

1D: Layering: A Structured Approach to Revision (Section I)
Limited Capacity filling up

Revision can be the most rewarding part of the writing process, but it can also be the most overwhelming. During revision, your manuscript might get worse before it gets better, so how do you go through that without getting stuck in the mess and losing your way entirely? In this workshop, we’ll talk about a layering approach to revision – sweeping through your manuscript and addressing one issue at a time. We’ll discuss a logical sequence of “layers” and experiment with different formats for creating a revision plan that works for you and your manuscript.

Speakers
avatar for Chaitali Sen

Chaitali Sen

Author, THE PATHLESS SKY
Chaitali Sen is the author of the debut novel, The Pathless Sky, published by Europa Editions in 2015. Her short stories, reviews, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Colorado Review, New Ohio Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Chicago Quarterly R... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
Cabot Room

10:30am

1E: Essentials of the Young Adult Novel
Limited Capacity filling up

Have you ever considered writing a young adult novel? Have you wondered what, exactly, makes a novel young adult? Does the idea of writing an authentic teen voice make you thrilled and/or terrified? How should you decide whether to make the leap? Join young adult authors Jennifer De Leon and Katie Bayerl for an informative session that breaks down some of the myths and mystery around this fast-growing publishing category. (Spoiler: it's every bit as challenging--and rewarding--as writing for adults.) They'll share their own reasons for pursuing young adult writing, offer an overview of today's YA industry, and--through creative exercises and discussion--help you discover the young adult novel in you.

Speakers
avatar for Katie Bayerl

Katie Bayerl

Author, A PSALM FOR LOST GIRLS
Katie fell in love with books before she can remember and with teaching when she was just a teen. The writing books for teens part came a bit later. She jumped right in and hasn’t looked back. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has worked as editor of a teen-generated magazine and taught creative writing in schools and a variety of community settings. She currently leads the VCFA Young Writers Network and teaches workshops for teens at GrubStreet. Her young adult fiction has won early honors, including the PEN New England... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer De Leon

Jennifer De Leon

Author, WISE LATINAS
Jennifer De Leon is the editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). A current City of Boston Artist-in-Residence, De Leon was also named the 2015-2016 Writer-in-Residence by the Associates of the Boston Public Library where she worked on her Young Adult novel, Don't Ask Me Where I'm From. Her short story... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
Franklin Room

10:30am

1F: Write What You Don't Know: How to Trust Your Imagination to Create Fictional Worlds
Limited Capacity filling up

So often aspiring writers are taught to write what we know, but some of the most memorable works of fiction are by authors who have never experienced what they write about. In Virginia Pye's two novels, she writes about Americans in China at a time before she was born and in a province where she's never set foot. But through inspiration prompted by research, the study of old photos, reading fiction and seeing movies set in similar times and places, she was able to create believable settings and characters. In this discussion session, we'll explore territory that we don't know first hand. Because the sources of inspiration can be so unpredictable, we'll be encouraged to think of unexpected possible sparks--for example, anecdotes passed down in families that lead to the creation of character, or newspaper articles that sound like fictional plots. We'll also study how other authors succeed at creating a full sense of place and character that is completely unfamiliar to them. Come let your imagination run wild in this encouraging workshop.

Speakers
avatar for Virginia Pye

Virginia Pye

Author, DREAMS OF THE RED PHOENIX & RIVER OF DUST
Virginia Pye’s second novel, Dreams of the Red Phoenix, was named a Best Book of 2015 by The Richmond Times Dispatch, and called “Riveting!” by Library Journal, and “Superb historical fiction,” by the Historical Novels Review. Her first novel, River of Dust, was a Finalist for the 2014 Virginia Literary Award in Fiction, and was an Indie Next Pick. Her award-winning short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Literary Hub, The Rumpus, Brain Child, The Tampa Review, The Baltimore Review, The North American Review, and elsewhere. She has taught writing at New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, in high schools, and in private workshops in her home. After decades living in Hartford, New York City, Philadelphia, and Richmond, she recently moved back to Cambridge where she grew up and is enjoying the vital literary scene. Please visit her at... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
Cambridge Room

10:30am

1G: Race and the Situation of the Writer in 2017
Limited Capacity seats available

I want to use this session to have a free flowing discussion on the ways our current racial landscape and historical moment shape the context for creative writing in 2017. On the surface, there’s the movement from Obama’s first election and a declaration by some of a post-racial America now followed by the election of the birther, alt.right darling, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Black Lives Matter, pro-stop and frisk Trump. How does all this effect the teaching of creative writing or the charges of racially biased classrooms outlined in Junot Diaz’s “POC vs. MFA” or the critique of white writers in Morrison’s Playing in the Dark? Are there ways the current climate calls for a deeper and bolder assessment of the role of race both in our private and public lives and in our history? And again, how does that change our writing practices, both in terms of what we write about, our conceptions of craft, and how we shape our vision as writers? 

Readings will include from articles on the election, Junot Diaz’s “POC vs. MFA,” quotations from Toni Morrison’s "Playing in the Dark," and the Mura essay, “The Student of Color in the Typical MFA Program."

Speakers
avatar for David Mura

David Mura

Author, A STRANGER'S JOURNEY: RACE, IDENTITY & NARRATIVE CRAFT IN WRITING
David Mura is a poet, memoirist, fiction writer, critic, playwright and performance artist.  A Sansei or third generation Japanese American, Mura has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei, which won a 1991 Josephine Miles Book Award from the Oakland PEN and was a New York Times Notable Book of Year, and Where the Body Meets Memory: An Odyssey of Race, Sexuality and Identity. His novel Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the John Gardner Fiction Prize and Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
Stuart Room

10:30am

1H: Craft Compelling Prose and Increase Suspense Using Mystery and Thriller Writing Techniques
Limited Capacity filling up

If you’re struggling with plotting, pacing, or creating suspense, the techniques that mystery and thriller writers use can help you. Good mysteries and thrillers contain elements found in the best fiction: complex characters, deeply imagined settings, and fine prose. In this session, authors Stephanie Gayle and Emily Ross will discuss some of the skills mystery and thriller writers use to create compelling narratives, and common mistakes to avoid. They will draw on examples such as Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize winning mystery, The Sympathizer, and share lessons learned the hard way.

Speakers
avatar for Stephanie Gayle

Stephanie Gayle

Author, IDYLL THREATS
Stephanie Gayle is the author of Idyll Threats (Seventh Street Books), the first in the Thomas Lynch mystery series. Her debut novel, My Summer of Southern Discomfort, was chosen as one of Redbook’s Top Ten Summer Reads. Her short stories include two Pushcart Prize nominees. He... Read More →
avatar for Emily Ross

Emily Ross

Author, HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH
Emily Ross is the author of the YA thriller, Half in Love with Death (Simon & Schuster/Merit Press). Half in Love with Death was named a finalist for best YA novel in the International Thriller Writers Organization’s 2016 Thriller Awards. Emily received a 2014 Massachusetts Cultural Council finalist award in fiction and is an editor and contributor... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
Whittier Room

10:30am

1J: From Q to S to P (to R): A Big Q&A Focusing on Querying, Submitting, Publishing, (and Rejection)
Limited Capacity full

This informative Q&A session will provide print-outs and procedures for publishing your work no matter the genre.

Our topics will include answers to common questions such as:
Where might I publish longer poetry?
What about my slipstream flash fiction?
Which magazines might accept my 25-page short story about motherhood?
To Duotrope or not to Duotrope?
Should I tier and track my submissions?
Contests and Prizes - are they worth it?
How many rejections is too many; should I revise or just re-route?

Come armed with your questions, confusion, and comments. We will answer and advise. We will be your practical resource for taking the leap and getting your work out there.

Speakers
avatar for Emily Franklin

Emily Franklin

Author, LINER NOTES
Emily Franklin is the author of a novel, Liner Notes (S&S) and a story collection, The Girls’ Almanac (Morrow).  She is also the author of sixteen novels for young adults, including The Half-Life of Planets, nominated for YALSA’s Best Book of the Year and Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom, selected for the 2013 Rainbow List honoring LGBTQ issues in fiction... Read More →
avatar for Maria Pinto

Maria Pinto

Fiction Writer
Maria Pinto is a Jamaican-American writer whose work has appeared or will appear in FriGG, Word Riot, Pinball, The Butter, and Cleaver, among others. She received the Dafna Zamarripa prize for fiction and was an Ivan Gold Fellow at The Writers' Room of Boston. She reads fiction for... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
White Hill Room

10:30am

1K: How to Talk and Work With Editors
Limited Capacity filling up

What do editors want? This lecture and discussion class will explore the various stages and dimensions of the writer/editor relationship, with special emphasis on publishing in literary and political magazines. Which editors should you approach, and what is essential to include in your first email? What makes a good pitch? How and when do you negotiate payment and deadlines? What nature and degree of feedback should you expect to receive, and what is the most constructive way to read and respond to it? What steps can you take to cultivate a long-lasting professional relationship? And what can you do to make your work stand out? Armed with perspectives on these and other questions from two editors with a decade of experience, you will walk away with a greater practical appreciation of how editors think, what they do, and what they are looking for. Our aim is to bring greater accessibility and transparency to this often opaque relationship that is nevertheless the very foundation of publishing.

Speakers
avatar for Adam McGee

Adam McGee

Managing Editor, Boston Review
Adam McGee is the Managing Editor of Boston Review. He previously was Acting Managing Editor for Transition. He also served as Associate Editor for the Harvard Art Museums. Adam earned his Ph.D. in African and African American Studies from Harvard University. He has taught religious and cultural studies and cultural anthropology at Harvard University, Tufts University, and Northeastern University, and has published a number of scholarly articles on Haitian Vodou. In addition, Adam is a Pushcart nominee whose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
Tremont Room

10:30am

1L: Microhistories: Writing Deeply about Narrow Subjects
Limited Capacity seats available

One of the more intriguing nonfiction forms to have developed in recent decades is the “microhistory”: research-based writing that takes as its subject a single cultural expression, phenomenon, or thing. Well-known work of this type includes The Story of Sushi by Trevor Corson and A History of the Wife by Marilyn Yalom. Microhistories offer an innovative way of documenting and exploring our world, one that manages to be both fragmentary and unexpectedly expansive at the same time. In this session, we’ll discuss the special demands and constraints of this appealing subgenre. You’ll walk away with new insights into how to think about, research and write engaging microhistorical nonfiction that has the potential to offer a surprisingly wide view of the world through what might seem, at first glance, a very small window.

Speakers
avatar for Kim Adrian

Kim Adrian

Author, THE 27th LETTER OF THE ALPHABET
Kim Adrian is the author of The 27th Letter of the Alphabet (a memoir) and the editor of The Shell Game (an anthology of hybrid essays), both forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press. Her book Sock is part of Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons Series (expected publication date... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
Newbury Room

10:30am

1M: Keep the Narrative Going: Effective Methods to Provide Context in Fiction
Limited Capacity full

Do you struggle to offer background information on a character or place without losing narrative momentum? Are you unsure of how to include social, cultural, or political context while keeping your writing engaging and entertaining? This session will focus on that crucial element for creating socially layered, culturally nuanced, but ultimately accessible stories: context. You will be provided with a series of detailed approaches—alongside specific examples—to ensure that the context you include in a piece of fiction fits smoothly into the narrative, heightens tension, enriches plot, and deepens characters. You will also be given several take-home exercises as practical tools that can be applied during the drafting and revision of a novel or short story.

Speakers
avatar for Dariel Suarez

Dariel Suarez

Author, IN THE LAND OF TROPICAL MARTYRS
Dariel Suarez was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1997, during the island’s economic crisis known as The Special Period. He’s the author of the chapbook In The Land of Tropical Martyrs, available from Backbone Press. Dariel earned his M.F.A. in fiction at Boston University, where he was a Global Fellow, and is one of the founding editors of Middle Gray Magazine. He has taught creative writing at Boston University, the Boston Arts Academy, and is now a fiction instructor at GrubStreet. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals and magazines, including Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Southern Humanities Review, The Florida Review, and The Caribbean Writer, where his work was awarded the First Lady Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize. Dariel has recently completed a novel set in his native Cuba, titled The... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
Back Bay Room

12:00pm

2A: The Writing Life
Limited Capacity seats available

Students in this session will engage with a writer who has had success re-imagining personal experience and engaging with contemporary issues to craft powerful narratives. The goal is for students to gain insight from hearing about Jabari's creative process and better understand how personal experience and passion for one's subject influences both content and execution of a creative work.

Jabari Asim writes from two impulses: the first is to indulge his curiosity, to use a book as a convenient excuse to explore in depth a subject that he wants to learn about. The second is to set the record straight: to add his voice to the chorus of resistance that forms a counter-narrative to the prevailing myths about the ethnic group to which he belongs, as they have journeyed from property, to 3/5 of a human being, to embattled citizens of these United States. There's an old proverb that observes, "Until lions have their own historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter." Jabari Asim would like to think that, in his own small way, he speaks for the lions.



Speakers
avatar for Jabari Asim

Jabari Asim

Author, THE N WORD: WHO CAN SAY IT
Jabari Asim is an associate professor at Emerson College, where he directs the graduate program in writing, literature and publishing. He is also the Executive Editor of The Crisis magazine, a preeminent journal of politics, ideas and culture published by the NAACP and founded by W.E.B. Du Bois in 1910. He is the author of 13 books, including The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Charles River Room

12:00pm

2B: Essentials of Humor
Limited Capacity filling up

Do you enjoy reading humorous writing and want to make your own work funnier? Humorous writing, like maple syrup, is wonderful to consume and lots of work to produce. What are the building blocks of humor? And how do we incorporate humor into our writing without making it too "jokey"? We'll look at examples from the masters in fiction and nonfiction, explore what makes them succeed, identify their techniques and learn how to incorporate these techniques into our own work. Come with a short excerpt of writing (500 words or less) that you'd like to improve. We'll do an in-class exercise then pick one or two to workshop as a group.

Speakers
avatar for Steve Macone

Steve Macone

Non-Fiction Writer
Steve Macone is a former headline contributor at The Onion. His essays, humor writing, and reporting have also appeared in the American Scholar, The New York Times, Atlantic, New Yorker, Boston Globe Magazine, Morning News, and Salon.com. His work has been featured on NPR, Longre... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Newbury Room

12:00pm

2C: Writing Without Fear: How to Break Through Your Own Barriers and Be a Literary Badass
Limited Capacity full

When you sit down at your desk to write, does self-doubt get in your way? Are you afraid to call yourself a writer? Are you constantly questioning the value of what you've written? Does fear keep you from editing and sending out your work?

Fear is a roadblock that all writers have to climb over to keep going, but there are tools to get over that block. In this class, we'll use self-confidence tips from Elizabeth Gilbert, Karen Russell, and Kanye West. We will learn how to embrace failure and to learn the importance of celebrating every single writing success. We will learn to have a little fun with it.

Speakers
avatar for Annie Hartnett

Annie Hartnett

Author, RABBIT CAKE
Annie Hartnett is the author of the novel Rabbit Cake (Tin House Books, 2017), which was selected as an Indies Introduce pick by the America Booksellers Association. Annie was the 2013-2014 Writer in Residence for the Associates of the Boston Public Library. She has an MFA in Fic... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Back Bay Room

12:00pm

2D: All-Conference Read in NonFiction: Cinderland by Amy Jo Burns
Limited Capacity seats available

New this year, we have designated the books by our Muse Fellows as all-conference reads. We encourage all conference participants to read Amy Jo Burns’s Cinderland (nonfiction) and Randa Jarrar’s Him Me Muhammad Ali (fiction), both of which are available in paperback. 

In this session, acclaimed author Richard Russo and Amy Jo Burns will discuss Cinderland,  as well as the craft of nonfiction in general, from the writer’s perspective -- structure, inspiration, process. 

Amy Jo Burns grew up in Mercury, Pennsylvania, an industrial town humbled by the steel collapse of the 1980s. Instead of the construction booms and twelve-hour shifts her parents generation had known, the Mercury Amy Jo knew was marred by empty houses, old strip mines, and vacant lots. It wasn t quite a ghost town only because many people had no choice but to stay. 

The year Burns turned ten, this sleepy town suddenly woke up. Howard Lotte, its beloved piano teacher, was accused of sexually assaulting his female students. Among the countless girls questioned, only seven came forward. For telling the truth, the town ostracized these girls and accused them of trying to smear a good man's reputation. As for the remaining girls well, they were smarter. They lied. Burns was one of them. 

But such a lie has its own consequences. Against a backdrop of fire and steel, shame and redemption, Burns tells of the boys she ran from and toward, the friends she abandoned, and the endless performances she gave to please a town that never trusted girls in the first place. 
This is the story of growing up in a town that both worshipped and sacrificed its youth a town that believed being a good girl meant being a quiet one and the long road Burns took toward forgiving her ten-year-old self. Cinderland is an elegy to that young girl's innocence, as well as a praise song to the curative powers of breaking a long silence.

While we strongly encourage reading Cinderland head of time, we are confident that the conversation will be illuminating and meaningful whether or not you've gotten to it yet. 

NOTE:
The first five attendees to sign up will receive complimentary copies of the book.   

Speakers
avatar for Amy Jo Burns

Amy Jo Burns

Author, CINDERLAND, All-Conference Read in Nonfiction
Amy Jo Burns is the author of Cinderland, and her work has appeared in Salon, Good Housekeeping, Jezebel, The Rumpus, and Roxane Gay's forthcoming anthology, Not That Bad. A graduate of Cornell University and Hunter College's MFA program, Amy Jo currently writes for Ploughshares ... Read More →
avatar for Richard Russo

Richard Russo

Author, EVERYBODY'S FOOL
Novelist and screenwriter Richard Russo is the author of eight novels, two short story collections, and the memoir Elsewhere.  Empire Falls won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2002 and was made into an Emmy nominated HBO miniseries starring Ed Harris and Helen Hunt.  His most recent novel is... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
White Hill Room

12:00pm

2E: Beyond Almond Eyes and Chocolate Skin: Indicating Racial and Ethnic Identity
Limited Capacity filling up

Sam lives in Chinatown. Sam has spiky black hair. Sam speaks with an accent. Sam is African-American. Sam is a woman.

How might we as writers indicate the identity of our characters and speakers, be it in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and more? Join fellow Muse-goers for an energetic and intimate discussion of the many narrative possibilities available to us, as well as their limitations. We'll share wide-ranging examples of how established writers have tackled this question, and encourage you to bring your own. While we won't arrive at definitive "answers," we'll enjoy exploring the question. 

Moderators
avatar for Sonya Larson

Sonya Larson

sonya@grubstreet.org, Assistant Director
Sonya Larson's short fiction and nonfiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Best American Short Stories 2017, American Short Fiction, the American Literary Review, Poets & Writers, The Writer's Chronicle, Audible.com, West Branch, Salamander, Del Sol Review, The Red Mountain... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Cynthia Gunadi

Cynthia Gunadi

Fiction Writer
Cynthia Gunadi’s fiction appears in New South Journal, and has received honorable mentions from Glimmer Train and The Masters Review. She has been awarded fellowships and grants from Vermont Studio Center, Kundiman, The Writers Room of Boston, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is currently at work on a collection of short stories. Cynthia has an MFA from Warren Wilson College, and an M.Arch from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. When... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Franklin Room

12:00pm

2F: We the Narrators
Limited Capacity seats available

In this interactive session, we will explore and then try our hand at the first person plural narrative voice, a voice as old as the Greek chorus and as fresh as “We the Animals.” Some questions the session will explore include: Why would you would want to represent the collective experience? What can the first-person plural narrator say and do that other perspectives can’t? What kinds of stories is it best suited to rendering? The first person plural can take many forms and we will look at a number of successful examples to study what and how they are achieving their effects, paying particular attention to the varying degrees of differentiation within the collective experience that different authors provide. Within the different categories we identify, you will then try your hand at writing in the collective voice.

Speakers
avatar for Val Wang

Val Wang

Author, BEIJING BASTARD
Val Wang is an author and multimedia storyteller interested in the intersection between the personal and the global. Evan Osnos has called her book Beijing Bastard (Avery, 2015) “a memoir perfectly suited to the Beijing that she brings to life so well: heedless, pungent, and proudly... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Cabot Room

12:00pm

2G: A Publicity Primer for the Newly Published Author
Limited Capacity full

If you are wondering how publishers devise and implement publicity campaigns for their authors, we are here to tell you! This course will explain how publishers think about promoting books and authors, the timeline involved in creating and executing a publicity campaign, the role of the publicist, and how the publicist and author can work together to launch a book and keep it in the public eye months after publication date has passed. Some of the topics we’ll touch upon include: first serial deals, event planning, interviews, op-ed placement, social media platforms, and author networking. Come with questions!

Speakers
avatar for Taryn Roeder

Taryn Roeder

Associate Director of Publicity, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Taryn Roeder is the Associate Director of Publicity at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She manages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Boston-based publicity team and works on the publicity campaigns for dozens of books a year. Her favorite part of the process is figuring out how to translate the "story" of a book to a wider audience, and to convince print, online, and broadcast outlets to offer that story to their readers and listeners. | | Taryn is a generalist working on all kinds books from major nonfiction, to fiction, memoirs, history, science, guide books, and even dictionaries! Bestselling authors... Read More →
avatar for Rachel Salzman

Rachel Salzman

Vice President, Director of Publicity, W. W. Norton
Rachel Salzman began her career as a book publicist in 1996, when she joined the publicity department at Little, Brown & Company. Prior to that, she worked as both a news assistant and a copy editor at The Wall Street Journal Europe and as a copy editor at Business Wire news service. At Little, Brown, she assisted on campaigns for the books Naked, by David Sedaris, Purple America by Rick Moody, Last Night In Paradise by Katie Roiphe, and The Hotest State by Ethan Hawke. A brief stint at William Morrow provided an opportunity to work on the campaign for the Dennis Lehane novel Gone Baby Gone, and a couple of years at the business and general non-fiction publisher John Wiley... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Tremont Room

12:00pm

2H: 10 Rules for Writing Historical Fiction
Limited Capacity seats available

Writing historical fiction is not a straight-forward affair. The most successful novels immerse readers in a world entirely unlike their own and do so in a way that feels believable to the reader. It's a careful balance of fact and fiction which results from deep research into eras of the past and wrangling information such as fashion, speech, transportation, food and so much more. This session will present writers with ten rules to help them research, plot and write historical novels.

Speakers
avatar for Crystal King

Crystal King

Social Media and Marketing Expert, Author, FEAST OF SORROW
Crystal King is a 20-year marketing, social media and communications veteran, freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet. Her debut novel, Feast of Sorrow (Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster), is about the ancient Roman gourmand, Apicius. Crystal has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet writing center. A former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in media res. | | Find her on Facebook... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Cambridge Room

12:00pm

2J: Making a Scene: Practical Tools to Analyze What's Working and What's Not
Limited Capacity full

As readers, we simply want to sit back and enjoy a well-told story. We usually don’t think about what’s going on ‘under the hood.’ But as writers, we need to understand how each scene operates—we need to know what’s working (so we don’t change it) and what isn’t so we can effectively revise. In this session we’ll go through 9 steps to analyzing scenes, from places where tension can be amplified, to places where pacing needs to slow in order to give the reader the best possible ‘trip.’ We’ll examine the scenes of established writers using these methods, with the goal of providing new tools that you can apply to your fiction.

Speakers
avatar for Julie Himes

Julie Himes

Author, MIKHAIL AND MARGARITA
Julie Lekstrom Himes' short fiction has been published in Shenandoah, The Florida Review (Editor's Choice Award 2008), Fourteen Hills (nominated for Best American Mysteries 2011), Mid-American Review, Massachusetts Review and elsewhere. Her debut novel, Mikhail and Margarita, wil... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Whittier Room

12:00pm

2K: Writing the Marvelous
Limited Capacity filling up

In this discussion and guided writing class, we will examine different examples of magical realism, fabulism, speculative fiction and the marvelous—anything under the umbrella of the “impossible.” We will discuss distinctions between genres as well as motives behind the use of the marvelous in fiction writing. What are the political, aesthetic, spiritual and creative reasons for incorporating the marvelous? What can exploring these realities and techniques teach us as writers? Where can they take us? After discussing both examples and our own work, we will segue into writing prompts and exercises that incorporate the marvelous in deep and generative ways.

Speakers
avatar for Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes

Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes

Author, THE SLEEPING WORLD
Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes is the author of The Sleeping World (Touchstone-Simon & Schuster, 2016). She has received fellowships from Yaddo and Blue Mountain Center and was a Bernard O’Keefe Scholar in Fiction at Bread Loaf. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in One Story... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
St. James Room

12:00pm

2L: Spaces of Home and the Shape of the Story
Limited Capacity seats available

The spaces that fictional characters inhabit can hold tremendous power in a story. Just as our real-life habits and homes eventually mark each other, those half-imagined living rooms, kitchens, and porches in fiction can heighten emotions, deepen themes, shape relationships between characters, and anchor a story in a specific culture and way of life. This session will explore the relationship between the architecture of home and the architecture of fiction. We’ll look at works by Patrick Chamoiseau, Shirley Jackson, Alice Munro, V.S. Naipaul, and Chris Ware, have a lively discussion about how the places we’ve lived have shaped our lives, and then take those insights to the page for a guided writing exercise.

Speakers
avatar for Denise Delgado

Denise Delgado

Fiction Writer
Denise Delgado’s fiction and essays have appeared in Inch, Dossier, Hinchas de Poesía, Jai-Alai Magazine, the anthology Florida Flash, the artist’s monograph Frances Trombly: Paintings, and Fiction Writers Review, among others. She works with GrubStreet as Neighborhood Progr... Read More →



Friday May 5, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Stuart Room

12:00pm

2M: How to Write a Mystery Novel
Limited Capacity full

You know you’re reading a great mystery novel when you’re up at three in the morning, unable to put it down.  When you finally get to sleep, the characters go romping around in your dreams.  You get to the final pages and smack yourself in the head because the solution is a complete surprise, and yet so obvious in retrospect.  This workshop session will demystify the art and artifice and get down to the nuts and bolts of writing a killer mystery novel.

Speakers
avatar for Hallie Ephron

Hallie Ephron

Author, YOU'LL NEVER KNOW, DEAR
Hallie Ephron is the New York Times bestselling author of ten crime novels, including You'll Never Know, Dear (William Morrow, June 2017)). She is a four-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. A revised and expanded edition of her Edgar-nominated Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel (Writers Digest Books) came out in 2017. For twelve years she was the crime fiction book reviewer for The Boston Globe and won the Ellen Nehr Award for Excellence in Mystery... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Beacon Hill Room

1:00pm

Lunch Break
Limited Capacity seats available

Friday May 5, 2017 1:00pm - 2:00pm
TBA

2:15pm

3A: Mix and Match: Image and Imitation
Limited Capacity seats available

We often have images in our minds that we sense are a part of a story, but how do we open those images up and see what the stories actually are? Just getting words on the page is the first necessary step, but that can be so hard!

In Mix and Match, we will begin with these images--not much of them, just a sentence or two for each writer. From there, we will look at pieces of stories that we admire. We will read them closely, examining how they do what they do. Then, we will each pair one of the images we've been carrying around in our minds with one of the pieces of writing we admire, and perform a close imitation in the hopes that it will help us open up one of our own stories. We will do this again and again, and in the process, we'll also get the chance to really get inside and move around in some pieces of fantastic writing. By the end, we will each leave with a good start on a story we've been wanting to write for a long time.

Speakers
avatar for Abigail Maxwell

Abigail Maxwell

Author, LAKE PEOPLE
Abi Maxwell is a fiction writer from New Hampshire. Her first novel, Lake People, was published by Knopf in 2013, and she is currently in the final stages of her second novel. She has also published a short story in McSweeney's. She holds an MFA from University of Montana, and ha... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm
St. James Room

2:15pm

3B: Essentials of Point of View
Limited Capacity filling up

Who tells the story, and how? This question fundamentally shapes our narratives, and is inextricably linked to characterization, structure, language, and more. The vantage point and concerns of the narrator influence what is told. This session will use close readings of both fiction and nonfiction examples to explore the underlying mechanics of point of view and narrative strategies, as well as the effects. We’ll discuss narrative distance, temporal modes, and who “owns” the story. We’ll also talk about why we might choose one strategy over another (or how it might choose us), and how playing with these elements can strengthen a piece of writing.

Speakers
avatar for Cynthia Gunadi

Cynthia Gunadi

Fiction Writer
Cynthia Gunadi’s fiction appears in New South Journal, and has received honorable mentions from Glimmer Train and The Masters Review. She has been awarded fellowships and grants from Vermont Studio Center, Kundiman, The Writers Room of Boston, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is currently at work on a collection of short stories. Cynthia has an MFA from Warren Wilson College, and an M.Arch from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. When... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Tremont Room

2:15pm

3C: Writing a Nonfiction Book Proposal
Limited Capacity filling up

Advice on the all-important nonfiction book proposal from an agent with years of experience helping her authors draft and refine them.

Speakers
avatar for Jessica Papin

Jessica Papin

Literary Agent, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
Jessica Papin first joined DG&B in 2003, after spending eight years as an editor at Warner Books (now Grand Central). In 2004, she moved to Egypt, where she spent three years working for the American University in Cairo Press. Upon her return to the United States, she rejoined DG&... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Newbury Room

2:15pm

3D: Considerations for Writing LGBTQ Characters and Content
Limited Capacity seats available

More writers are committed to diversifying their casts with LGBTQ characters. But the fear of “getting it right” remains a concern and a challenge. How can writers avoid problematic representations and common tropes? What challenges can one expect on the road to publication? Will writers get pigeonholed or labeled as just LGBTQ writers -- is this a bad thing, should we care?

In this session, authors of LGBTQ narratives will discuss some pitfalls and issues writers of these characters face, and offer advice for adding dimension to their characters without erasing important parts of who they are.

Speakers
avatar for Kelly J. Ford

Kelly J. Ford

Author, COTTONMOUTHS
Kelly J. Ford’s debut novel, Cottonmouths, will be published by Skyhorse on June 6, 2017. She is a GrubStreet instructor, completed GrubStreet's Novel Incubator program, and is a contributor/editor for Dead Darlings, a writing-focused website. Her fiction has appeared in Black... Read More →
avatar for Chris Goodwin

Chris Goodwin

Co-Creator, RED CITY BLUES
Chris Goodwin is the co-creator of the comic series Red City Blues, colorist for the graphic novel series Flutter, and has pushed many pixels and paint smudges in his time. He teaches in the Illustration department at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design, contributes to the Ironclaw and Jadeclaw tabletop games, and enjoys collaboration. He has not met a character he does not like, and thinks you are the coolest one he has met so far. More at... Read More →
avatar for Jennie Wood

Jennie Wood

Author, FLUTTER
Jennie Wood is the creator and writer of Flutter, a graphic novel series published by 215 Ink. Featured in The New York Times, Boston Globe, and on Law & Order: SVU, Flutter is one of the best LGBT graphic novels of 2013 and 2015, according to The Advocate. Bleeding Cool lists Flutter as one of the 15 best indie comics of 2014. Flutter, Volume Two... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Franklin Room

2:15pm

3E: Stealth Description
Limited Capacity filling up

We’ve all had the experience of reading a book or story and finding ourselves skimming—perhaps even skipping—a stagnant paragraph of scene-setting description. Yet there are ways to describe actively, to incorporate exposition organically, even to set a scene without “describing” at all. This seminar will present effective, original, and artful approaches to “stealth description”: keeping the reader engaged and the story moving forward without drawing undue attention to the act of describing. We’ll learn how to put descriptions to work in ways that serve multiple story elements at once, while addressing common pitfalls (the unincorporated block of prose; the flashy detail that calls too much attention to itself; generic depictions of the familiar). This is a combined lecture-discussion, so bring a pen and paper for note-taking and exercises. 

Speakers
avatar for Daphne Kalotay

Daphne Kalotay

Author, SIGHT READING
Daphne Kalotay is the author of the Boston Globe bestseller SIGHT READING (Harper)—winner of the 2014 New England Society Book Award and a finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize—and of the national and international bestseller RUSSIAN WINTER (Harper), which won the Writers’ League of Texas Fiction Prize and has been published in 21 languages. Her fiction collection, CALAMITY AND OTHER STORIES, was short-listed for the 2005 Story Prize and includes work first published in Prairie Schooner, Agni, Missouri Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Good Housekeeping and elsewhere. | | Daphne has a PhD in Modern and Contemporary Literature from Boston University, where she also received an MFA in Creative Writing, and has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, and the MacDowell Colony. She has written essays and book reviews for the New York Times Book Review and Poets... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Charles River Room

2:15pm

3F: The Perfect Pitch: Getting Media Attention for Your Book
Limited Capacity full

Do you know how to tap into national media outlets with compelling pitches to get the word out about your novel, memoir or nonfiction book? Getting exposure on television, radio, print or on heavily trafficked sites can really move the dial in terms of sales. In this session, two seasoned authors will share tips on finding the right hooks for your book, and tailoring your message to your target media and audience. We will do an interactive exercise called “Great Pitch or Strikeout?” to learn which angles work and which ones fizzle. You will learn to begin thinking of yourself as an expert, and putting yourself in a busy producer or editor’s shoes.

Speakers
avatar for Lynne Griffin

Lynne Griffin

Author, GIRL SENT AWAY
Lynne Griffin is the author of the family-focused novels Girl Sent Away, Sea Escape, and Life Without Summer, as well as the nonfiction parenting guides, Let’s Talk About It: Adolescent Mental Health and Negotiation Generation—Take Back Your Parental Authority Without Punishment. Lynne teaches family studies at Wheelock College, and is the Social-Emotional Learning Specialist and Coordinator of Professional Development for an independent school in Boston. She teaches fiction writing at GrubStreet in Boston and co-facilitates the program, Launch Lab for soon-to-be published authors. Follow Lynne on twitter... Read More →
avatar for Katrin Schumann

Katrin Schumann

Author, THE SECRET POWER OF MIDDLE CHILDREN
Katrin Schumann is the co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children (Hudson Street, 2011), Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too (McGraw-Hill, 2008), and has written and edited numerous other titles, both commercially and independently. Katrin has been featured multiple times on TODAY, Talk of the Nation, and in The London Times, among others. For the past ten years she has been teaching writing, most recently at GrubStreet and at Bay State Correctional Facility, through PEN New England. Before going freelance, she worked at NPR, where she won the Kogan Media Award. Katrin has been granted multiple fiction residencies. She has a regular column on The Grub Daily and can be found at... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm
White Hill Room

2:15pm

3G: There Are Too Many Feelings! How to Write About the World When It Feels Like It's Moving Too Fast.
Limited Capacity seats available

We are in a time of swift political, institutional, and personal change, and for some writers, it can be difficult to put a finger on the subject that seems most important to explore. Other writers may be overwhelmed by the emotions a particular subject of investigation might provoke. In this workshop, we will move through a series of exercises to help focus work that may have been inspired by big feelings. We will practice strategies for uncovering and making plain the core subject. We will also consider how strong emotions might provide useful direction for the narrative and aesthetic direction of the work.

Speakers
avatar for Wendy S. Walters

Wendy S. Walters

Author, MULTIPLY/DIVDE: ON THE AMERICAN REAL AND SURREAL
Wendy S. Walters is the author of a book of prose, Multiply/Divide: On the American Real and Surreal (Sarabande Books, 2015), named a best book of the year by Buzzfeed, Flavorwire, Literary Hub, The Root, and Huffington Post. She is also the author of two books of poems, Troy, Michigan (Futurepoem, 2014) and Longer I Wait, More You Love Me. She has been awarded fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Poetry, The Ford Foundation, The Smithsonian Institution, Bread Loaf, The MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. Her work appears in Bookforum, FENCE... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Cabot Room

2:15pm

3H: Half the Story: Writing for the Picture Book Market
Limited Capacity seats available

Writing is only half the story in picture books--images and text collaborate to tell the story together. So how do we write text without saying too much? Where in our writing should we step aside for the illustrator? And how do we compress stories for the strict count of 32 pages? How can we skill up in order to craft manuscripts that appeal to editors and art directors for their illustration possibility? This session will explore the anatomy of the picture book as it pertains to writers and offer guidelines for crafting marketable picture book manuscripts today. We will address the current picture book market and share the gaps, openings and opportunities for writers to get a foot in the door.

Speakers
avatar for Holly Thompson

Holly Thompson

Author, ORCHARDS
Holly Thompson (www.hatbooks.com) is a longtime resident of Japan. She is the author of the novel Ash and three verse novels for young people: Falling into the Dragon’s Mouth, The Language Inside, and Orchards, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. She is also author of the picture books The Wakame Gatherers and the forthcoming Twilight Chant, and she compiled and edited Tomo: Friendship Through... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Stuart Room

2:15pm

3J: The Changing Face of Publishing: What All Authors Need to Know
Limited Capacity full

In this illuminating workshop, Literary Change Agent and author advocate April Eberhardt examines the state of publishing today along with the implications and opportunities for authors. She presents five different paths to publication, including a candid discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach from an author’s perspective. Discover what partnership publishing is, along with hybrid authorship, and collaborative (also known as cooperative) publishing. Learn how to choose the right path for you and your work, which sometimes involves different paths for different projects, and how to develop a publishing strategy and approach that meets your goals, dreams, timetable and budget.

Speakers
avatar for April Eberhardt

April Eberhardt

Literary Agent, April Eberhardt Literary
April Eberhardt is a literary change agent and author advocate passionate about helping authors be published in the most effective and satisfying way. After 25 years as a corporate strategist and consultant, Ms. Eberhardt joined the literary world, where she saw strategic opportunity to play a role in the changing world of publishing. Ms. Eberhardt advises and assists authors worldwide, as they choose the best pathway to publication for their work, be it indie or traditional, digital or print, and serves as a consultant to new publishing startups. Ms. Eberhardt divides her time between San Francisco, New York and Paris. She also is a reader for the Best American Short Stories series published annually by Houghton Mifflin... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Whittier Room

2:15pm

3K: The Clock
Limited Capacity full

In fiction, time creates the borders of our worlds, and as a result our temporal choices impact everything else on the page. In our drafts, many of us struggle to shape the passage of time, and if these challenges remain unexamined, our stories and novels are likely to suffer for it. For example, we might find ourselves wondering how best to juggle multiple timelines; to compress or expand time as needed; to make a linear structure more dynamic; to transition from one moment in time to another. Through lecture, close reading (authors might include Edward P. Jones, Justin Torres, and Karen Russell), and discussion, this seminar will explore how time can operate in fiction—both at the level of scene and more globally—and develop new strategies and vocabulary for handling questions and problems around time in our work.

Speakers
avatar for Laura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg

Author, FIND ME
Laura van den Berg’s debut novel, Find Me, was a Time Out New York and NPR “Best Book of 2015,” longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent selection in the UK. She is also the author of two story collections, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us and The Isle of Youth, both finalists for the Frank... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Back Bay Room

2:15pm

3L: Life Isn’t A Book Structure: Strategies for Shaping Memoir
Limited Capacity filling up

Even the wildest life, recounted straightforwardly from memory, will suffer from what Sven Birkerts calls “the coma-inducing effect of ‘and then.’” Good memoirists know this. So they reach into literature’s bag of tricks and find other ways to keep the pages turning: they speed time up in some places and slow it down in others; they layer two or more thread; or perhaps they find a structure that helps evoke the book’s meaning. All these considerations are part of shifting from thinking about your life as a life to thinking about the book as a book. But how can aspiring memoirists ready themselves to make that leap? In this session we’ll discuss strategies and approaches, as well as break down the choices made by a few published memoirists as they turned memory into literature. As time permits, we’ll do a few exercises to help free you to do the same with your own material, turning life into art.

Speakers
avatar for Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Author, THE FACT OF A BODY
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir, which will be published by Flatiron Books (Macmillan) in May 2017. It is also forthcoming from publishers internationally. A National Endowment for the Arts fellow and Rona Jaffe Award recipient, she has twice been a fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo. Her essays appear in The New York Times, Oxford American, Iowa Review, and many other publications, and were recognized as... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Beacon Hill Room

2:15pm

3M: Do I Need to Explain That? On Cultural & Linguistic Translation
Limited Capacity seats available

As writers of color, how much might we feel the urge to "translate" references we make in our fiction and nonfiction to audiences who may not understand them? How might we navigate these choices on the page, and what are there implications? Come for a lively Q&A with Jennifer De Leon and Celeste Ng on these ideas; we won't settle on any "right" answer, but we aim to leave with clearer ideas of the options before us!

Moderators
avatar for Sonya Larson

Sonya Larson

sonya@grubstreet.org, Assistant Director
Sonya Larson's short fiction and nonfiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Best American Short Stories 2017, American Short Fiction, the American Literary Review, Poets & Writers, The Writer's Chronicle, Audible.com, West Branch, Salamander, Del Sol Review, The Red Mountain... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Jennifer De Leon

Jennifer De Leon

Author, WISE LATINAS
Jennifer De Leon is the editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). A current City of Boston Artist-in-Residence, De Leon was also named the 2015-2016 Writer-in-Residence by the Associates of the Boston Public Library where she worked on her Young Adult novel, Don't Ask Me Where I'm From. Her short story... Read More →
avatar for Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng

Author, EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU
Celeste Ng is the author of the novel Everything I Never Told You (Penguin Press), which was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book for 2014, and Amazon's #1 Best Book of the Year 2014. She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a family of scientists. Celeste attended Harvard University and earned a MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Cambridge Room

4:00pm

4A: A Marketplace Primer for the Aspiring Writer of Literary Fiction
Limited Capacity full

In this session, editor Peter Blackstock (Grove Atlantic) and Soumeya Roberts (Writers House), as well as additional guests TBA, discuss the publishing of debut fiction at a traditional house—the challenges and opportunities, what to do and what to avoid as a first time fiction writer. They will talk through the trajectories of some of the debuts they have agented and published, discuss the general publishing climate, and take questions from the audience.

Speakers
avatar for Peter Blackstock

Peter Blackstock

Editor, Grove Atlantic
Peter Blackstock is a senior editor at Grove Atlantic in New York. His list includes fiction, nonfiction, and drama, with a focus on international writing and books in translation. Among his authors are the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen, the Academy Award-nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg, and the Booker-longlisted writer Eve Harris, alongside house authors like Will Self, Tom Stoppard, and the estates of William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. In translation, his authors include Julia Franck, Marceline Loridan-Ivens, Andrus... Read More →
avatar for Soumeya Roberts

Soumeya Roberts

Literary Agent, Hannigan Salky Getzler Agency
Soumeya Bendimerad Roberts is both agent and rights director at the Hannigan Salky Getzler Agency. She worked formerly for Writers House, where she represented a diverse list of non-fiction, memoir, literary fiction, upmarket/book club fiction, and select realistic young-adult an... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 4:00pm - 5:15pm
White Hill Room

4:00pm

4B: Race & Identity in Fiction & Nonfiction
Limited Capacity filling up

This session will explore the ways race and identity are involved in the writing of both fiction and nonfiction. First, it will examine the differences between how white writers and writers of color introduce the ethnicity and race of their characters. This difference speaks to a deep ontological racial divide with implications that go beyond the literary world.  Second, what are the limits of the "show don't tell" aesthetic when it comes to the work of writers of color and how does the question, "Whom is the narrator telling the story to?" relate to the writing of both fiction and memoir, particularly for writers of color.  This session will investigate techniques for depicting racial and ethnic identity, and then relate them to organizing and executing narrative structures in both fiction and memoir.  There will be both lecture and discussion with handouts and LCD projector. Writers cited: Diaz, Packer, Baldwin, Franzen, Hong Kingston.

Speakers
avatar for David Mura

David Mura

Author, A STRANGER'S JOURNEY: RACE, IDENTITY & NARRATIVE CRAFT IN WRITING
David Mura is a poet, memoirist, fiction writer, critic, playwright and performance artist.  A Sansei or third generation Japanese American, Mura has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei, which won a 1991 Josephine Miles Book Award from the Oakland PEN and was a New York Times Notable Book of Year, and Where the Body Meets Memory: An Odyssey of Race, Sexuality and Identity. His novel Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the John Gardner Fiction Prize and Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Stuart Room

4:00pm

4C: Method Writing
Limited Capacity seats available

Join author Brunonia Barry for an illuminating and potentially entertaining session as she advises session-goers how to slip into the skins of their fictional characters in order to best write their worlds. The session includes a character questionnaire and an interactive meet and greet with writers "becoming" the characters they've created, and learning more about them than they previously imagined.

Speakers
avatar for Brunonia Barry

Brunonia Barry

Author, THE LACE READER
Brunonia Barry is the New York Times and international best selling author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She was the first American author to win the International Women’s Fiction Festival’s Baccante Award and was a past recipient of Ragdale... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Winthrop Room

4:00pm

4D: Lessons from the Road: What Does It Really Take to Launch Your Novel?
Limited Capacity full

As writers, we are increasingly told that writers must now be marketers, too, that even after winning that hard fought book deal (or deciding to put the book out on your own) that successfully launching a book requires us to get out into the world and advocate for our own work. But what does that really mean, and how much might it cost? This session is meant to give practical guidance to anyone about to launch a book, or hoping to do so in the not too distant future, around the vast world of "book marketing": what works, what doesn't, what you can do for little to no cost versus options that might require small to larger investments. We'll look at an extensive list of activities and resources including PR firms, author websites, bookstore signings, social media, book giveaways, using your personal network, and more. The teacher will share levels of investments (time & money) in various outlets and outcomes from her novel launched in October of 2016, as well as data from a recent survey of over 40 published authors about the outcomes they realized and their level of satisfaction with those results.



Speakers
avatar for Katherine Sherbrooke

Katherine Sherbrooke

Author, FILL THE SKY
Katherine Sherbrooke is the author of Fill the Sky (SixOneSeven Books, 2016)—a novel about three life-long friends who travel to Ecuador in hopes that the shamans there can save one of them from cancer—and a family memoir, Finding Home (2011).  | | Katherine wanted to be an author from the time she opened her first book, and lived on books like food and water for a good part of her early years. Somewhere along the line, she caught the start-up bug and co-founded a Boston-based company called Circles. After a wonderful 15 year+ entrepreneurial adventure, she reignited her original dream and finally sat down to... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Back Bay Room

4:00pm

4E: Experimental Uses of Form in Fiction
Limited Capacity seats available

What do we want from a novel in the 21st Century? What forms, beyond a sequence of paragraphs in a sequence of chapters, can a novel contain and with what purpose? In this session, we will discuss these questions and look at excerpts from novels that experiment with form in surprising and meaningful ways. We will also discuss the work of writers attending the session and how experiments with form can deepen or potentially distract from the fictional world an author is creating.

Speakers
avatar for Idra Novey

Idra Novey

Author, WAYS TO DISAPPEAR
Idra Novey is the author of the novel Ways to Disappear, a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize for First Fiction, winner of the 2016 Brooklyn Eagles Prize, and an NPR Best Book of 2016. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into ten languages and she's written for the New York Times, the L.A. Times, and the Paris... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Newbury Room

4:00pm

4F: How to be Interesting to Kids
Limited Capacity seats available

First let’s define “kids.” Then let’s figure out what we mean when we say, “interesting.” The great distinctive feature of younger audiences is that they don’t care that you’re clever. They want you to get to the beating heart of the story, to tell it clearly, without the mealy mouthed self-interest that adults are willing to tolerate. Sound good? I’ll bring the cookies. 

Speakers
avatar for Daniel Nayeri

Daniel Nayeri

Editor, Workman Publishing Company
Daniel is the director of children’s publishing at Workman Publishing Company where he oversees a team of designers, editors, and inventors in the pursuit of creating “art objects for great and terrible children.” Before that, he was digital editorial director at Houghton Mifflin... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 4:00pm - 5:15pm
St. James Room

4:00pm

4G: Finding and Writing the Story Worth Telling
Limited Capacity full

Editors today often bemoan the state of American storytelling, ruled by subjects that seem small or overly private, without offering a greater sense of the world. And yet, writers who attempt to merge their personal fascinations with public subjects risk didacticism, over-simplifying their subjects with too narrow or biased a view. Research is daunting. Meaningful characters fall by the wayside. Theme dominates story. Beauty of image or word? Forgotten altogether. This session will help you discover a subject worth writing about, combining the large and the small, offering courage while giving you tips on how to navigate pitfalls.

Speakers
avatar for Michelle Hoover

Michelle Hoover

Author, BOTTOMLAND
Michelle Hoover is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University and teaches at GrubStreet, where she leads the Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/N... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Whittier Room

4:00pm

4H: Everybody’s Talking at Me: How Eliminating Multiple Points of View Might Save Your Novel (and Your Sanity)
Limited Capacity seats available

The challenge of a big, sprawling, multiple point of view novel is one that most writers find irresistible – but one whose risk-to-benefit ratio may be hazardous. With each POV shift, the writer runs the risk of interrupting John Gardner’s “fictional dream”; with each new story line introduced by new narrators, the writer risks dissipating tension. And a multiplicity of points of view can lead to a flatness of characterization for non-POV characters.

In this session, I will argue that a single POV – or a drastic reduction in the number of narrators – may actually present the greater challenge to the novelist, while also providing greater rewards. Using examples and exercises, we’ll discuss techniques to bring all of your characters to life through the eyes of a single narrator, using subtext and narrative unreliability to allow the reader to see what your narrator can’t see. We’ll also do an exercise designed to help you decide whether or not you have too many narrators – and which of them should be eliminated.

Speakers
avatar for Lisa Borders

Lisa Borders

Author, THE FIFTY-FIRST STATE
Lisa Borders’ second novel, The Fifty-First State, was published by Engine Books in 2013. Her first novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land, was chosen by Pat Conroy as the winner of River City Publishing’s Fred Bonnie Award, and received fiction honors in the 2003 Massachusetts Book Awards. Lisa's short stories have appeared in Washington Square, Black Warrior Review, Painted Bride Quarterly and other journals. She has an essay in Soap Opera Confidential: Writers and Soap Insiders on Why We'll Tune in Tomorrow As the World Turns Restlessly by the Guiding Light of Our Lives (McFarland... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Cabot Room

4:00pm

4J: X-Ray Writing: Techniques for Getting Closer to Your Characters (Section 1)
Limited Capacity filling up

One of the unique joys of reading literature is that it allows us to experience what it might be like to be someone else, what it might be like to live in someone else's brain. Literature can be like an x-ray, peering past the façade and seeing all the secrets hidden underneath. This workshop will focus on ways to achieve this kind of "x-ray writing," looking especially at discoveries from the fields of psychology and nuerobiology for what insights they offer writers. [NOTE: An additional section of this same session is held on Saturday at 2PM] 

Speakers
avatar for Nathan Hill

Nathan Hill

Author, THE NIX
Nathan Hill's debut novel The Nix was a New York Times bestseller, named as one of fall’s best books by Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Audible, Powell’s, IndieNext, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, and many others. The Nix will be published worldwide in more than 20 languages. In additi... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Cambridge Room

4:00pm

4K: Understanding Amazon's Place in Writers' Lives
Limited Capacity seats available

How do I get published? How do I promote my book? How do I reach more readers? How can I make a living as a writer? Amazon’s director of author relations, Neal Thompson (also the author of four books), will discuss how Amazon is working to help writers find answers to those questions. Neal will highlight programs aimed at helping writers publish and promote their books. Includes an open Q&A session.

Speakers
avatar for Neal Thompson

Neal Thompson

Director of Author and Publishing Relations, Amazon.com
Neal is a former journalist and the author of four nonfiction books, most recently "A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert ‘Believe It or Not’ Ripley" (a PEN Center USA Literary Award finalist in nonfiction). Neal has appeared on NPR, PBS, The Daily Show, CNN, The History Channel, ESPN, and more, and has written for Outside, Esquire... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Franklin Room

4:00pm

4L: Essentials of Detail
Limited Capacity seats available

Expertly-placed detail can turn a good story into a great one. Knowing what kind of detail to include where is a crucial aspect of fiction. When does detail slow the story down, add humor, add authority? This session will focus through specific examples on the different ways detail can be successfully used in storytelling. Attendees will learn approaches to using detail purposefully, maximizing its impact in scene, in character, and in overall context of the story. We’ll do a series of exercises to try out some of what we've learned.

Speakers
avatar for Jane Dykema

Jane Dykema

Fiction Writer
Jane Dykema is a 2016 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow. Her work has appeared in Electric Literature, Big Big Wednesday, Cosmonauts Avenue, Volt, and elsewhere. She earned an MFA from UMass Amherst and teaches writing at Clark University and GrubStreet.


Friday May 5, 2017 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Beacon Hill Room

4:00pm

4M: Let Me Clear My Throat: Voice in Narrative
Limited Capacity filling up

When writing is described as “voice driven,” what does that really mean? In this seminar, we’ll figure all that out. We’ll look at different types of writing—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, blogs, tweets—to examine what “voice” is, how it’s constructed, and finally (time permitting), we’ll experiment with ways to amplify your voice as a force of good in your own writing.

Speakers
avatar for Mike Scalise

Mike Scalise

Author, THE BRAND NEW CATASTROPHE
Mike Scalise is author of The Brand New Catastrophe (Sarabande Books), which received the 2014 Christopher Doheny Prize from the Center for Fiction. His work has appeared in publications like the New York Times, the Paris Review Daily, the Wall Street Journal, Indiewire, Agni, an... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Tremont Room

4:00pm

4N: Setting Fiction in Other Cultures
Limited Capacity seats available

How does setting shape our fiction, especially when we are writing about countries and places not frequently represented in English-language fiction? Location is not just a backdrop - it often dictates the choices our characters make. In this session, we will examine the importance of setting and how a specific place can drive our narrative. We will learn how to energize our writing with sensory details without leaning into stereotypes of the “foreign” or “ethnic” or even the “familiar” setting. Through close reading of scenes where setting powers memory and action, we will learn how to use a specific geographical space to best have our character’s voices, choices, and stories play out.

Speakers
avatar for Marjan Kamali

Marjan Kamali

Author, TOGETHER TEA
Marjan Kamali’s debut novel Together Tea (EccoBooks/HarperCollins) was a Massachusetts Book Award Finalist, an NPR WBUR Good Read, and a Target Emerging Author Selection. She graduated from U.C. Berkeley and earned an MBA from Columbia Business School and an MFA from NYU. Her short stories appear in the anthologies Let Me Tell You Where... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Charles River Room

5:15pm

Lit Lounge
Limited Capacity seats available

The entire conference gathers for complimentary refreshments and a cash bar. A great chance to unwind from the day, to connect with presenters and fellow attendees, and to decide on a dinner plan before the Spitballing Event. 

Friday May 5, 2017 5:15pm - 6:30pm
TBA

5:30pm

Literary Walking Tour: The Hub of Literary America
Limited Capacity seats available

Boston By Foot presents this healthy and edifying alternative to the boozy Lit Lounge: a 45-minute walking tour of Boston, leaving at 5:30PM from the steps of the Park Plaza Hotel!  Free for the first 45 Muse attendees who sign up in advance. Meet at the front entrance at 5:30PM to walk over to the start point. NOTE: this is a time change from the original description. 

This literary tour highlights the homes and haunts of such prominent Victorians as Ralph Waldo EmersonNathaniel HawthorneHenry David ThoreauLouisa May AlcottHenry JamesCharles Dickens, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Individually, they were writers and poets without peer. Collectively, they made Boston the epicenter of American Letters. This confluence of great minds gave rise to philosophical discussions that greatly influenced not only their own literary work but also 19th-century society at large and even our culture today.

What brick building went from being an apothecary's shop to the headquarters of literary Boston? What was the Saturday Club and where did they meet? For answers to these questions and more, join your guide for a stroll through the vibrant literary history of Victorian Boston. 


Friday May 5, 2017 5:30pm - 6:45pm
TBA

5:30pm

Shop Talk Happy Hour
The Shop Talk Happy Hour is an opportunity to network and socialize with invited literary agents and editors, and you may reserve a seat in advance so that you’ll know exactly with whom you’ll be sitting. 

To reserve a spot, you MUST pay an additional $75 tax-deductible fee and request a 1st and 2nd choice of table and as you register for the conference. Full info is here.

Friday May 5, 2017 5:30pm - 6:45pm
TBA

6:30pm

Dinner Break
Limited Capacity seats available

Friday May 5, 2017 6:30pm - 7:30pm
TBA

7:00pm

Who Are We When We’re At Home: the Black Experience in Boston

GrubStreet, the Boston Literary District, and The Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Equity are joining forces to host "Who Are We When We’re At Home: the Black Experience in Boston.” Boston Globe Associate Editor and Op-ed columnist Renee Graham will be moderating a conversation about the experience of code/switching that's common to African Americans nationally but also particularly in greater Boston, a city with its own very complicated and contradictory racial history. She’ll be joined on stage by the Poet Charles Coe, Historian Kerri Greenidge, and Boston’s Chief Resiliency Officer, Dr. Atyia Martin.  This event is open to the public. No pre-registration necessary, though seating is limited. 


Speakers
avatar for Charles Coe

Charles Coe

Author, ALL SING FORGIVEN: POEMS FOR MY PARENTS
Poet and writer Charles Coe is author of two books of poetry: All Sins Forgiven: Poems for my Parents and Picnic on the Moon, both published by Leapfrog Press. He is author of Spin Cycles, a novella published by Gemma Media. Charles was selected by the Associates of the Boston Public Library as a... Read More →
avatar for Renee Graham

Renee Graham

Associate Editor & Op-Ed Columnist, Boston Globe
Renee Graham is an associate editor and op-ed columnist for the Boston Globe. She writes on a variety of subjects including race and racism, domestic violence, LGBTQ issues, police misconduct, gun control, and politics. She is a former pop culture columnist for the Globe, and her work has also appeared in Essence, Out in America: A Portrait of Gay and Lesbian Life, The Miami Herald, Suffolk Alumni Magazine, Nieman Reports, and... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Kerri Greenidge

Dr. Kerri Greenidge

Historian
Dr. Kerri Greenidge received her Doctorate in American Studies from Boston University, where her specialty included African-American history, American political history, and African-American literature from 1850 through the 1910s. She has taught at Suffolk University, Boston Univ... Read More →
avatar for Dr. S. Atyia Martin

Dr. S. Atyia Martin

Chief Resilience Officer, City of Boston
Dr. S. Atyia Martin was appointed by Mayor Martin J. Walsh as the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Boston as part of the 100 Resilient Cities pioneered by the Rockefeller foundation. Previously, Dr. Martin was the Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness at the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC). In her role as Chief Resilience Officer she is charged with developing and implementing... Read More →



Friday May 5, 2017 7:00pm - 8:00pm
TBA

7:30pm

Spitballing Event
Limited Capacity seats available

So you're writing a story and feeling "stuck." What began as an exciting venture now seems dull and lifeless. Why not bring this logjam to other writers for revival? How might two heads (or 3, or 4) be better than one?

In this fun and fast-moving event, watch live authors use the "spitballing" techniques of screenwriters to push initial story ideas into wilder and more provocative possibilities.

Come ready to brainstorm, laugh, and contribute your own ideas too. Free and open to the public. Cash bar. Follow the fun on Twitter at #writerspitball.

Speakers
avatar for Lynne Barrett

Lynne Barrett

Author, MAGPIES
Lynne Barrett’s most recent story collection is Magpies (Gold Medal, Florida Book Awards). What Editors Want, a guide to submitting to literary magazines based on her widely recommended essay in The Review Review, is now out in book form. She edited Tigertail: Florida Flash, co-edited Birth: A Literary Companion, and is editor of The Florida Book Review. She has received the Edgar Award for best mystery story and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and her recent work can be found in Necessary Fiction, The Southern... Read More →
avatar for Sari Boren

Sari Boren

Co-Manager, Four Stories reading series
Sari Boren’s essays have been published or are forthcoming in Lilith Magazine, The Southeast Review, Alimentum, Hobart, GAMBA and War, Literature & the Arts.  She was awarded a 2016 Emerging Artist Award in Literature from the St. Botolph Club Foundation and a 2014 finalist grant... Read More →
avatar for Sean Van Deuren

Sean Van Deuren

Sean Van Deuren is the Communications and Marketing Manager at the Engagement Lab, an applied research and design lab dedicated to reimagining civic engagement for a digital culture. He earned his BFA in Writing, Literature & Publishing from Emerson College and is the author of t... Read More →
avatar for Ron MacLean

Ron MacLean

Author, HEADLONG
Ron MacLean's novel Headlong won the 2014 Indie Book Award for Best Mystery. Ron's other books are the story collection Why the Long Face? (2008), and the novel Blue Winnetka Skies (2004). His short fiction has appeared in GQ, Greensboro Review, Prism International, Night Train, Other... Read More →
avatar for Whitney Scharer

Whitney Scharer

Whitney Scharer is a writer and book cover designer. Her short fiction has appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review, Cimarron Review, Mare Nostrum, and elsewhere. She was awarded an Emerging Artist Award in Literature from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, a Somerville Arts Council Artists grant, a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a Gerberding Fellowship to study creative writing... Read More →
avatar for Michelle Seaton

Michelle Seaton

Author, LIVING WITH CANCER
Michelle Seaton’s short fiction has appeared in One Story, Harvard Review, Sycamore Review, and has won a Pushcart Prize. Her essays have appeard in The Pinch, Lake Effect and in Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is the coauthor of several books, including The Way of Boys (William Morrow... Read More →
avatar for Val Wang

Val Wang

Author, BEIJING BASTARD
Val Wang is an author and multimedia storyteller interested in the intersection between the personal and the global. Evan Osnos has called her book Beijing Bastard (Avery, 2015) “a memoir perfectly suited to the Beijing that she brings to life so well: heedless, pungent, and proudly... Read More →


Friday May 5, 2017 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Statler Room
 
Saturday, May 6
 

7:30am

Registration, Hot Breakfast Buffet, Bookstore and Authors’ Bazaar Browsing
Limited Capacity seats available

Saturday May 6, 2017 7:30am - 9:00am
TBA

9:00am

Mid-Muse Keynote: Isabel Wilkerson
Limited Capacity filling up

Pulizer-Prize winning author Isabelle Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns, addresses the conference. 



Speakers
avatar for Isabel Wilkerson

Isabel Wilkerson

Author, THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS
Isabel Wilkerson won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing as Chicago bureau chief of The New York Times. The first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism and the first African American to win for individual reporting, she has also won the George Polk Award and a... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 9:00am - 10:00am
Grand Ballroom

10:15am

5A: What Literary Magazine Are You? Get to Know 5 Literary Magazines Up Close and Personal
Limited Capacity seats available

Everyone tells you that before submitting to a literary magazine, you should read a recent issue, but why? What will you learn? In this session, we will take a close reading of 5 prominent literary magazines to determine their unwritten submission guidelines, meaning what they really publish in terms of style, length, and subjects. From the editors of those magazines, I'll glean publishing statistics, break-in genres, as well as personal pet peeves and guilty pleasures. Bring a page of your writing, and as a group, we can decide which of the five magazines is the best fit for it.

Speakers
avatar for Jenn Scheck-Kahn

Jenn Scheck-Kahn

Founder, Journal of the Month
Jenn Scheck-Kahn is a prose writer, teacher, and founder of Journal of the Month, a service that delivers a different print literary magazine on a regular basis. Her prose has placed in contests hosted by the Atlantic Monthly and Glimmer Train, and appeared in a number of literar... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
Stuart Room

10:15am

5B: Query Lab
Limited Capacity full

Important: Please read this description carefully before signing up, and bring all necessary materials to the session. 

Most agencies receive at least a hundred query letters each week, yet respond positively to a very select few. Do you know the secrets to writing a winning query? Do you want to know the most common reasons for rejection? In this session, agents Sorche Fairbank and Ayesha Pande will give direct feedback on audience query letters and use them as examples to discuss both effective and ineffective strategies for getting an agent or editor interested in your work. The goal will be to make your query letters as powerful as possible. If you want your query letter considered, please bring a ONE-PAGE hard copy to the session. Query letters will be chosen at random by a volunteer and put on an overhead projector. After your query letter is read by the agents and the audience, the agents will discuss it, troubleshoot, and offer advice that is both specific to your project and general enough for the rest of the audience to benefit. Given the volume of submissions, we cannot guarantee that your query letter will be read. The point is not to get through as many queries as possible, but to thoughtfully evaluate your ideas and offer concrete suggestions from which all will benefit.

Speakers
avatar for Sorche Fairbank

Sorche Fairbank

Literary Agent, Fairbank Literary Representation
Since establishing Fairbank Literary Representation in 2002, Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank has had the pleasure of working with a dynamic and varied list, representing best-selling authors, Edgar recipients, award-winning journalists, and of course one of her favorite kinds of client... Read More →
avatar for Ayesha Pande

Ayesha Pande

Literary Agent, Pande Literary
Ayesha Pande launched her literary agency ten years ago. Before that she held editorial positions at HarperCollins, Crown, and Farrar Straus. She is a member of AAR (Association of Author’s Representatives) and PEN. She is proud to represent international bestselling author Shilp... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
Whittier Room

10:15am

5C: Disentangling Time
Limited Capacity filling up

What’s past? What’s present? What’s shown? What’s told? How much of the past is just background information, what really matters, and when (and how) should it emerge? Whether it covers ten minutes or thirty years, proceeds chronologically or starts in medias res, unravels a mystery or shows multiple simultaneous plotlines, the structure of any narrative form is a representation of time. We’ll discuss the relationship of time to action, time slowed, sped up, and skipped, how the past (or future) can emerge through discovery or disclosure, and the relationship of time and point of view. And we’ll look at how timelines can help you see your material and make decisions about structure, and ways to keep track and help the reader keep track, too.

Speakers
avatar for Lynne Barrett

Lynne Barrett

Author, MAGPIES
Lynne Barrett’s most recent story collection is Magpies (Gold Medal, Florida Book Awards). What Editors Want, a guide to submitting to literary magazines based on her widely recommended essay in The Review Review, is now out in book form. She edited Tigertail: Florida Flash, co-edited Birth: A Literary Companion, and is editor of The Florida Book Review. She has received the Edgar Award for best mystery story and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and her recent work can be found in Necessary Fiction, The Southern... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
Cambridge Room

10:15am

5D: Media Training: Represent Your Work With Style
Limited Capacity seats available

It's never too early or too late to prepare for your time in the spotlight, especially as you're building a long career as a professional writer. This session will teach you the most important elements to focus on when publicizing your work and yourself on TV and radio interviews, and at readings. As part of a lively critique session, we will show clips of authors in a variety of situations and invite participation in a discussion on what works and what doesn't. Topics include: What to avoid at all costs (behaviors, language, gestures, appearance); how to get your message across while plugging your work graciously; how to hide nerves and find the right mind-set; how to correct an interviewer; and how to handle tricky questions/situations.

Speakers
avatar for Lynne Griffin

Lynne Griffin

Author, GIRL SENT AWAY
Lynne Griffin is the author of the family-focused novels Girl Sent Away, Sea Escape, and Life Without Summer, as well as the nonfiction parenting guides, Let’s Talk About It: Adolescent Mental Health and Negotiation Generation—Take Back Your Parental Authority Without Punishment. Lynne teaches family studies at Wheelock College, and is the Social-Emotional Learning Specialist and Coordinator of Professional Development for an independent school in Boston. She teaches fiction writing at GrubStreet in Boston and co-facilitates the program, Launch Lab for soon-to-be published authors. Follow Lynne on twitter... Read More →
avatar for Katrin Schumann

Katrin Schumann

Author, THE SECRET POWER OF MIDDLE CHILDREN
Katrin Schumann is the co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children (Hudson Street, 2011), Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too (McGraw-Hill, 2008), and has written and edited numerous other titles, both commercially and independently. Katrin has been featured multiple times on TODAY, Talk of the Nation, and in The London Times, among others. For the past ten years she has been teaching writing, most recently at GrubStreet and at Bay State Correctional Facility, through PEN New England. Before going freelance, she worked at NPR, where she won the Kogan Media Award. Katrin has been granted multiple fiction residencies. She has a regular column on The Grub Daily and can be found at... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
Franklin Room

10:15am

5E: 4 Lies People Will Tell You About Marketing Your Novel
Limited Capacity seats available

Pity the poor fiction author. Even before their manuscripts are accepted for publication, or even completed, writers are bombarded with advice about how to market their books to readers. This session will cut through the fear, uncertainty, and doubt by exposing these poorly-examined but often repeated myths for what they are. It will also offer a four strong principles of book promotion authors can use to support their work, starting before their book is accepted or even completed, and continuing on through their careers, along with a host of practical, achievable advice.

Speakers
avatar for Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross

Author, Maine Clambake Mysteries
Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mystery series: Clammed Up, Boiled Over, Musseled Out, Fogged Inn and Iced Under. Barbara's books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and RT Books Reviewer's Choice Awards, as well as the the... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
Newbury Room

10:15am

5F: Essentials of Suspense in Memoir
Limited Capacity full

How do we create highly readable memoirs full of suspense and tension without resorting to cheap tricks? How do we grip our readers from the first page and hold their attention to the very end? The simple answer: through the interplay of answered/unanswered questions in our narratives. In this session, we will explore some stellar examples of memoirs that ask ambitious "universal" questions and continue to tease out the answers over a large story arc. We will discuss ways in which questions can guide our themes and voice. And perhaps most important, we will examine the moments when memoir "pays off" by suggesting potential answers to the big questions. How do writers answer questions without frustrating the reader?

Speakers
avatar for Garrard Conley

Garrard Conley

Author, BOY ERASED
Garrard Conley is the author of a memoir on conversion therapy, Boy Erased, out from Riverhead (Penguin) May 2016. His work can be found in TIME, VICE, CNN, Buzzfeed Books, Virginia Quarterly Review, and others. He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Eliza... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
Tremont Room

10:15am

5G: What She Writes and How She Publishes It
Limited Capacity seats available

Are you waiting for someone else to decide if and when your book gets published? Join a memoirist, novelist, and hybrid-publisher project manager as they discuss why and how authors can take charge of their book publishing dreams. Jeanne Blasberg and Nadine Kenney Johnstone will discuss their journeys to publication while Cait Levin will speak about the hybrid publishing model and how it differs from both traditional and self publishing. 


Speakers
avatar for Jeanne Blasberg

Jeanne Blasberg

Author of EDEN: A Novel
A graduate of Smith College, Jeanne began her career in finance, making stops on Wall Street, Macy’s and eventually Harvard Business School where she wrote case studies and business articles. In order to nurture her creative impulses, Jeanne turned to memoir writing and later fiction.  An only child who’s kept a journal all her life, Jeanne is a voracious observer of human nature... Read More →
avatar for Nadine Johnstone

Nadine Johnstone

Author, OF THIS MUCH I'M SURE
Nadine Kenney Johnstone is the author of the memoir, Of This Much I'm Sure (April 2017). She teaches English at Loyola University and received her MFA from Columbia College in Chicago. Her work has been featured in Chicago magazine, The Moth, PANK, and various anthologies... Read More →
avatar for Cait Levin

Cait Levin

Author Liaison and Project Editor, She Writes Press
Cait Levin has been with She Writes since 2010. She previously served as the Community  Manager for the online community and managed the blog. She has been with She Writes Press since its inception in 2012. She is a graduate of Barnard College and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in English Literature through Middlebury College. When she... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
Constitution Room

10:15am

5H: Agents and Editors of Color Roundtable
Limited Capacity full

Join a lively and vital discussion among prominent authors, literary agents, and editors of color as we share experiences of issues we've uniquely encountered in our projects and our careers. Get advice on what you might expect in your own career and how to navigate it. The talk will build on ideas discussed in last year's vibrant Writers of Color Roundtable, but all attendees are welcome!

 

Moderators
avatar for Sonya Larson

Sonya Larson

sonya@grubstreet.org, Assistant Director
Sonya Larson's short fiction and nonfiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Best American Short Stories 2017, American Short Fiction, the American Literary Review, Poets & Writers, The Writer's Chronicle, Audible.com, West Branch, Salamander, Del Sol Review, The Red Mountain... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Reiko Davis

Reiko Davis

Literary Agent, DeFiore and Company
Reiko Davis is an agent at DeFiore and Company. Before joining DeFiore in early 2016, she was at Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency for four years. She grew up in Kansas City, received her BA in Comparative Literature and Art History from Brown University, and is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course. Above all, she wants to discover books that surprise her and make her feel something... Read More →
avatar for Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng

Author, EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU
Celeste Ng is the author of the novel Everything I Never Told You (Penguin Press), which was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book for 2014, and Amazon's #1 Best Book of the Year 2014. She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a family of scientists. Celeste attended Harvard University and earned a MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell... Read More →
avatar for Rakesh Satyal

Rakesh Satyal

Author, NO ONE CAN PRONOUNCE MY NAME
Rakesh Satyal is the author of the novel Blue Boy, which won the 2010 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Debut Fiction and the 2010 Prose/Poetry Award from the Association of Asian American Studies and which was a finalist for the Publishing Triangle's Edmund White Debut Fiction Award... Read More →
avatar for Tracy Sherrod

Tracy Sherrod

Editorial Director, Amistad
Tracy Sherrod is the editorial director of Amistad, the premier publisher of African-American fiction and nonfiction, showcasing award-winning novelists, celebrated cultural figures and esteemed critics and scholars. Prior to founding her own agency -- Tracy Sherrod Literary Services -- in... Read More →
avatar for Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh

Literary Agent, Pande Literary
Currently an agent at Ayesha Pande Literary, Anjali Singh started her career in publishing in 1996 as a literary scout. Most recently Editorial Director at Other Press, she has also worked as an editor at Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Vintage Books. She is best... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
Charles River Room

10:15am

5J: Action Talks: Revealing Character Through Behavior
Limited Capacity full

Problems make life interesting. The best stories and novels revolve around characters that are facing some sort of dilemma, whether it’s physical, emotional, or philosophical. That problem usually motivates your character to take some form of action or to attempt to make a change in their situation, for better or worse. As in life, your characters may be haunted by some memory or past experience that is preventing them from fully engaging in life. How your character behaves is the essence of who he/she is, and has a great deal to do with the outcome of your story or novel. In this hands-on workshop, we'll try a few key exercises that will help you to know your character better so that you may have a clearer sense of what his or her dilemma is, and how his/her reaction to it may help to inform the structure of your story/novel.

Speakers
avatar for Elizabeth Brundage

Elizabeth Brundage

Author, ALL THINGS CEASE TO APPEAR
Elizabeth Brundage is the author of four novels, All Things Cease to Appear, A Stranger Like You, Somebody Else’s Daughter, and The Doctor’s Wife. Her short fiction has appeared in Witness, New Letters, and Greensboro Review, among others. She earned a BA from Hampshire College, attended the NYU film school, and was a screenwriting fellow at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
Back Bay Room

10:15am

5K: Keep the Pages Turning: The Art of Pacing
Limited Capacity full

Ever wonder how some authors make their novels so engrossing? It could be the characters or plot, but perhaps it’s really something much simpler. Perhaps it’s all about pacing. In spite of its importance, the pace at which a story moves is often a neglected topic in craft books. In this session, unlock the mystery of perfect pacing within a scene--whether it be brisk or pondering--as well as within the trajectory of the story as a whole. 

Speakers
avatar for Heather Webb

Heather Webb

Author, BECOMING JOSEPHINE
Heather Webb is the author of historical novels Becoming Josephone and Rodin's Lover, which have sold in six countries and have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Elle, France magazine, and more, as well as received national starred reviews. Rodin's Lover was a Goodreads Pick of the month in 2015. Up and coming, The Phantom's Apprentice, a Gothic suspense tale and reimagining of The Phantom of the Opera from Christine... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
White Hill Room

10:15am

5L: Magic Carpet: Creating a Sense of Place in Fiction
Limited Capacity seats available

In this interactive, hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to weave together the three strands of plot/emotion, place, and character into a single, gripping scene. They will be equipped to engage the five senses in creating a sense of place to transport readers directly into the scene. Participants will write in class and get feedback on the spot from the instructor in a guided, positive discussion.

Speakers
avatar for Mitali Perkins

Mitali Perkins

Author, TIGER BOY
Mitali Perkins has written several award-winning novels for young readers, including Rickshaw Girl (New York Public Library’s top 100 books for children in 100 years) and Bamboo People (American Library Association's Top Ten Novel for Young Adults.) She recently edited Open Mic... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
Cabot Room

10:15am

5M: The Author is a Lonely Hunter: Finding Your Stories
Limited Capacity seats available

Developing and honing a story-hunting mindset is a key to success for a nonfiction writer, regardless of whether the work is bound to appear in a book or a magazine, on a blog or a podcast, online or in the ether. Using examples from his own work and the work of others, author and professor Mitch Zuckoff will reveal his secrets for finding stories that are hiding in plain sight.

Speakers
avatar for Mitchell Zuckoff

Mitchell Zuckoff

Author, 13 HOURS: THE INSIDE ACCOUNT OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN BENGHAZI
Mitchell Zuckoff is the Sumner Redstone Professor of Narrative Studies at Boston University and the author of seven nonfiction books. His most recent book, 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller and the basis of the Paramount Pictures movie of the same name. His book Lost In... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
Winthrop Room

10:15am

5N: Write in the Feels: Fictional Emotion
Limited Capacity seats available

For fiction writers, emotion is both essential and tricky territory. Overplay it and we risk melodrama; neglect it and our stories have little impact, low stakes, no heart. How do we find the balance? This session will look at how various authors have effectively approached “the feels” in fiction. We’ll identify strategies for when to show and when to tell, how to access emotionally detached or inarticulate characters, and how to capture emotional changes over time; as well as what other literary forms/genres can teach us about evoking fictional feelings. Attendees will leave with exercises, prompts, and suggestions for further reading on this topic.

Speakers
avatar for Mia Alvar

Mia Alvar

Author, IN THE COUNTRY
Mia Alvar's first book, In the Country, a collection of short stories, won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction from the University of Rochester. Mia has been a writ... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
Beacon Hill Room

10:15am

5P: Essentials of Voice in Fiction
Limited Capacity seats available

Most agents and editors will tell you that “voice” is their foremost criterion when it comes to selecting books to represent or publish. But what exactly IS a voice in fiction—and, more importantly, how do you go about finding yours? In this practical, interactive session, we’ll analyze passages written by a number of classic and contemporary fiction writers on a spectrum of voices, from plainspoken and “transparent” to lyrical, muscular, and ornate. By discovering more precisely where you fit on this aesthetic spectrum, you can take an important step toward discovering and honing your own fictional voice.

Speakers
avatar for Tim Weed

Tim Weed

Author, WILL POOLE'S ISLAND
Tim Weed’s first novel, Will Poole’s Island (Namelos, 2014), was named one of Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of the Year. He is the winner of Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction and Solas Best Travel Writing awards, and his work has appeared in Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Talking Points Memo, The Rumpus, Writer's Chronicle, and elsewhere. Tim teaches at Grub Street and in the MFA Writing program at Western Connecticut State University, and is the co-founder of the Cuba... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 10:15am - 11:30am
St. James Room

11:45am

6A: Getting Noticed, Read, and Understood on Sensitive Topics
Limited Capacity filling up

How to take the heat and take charge when taking a stand on hot button issues, such as politics, culture, gender and race.

Silence is always a strategy when choosing whether or not to weigh in with op-eds and reported commentary. That may be the temptation, especially in 2016 and beyond when there is no such thing as a non-controversial topic.

So how do you add your voice, and perhaps change the narrative, to the never-ending debate on the issues that matter, while keeping your sanity and the worst of the critics at bay.

Yes, there are tips and tricks that may not get readers to agree, but may lead them to grudging respect.

Bring an idea and be prepared to explain it, defend it and get readers to care.

Speakers
avatar for Mary C. Curtis

Mary C. Curtis

Political Columnist, Roll Call and NBCBLK
Mary C. Curtis, columnist at Roll Call, is an award-winning journalist, trainer and speaker. She has contributed to NPR, NBCBLK, The Washington Post “She the People,” ESPN’s The Undefeated, The Root, Women’s Media Center, MSNBC, BBC, and talks politics on WCCB-TV in Charlotte, N.C. She covered the 2008, 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns, and was national correspondent for... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 11:45am - 12:45pm
St. James Room

11:45am

6B: From the O. Henry Files: Practical Advice for Writing and Submitting Short Stories
Limited Capacity full

An adaptation of my piece on reading for the O. Henry prize. Discussion and examples of common pitfalls in short story writing, and current trends.

Speakers
avatar for Kelly Luce

Kelly Luce

Author, PULL ME UNDER
Kelly Luce is the author of Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail (A Strange Object, 2013), which won Foreword Review’s Editor’s Choice Prize for Fiction, and the novel Pull Me Under, out November 1, 2016 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She grew up in Brookfield, Illinois. After graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in cognitive science, she moved to Japan, where she lived and worked for three years. Her work has appeared... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 11:45am - 12:45pm
Cambridge Room

11:45am

6C: The Relationship Between Bookstores & Authors: The Good, The Bad, The Wonderful
Limited Capacity seats available

Writers everywhere are curious what bookstores expect from authors. Are events good for the stores? (And how do they work out for most authors?) How would they like authors to behave at their stores during events or at other times? Does working with publicists make life easier or would they rather work directly with authors?

We’ll reveal how booksellers decide which books to buy: whether they rely on the publisher’s sales force personnel, curating their collection or both, find out what options are available for self-published authors. Relationship between bookseller and authors will be examined in this discussion between bestselling author, Randy Susan Meyers, and local booksellers, Mary Cotton, co-owner of Newtonville Books, and Katie Eelman, event coordinator at Papercuts, in Jamaica Plain.

Speakers
avatar for Mary Cotton

Mary Cotton

Co-owner, Newtownville Books
Mary Cotton is the co-owner of Newtonville Books.
avatar for Katie Eelman

Katie Eelman

Director of Media & Events, Papercuts
Katie Eelman has been the Director of Media & Events at Boston's award-winning independent bookstore Papercuts J.P.since the store's opening in 2014. She is also co-founder and editor in chief of the store's publishing imprint, Cutlass Press. 
avatar for Randy Susan Meyers

Randy Susan Meyers

Author, ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE
Randy Susan Meyers' novels are informed by her work with families impacted by emotional and family violence. Her debut novel, The Murderer’s Daughters, was named one of the “2011 Ten Best Works of Fiction” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book and was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 11:45am - 12:45pm
Beacon Hill Room

11:45am

6D: Sounds Like a Book: Voice, Rhythm, and the Music of Prose
Limited Capacity filling up

Audiobooks are more popular than ever, partly because they fit into our lifestyles, but also because great actors and readers can make prose come alive off the page. Here we'll learn to listen to our own writing, drawing from the sheer act of reading aloud in order to develop character, pace plot, and make our sentences sing. We’ll listen to exemplary performances, from Joe Morton’s rendition of Ellison’s Invisible Man to Morrison’s masterful delivery of Beloved, with a pit stop in the comedy club that is Lipsyte’s The Ask. We’ll attune ourselves to the grain of voice, the melodic contours of language, and the overlapping pulses of scene and sentence. Next, we’ll do writing activities that summon narrative voices for first drafts and in revision, or re-audition, as we might think of it, such that our stories will resound in readers’ inner ears long after they put them down.

Speakers
avatar for Tim Horvath

Tim Horvath

Author, UNDERSTORIES
Tim Horvath (www.timhorvath.com) is the author of Understories (Bellevue Literary Press), which won the New Hampshire Literary Award, and Circulation (sunnyoutside press), a novella. His recent work appears in Harvard Review, Conjunctions, the Paris Review Daily, and elsewhere. H... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 11:45am - 12:45pm
Constitution Room

11:45am

6E: Tell It Slant : Cross-Genre Innovations
Limited Capacity full

"Arrange the pieces how you may..." That is a quote from Virginia Woolf that released me so many years ago from the idea that a cohesive narrative could only be achieved by linear means.  Turns out, a cohesive narrative can happen any number of ways.  It can be an accumulation of fragments, it can be kaleidoscopic, it can by lyric, circular, vertical, visual, collaged. Formal innovations in nonfiction prose writing open up cross-disciplinary and multivocal opportunities for storytelling. 

No Required Reading, though handouts will be provided, and the authors we'll peek at may include Anne Carson, Carole Maso, Joy Harjo, Leslie Marmon Silko, Claudia Rankine, Maggie Nelson, Rebecca Solnit, and Jeanette Winterson.

Speakers
avatar for Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yuknavitch

Author, THE BOOK OF JOAN
Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the novels The Book of Joan (Harper) and the bestselling The Small Backs of Children (Harper), winner of both the Oregon Book Award for the novel and the Reader's Choice Award, as well as the memoir The Chronology of Water. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in BOMB, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Iowa Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Buzzfeed, Zyzzyva, and in the anthologies Forms At War, Life As We Show It, and Representing Bisexualities. Her TED Talk on Misfittery has nearly 2 million views. She is the founder of the Corporeal Writing Workshop series; she is a very good swimmer.She has also had writing appear in publications including Guernica Magazine, Ms., The Iowa Review, Zyzzyva, Another Chicago Magazine, The Sun, Exquisite Corpse, TANK, and in the anthologies Life As We Show It (City Lights), Wreckage of Reason (Spuytin Duyvil), Forms at War (FC2), Feminaissance (Les Figues Press), and Representing Bisexualities (SUNY), as well as online at The Rumpus. She founded the workshop... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 11:45am - 12:45pm
Winthrop Room

11:45am

6F: The Art of Setting
Limited Capacity seats available

How do authors create settings that are memorable, dynamic, and meaningful? In this session, we’ll examine published excerpts in fiction and creative nonfiction, and discuss how setting builds characters, drives plot, and creates tension. Setting isn’t just a tidy backdrop, but integral to the narrative—a crucial thread that cannot be removed without the story itself unraveling. We’ll explore how setting may enrich our stories, novels, and nonfiction, and time permitting, we’ll do a writing exercise or two. Great for writers of both fiction and nonfiction.

Speakers
avatar for Carter Sickels

Carter Sickels

Author, THE EVENING HOUR
Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Evening Hour, and editor of Untangling the Knot: Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships & Identity. Carter’s essays and fiction have appeared in various literary journals and anthologies including Guernica, BuzzFeed, The Collection: Short Fiction From the Transgender Vanguard, and Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Essays on the Forbidden from a New Appalachia. He received the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, and has been awarded scholarships to Bread Loaf... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 11:45am - 12:45pm
Franklin Room

11:45am

6G: All in the Details
Limited Capacity seats available

Significant details give fiction dimension in a way that reveals more about place and character than what's on the surface. In this writing exercise we'll learn how to imploy meaning in the objects that are in a scene. If you've been in a workshop before you've likely learned how crucial and revealing significant details are, but how do we go about selecting these significant details? And what is it about these details that make them significant? Every accessory, piece of furntire, ingredient and/or outfit can reveal something more about place and character than we tend to acknowledge. By activating ways of considering these items and the context of a scene we can make alive the authenticity of a story. We'll study short excerpts from Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell and The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka that reveal how significant details can empower fiction, then work on a short exercise.

Speakers
avatar for Mario Zambrano

Mario Zambrano

Author, LOTERIA
Mario Alberto Zambrano was a contemporary ballet dancer before writing fiction. He has lived in Israel, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, and Japan, and has danced for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballet Frankfurt, and Batsheva Dance Company. He graduated from The New School as a Riggio Honors Fellow and the Iowa... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 11:45am - 12:45pm
Stuart Room

11:45am

6H: What's Your Creative Type?
Limited Capacity filling up

The greatest writers in history didn’t just have talent, they also understood their motivations for writing. This understanding is what drove and sustained them. If you’re looking to get going, stay motivated, or feel reinvigorated about writing, you, too, must first know why you write. During this session, you’ll have a fun and inspiring time identifying your creative motivation type, which is the key to understanding your personal “why.” Are you an A-Lister seeking recognition, an Artisan devoted to craft, a Game Changer looking to break boundaries, a Sensitive Soul hoping to help others, or an Activist determined to change the world through writing? This session will include entertaining stories about legendary writers and artists—from Hemingway to Baldwin to Roth to Rowling—who share your traits and tendencies, discussion of creative theories, and artistic personality quizzes…all designed to lead you to the answer to the question: What’s your creative type?

Speakers
avatar for Meta Wagner

Meta Wagner

Author, WHAT'S YOUR CREATIVE TYPE?
Meta Wagner is the author of What's Your Creative Type?: Harness the Power of Your Artistic Personality (Seal Press and Blackstone Audio). She has written extensively about pop culture, most notably as a contributor to The Boston Globe opinion pages and a columnist for PopMatters. Her commentary and feature articles have also appeared in Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, Salon, Boston Globe Magazine, and Wall Street Journal custom content. When she's not writing, Meta is molding young minds as an adjunct professor at Emerson College and Boston University. She developed and teaches a... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 11:45am - 12:45pm
Cabot Room

11:45am

6J: Stick Figure Structure: A Quick & Easy Way to Find Your Missing Plot Points (Section 1)
Limited Capacity full

The number one place where writers need help is structure. Over the years, working as the editor of ONE STORY and a fiction teacher, Hannah Tinti has developed a simple system that explains each step and how to build a solid structure so that the story won't collapse. This session will begin with a fun and engaging lecture (with pictures! and stories!) and end with each student creating their own 5 sentence outline. [NOTE: An additional section of this same session is held on Sunday at 10AM] 

Speakers
avatar for Hannah Tinti

Hannah Tinti

Author, THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY
Hannah Tinti is a writer, editor, and teacher.  | | Her short story collection, Animal Crackers, has sold in sixteen countries and was a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award. Her best-selling novel, The Good Thief, is a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, recipient of the American Library... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 11:45am - 12:45pm
Whittier Room

11:45am

6K: In the Meantime: The Writer's Life While Waiting
Limited Capacity seats available

When the writing process is good, it’s very good, but when it’s bad, it’s time to refocus. In every writer’s career, there comes some downtime, whether it’s waiting to hear from agents and editors, carving out time for kids and work, or taking a break to recover from rejections. These lulls, however, can be used to your advantage and are the perfect time to regroup to strengthen your query, boost your platform, make new writing connections, and take your writing in new directions. Join writer Jennifer S. Brown, who took twenty years from MFA to debut novel, for a talk on how to keep your writing career moving forward. We’ll also brainstorm ideas specific to your writing career on what to do in the meantime.

Speakers
avatar for Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown

Author, MODERN GIRLS
Jennifer S. Brown’s debut novel, Modern Girls (NAL/Penguin), set in 1935 in New York City, is about a mother and daughter who must face the consequences of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. She has published fiction and creative nonfiction in Fiction Southeast, The Best Women’s Travel Writing, The Southeast Review, The Sierra Nevada Review, and Bellevue Literary Review, among other places. Her essay... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 11:45am - 12:45pm
Newbury Room

11:45am

6L: Essentials of Dialogue
Limited Capacity filling up

Dialogue is the human voice on the page. What purpose does dialogue have in prose? We will examine invented dialogue for fiction, interviews and quotes for nonfiction, and remembered dialogue for memoir writing. In this one hour session, learn tips and tools for writing effective dialogue in fiction and nonfiction.

Speakers
avatar for Grace Talusan

Grace Talusan

Fiction and Nonfiction Writer
Grace Talusan writes essays and fiction. She has published essays in Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, The Rumpus, Boston Magazine, Tufts Magazine, and other anthologies and journals. Her essay about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer won the Dorothy O'Connor Award from the Women's... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 11:45am - 12:45pm
Back Bay Room

11:45am

6M: Writing Suspense
Limited Capacity full

Alfred Hitchcock said, “There is a distinct difference between ‘suspense’ and ‘surprise.’” Yet many writers confuse the two. Building suspense is just as much about choosing when to reveal information to a reader as it is about choosing what to withhold. As an investigative journalist, Michael Blanding frequently works to create suspense in his narratives, keeping readers captivated even when the ultimate outcome of the story is already known. Drawing upon examples from fiction, non-fiction, and film, this session will explore practical tips and techniques for crafting stories that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. It will also include time for a guided writing exercise for participants to create their own short, suspenseful narratives.

Speakers
avatar for Michael Blanding

Michael Blanding

Author, THE MAP THIEF
Michael Blanding is a Boston-based investigative journalist whose work has appeared in WIRED, Slate, The Nation, The Boston Globe Magazine, and Boston Magazine. His latest book, The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless... Read More →



Saturday May 6, 2017 11:45am - 12:45pm
White Hill Room

11:45am

6N: 'There’s No Market for That!' How to Make the Specific Universal
Limited Capacity filling up

What does compulsive hair pulling have to do with universal suffering? A lot, if you write about it right. It’s not easy to find and tug on the universal thread of a specific story, but it’s key to making your writing relatable and marketable to a broad audience. Join memoirist Katie Koppel for an interactive workshop to turn your weird stories – whether personal or reported – into crafted pieces of writing that appeal to a wide market. Through a combination of discussion and writing exercises, you will come away with an understanding of what makes your story universal, and the craft tools to make it resonate with your readers (and sell in the marketplace).

Speakers
avatar for Katie Koppel

Katie Koppel

Nonfiction Writer
Katie Koppel is a Memoir Incubator alum and a Boston-based writer of memoir and personal essays. Her work has appeared in NPR, Salon, Narratively, Cognoscenti, CommonHealth, xoJane, and more. Her memoir, Plucked: A Memoir of Hiding, was a finalist for the Permafrost Nonfiction Book Prize. Koppel was awarded a scholarship for the GrubStreet Memoir Incubator, a competitive and juried program focused on craft development. Through this program, she learned the distinction between situation and story in memoir writing, a concept that has guided her approach to writing about an otherwise hyper-specific subject: her journey with a compulsive hair pulling disorder. She was a recipient of the Wesleyan Scholarship for the 2014 Wesleyan Writers Conference, and completed a residency at Lemon Tree House in 2016. You can find her... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 11:45am - 12:45pm
Tremont Room

12:45pm

Lunch Break
Limited Capacity seats available

Saturday May 6, 2017 12:45pm - 2:00pm
TBA

2:00pm

7A: Writing Like an Editor
Limited Capacity filling up

All authors do it: we start writing, then want to spend more time revising or polishing the work that we have done instead of moving forward. How do we resist the tendency to focus on what we have already written and push ahead? At the same time, how do we keep track of our own work in a way that benefits the project as a whole? And perhaps even more pressing, how do we account for the reality of book publishing as we're working on what we hope is a uniquely compelling project? Publishing professional and award-winning fiction writer Rakesh Satyal explains how we can pair the idiosyncrasies of writing with the real-world concerns of output and publication.

Speakers
avatar for Rakesh Satyal

Rakesh Satyal

Author, NO ONE CAN PRONOUNCE MY NAME
Rakesh Satyal is the author of the novel Blue Boy, which won the 2010 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Debut Fiction and the 2010 Prose/Poetry Award from the Association of Asian American Studies and which was a finalist for the Publishing Triangle's Edmund White Debut Fiction Award... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Stuart Room

2:00pm

7B: 7 Key Questions You Need to Answer to Successfully Publish Your Nonfiction Book
Limited Capacity filling up

It’s a truism by now that it’s harder than ever to get books published. But if you’re writing narrative nonfiction, self-help, or memoir, do you really have to be Bruce Springsteen or the Dalai Lama to beat the odds? No—truth is, agents and editors are eager for great nonfiction stories because they sell. In this session, we’ll address seven key questions that will improve your likelihood of finding success. In so doing, we’ll look at what understanding your readers (and how to reach them) really entails. We’ll see why it’s important to have one main conflict or theme, and what that means in terms of developing an entire book. We’ll ask ourselves: “So what?,” and discover what tricks to employ to make your story more compelling. There will be have plenty of time for Q & A and some on-the-spot exercises that will help you avoid common pitfalls.

Speakers
avatar for Katrin Schumann

Katrin Schumann

Author, THE SECRET POWER OF MIDDLE CHILDREN
Katrin Schumann is the co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children (Hudson Street, 2011), Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too (McGraw-Hill, 2008), and has written and edited numerous other titles, both commercially and independently. Katrin has been featured multiple times on TODAY, Talk of the Nation, and in The London Times, among others. For the past ten years she has been teaching writing, most recently at GrubStreet and at Bay State Correctional Facility, through PEN New England. Before going freelance, she worked at NPR, where she won the Kogan Media Award. Katrin has been granted multiple fiction residencies. She has a regular column on The Grub Daily and can be found at... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Cambridge Room

2:00pm

7C: Rethinking Horror
Limited Capacity filling up

What makes a work of fiction frightening -- and why do we read stories that frighten us? In this class, we'll look at a classic short work of horror fiction, and consider (a) what makes it effective, as horror, and (b) how to think about horror in a broader social context: what it means, how it changes over time, and how fiction writers might go about thinking about fresh approaches to the genre. The class will not in itself be frightening (I hope!) but participants should be OK with reading material that may be unsettling, and with talking about horrible things.

Speakers
avatar for Paul La Farge

Paul La Farge

Author, THE NIGHT OCEAN
Paul La Farge is the author of four novels: The Night Ocean (Penguin Press, March 2017); The Artist of the Missing (FSG, 1999), Haussmann, or the Distinction (FSG, 2001), and Luminous Airplanes (FSG, 2011); and a book of imaginary dreams, The Facts of Winter (McSweeney's Books, 2005). He is the grateful recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Bard Fiction Prize, and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. He was a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library in 2013-14. He lives in a subterranean... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Winthrop Room

2:00pm

7D: The Sublime Possibilities of Historical Fiction
Limited Capacity seats available

This talk will look at the purposes and pleasures of reading and writing historical fiction, while addressing issues of authenticity, challenges and possibilities in its execution, and the necessity of engaging the past with novels and short stories.

Speakers
avatar for Sabina Murray

Sabina Murray

Author, VALIANT GENTLEMEN
Sabina Murray was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1968. Her mother, a Filipina from Manila, and her father a former Jesuit scholastic turned anthropologist from Boston, met in Washington DC, where both were pursuing graduate degrees. At the age of two she moved to Perth with her family, when her father accepted a position at the University of Western Australia. In 1980 the family moved again, this time to Manila, to be closer to her... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Newbury Room

2:00pm

7E: How To Write A Kick-Ass Essay
Limited Capacity full

Almost anyone can write a good essay. But you want to write a kick ass essay, one that readers will remember, editors will want to publish, and you will be proud of. By reading Kick ass essays by Jo-Ann Beard, Junot Diaz, and Jonathan Letham we will examine what makes these essays so strong. I'll give you tips on how you can use these same elements of writing in your own essays and, by the end of the lecture, you will have the tools and inspiration to take your essays from good to Kick ass.

Speakers
avatar for Ann Hood

Ann Hood

Author, THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST
Ann Hood is the author of the bestselling novels The Book That Matters Most, The Obituary Writer, The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, and Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine. Her memoir, Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, was a NYT Editor's Choice and was named one of the top ten no... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Beacon Hill Room

2:00pm

7F: The 3-Step Formula for Building an Author Platform
Limited Capacity full

Every author’s online platform is his or her biggest asset, and creating one is vitally important for your long-term success. However, there has never been more demands on an author’s time than today. In this session, you will learn which efforts are worth your time and which ones are a distraction. Whether you're an author or someone who advises authors (publisher, agent or publicist), this session will be relevant. You will learn through examples and case studies how to connect all the elements of online marketing (website, mailing list, blogging, social media, advertising and publicity) into a cohesive, successful and sustainable author platform.

Speakers
avatar for Fauzia Burke

Fauzia Burke

PR Consultant, Founder, FSB Associates
Fauzia Burke is the founder and president of FSB Associates, an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. Fauzia started her career at Wiley and Henry Holt before starting FSB, and has promoted the books of authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
White Hill Room

2:00pm

7G: Developing Your Memoir
Limited Capacity filling up

In our two hours together we'll attempt to create a version of a model literary community: a thriving ecosystem, as Richard Powers might call it, rather than a monoculture. This is a class for those looking to begin or revive a memoir project. How does one create a signature voice in volatile times? What does it mean to write memoir in 2017? We'll spend the better part of our time reading and thinking about the work of other writers, generating material inspired by those selections. Along the way we'll work hard, have fun, and make sure delight isn’t an enemy to seriousness.

Speakers
avatar for Paul Lisicky

Paul Lisicky

Author, THE NARROW DOOR
Paul Lisicky is the author of five books: The Narrow Door (a New York Times Editors' Choice), Unbuilt Projects, The Burning House, Famous Builder, and Lawnboy. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, Conjunctions, Ecotone, Fence, The Offing, Ploughshares, Tin House, and... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
St. James Room

2:00pm

7H: Navigating Book Publicity: From Galleys through Post-Publication
Limited Capacity seats available

Co-founders of Broadside PR Michael Taeckens and Whitney Peeling will walk you through what needs to happen once galleys are available all the way through the uncorking of the champagne bottles at your book party--and beyond. Attendees will learn how best to nurture the relationship with their publicists and will come away with a checklist of what steps need to be taken to help promote their books.

Speakers
avatar for Whitney Peeling

Whitney Peeling

Book Publicist, Co-Founder, Broadside PR
Whitney Peeling’s in-house publicity career began (while the ink on her college diploma dried) at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, continued at W.W. Norton, and concluded at PublicAffairs, where she was the Director of Publicity for four years. Travel throughout India; work with one of her heroes, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus; and a three-month sabbatical full of intensive reading marked her time before she returned to New York and then Philadelphia as an independent publicist in 2010. Past and present clients and projects include the Whiting Foundation, Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow), Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness and Command and Control), Elizabeth Kolbert (The Sixth Extinction), Paul Farmer (To Repair the World), Adam Alter (Irresistible) and Adam Grant (Give and Take and Originals). Peeling is a co-founder of Broadside PR, a literary marketing and publicity group that works with writers, publishers and literary organizations and offers advice in its monthly... Read More →
avatar for Michael Taeckens

Michael Taeckens

Co-Founder, Broadside PR
Michael Taeckens' twenty years in the publishing industry include roles as the long-time publicity director at Algonquin Books and the marketing director at Graywolf Press; since 2014 he has been working independently. Past and present clients and projects include the Whiting Foundation, the American Booksellers Association, Tom Perrotta (MRS. FLETCHER), Nicole Dennis-Benn (HERE COMES THE SUN), Kevin Young (BUNK and BLUE LAWS), Lidia Yuknavitch (THE BOOK OF JOAN), Lauren Grodstein (OUR SHORT HISTORY), Kristen Radtke (IMAGINE WANTING ONLY THIS), Max Porter (GRIEF IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS), Belle Boggs (THE ART OF WAITING), Mary-Louise Parker (DEAR MR. YOU), Vikram Chandra (GEEK SUBLIME), Leslie Jamison (THE EMPATHY EXAMS), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (PURPLE HIBISCUS), and Sara Gruen (WATER FOR ELEPHANTS). A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he writes the Reviewers... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Franklin Room

2:00pm

7J: How I Write: Finding the Right Time, Place, Music and Drink
Limited Capacity seats available

Neal Thompson, director of author relations at Amazon, leads a conversation with Mitch Zuckoff and Laura van den Berg to explore the challenges of tuning out the noise of social media, the obligations of work and family, and fighting to find those precuious moments to get some words on the screen. With insider tips on write-friendly places, playlists - and cocktails. Includes an open Q&A.

Speakers
avatar for Laura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg

Author, FIND ME
Laura van den Berg’s debut novel, Find Me, was a Time Out New York and NPR “Best Book of 2015,” longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent selection in the UK. She is also the author of two story collections, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us and The Isle of Youth, both finalists for the Frank... Read More →
avatar for Neal Thompson

Neal Thompson

Director of Author and Publishing Relations, Amazon.com
Neal is a former journalist and the author of four nonfiction books, most recently "A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert ‘Believe It or Not’ Ripley" (a PEN Center USA Literary Award finalist in nonfiction). Neal has appeared on NPR, PBS, The Daily Show, CNN, The History Channel, ESPN, and more, and has written for Outside, Esquire... Read More →
avatar for Mitchell Zuckoff

Mitchell Zuckoff

Author, 13 HOURS: THE INSIDE ACCOUNT OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN BENGHAZI
Mitchell Zuckoff is the Sumner Redstone Professor of Narrative Studies at Boston University and the author of seven nonfiction books. His most recent book, 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller and the basis of the Paramount Pictures movie of the same name. His book Lost In... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Cabot Room

2:00pm

7K: Sell Your Story in a Single Sentence
Limited Capacity filling up

Called “The Book Whisperer” by CNN, prolific producer Lane Shefter Bishop has the answers for how to sell what you write.  During this "Loglines" session, Lane will give insider information only found in her book Sell Your Story in a Single Sentence (Norton, 2016) which teaches writers the secret to selling their work to agents, editors, publishers, and producers.  After all, you can have the best material in the world but that doesn’t matter if you can’t sell it!

Speakers
avatar for Lane Shefter Bishop

Lane Shefter Bishop

Film Producer/Director, Vast Entertainment
Lane Shefter Bishop is a multi-award winning producer/director who has received numerous accolades for her work including an EMMY, six Telly Awards, a Videographer Award, three Communicator Awards, a Sherril C. Corwin Award, an Aurora Award, a Davey Award, a New York Festivals Award and the DGA Fellowship Award for Episodic... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Whittier Room

2:00pm

7L: X-Ray Writing: Techniques for Getting Closer to Your Characters (Section 2)
Limited Capacity filling up

One of the unique joys of reading literature is that it allows us to experience what it might be like to be someone else, what it might be like to live in someone else's brain. Literature can be like an x-ray, peering past the façade and seeing all the secrets hidden underneath. This workshop will focus on ways to achieve this kind of "x-ray writing," looking especially at discoveries from the fields of psychology and nuerobiology for what insights they offer writers. [NOTE: An additional section of this same session is held on Friday at 4PM] 

Speakers
avatar for Nathan Hill

Nathan Hill

Author, THE NIX
Nathan Hill's debut novel The Nix was a New York Times bestseller, named as one of fall’s best books by Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Audible, Powell’s, IndieNext, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, and many others. The Nix will be published worldwide in more than 20 languages. In additi... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Tremont Room

2:00pm

7M: Structuring the Novel
Limited Capacity full

What are the ways in which a novel is structured? What’s the motivating force that takes the reader from the first page to the last? Structural elements are at play when we consider how pieces of literature capture our attention by how they're being told. The novel is a wondrous and flexible model that offers multiple frames for multiple narratives, and it might be helpful to consider how a book is shaped. Is there a circular pattern in the telling due to shifting points of view that extend the purview of place and time? Is it a collection of short vignettes that as a whole create a collage of a particular family? In this lecture I’ll share some examples of how to look at the structural design of a piece of writing, which in turn might help you consider how you look at your own work.

Speakers
AS

Adam Stumacher

Adam Stumacher's fiction has appeared in Granta, Narrative, The Kenyon Review, | The Sun, TriQuarterly, and others, was anthologized in Best New American Voices, | and won the Raymond Carver Short Story Award. His nonfiction has appeared in the | New York Times and he is a regular contributor to... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Back Bay Room

3:45pm

8D: Publish. Promote. Profit. How Top Self-Published Authors Promote - and Sell - Their Books
Limited Capacity seats available

“How can I get people to discover my book”? It’s the most important question of the day in indie publishing. BookBaby’s ground breaking 2017 Self Publishing Survey asked nearly 8,000 published and aspiring authors all of the important questions about book discoverability. BookBaby President Steven Spatz will reveal the surprising answers, and outline the winning strategies of top-selling self published authors. Attendees will come away with actionable marketing tips and book promotional techniques that can work for both new and experienced authors.

Speakers
avatar for Steven Spatz

Steven Spatz

President, BookBaby
Steven Spatz is a writer, marketer, and the President of BookBaby, the nation’s leading eBook and printed book distributor.  | | Spatz’s professional writing career began at age 13, paid by the word to bang out little league baseball game stories on an ancient manual typewriter for southern Oregon weekly newspapers. His journalism career continued after graduation from the University of Oregon at several daily newspapers in Oregon. When his family took over a direct marketing food business, Spatz redirected his writing and design skills into producing catalogs. The Pinnacle Orchards catalog was named Best Food Catalog and received dozens of other national awards, and the business grew into one of the... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Winthrop Room

3:45pm

8A: Me & I: Duality of the First Person Pronoun in Memoir and Personal Essay
Limited Capacity seats available

Whether we’re writing memoir or personal essay, we strive to make something beautiful from our experiences. In telling our stories we reach for those instances when the spark leaps from personal to universal and the reader says, “Yes! It’s the same for me.” Those are the moments when the reader feels connected to the writer, she feels known. How can we make this swift leap happen more in our creative nonfiction? In this talk, we’ll look at the duality of the first person pronoun, the primary “I” who tells the story of remembered events, and the secondary “I” who tells the story of the writer’s thinking. Exploring the point of view of the secondary “I,” the narrator who speaks from the present, reflecting and seeking, trying to make sense of the past, forms a bridge with our readers.

Speakers
avatar for Natalie Serber

Natalie Serber

Author, COMMUNITY CHEST
Natalie Serber is the author of a memoir, Community Chest, and the story collection, Shout Her Lovely Name, a New York Times Notable Book of 2012, a summer reading selection from O, the Oprah Magazine, and an Oregonian Top 10 Book of the Pacific Northwest. Her fiction has appeare... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Franklin Room

3:45pm

8B: Dialogue in Fiction: How Art Does Not Imitate Life
Limited Capacity full

The dialogue writer is not a stenographer, writing down what he hears; he's an extrapolator, a rewrite man, bringing coherence to our oral discourse, condensing what we say and giving it shape and cohesion. Dialogue is indeed an art, and the class will explore that art's ingredients, and its many uses. We will look at the ways dialogue reveals character and emotion, and at its key--I would say indispensable--role in dramatic narrative. Think of dialogue as one of your most efficient tools, a component that by itself can elevate your story or novel to literary excellence.

Speakers
avatar for John Hough

John Hough

Author, THE FICTION WRITER'S GUIDE TO WRITING DIALOGUE
John Hough is the author of six novels and two works of nonfiction, most recently The Fiction Writer's Guide to Dialogue. His novel, Seen the Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Gettysburg, received the William Y. Boyd Award for Excellence in Military Fiction from the American Librar... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Tremont Room

3:45pm

8C: When Facts Fail Us: Nonfiction Writing Beyond the Limits of Fact
Limited Capacity seats available

In this session we'll celebrate the daring and acrobatic nonfiction writers who innovate the genre at the limits of fact: adopting other points of view or anachronous designs for time, incorporating lyrical or fictional passages into nonfiction prose, and/or cueing the reader to flat-out inventions. Considering works by Jo Ann Beard, Annie Dillard, Michael Ondaatje, Geoff Dyer, Joan Wickersham, and the filmmaker Sarah Polley, we'll generate a toolkit of approaches that make stuck works of nonfiction seem newly possible. Come to class with an erased subject or inaccessible period of personal history that's got you stalled, and leave with an entirely new sense of how to plumb for emotional truths deeper than the facts allow.

Speakers
avatar for Dawn Dorland

Dawn Dorland

Fiction and Nonfiction Writer
Dawn Dorland is an LA-based writer and educator whose work concerns poverty, race, class, and invisible identities. She teaches fiction and nonfiction on the faculties of GrubStreet, Writing Workshops Los Angeles, and at the Downtown Women’s Center, serving the homeless women o... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Cabot Room

3:45pm

8E: You're the Boss: Taking Control of Your Book's Promotion Plan
Limited Capacity seats available

Whether your book is out with a large, traditional house, a smaller indie press or through your own publishing efforts, it’s likely you’ll be involved in a large portion of its marketing and promotion. This may terrify or excite you. Either way, getting your book out there can be a major endeavor. In this session, we’ll look at how you as the author can take control of the process (or complement the work of a publicist). We’ll think creatively far beyond the bookstore setting for readings and events, and discuss how to plan your own version of a book tour, how to use social media to make genuine connections, how to partner with organizations, how to plan for long-term benefit, and how to keep it all organized and enjoyable.

Speakers
avatar for Anjali Duva

Anjali Duva

Author, FAINT PROMISE OF RAIN
Anjali Mitter Duva is an Indian-American writer raised in France. She is the author of Faint Promise of Rain (She Writes Press, October 2014), shortlisted for the 2016 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Trained as an urban planner at MIT, she found the call of storytelling too great to resist. A switch to freelance writing and project management allowed her more time for her own creative pursuits. Additionally, she is a co-founder of Chhandika, a non-profit organization that teaches and presents India's classical storytelling kathak dance. In her spare time, Anjali runs a children’s book club and spearheads the Arlington Author Salon. Visit her at... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Back Bay Room

3:45pm

8F: Layering: A Structured Approach to Revision (Section II)
Limited Capacity full

Revision can be the most rewarding part of the writing process, but it can also be the most overwhelming. During revision, your manuscript might get worse before it gets better, so how do you go through that without getting stuck in the mess and losing your way entirely? In this workshop, we’ll talk about a layering approach to revision – sweeping through your manuscript and addressing one issue at a time. We’ll discuss a logical sequence of “layers” and experiment with different formats for creating a revision plan that works for you and your manuscript. [NOTE: An additional section of this same session is held on Friday at 10:30AM] 

Speakers
avatar for Chaitali Sen

Chaitali Sen

Author, THE PATHLESS SKY
Chaitali Sen is the author of the debut novel, The Pathless Sky, published by Europa Editions in 2015. Her short stories, reviews, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Colorado Review, New Ohio Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Chicago Quarterly R... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Whittier Room

3:45pm

8G: Your First Page Workshop
Limited Capacity full

Important: Please read this description carefully before signing up, and bring all necessary materials to the session if you wish to have your work read aloud.

In this session, four seasoned authors -- who, among them, have published over twenty-five books of fiction and non-fiction -- will offer on-the-spot concrete advice on the first page of your novel, short story, memoir, or personal essay. First pages will be chosen reandomly and read aloud by a volunteer.

Over the course of the hour, each author will also read an published first page (possibly one of his/her own) and discuss what makes it work, and/or the decisions they made to get it to its final form. 

Please bring FIVE COPIES of THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript double-spaced, to the session, TITLED, with its GENRE marked clearly at the top. STAPLE the copies together into a packet. You will leave the packet in a box at the front of the room, and it will be chosen randomly by the reader. (Unfortunately, given the volume of submissions, we can not guarantee that yours will be read aloud).


Speakers
avatar for Ann Hood

Ann Hood

Author, THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST
Ann Hood is the author of the bestselling novels The Book That Matters Most, The Obituary Writer, The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, and Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine. Her memoir, Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, was a NYT Editor's Choice and was named one of the top ten no... Read More →
avatar for Stephen McCauley

Stephen McCauley

Author, INSIGNIFICANT OTHERS
Stephen McCauley is the author of eight novels, two published under the name Rain Mitchell.  He is Associate Director of Creative Writing at Brandeis University. His books include The Object of My Affection and, most recently, Insignificant Others. Three of his novels have been m... Read More →
avatar for Mameve Medwed

Mameve Medwed

Author, OF MEN AND THEIR MOTHERS
Mameve Medwed-- Bangor, Maine's other writer-- is the author of five novels, Mail, Host Family, The End of an Error, How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life (2007 Massachusetts Book Award Honors in Fiction), and Of Men and Their Mothers. She has published essays in three ant... Read More →
avatar for Sebastian Stuart

Sebastian Stuart

Author, THE HOUR BETWEEN
As a playwright, Sebastian Stuart was dubbed “the poet Laureate of the East Village” by Michael Musto in the Village Voice. His work has been seen at LaMama, The Kitchen, Theater for the New City, the Public Theater and other downtown venues. He has won grants from the Edward Albee Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the Hale Matthews Award, and several play commissions. His screenplays have been optioned by Academy Award winning actress/director Lee Grant and actress/director Sondra Locke, among others. | | His... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm
White Hill Room

3:45pm

8H: Going Public: An Honest Conversation About Publishing Memoir
Limited Capacity filling up

“Write as if no one will read it." "Write as if your loved ones are dead." The writing world is full of liberating adv​ice for aspiring memoirists, designed to help them find freedom on the page. But what happens when you finish your book, it finds a publisher-- and all of a sudden people will read it, including your very much alive loved ones? Join a pair of debut memoirists for a conversation about what to disclose in print, when to keep secrets, and how to write about your family and still live with them afterwards.

**This panel will be co-hosted with Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Speakers
avatar for Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Author, THE FACT OF A BODY
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir, which will be published by Flatiron Books (Macmillan) in May 2017. It is also forthcoming from publishers internationally. A National Endowment for the Arts fellow and Rona Jaffe Award recipient, she has twice been a fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo. Her essays appear in The New York Times, Oxford American, Iowa Review, and many other publications, and were recognized as... Read More →
avatar for Mike Scalise

Mike Scalise

Author, THE BRAND NEW CATASTROPHE
Mike Scalise is author of The Brand New Catastrophe (Sarabande Books), which received the 2014 Christopher Doheny Prize from the Center for Fiction. His work has appeared in publications like the New York Times, the Paris Review Daily, the Wall Street Journal, Indiewire, Agni, an... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Cambridge Room

3:45pm

8J: Two Brains Are Better: How to Write Collaboratively
Limited Capacity seats available

George Orwell once said that writing a book is a “horrible, exhausting struggle.” But it doesn’t have to be—if you write it with a friend. More and more writers are discovering that they can double their page count, find endless new ideas and stretch their capabilities by working together. It’s also a great way to discover your own writing process while observing someone else’s. In this session, we will talk about successful collaborations, including Caroline/Charles Todd, and Guillermo del Toro/Chuck Hogan. We will outline what makes for a successful partnership and share from our own experience how to co-author fiction without blowing up a friendship.

Speakers
avatar for Ron MacLean

Ron MacLean

Author, HEADLONG
Ron MacLean's novel Headlong won the 2014 Indie Book Award for Best Mystery. Ron's other books are the story collection Why the Long Face? (2008), and the novel Blue Winnetka Skies (2004). His short fiction has appeared in GQ, Greensboro Review, Prism International, Night Train, Other... Read More →
avatar for Michelle Seaton

Michelle Seaton

Author, LIVING WITH CANCER
Michelle Seaton’s short fiction has appeared in One Story, Harvard Review, Sycamore Review, and has won a Pushcart Prize. Her essays have appeard in The Pinch, Lake Effect and in Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is the coauthor of several books, including The Way of Boys (William Morrow... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Constitution Room

3:45pm

8K: Non-Fiction Idea Clinic
Limited Capacity seats available

In this session, the moderator (an established writer) will offer a brief preamble of the art of the non-fiction idea. Then, you will get two minutes to share your own idea for a non-fiction book for the audience, the moderator, and a panel of experts. The experts are agents, editors and publicists with years of experience working with non-fiction writers to turn their book proposals into reality and to promote them in the marketplace. After you read your idea (preferably from a text you have prepared and brought with you!), the agents and editors will ask you follow-up questions and troubleshoot your idea. You will discuss issues of platform, expertise, the viability of the idea itself, and other elements of the non-fiction market. Please note that presenters will be chosen at random from names submitted in a hat at the start of the session. Unfortunately, given the volume of submissions, we can not guarantee that your name will be called. This is a fun event that aims to be respectful of your idea and illuminate the process a writer goes through when she is developing an idea with an agent and/or editor. The point is not to get through as many writers as possible, but to thoughtfully evaluate your ideas and offer concrete suggestions from which all could benefit.

Though most people will be reading ideas for full-length books, you may also read an idea for a feature story or article to assess its viability with the panel of experts.



Speakers
avatar for Caroline Eisenmann

Caroline Eisenmann

Literary Agent, ICM Partners
Caroline Eisenmann was raised in the Boston area and received an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University. Prior to joining ICM Partners in 2013, she worked at the digital publisher Open Road Integrated Media. She represents upmarket and literary fiction, as well as nonficti... Read More →
avatar for Ethan Gilsdorf

Ethan Gilsdorf

Author, FANTASY FREAKS AND GAMING GEEKS
A GrubStreet instructor since 2005, Ethan Gilsdorf is a journalist, memoirist, essayist, critic, poet, teacher, performer, and nerd. He is the author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, and his fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review and other literary magazines and anthologies, and cited in Best American Essays 2016. Gilsdorf covers the arts, books, film, pop culture, and media for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Boston Globe Magazine, Boston Magazine, Wired, Salon, and New York Times Book Review. Gilsdorf is co-founder of GrubStreet's Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP) and serves on... Read More →
avatar for Rachel Salzman

Rachel Salzman

Vice President, Director of Publicity, W. W. Norton
Rachel Salzman began her career as a book publicist in 1996, when she joined the publicity department at Little, Brown & Company. Prior to that, she worked as both a news assistant and a copy editor at The Wall Street Journal Europe and as a copy editor at Business Wire news service. At Little, Brown, she assisted on campaigns for the books Naked, by David Sedaris, Purple America by Rick Moody, Last Night In Paradise by Katie Roiphe, and The Hotest State by Ethan Hawke. A brief stint at William Morrow provided an opportunity to work on the campaign for the Dennis Lehane novel Gone Baby Gone, and a couple of years at the business and general non-fiction publisher John Wiley... Read More →
avatar for Mitchell Waters

Mitchell Waters

Literary Agent, Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Mitchell Waters started working at Curtis Brown in 1995. Before joining the agency, Mitchell was a teaching fellow at Fordham University, specializing in English literature. He represents a wide and diverse array of literary and commercial fiction and nonfiction, including mystery, history, biography, memoir, young adult, cookbooks, self-help and popular... Read More →
avatar for Steven Woodward

Steven Woodward

Editor, Graywolf Press
Steven Woodward is an associate editor at Graywolf Press, where he’s worked with Margaret Lazarus Dean, Justin Hocking, Angela Palm, Benjamin Percy, and Susan Steinberg, among others. He teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College, and holds an MFA in fictio... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Stuart Room

3:45pm

8L: All-Conference Read in Fiction: Him Me Muhammad Ali by Randa Jarrar, In Conversation with Lidia Yuknavitch
Limited Capacity full

New this year, we have designated the books by our Muse Fellows as all-conference reads. We encourage all conference participants to read Randa Jarrar’s Him Me Muhammad Ali (fiction) and Amy Jo Burns’s Cinderland (nonfiction), both of which are available in paperback. 

In this session, Randa Jarrar and Lidia Yuknavitch will discuss Him Me Muhammad Ali from the writer’s perspective -- structure, inspiration, process. Named one of Electric Literature's Best Short Story Collections of 2016, Him Me Muhammad Ali  grapples with love, loss, displacement, and survival in a collection that moves seamlessly between realism and fable, history and the present. With humor, irony, and boundless imagination, Jarrar brings to life a memorable cast of characters, many of them "accidental transients"—a term for migratory birds who have gone astray—seeking their circuitous routes back home. 

While we strongly encourage reading Him Me Muhammad Ali ahead of time, we are confident that the conversation will be illuminating and meaningful whether or not you've gotten to it yet.

NOTE: The first five attendees to sign up for this session will receive complimentary copies of the book.  

 



Speakers
avatar for Randa Jarrar

Randa Jarrar

Author, HIM, ME, MUHAMMAD ALI, All-Conference Read in Fiction
Randa Jarrar’s work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Utne Reader, Salon, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Oxford American, The Sun, Ploughshares, and others. Her first novel, A Map of Home, was published in half a dozen languages & won a Hopwood Award, an Arab-American B... Read More →
avatar for Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yuknavitch

Author, THE BOOK OF JOAN
Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the novels The Book of Joan (Harper) and the bestselling The Small Backs of Children (Harper), winner of both the Oregon Book Award for the novel and the Reader's Choice Award, as well as the memoir The Chronology of Water. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in BOMB, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Iowa Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Buzzfeed, Zyzzyva, and in the anthologies Forms At War, Life As We Show It, and Representing Bisexualities. Her TED Talk on Misfittery has nearly 2 million views. She is the founder of the Corporeal Writing Workshop series; she is a very good swimmer.She has also had writing appear in publications including Guernica Magazine, Ms., The Iowa Review, Zyzzyva, Another Chicago Magazine, The Sun, Exquisite Corpse, TANK, and in the anthologies Life As We Show It (City Lights), Wreckage of Reason (Spuytin Duyvil), Forms at War (FC2), Feminaissance (Les Figues Press), and Representing Bisexualities (SUNY), as well as online at The Rumpus. She founded the workshop... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm
St. James Room

3:45pm

8M: Let’s Hear It: Creating Memorable Voices in Fiction
Limited Capacity filling up

Just as each musical instrument has its own pitch and timbre, so every writer has their own narrative voice. But what is voice? What makes one unique? What distinguishes Raymond Carver from Junot Diaz, Lorrie Moore from Toni Morrison or Elizabeth Strout? What makes one voice sound different from another? 

From point-of-view to diction, narrative distance to attitude to sentence structure and phrasing, we will explore some of the components of voice. Using short, practical, hands-on exercises, we will experiment with how to express the same thought or action in a myriad of different ways - by varying voice. By gaining an awareness of how voice can be altered, hopefully you will be better prepared to craft your own!

*Please bring a page of your own writing that you feel best conveys the voice of your protagonist/story/novel.

Speakers
avatar for Mira T. Lee

Mira T. Lee

Author, EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL
Mira T. Lee’s debut novel, Everything Here Is Beautiful, is forthcoming from Viking/Penguin in January 2018. Her stories have appeared in the Southern Review, the Gettysburg Review, the Missouri Review, Triquarterly, and American Short Fiction. She has been awarded the Missouri... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Beacon Hill Room

3:45pm

8N: Right Place Right Time
Limited Capacity seats available

Where time period and setting intersect, we often find the most critical moment in a character's life. At these junctures, we find all of the things that make a successful narrative: conflict rises, tension mounts, decisions are made, and resolutions, ultimately, occur. Through discussion, brainstorming and writing exercises, and examination of published examples in a variety of genres, we will identify these inflection points, and figure out how they can be utilized in our writing. In short, we will be looking for the best possible way to frame our stories using time and place.

Speakers
avatar for James Scott

James Scott

Author, THE KEPT
James Scott is the author of the national bestseller, The Kept, which was a finalist for the New England Book Award and listed as one of Amazon's Best Debuts of the Year. His short fiction can be found in a variety of anthologies and journals such as One Story and Ploughshares, and his non-fiction has been published in The New York Times Book Review and Boston Magazine, among other venues. James earned his bachelor's degree from Middlebury College and his MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. He has received awards from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the New York State Summer Writers Institute, the Millay Colony, the Saint Botolph Club, the Tin House Summer... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Newbury Room

5:00pm

Lit Lounge
Limited Capacity seats available

The entire conference gathers for complimentary refreshments and a cash bar. A great chance to unwind from the day, to connect with presenters and fellow attendees, and to decide on a dinner plan before the 20th Anniversary Party. 

Saturday May 6, 2017 5:00pm - 6:30pm
TBA

5:30pm

Literary Walking Tour: Literary Beacon Hill: The 20th Century
Limited Capacity seats available

Boston By Foot presents this healthy and edifying alternative to the boozy Lit Lounge: a 45-minute walking tour of Boston, leaving at 5:30PM from the steps of the Park Plaza Hotel!  Free for the first 45 Muse attendees who sign up in advance. Meet at the front entrance at 5:30PM to walk over to the start point. NOTE: this is a time change from the original description. 

After the likes of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott in the 19thcentury, another literary scene evolved on Beacon Hill in the 20th century.  But, how did it compare to the Victorian "flowering of New England"? Come explore a sampling of what some later writers with Beacon Hill connections brought to American literature.  See where these literary lights lived, wrote, and worked on the Hill. Discover how their colorful, if not always happy, lives and their highly personal style differed from their repressed and proper (or properly repressed) predecessors. 


Saturday May 6, 2017 5:30pm - 6:45pm
TBA

6:30pm

Dinner Break
Limited Capacity seats available

Saturday May 6, 2017 6:30pm - 8:00pm
TBA

8:00pm

Grub Turns Twenty: Forever Young
Limited Capacity seats available

GrubStreet was founded twenty years ago, and we are taking tonight to celebrate that important milestone. "Grub Turns Twenty: Forever Young" features short but revealing “Mortified”-style readings by Celeste Ng, Mario Zambrano, Lidia Yuknavitch, Christopher Castellani, and Carter Sickels, complimentary appetizers and desserts, a champagne toast, a cash bar, music, dancing, and other surprises. This event will also be open to the public and take place at ICON Nightclub, located at 100 Warrenton St, Boston, MA 02116. All Muse registrations include a complimentary ticket to this party.

 



Speakers
avatar for Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng

Author, EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU
Celeste Ng is the author of the novel Everything I Never Told You (Penguin Press), which was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book for 2014, and Amazon's #1 Best Book of the Year 2014. She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a family of scientists. Celeste attended Harvard University and earned a MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell... Read More →
avatar for Carter Sickels

Carter Sickels

Author, THE EVENING HOUR
Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Evening Hour, and editor of Untangling the Knot: Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships & Identity. Carter’s essays and fiction have appeared in various literary journals and anthologies including Guernica, BuzzFeed, The Collection: Short Fiction From the Transgender Vanguard, and Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Essays on the Forbidden from a New Appalachia. He received the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, and has been awarded scholarships to Bread Loaf... Read More →
avatar for Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yuknavitch

Author, THE BOOK OF JOAN
Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the novels The Book of Joan (Harper) and the bestselling The Small Backs of Children (Harper), winner of both the Oregon Book Award for the novel and the Reader's Choice Award, as well as the memoir The Chronology of Water. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in BOMB, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Iowa Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Buzzfeed, Zyzzyva, and in the anthologies Forms At War, Life As We Show It, and Representing Bisexualities. Her TED Talk on Misfittery has nearly 2 million views. She is the founder of the Corporeal Writing Workshop series; she is a very good swimmer.She has also had writing appear in publications including Guernica Magazine, Ms., The Iowa Review, Zyzzyva, Another Chicago Magazine, The Sun, Exquisite Corpse, TANK, and in the anthologies Life As We Show It (City Lights), Wreckage of Reason (Spuytin Duyvil), Forms at War (FC2), Feminaissance (Les Figues Press), and Representing Bisexualities (SUNY), as well as online at The Rumpus. She founded the workshop... Read More →
avatar for Mario Zambrano

Mario Zambrano

Author, LOTERIA
Mario Alberto Zambrano was a contemporary ballet dancer before writing fiction. He has lived in Israel, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, and Japan, and has danced for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballet Frankfurt, and Batsheva Dance Company. He graduated from The New School as a Riggio Honors Fellow and the Iowa... Read More →


Saturday May 6, 2017 8:00pm - 10:30pm
TBA
 
Sunday, May 7
 

8:30am

Breakfast, Bookstore and Authors’ Bazaar Browsing
Limited Capacity seats available

Sunday May 7, 2017 8:30am - 10:00am
TBA

10:00am

9A: Essentials of First Person Point of View
Limited Capacity seats available

Are you using the first-person point of view in a piece of fiction or non-fiction? Have you ever felt constrained giving the story through the lens of a single character or perspective? Have you wondered how you might use that perspective in a more expansive way to open up your narrative? In this seminar, we’ll look at literary examples of first-person narratives and consider how the authors use POV to get the most out of their stories. We will do writing exercises and discuss them. If you are currently working on a piece in the first-person, please bring in questions you may have regarding obstacles or problems you are trying to solve in your project. You will come away from the session with a greater sense of what is possible and a wider set of options and/or solutions for storytelling from the vantage of a single perspective.

Speakers
avatar for Stacy Mattingly

Stacy Mattingly

Author, UNLIKELY ANGEL
Stacy Mattingly is coauthor with Ashley Smith of the New York Times bestseller Unlikely Angel, an Atlanta hostage story that is now a feature film, Captive. Stacy holds an MFA from Boston University, where she was a Marcia Trimble Fellow, a Leslie Epstein Global Fellow, and recipient of the Florence Engel Randall Graduate Fiction Award. She has taught creative writing at Boston University and helped lead the first Narrative Witness exchange for the University of... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 10:00am - 11:15am
Cambridge Room

10:00am

9B: Literary Idol: Fiction Focus
Limited Capacity filling up

Important: Please read this description carefully before signing up, and bring all necessary materials to the session if you wish to have your work read aloud.

In this freewheeling session, a trained actor will perform the first page of YOUR unpublished fiction manuscript for the audience and a panel of three judges. The judges are agents and editors with years of experience reading unsolicited submissions. When one of the judges hears a line that would make her stop reading, she will raise her hand. The reader will keep reading until a second judge raises his hand. The judges will then discuss WHY they would stop reading, and offer concrete (if subjective) suggestions to the anonymous author. If no judge raises his/her hand, the judges will discuss what made the excerpt work so well. All excerpts will be evaluated anonymously, though, at the end of the session, a winner will be chosen from the group of excerpts that did not elicit any raised hands, and that winner will receive a free Grub Street membership. Please bring THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript (fiction only, please) double-spaced, to the session, TITLED, with its GENRE marked clearly at the top. You will leave it in a box at the front of the room, and the manuscript will be chosen randomly by the reader. (Unfortunately, given the volume of submissions, we can not guarantee that yours will be read aloud).

This is a fun event that aims to be respectful of your work and illuminate the process an agent goes through when she receives a new piece of fiction. The point is not to get through as many writers as possible, but to thoughtfully evaluate the work at hand and offer concrete suggestions from which all could benefit. Please be aware that some lines may cause laughter or scorn; in other words, this session is not for the thin-skinned!

Speakers
avatar for Miriam Altshuler

Miriam Altshuler

Literary Agent, Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency
Miriam Altshuler began her career at Russell & Volkening and in 1994 established her own agency, which she ran for twenty-one years until she joined DeFiore in early 2016. She focuses primarily on literary and commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction. Novelists she represents include Elizabeth Rosner, Maya Lang, Alice Lichtenstein, Jill Santopolo, Jennifer Murphy, and Douglas Trevor. Her nonfiction authors include Marja Mills (bestselling author... Read More →
avatar for Sorche Fairbank

Sorche Fairbank

Literary Agent, Fairbank Literary Representation
Since establishing Fairbank Literary Representation in 2002, Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank has had the pleasure of working with a dynamic and varied list, representing best-selling authors, Edgar recipients, award-winning journalists, and of course one of her favorite kinds of client... Read More →
avatar for Erin Harris

Erin Harris

Literary Agent, Folio Literary Management
Erin Harris is a literary agent at Folio Literary Management who champions the careers of both debut and established authors, bringing a strong editorial eye and hands-on approach to her agenting practice. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and is a co-curator of the Brooklyn-based literary event series H.I.P... Read More →
avatar for Rachel Letofsky

Rachel Letofsky

Literary Agent, The Cooke Agency
Rachel Letofsky is a graduate of both the Humber Creative Book Publishing Program and the University of Toronto, where she specialized in English literature. She joined The Cooke Agency in 2010 and is currently an Associate Agent. She frequently travels throughout Canada and the U.S. to various... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 10:00am - 11:15am
White Hill Room

10:00am

9C: You Know More Than You Think
Limited Capacity seats available

We’ve all known those times when the well of words runs dry and our minds feel as arid as the blank page before us; times when it seems only the Muse can help. But what we writers call the Muse, said Ray Bradbury, is simply 'the creative aspect' of what others call the subconscious.

In this session, we will bypass deliberate thought and explore other ways of tapping into our latent knowledge and creativity. We will plumb the subconscious, relying on intuition to reach for
that which we know but weren’t thinking of, and practice courting the Muse through lists, mind-maps, word clusters, and metaphors.

Speakers
avatar for Tasneem Zehra Husain

Tasneem Zehra Husain

Author, ONLY THE LONGEST THREADS
Tasneem Zehra Husain is a writer, educator and Pakistan’s first female string theorist. She has written numerous articles for newspapers and magazines, both in print and online, has contributed to anthologies of science writing for adults and children, and is a regular columnist for the award-winning blog... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 10:00am - 11:15am
Stuart Room

10:00am

9D: The Art of the Promotional Elevator Pitch
Limited Capacity seats available

You’ve put so much hard work into telling your story. But to get it the attention it deserves, you’ll now need to tell your story’s story in the form of of media pitches, email announcements, Facebook posts, tweets, requests for readings and much more. What does this different form of storytelling look like? How should an email differ from a Facebook post or newsletter item, who exactly should you be connecting with, and when?

An experienced PR pro and writer will walk you through you everything you need to know to share news about your book with the outside world and generate visibility with readers, the media and your tribe.


Speakers
avatar for Sharon Bially

Sharon Bially

Founder and President, BookSavvy Public Relations
Sharon Bially is founder and president of the PR firm BookSavvy Public Relations, named a "Best Firm for Book Launches, Publicity and Authors" by Everything PR. A lapsed writer, she’s the author of the novel Veronica’s Nap. | | Prior to founding BookSavvy — which happened accidentally in response to... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 10:00am - 11:15am
Back Bay Room

10:00am

9E: How To Be Your Own Best Editor
Limited Capacity full

You get advice for revising your novel or memoir from teachers, workshop participants, writers, books, and well meaning friends. But how do you actually do the hard and necessary work of revision? How do you, as Joseph Conrad said, actually revise, or see your work anew? In this lecture I will give you practical tips for both macro and micro revision, as well as help you understand how to look for what's not yet working and how to fix it.

Speakers
avatar for Ann Hood

Ann Hood

Author, THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST
Ann Hood is the author of the bestselling novels The Book That Matters Most, The Obituary Writer, The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, and Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine. Her memoir, Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, was a NYT Editor's Choice and was named one of the top ten no... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 10:00am - 11:15am
Tremont Room

10:00am

9F: New Digital Tools: Make Your Social Media Marketing Easier and More Effective
Limited Capacity filling up

Social media marketing allows us to find influencers and create communities. However, as we all know it is time consuming and a labor-intensive activity. This session will present new and established digital tools that can help make the process of managing online marketing easier and more effective. After testing many tools, Burke will present the ones that are most helpful to authors and publishers alike. In a “show-and-tell” session, we’ll review tools that help find influencers and discussions, create visual content and data, collaborate with teams, measure engagement and more.

Speakers
avatar for Fauzia Burke

Fauzia Burke

PR Consultant, Founder, FSB Associates
Fauzia Burke is the founder and president of FSB Associates, an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. Fauzia started her career at Wiley and Henry Holt before starting FSB, and has promoted the books of authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 10:00am - 11:15am
Franklin Room

10:00am

9G: Talking to the Master: Writing Short Stories That Respond to Others
Limited Capacity seats available

Writing a short story that responds to another is a wonderful way to learn craft and to engage in an intimate conversation with another writer. In this presentation, we’ll analyze a number of pairs of short stories, looking at how the author has chosen to respond. In some cases, the connections will be clear and transparent; in others, the response will be more nuanced. Then, we’ll try our hand at this technique, with a number of guided writing exercises. Responding to another story can be a wonderful writing prompt and a new way to consider one’s own work. Participants will take home examples of paired short stories as well as tips and strategies for how to incorporate this technique into their own writing.

Speakers
avatar for Laura Spence-Ash

Laura Spence-Ash

Fiction Writer
Laura Spence-Ash serves as Editor-at-Large for The Masters Review and writes a monthly blog series for Ploughshares on fiction responding to fiction. Her work has appeared in One Story, The Scofield, Literary Hub and elsewhere. She received her MFA in Fiction from Rutgers-Newark... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 10:00am - 11:15am
Winthrop Room

10:00am

9H: Five Pillars of Place: Setting in Memoir
Limited Capacity seats available

World-building is just as important in memoir as it is in fiction, and often it can prove to be more difficult when we're bound by the limits of our memories. Through a close reading of select texts and a few exercises, we'll discuss five useful methods to capture place on the page.

Speakers
avatar for Amy Jo Burns

Amy Jo Burns

Author, CINDERLAND, All-Conference Read in Nonfiction
Amy Jo Burns is the author of Cinderland, and her work has appeared in Salon, Good Housekeeping, Jezebel, The Rumpus, and Roxane Gay's forthcoming anthology, Not That Bad. A graduate of Cornell University and Hunter College's MFA program, Amy Jo currently writes for Ploughshares ... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 10:00am - 11:15am
Beacon Hill Room

10:00am

9J: Writing Through Your Blocks
Limited Capacity seats available

In this session, we'll look at some of the ways writers find themselves blocked or intimidated by our own inner critics and by external forces. How do writers get through these challenging times, keep writing and trusting our own process and voice, even when the going gets rough? How do we keep going with our writing even in our busy lives? There will be time for discussion, an examination of some professional writers’ personal techniques, and time to try some specific strategies to quiet the mind and to work with and around resistance instead of only against it. Indeed, sometimes by approaching resistance in these new ways, writers are able to find new methods that help them produce their best work. Participants will leave with new perspectives on blocks and with specific techniques to take home.

Speakers
avatar for Nadia Colburn, PhD

Nadia Colburn, PhD

Nonfiction Writer
Nadia Colburn's poetry and prose have been widely published in over sixty publications including The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The Harvard Review, Boston Review, American Scholar, slate and elsewhere. She holds a PhD from Columbia, a PhD from Harvard, has taught at MIT... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 10:00am - 11:15am
Cabot Room

10:00am

9K: Stick Figure Structure: A Quick & Easy Way to Find Your Missing Plot Points (Section 2)
Limited Capacity filling up

The number one place where writers need help is structure. Over the years, working as the editor of ONE STORY and a fiction teacher, Hannah Tinti has developed a simple system that explains each step and how to build a solid structure so that the story won't collapse. This session will begin with a fun and engaging lecture (with pictures! and stories!) and end with each student creating their own 5 sentence outline. [NOTE: An additional section of this same session is held on Saturday at 11:45AM] 

Speakers
avatar for Hannah Tinti

Hannah Tinti

Author, THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY
Hannah Tinti is a writer, editor, and teacher.  | | Her short story collection, Animal Crackers, has sold in sixteen countries and was a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award. Her best-selling novel, The Good Thief, is a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, recipient of the American Library... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 10:00am - 11:15am
Whittier Room

10:00am

9L: Tackling Tragedy in Young Adult With Different Mediums
Limited Capacity seats available

How can children’s writers approach tragedy in an original way without succumbing to cliché? In this craft workshop, we will discuss structural choices in tackling traumatic events (bullying, death, natural disasters) while giving examples of ways these applications break boundaries and add perspective in articulating story. By tackling tragedy in young adult novels, this workshop will open the discussion on how all writers can approach writing difficult subjects through the use of different mediums. Participants will be introduced to various examples of young adult fiction (historical fiction, graphic novels, hybrids) and be able to engage in these various forms through specific writing exercises.

Speakers
avatar for Lilliam Rivera

Lilliam Rivera

Author, THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ
Lilliam Rivera is a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner and the author of The Education of Margot Sanchez, a contemporary young adult novel with Simon & Schuster (February 2017). Her work has appeared in Tin House, Bellevue Literary Review, and Latina, among others. She lives in Los Angel... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 10:00am - 11:15am
St. James Room

10:00am

9M: The Motivated Writer
Limited Capacity seats available

If you’re the rare writer who hasn’t ever wrestled with motivation, confidence, and time-management skills, then stop reading right now. But if you’ve had trouble sitting down at the desk, or staying there, or concentrating on your own words, or if you’ve been struck by a bad case of the impostor complex, then this session is for you. You’ll learn about motivation-boosting techniques every writer can borrow from that seemingly unlikely source: sports. No matter what your experience with exercise, you’ll learn how to use an athlete’s tools like interval training, periodization, and the concept of training zones to help you embark on and complete your writing project. No need to bring sweats and a water bottle to this session. But you’ll leave The Muse with a plan for how to accomplish your short-term and long-term goals.

Speakers
avatar for Henriette Lazaridis

Henriette Lazaridis

Author, THE CLOVER HOUSE
Henriette Lazaridis' work has appeared in Elle, the New York Times online, Narrative magazine, the New England Review and elsewhere. Her debut novel The Clover House was published by Ballantine in 2013 and was a Boston Globe best-seller and a Target Emerging Authors pick. She is... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 10:00am - 11:15am
Newbury Room

10:00am

9N: Unreliable Narrators
Limited Capacity seats available

What first comes to mind when we think of the unreliable narrator? A devilish liar, maybe even a dangerous one, like Patricia Highsmith's Mr. Ripley? These unreliable narrators are delightfully deceitful, but even "regular folks" become unreliable narrators when they are forced to confront and explain unpleasant truths. Come discuss how our own subjectivity gives us limited access to the truth, and how we can use this interesting psychological phenomenon in our fiction writing.

Speakers
avatar for Amity Gaige

Amity Gaige

Author, O MY DARLING
Amity Gaige is the author of three novels, O My Darling, The Folded World, and Schroder. Since its publication, Schroder has been translated into eighteen languages, and was shortlisted for UK’s The Folio Prize in 2014 and for L’Express Reader’s Prize in France. Schroder was named one of Best Books of 2013 by The New York Times Book Review, The Huffington Post, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Kirkus, Cosmopolitan, Denver Post, The Millions.com, Amazon.com, Bookmarks, and... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 10:00am - 11:15am
Charles River Room

11:30am

10A: More Than 'Making It Work': How to Make Real Money Writing
Limited Capacity filling up

"Writing?" your relatives ask you, a look of pity in their eyes. "Can you really make enough money to get by?"

You can do a whole lot more than that.

While much of the current discussion around freelance writing centers on stagnant word-rates and shrinking editorial budgets at major magazines, the happy truth is that a talented and hard-working writer can earn an income well into the six figures. The trick is to look beyond the newsstand and search out lucrative, unadvertised opportunities in high-demand sectors like technology, business, healthcare, and even the nonprofit world. Organizations in these fields often have an insatiable demand for new content, along with the sorts of budgets that -- for a disciplined writer -- can result in thousands of dollars of work per week.

This session will cover how to identify, seek out, and create new opportunities, as well as how to quickly build up expertise in areas of high demand.

Speakers
avatar for Calvin Hennick

Calvin Hennick

Fiction and Non-Fiction Writer
Calvin Hennick is a journalist, an essayist, a fiction writer, a content marketer, and a teacher. His essays, stories, and journalism have appeared in publications including Bellevue Literary Review, Baltimore Review, Esquire, The Boston Globe Magazine, Yahoo Parenting, Runner's... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 11:30am - 12:45pm
Cambridge Room

11:30am

10B: Literary Idol: Non-Fiction Focus
Limited Capacity seats available

Important: Please read this description carefully before signing up, and bring all necessary materials to the session if you wish to have your work read aloud.

In this freewheeling session, a trained actor will perform the first page of YOUR unpublished manuscript -- in this case, a work of non-fiction, including memoir and personal essay -- for the audience and a panel of three judges. The judges are agents and editors with years of experience reading unsolicited submissions. When one of the judges hears a line that would make her stop reading, she will raise her hand. The actor will keep reading until a second judge raises his hand. The judges will then discuss WHY they would stop reading, and offer concrete (if subjective) suggestions to the anonymous author. If no agent raises his/her hand, the judges will discuss what made the excerpt work so well. All excerpts will be evaluated anonymously, though, at the end of the session, a winner will be chosen from the group of excerpts that did not elicit any raised hands, and that winner will receive a free Grub Street membership. Please bring THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript, double-spaced, to the session, TITLED, with its GENRE marked clearly at the top. You will leave it in a box at the front of the room, and the manuscript will be chosen randomly by the reader. (Unfortunately, given the volume of submissions, we can not guarantee that yours will be read aloud).

This is a fun event that aims to be respectful of your work and illuminate the process an agent/editor goes through when she receives a new piece of fiction. The point is not to get through as many writers as possible, but to thoughtfully evaluate the work at hand and offer concrete suggestions from which all could benefit. Please be aware that some lines may cause laughter or scorn; in other words, this session is not for the thin-skinned!

Speakers
avatar for Lisa Grubka

Lisa Grubka

Literary Agent, Fletcher and Co.
Lisa Grubka (Fletcher and Co.) spent a decade first at the William Morris Agency and then Foundry Literary + Media before joining Fletcher and Co. in 2012. She represents both fiction and non-fiction, and works closely with her authors to ensure the best possible proposal or manuscript, and publication after that. In fiction... Read More →
avatar for Steve Macone

Steve Macone

Non-Fiction Writer
Steve Macone is a former headline contributor at The Onion. His essays, humor writing, and reporting have also appeared in the American Scholar, The New York Times, Atlantic, New Yorker, Boston Globe Magazine, Morning News, and Salon.com. His work has been featured on NPR, Longre... Read More →
avatar for Monica Odom

Monica Odom

Literary Agent, Bradford Literary Agency
Monica Odom is an agent at Bradford Literary Agency, where she represents nonfiction by authors and illustrators with demonstrable platforms in the areas of pop culture, science, history, business, social issues, race, feminism, illustration/art/design, food/cooking, humor, travel/adventure, self-help/self-reflection, and DIY/crafting/how-to, for all ages but primarily adult. In nonfiction, she loves to see a personal project turn into something original and... Read More →
avatar for Amaryah Orenstein

Amaryah Orenstein

Literary Agent, GO Literary
Amaryah Orenstein, founder and president of GO Literary, a Boston-based boutique agency, is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. Aiming to give voice to a broad range of perspectives, Amaryah represents a wide array of literary and commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction. She is actively seeking works that wed beautiful writing with a strong narrative and tackle big issues in engaging, accessible, and even surprising ways. In addition to negotiating contracts, Amaryah works closely with each of her clients throughout every step of the publishing process, from concept development through publication and beyond. She takes a particular interest in the editorial process, offering skilled advice and guidance to help clients bring out the best in their... Read More →
avatar for Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh

Literary Agent, Pande Literary
Currently an agent at Ayesha Pande Literary, Anjali Singh started her career in publishing in 1996 as a literary scout. Most recently Editorial Director at Other Press, she has also worked as an editor at Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Vintage Books. She is best... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 11:30am - 12:45pm
White Hill Room

11:30am

10C: Demystifying Publishing Deals
Limited Capacity full

Reaching the golden moment when all of your hard work and dedication is validated is nothing short of wonderful. However, reaching that moment prepared to decipher if the offer you have received by the publisher is a good deal, is empowering. Many authors don't know what terms are important or what they mean. In fact many never get to see a publishing contract until one is sent to them. It is therefore unlikely that they will know what should be included, what is superfluous or inappropriate, what terms are fair, and what should be negotiated. In this session, literary agent Marisa A. Corvisiero demystifies publishing deals with concise, clear explanations about how deals work, what contract terms are important, what they mean, and what the industry standards are. You will gain a solid understanding about what to expect, and how to negotiate the best deal for your work. If you want to understand the basics of the publisher/agent relationship, this is a session you can’t miss!

Speakers
avatar for Marisa Corvisiero

Marisa Corvisiero

Literary Agent, Corvisiero Literary Agency
Marisa A. Corvisiero is the founder and Senior Literary Agent of the Corvisiero Literary Agency. During the few years prior to starting her own agency, Marisa worked with the L. Perkins Agency, where she learned invaluable lessons and made a name for herself in the industry. She is also a Literary Consultant, Speaker, Author and an Attorney practicing law with a focus on Corporate Law and Estate Planning in New York... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 11:30am - 12:45pm
Whittier Room

11:30am

10D: Many Paths to Publishing: On the Democratization of Literary Publishing & Finding YOUR Best Path
Limited Capacity seats available

When you begin the process of shopping your stories, essays, and manuscripts around the publishing world, it can be easy to feel that the paths are few and narrow. Novelist Sonya Chung (Long for This World, 2010, and The Loved Ones, 2016) will share her experiences in publishing novels with both a large corporate publisher and an independent micro-press, as well as her experiences with agents, publicists, booksellers, magazines, and as both a writer and editor at online literary sites. In this session you will not only hear about diverse paths to publishing, but also be challenged, and encouraged, to think more specifically and creatively about what might be the best path for YOUR work, regardless of what seem to be the common or mainstream routes. You will hear about publishing as a much more varied and vibrant community than perhaps you are aware.

Speakers
avatar for Sonya Chung

Sonya Chung

Author, THE LOVED ONES
Sonya Chung is the author of the novels The Loved Ones (Relegation Books, 2016) and Long for This World (Scribner, 2010). She is a staff writer for The Millions and founding editor of Bloom, and is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize nomination, the Charles Johnson Fiction Award, the Bronx Council on the Arts... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 11:30am - 12:45pm
Franklin Room

11:30am

10E: Research in Service to the Story— Story in Service to Research
Limited Capacity seats available

How do historical novels and nonfiction books embody narratives? And how does this affect the research one does for them? In this seminar, Steven Beeber and Peter Bebergal—two widely published authors and journalists—discuss ways to uncover the story at the heart of your research and how to research the story to give it both context and heft. Whether books are based on fiction or fact, they boil down the generalized into the specific, showing how essential historical events and people are related and have consequence. This seminar will help you discover the essential story in your complicated narratives so that you can avoid wasting time in nonessential research. Come with a short (100- to 300-word) description of your book and you will emerge with a more streamlined version of your story and the research and writing objectives necessary to complete it.

Speakers
avatar for Peter Bebergal

Peter Bebergal

Author, STRANGE FREQUENCIES
Peter Bebergal is the author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood and The Faith between Us: A Jew and a Catholic Search for the Meaning of God (with Scott Korb), and the forthcoming Strange Frequencies. He w... Read More →
avatar for Steven Beeber

Steven Beeber

Author, THE HEEBIE-JEEBIES AT CBGB'S: A SECRET HISTORY OF JEWISH PUNK
Steven Lee Beeber is the author of The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s: A Secret History of Jewish Punk, the editor of AWAKE!: A Reader for the Sleepless, and the associate editor of the literary journal, Conduit. His work has appeared in Harpers, The New York Times, The Paris Review, F... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 11:30am - 12:45pm
Stuart Room

11:30am

10F: Telling a Story with Your Book Proposal
Limited Capacity seats available

You may have been told that a book proposal is a marketing tool, and it is. But it is also a narrative about why your book should be published. Great proposals use characters, conflict, anecdotes, and memorable details to tell a great story. To write a successful proposal, you’ll need to know how to create a hook, build the tension and offer a satisfying ending. In this session, we’ll talk about how to use storytelling elements in every section of a proposal to make it more compelling. We will look at excerpts of successful proposals by several writers to identify the narrative techniques they used to build a case for their books.

Speakers
avatar for Michelle Seaton

Michelle Seaton

Author, LIVING WITH CANCER
Michelle Seaton’s short fiction has appeared in One Story, Harvard Review, Sycamore Review, and has won a Pushcart Prize. Her essays have appeard in The Pinch, Lake Effect and in Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is the coauthor of several books, including The Way of Boys (William Morrow... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 11:30am - 12:45pm
Back Bay Room

11:30am

10G: Dramatis Personae, or What Are All These Characters Doing in Your Story?
Limited Capacity full

Whether two characters spend five pages in a bar or a cast of hundreds fills your trilogy: who are they and why are they in your story? How can the reader tell them apart, remember them, grasp their relationships to each other, and understand the parts they play in forming a coherent story? Do you need them all? Who can be combined or lopped? What helps make them distinct? Whose history matters? In this workshop we’ll look at techniques to help you assess and articulate your characters, looking at order of appearance, entrances and exits, major and minor characters, definition of characters in relation to and contrast with each other, and the shifting alliances and tensions between them. Above all, we’ll look at what they do, as the web of their actions and reactions build a strong, memorable story.

Speakers
avatar for Lynne Barrett

Lynne Barrett

Author, MAGPIES
Lynne Barrett’s most recent story collection is Magpies (Gold Medal, Florida Book Awards). What Editors Want, a guide to submitting to literary magazines based on her widely recommended essay in The Review Review, is now out in book form. She edited Tigertail: Florida Flash, co-edited Birth: A Literary Companion, and is editor of The Florida Book Review. She has received the Edgar Award for best mystery story and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and her recent work can be found in Necessary Fiction, The Southern... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 11:30am - 12:45pm
Tremont Room

11:30am

10H: Stalking the Self: Developing a Point of View in Memoir
Limited Capacity seats available

A good memoir tells us more than just what happened to the writer. It tells how the writer thinks about what happened. But how do you find a point of view? And how can you incorporate that view into your story? This class will take a practical approach to these questions. Class participants will not have to confront their own psychology, nor worry, "What will my mother say if she reads this?" Instead they can rest snug in their own experiences, using them--not revealing them--to get at something deeper in their hearts and minds. Through a series of writing exercises and lively discussion, you'll learn how to discover and define your unique perspective on personal events--how to be personal without being confessional--and communicate that perspective to a reader.
Sharing of work will not be required.

Speakers
avatar for Janet Pocorobba

Janet Pocorobba

Nonfiction Writer
Janet Pocorobba is Associate Professor of Writing at Lesley University and Associate Director of their low-residency MFA in creative writing. She received her MFA from Lesley in June 2006. A former writer and contributing editor at Metropolis magazine in Tokyo, her memoirs, essays and reviews have appeared in The Rumpus, Harvard Review, The Writer, Kyoto Journal, Indiana Review, Provincetown Arts, American Athenaeum, and elsewhere. She lives in a cabin in Vermont, where she keeps a blog of rural life at... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 11:30am - 12:45pm
Cabot Room

11:30am

10J: Truth and Taboo: Writing Past Shame
Limited Capacity seats available

Can writing your toughest truths be both therapeutic and literary? What are the personal and technical processes of putting secrets or trauma on the page? This seminar provides gentle support and investigation of the pestering, personal truths that ghost your fiction and nonfiction writing. If you’ve ever wondered, "Should I write about that? But what will people think?" and stopped there, this conversation is for you. Using Ariel Levy’s “Thanksgiving in Mongolia” and other examples, in this seminar we’ll consider the self-care and deliberate craft techniques that midwife courageous, clear-eyed writing in any genre. You’ll leave with models for how other writers, in the pursuit of truth, have embraced subjects steeped in shame—and with a new disregard for the taboo.

Speakers
avatar for Dawn Dorland

Dawn Dorland

Fiction and Nonfiction Writer
Dawn Dorland is an LA-based writer and educator whose work concerns poverty, race, class, and invisible identities. She teaches fiction and nonfiction on the faculties of GrubStreet, Writing Workshops Los Angeles, and at the Downtown Women’s Center, serving the homeless women o... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 11:30am - 12:45pm
St. James Room

11:30am

10K: Essaying Identity: Finding Voice in Hybrid and Mixed Genre Forms
Limited Capacity seats available

As writers, how can the malleable parameters of genre allow us to navigate individual and collective identity? In a diverse and ever-changing cultural landscape, how can writers push in, pull out, or simply re-draw the boundaries of literary form to serve our nuanced experiences? This session on “essaying identity,” will explore ways to create voice in the interstices of the “in-between.” Extending the concept of the essay as an attempt, we will discuss how hybrid forms allow writers to navigate and/or negate the boundaries of identity, history, place, and memory, and share insight on the joys and challenges of bending the lines.

Speakers
avatar for Jericho Parms

Jericho Parms

Author, LOST WAX
Jericho Parms is the author of Lost Wax (University of Georgia Press, 2016). Her essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, The Normal School, Hotel Amerika, American Literary Review, Brevity and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, noted in Best American Ess... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 11:30am - 12:45pm
Charles River Room

11:30am

10L: Creative Problem Solving for Novelists in Progress
Limited Capacity seats available

Do you have a shelved novel gathering dust? Are you stuck writing your current book? Do your characters sound flat or are your plot-lines beginning to unravel? This workshop will teach you new and practical creativity exercises to expand and enhance your existing story ideas. Attendees will take part in a mixture of individual exercises paired with periods of writing, interspersed with discussion. Session attendees will learn how to rely upon their own knowledge and intuition to solve problems related to their own characters and stories. This session is specifically geared for writers with novels in progress.

Speakers
avatar for Crystal King

Crystal King

Social Media and Marketing Expert, Author, FEAST OF SORROW
Crystal King is a 20-year marketing, social media and communications veteran, freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet. Her debut novel, Feast of Sorrow (Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster), is about the ancient Roman gourmand, Apicius. Crystal has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet writing center. A former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in media res. | | Find her on Facebook... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 11:30am - 12:45pm
Newbury Room

11:30am

10M: Lessons from the Novel Incubator
Limited Capacity full

Now in its fifth year with nearly ten book contracts under its belt, the GrubStreet Novel Incubator program has helped dozens of students turn their drafts into true novels. Join the instructor in an introduction to the most important revision tactics from the early explorations of your manuscript to its final stages. From the ways in which character creates structure, through the art of establishing mystery, tension, setting, and scene, this seminar offers a practical overview of what your novel needs in order to fulfill your hopes for it.

Speakers
avatar for Michelle Hoover

Michelle Hoover

Author, BOTTOMLAND
Michelle Hoover is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University and teaches at GrubStreet, where she leads the Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/N... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 11:30am - 12:45pm
Beacon Hill Room

1:00pm

Marketplace Keynote: 'The Strategic Writer'
Limited Capacity full

Again this year, The Muse and the Marketplace closes in dramatic fashion with our Marketplace Keynote, when the entire conference gathers in the Grand Ballroom for an interactive conference-wide presentation called, “The Strategic Writer.” Hosted by Publishing Perspectives’ Porter Anderson, the event will feature brief multi-media presentations by three authors with new books being published in the year after the conference. On the stage sits a group of experts in the field of book promotion and publicity, social media, marketing, and bookselling who, together with the audience and the authors, discuss practical strategies for authors at every stage of development. It is never too early to build your platform as a writer, to develop a mission-driven plan for yourself and your book(s), and to apply a logical framework to your efforts that maximizes your time and money.



Moderators
avatar for Porter Anderson

Porter Anderson

Journalist and Publishing Consultant
Porter Anderson ( @Porter_Anderson ) BA, MA, MFA, is a journalist, speaker, and consultant specializing in book publishing. Formerly with CNN, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media, he is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives, founded by Frankfurt Book Fair New York, the magazine for the international publishing... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Michael Bible

Michael Bible

Author, SOPHIA
Michael Bible is the author of the novel SOPHIA and the novella COWBOY MALONEY'S ELECTRIC CITY. His work has appeared in the Oxford American, The Paris Review Daily, ESPN: the Magazine, New York Tyrant, and he's a regular contributor to The Towner. He earned his MFA from The Univ... Read More →
avatar for Chris Castellani

Chris Castellani

chris@grubstreet.org, Artistic Director
Christopher Castellani is the artistic director of Grub Street and the author of three novels: All This Talk of Love (2013), a New York Times Editors’ Choice and finalist for the Ferro-Grumley Award; The Saint of Lost Things (2005); and A Kiss From Maddalena (2003), winner of the Massachusetts Book Award. In addition to his work at Grub Street, Christopher teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and at the Bread Loaf... Read More →
avatar for Robin Cutler

Robin Cutler

Director of IngramSpark, Ingram Content Group
As the Director of IngramSpark at Ingram Content Group, Robin is committed to helping independent publishers easily get their content into the hands of readers around the globe. To help make this happen, she leads the development of IngramSpark and continues to support and refine... Read More →
avatar for Lynne Griffin

Lynne Griffin

Author, GIRL SENT AWAY
Lynne Griffin is the author of the family-focused novels Girl Sent Away, Sea Escape, and Life Without Summer, as well as the nonfiction parenting guides, Let’s Talk About It: Adolescent Mental Health and Negotiation Generation—Take Back Your Parental Authority Without Punishment. Lynne teaches family studies at Wheelock College, and is the Social-Emotional Learning Specialist and Coordinator of Professional Development for an independent school in Boston. She teaches fiction writing at GrubStreet in Boston and co-facilitates the program, Launch Lab for soon-to-be published authors. Follow Lynne on twitter... Read More →
avatar for Mira T. Lee

Mira T. Lee

Author, EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL
Mira T. Lee’s debut novel, Everything Here Is Beautiful, is forthcoming from Viking/Penguin in January 2018. Her stories have appeared in the Southern Review, the Gettysburg Review, the Missouri Review, Triquarterly, and American Short Fiction. She has been awarded the Missouri... Read More →
avatar for Whitney Peeling

Whitney Peeling

Book Publicist, Co-Founder, Broadside PR
Whitney Peeling’s in-house publicity career began (while the ink on her college diploma dried) at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, continued at W.W. Norton, and concluded at PublicAffairs, where she was the Director of Publicity for four years. Travel throughout India; work with one of her heroes, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus; and a three-month sabbatical full of intensive reading marked her time before she returned to New York and then Philadelphia as an independent publicist in 2010. Past and present clients and projects include the Whiting Foundation, Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow), Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness and Command and Control), Elizabeth Kolbert (The Sixth Extinction), Paul Farmer (To Repair the World), Adam Alter (Irresistible) and Adam Grant (Give and Take and Originals). Peeling is a co-founder of Broadside PR, a literary marketing and publicity group that works with writers, publishers and literary organizations and offers advice in its monthly... Read More →
avatar for Deborah Plummer

Deborah Plummer

Chief Diversity Officer, UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care
Deborah Plummer is a psychologist and diversity thought leader who currently serves as Chief Diversity Officer at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care. She is the editor of the Handbook of Diversity Management (Rowman and Littlefield) and author of Advancing Inclusion: A Guide for Effective Diversity Council and Employee Resource Group Membership (Half Dozen Publications), and award-winning Racing Across the Lines: Changing Race Relations through Friendships (Pilgrim Press). She has written for Diversity Executive, Boston... Read More →
avatar for Katrin Schumann

Katrin Schumann

Author, THE SECRET POWER OF MIDDLE CHILDREN
Katrin Schumann is the co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children (Hudson Street, 2011), Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too (McGraw-Hill, 2008), and has written and edited numerous other titles, both commercially and independently. Katrin has been featured multiple times on TODAY, Talk of the Nation, and in The London Times, among others. For the past ten years she has been teaching writing, most recently at GrubStreet and at Bay State Correctional Facility, through PEN New England. Before going freelance, she worked at NPR, where she won the Kogan Media Award. Katrin has been granted multiple fiction residencies. She has a regular column on The Grub Daily and can be found at... Read More →
avatar for Michael Taeckens

Michael Taeckens

Co-Founder, Broadside PR
Michael Taeckens' twenty years in the publishing industry include roles as the long-time publicity director at Algonquin Books and the marketing director at Graywolf Press; since 2014 he has been working independently. Past and present clients and projects include the Whiting Foundation, the American Booksellers Association, Tom Perrotta (MRS. FLETCHER), Nicole Dennis-Benn (HERE COMES THE SUN), Kevin Young (BUNK and BLUE LAWS), Lidia Yuknavitch (THE BOOK OF JOAN), Lauren Grodstein (OUR SHORT HISTORY), Kristen Radtke (IMAGINE WANTING ONLY THIS), Max Porter (GRIEF IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS), Belle Boggs (THE ART OF WAITING), Mary-Louise Parker (DEAR MR. YOU), Vikram Chandra (GEEK SUBLIME), Leslie Jamison (THE EMPATHY EXAMS), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (PURPLE HIBISCUS), and Sara Gruen (WATER FOR ELEPHANTS). A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he writes the Reviewers... Read More →
avatar for Michelle Toth

Michelle Toth

Publisher, SixOneSeven Books
Michelle Toth is the author of Annie Begins and founder of SixOneSeven Books, a small press based in Boston which she runs together with Andrew Goldstein, author of The Bookie’s Son.  Established with the idea of “writers publishing writers,” SixOneSeven Books’ titles include Fil... Read More →


Sunday May 7, 2017 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Grand Ballroom