a weblog for readers and writers

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fitzgerald Conference Offers Unique Opportunity for Writers

According to F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Action is Character.”

Now, 113 years after the great American author’s birth, many writers will put their character in action by registering for 14th annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference in Rockville, Maryland. You can too.

The conference takes place on Saturday, October 17.

The Fitzgerald conference offers the unique opportunity for writers to hone their craft in top-notch workshops, and then listen to the masters who already have.

Julia Alvarez is this year’s honoree. Alvarez excels in multiple fields of writing: storybooks for children, young adult books, nonfiction, poetry — and most notably, novels. She is best known for her critically acclaimed novels How the García Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies. More recent fiction includes Return to Sender and Saving the World.

Alvarez joins a diverse and prestigious list of honorees, including John Updike, Norman Mailer, E.L. Doctorow, Joyce Carol Oates, Ernest J. Gaines, Edward Albee, William Styron, John Barth, Grace Paley, Pat Conroy, Jane Smiley, William J. Kennedy, and most recently, Elmore Leonard.

Azar Nafisi, best known for her national bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books, will share her experiences teaching The Great Gatsby in Tehran.

Pulitzer-prize winner Henry Allen will moderate a panel discussion on Literary Border Crossings. The panel will include authors H.G. Carillo (Loosing my Espanish) and Olga Grushin (The Dream Life of Sukhanov).

In addition to talks from these masters, writers attending the conference will participate in writing workshops lead by top-notch professionals, including editors of literary journals, authors of books, writing instructors, publishers, and others involved with the art and industry of writing.

Workshop topics include short story, novel, poetry, screenplay adaptation, voice, writing for children, and more.

Adding flavor to this year’s international theme, coffee from Julia Alvarez’s own coffee farm in Dominican Republic has been generously donated by Vermont Coffee Company, and the lunch menu features a selection of international cuisine.

Support comes from the City of Rockville, Montgomery College, Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Gazette Newspapers, the Rockville Cultural Arts Commission, Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation, Ltd., Legacy Hotel and Meeting Center, Vermont Coffee Company, Roundhouse Theater and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society.

The conference runs from 7:30 a.m. until 6:15 p.m. with events for everyone. Visit www.peerlessrockville.org/FSF for a complete schedule.

Learn more about Julia Alvarez and her work at her website.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lit Lights Up the Region this Weekend

If you love literature, this weekend is made for you. The National Book Festival runs all day on Saturday, October 26 on the National Mall in Washington, DC and features some of the nation’s best and most popular writers from John Irving to John Grisham, Julia Alvarez to TimO’Brien. They’ll be talking about books, reading their work, and signing their books.

And, lest your glass be half empty, let the Baltimore Book Festival make it overflow. The Mid-Atlantic region’s largest celebration of the literary arts begins Friday, September 25 and runs through Sunday, September 27. The festival includes writers of all sorts and is a great way to get to know the local literary scene. Be sure to visit the tents of the Maryland Writers Association, CityLit Project, and Creative Café.

I’ll be joining some friends for the Lit and Art at the Watermark reading at the Baltimore Book Festival’s Creative Café on Sunday afternoon from 5 to 6 p.m. The event will include fiction, poetry, nonfiction, memoir, music, and art.

Learn more about the National Book Festival at their website.

Drop in on the Baltimore Book Festival online.

And visit the Lit and Art page on the Baltimore Book Festival’s website.

Monday, September 21, 2009

National Book Festival Lives

Washington may have changed, but the National Book Festival lives on.

The ninth annual National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, will be held this Saturday, September 26, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th streets from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The festival is free and open to the public.

Authors will talk about their work, read from it, and conduct book signings. The list of featured authors is long, but some of the headliners include Tim O’Brien, John Irving, James Patterson, John Grisham, Michael Connelly, David Baldacci, Julia Glass, Julia Alvarez, Judy Blume, Jeff Kinney, Jodi Picoult, Nicholas Sparks, Junot Diaz, Sue Monk Kidd, Ken Burns, Walter Mosley, George Pelecanos, Azar Nafisi, and Lisa Scottoline.

Learn more about the event at the National Book Festival’s official website.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Coffee and Cuisine Add Flavor to Fitzgerald

Every year, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference offers workshops, readings, and the chance to meet with other writers—from novice to pro—for a full day of literary activities. An international theme dominates this year’s F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference. The 14th annual conference is scheduled for October 17, 2009 in Rockville Maryland.

Popular novelist Julia Alvarez is the 2009 honoree for the prestigious F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Award. She will accept the award and give a reading from her work at the conference. And she wants to give back to those in attendance — so she has graciously donated the coffee to be served at the event, grown on her own farm.

Her farm the Dominican Republic, Finca Alta Gracia, is named after the country’s spiritual protector, La Altagracia. Since purchasing
the farm, Julia Alvarez and her husband, Bill Eichner, have been restoring and improving the land. Beyond growing coffee, they work for the social, environmental, spiritual, and political issues that comprise sustainability.

“I like to think of Alta Gracia, named after our national Virgencita de la Altagracia (The Virgin of High Grace), as not just a place high in the mountains of the Cordillera Central that we hope will spread grace,” said Alvarez. “I also like to think of it as a state of mind, accessible to all of us through stories, in which we come together and sustain each other through community and the magic of song."

The coffee, roasted and packaged by Vermont Coffee Company, will be served throughout the day at the conference, which runs from 7:30 a.m. until 6:15 p.m. at Montgomery College’s Rockville campus.

In keeping with the international theme of the conference, lunch will consist of international selections, including Hispanic, Asian, Italian, and American dishes. Lunch will be catered by Rock Terrace School of Rockville, where they have a training program for students going into the culinary arts.

Even more filling than the breakfast, lunch, afternoon refreshments, and coffee (all included in the registration fee) will be the conference sessions — on such topics as Teaching The Great Gatsby in Tehran, Literary Border Crossings and a number of workshops on craft and style. Julia Alvarez will read from her work after she accepts the 14th Annual Fitzgerald Award.

Support comes from the City of Rockville, Montgomery College, Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Gazette Newspapers, the Rockville Cultural Arts Commission, Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation, Ltd., Legacy Hotel and Meeting Center, Vermont Coffee Company, Roundhouse Theater and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society.

Learn more about Julia Alvarez and her work at her website.

For a taste of Julia’s coffee, visit http://www.vermontcoffeecompany.com/.

Make plans to participate in the international literary celebration at the next F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference on October 17, 2009. Visit the conference website, where you can find an brochure, schedule, registration form, and more details on the big event.www.peerlessrockville.org/FSF

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lit & Art at the Baltimore Book Festival

What many people in the local literary community refer to as our “literary new year” will be here before you know it: The Baltimore Book Festival takes place on the weekend of September 25, 26 and 27, and offers a little bit of lit for everyone. The event is free and fun!

As a part of the festival, the “Lit & Art at the Watermark” series will bring fiction, poetry, non-fiction, live music and original artwork to the Creative Café on Sunday, September 27 from 5 to 6 p.m.

Started in October 2007, the Lit and Art series provides a unique opportunity to sample a wide variety of artistic sensibilities in one sitting. The program will feature series regulars Eric D. Goodman, Nitin Jagdish, Deanna Nikaido, Angela Render, Fernando Quijano III, music by Red Tractor Factory and original artwork by Manzar.

Come experience what has been called “the best excuse to get lit in Baltimore on a Sunday afternoon.”

Learn more about the Baltimore Book Festival and all it has to offer at the festival’s official website.

Learn more about the Lit & Art event at the BBF website too.

Visit the Watermark’s online gallery.


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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Signaling the Future

This Friday, I’ll be reading an abridged version of my story “Futures” on WYPR’s popular radio program, The Signal. Listen for it on Baltimore’s NPR station, 88.1 FM.

Futures” is the story of a woman who must consider two possible destinations: the comfort of home in Baltimore, or the challenge of a new career in Chicago. It’s an excerpt from TRACKS, a novel in stories. “Futures” was originally published in JMWW’s annual print anthology.

The Signal takes listeners on a tour of Baltimore’s cultural landscape and airs every Friday at noon and again at 7 p.m.

Listen for my reading of “Futures” this Friday, September 11, at noon and at 7 p.m. on 88.1 FM.

Live out of range? You can listen to the program live at www.wypr.org.

Visit The Signal online at www.signalradio.org.

Read more about TRACKS at www.Train-Tracks.blogspot.com.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Write There, Write Now

Since beginning in an upstairs art room in the historic Patterson Theater back in 2005 (I know, I was there!), the Write Here, Write Now workshops have expanded to meet the needs of the growing Baltimore literary community.

Co-sponsored by the CityLit Project and with sessions at Creative Alliance in Baltimore, Howard County Center for the Arts, and Towson Arts Collective, WHWN is the area’s only on-going series of workshops for writers.

Now it’s back to school time — and there are several WHWN courses to consider. Whether you want to learn about marketing your work, tempt your writing palate with some poetry, get the ins and outs of self-publishing and do-it-yourself ethics, learn the basics of blogging, or enjoy a writing workout with personal trainer Jessica Anya Blau, WHWN has something for you.

Learn more at the CityLit Project website.


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