Reading

Booktober 2017

Wherein my kid inspired me by doing #Inktober, so I decided to do #Booktober and read as much as I can from my extra-long to-be-read pile:

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DAY ONE: I read was THE RIVER, by Gary Paulsen, a fast-paced survival story that follows his amazing story, HATCHET. I read it in one sitting!

 

 

DAY TWO: There’ll be no sleep during #Booktober, my self-imposed reading challenge. Today’s read (because after midnight is today) was 1973 Newbury winner JULIE OF THE WOLVES, by naturalist Jean Craighead George. “‘Change your ways when fear seizes,’ he said, ‘for it usually means you are doing something wrong.’” I now feel I can survive the tundra. I already know how to live with wolves.

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DAY THREE: I vividly recall my kindergarten teacher handing us a form to indicate what we wanted to be when we grow up. There were different careers listed in the boy column vs. the girl column. (It was 1970.) The closest thing I could find that matched me was in the boy column, so I nervously picked it: Cowboy. I have definitely been fighting stereotypes ever since. Because no child should feel uncomfortable being who they are, my Read #3 is FLYING LESSONS & OTHER STORIES, fullof diverse authors and protagonists, just as it should be. My favorite so far is Tim Federle’s Secret Samantha, with a protagonist I would have loved as a kid. #weneeddiversebooks #representationmatters

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Cabin Reads Returns!

CABIN READS returned this summer – now in partnership with the nonprofit, youth-powered farm WARDENSVILLE GARDEN MARKET – with a second annual reading by the LOST RIVER WRITERS’ RETREAT.  Participants in this year’s loveliest of readings were:

MATTHEW ALBERSWERTH is a recent graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA for writers. He currently lives in his hometown of Washington DC.

JOHN COPENHAVER’S debut novel, Dodging and Burning, will be published by Pegasus Books (Pegasus Crime) in March 2018. For three consecutive years, he has been awarded an Artist Fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. In 2015, he won the Larry Neal Writers’ Award for short fiction, judged by Alice McDermott, and launched a new crime fiction column for the Lambda Literary website called “Blacklight.” His fiction has appeared in various literary magazines, including Glitterwolf and Gaslight. He is Lambda Literary Fellow and received his MFA in fiction from George Mason. He chairs the 7-12 English Department at Flint Hill School in Oakton, VA. He lives with his husband and two insanely photogenic dogs in Washington, DC.

ERIKA NICHOLS-FRAZER is an MFA student in Fiction at Bennington College’s Writing Seminars, as well as the Communications Manager of the Children’s Literacy Foundation. She writes fiction, poetry, and the occasional essay, and her work has appeared in Runaway Parade, Haggard & Halloo, and Please Do Not Remove: A Collection Celebrating Literature and Libraries, as well as in several of the Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop’s anthologies. She also served as the poetry editor for that publication’s debut issue. Erika holds a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Waitsfield, Vermont with her husband, dogs, and chickens.

KAREN SOSNOSKI’S fiction and nonfiction, most recently in Argot Magazine, Sunlight Press (pending) and on Romper, explores what happens when people face their limitations through disability, illness, sports, or other intense encounters (such as art). Her work has also appeared in the LA Times, Poets and Writers, Word Riot, Grappling, Bitch, Radioactive Moat, decomp, Identity Theory, Chaffee Review, Yellow Mama, Psychology Today, Camroc Review and on Studio 360, This American Life and Boundoff. Berkeley Media distributes her documentary film, “Wedding Advice: Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace.” Her story “Too Sweet” is published in the seventh anthology (Fall 2016) in the Grace & Gravity series of fiction by Washington, DC-area women. A mother, disabilities advocate, and Special Ed PTA board member, Karen is working on a novel Elizabeth Hillman’s Teeth about a poorly connected, adjunct English instructor who disavows her life-long meekness to avenge a famous artist she believes has stolen her destiny.

ROSS WHITE is the author of How We Came Upon the Colony and The Polite Society. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Tin House, New England Review, and other literary journals. He serves as the Poetry Editor for Four Way Review and Director of Bull City Press. The winner of the 2016 Larry Levis Postgraduate Fellowship from Warren Wilson College, Ross teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Origami, More-igami

 

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CABIN READS episode 2!  It all went down with the arrival yesterday of debut picture book author and all around great human being, Dori Kleber. She visited our little WV town to read her much-lauded book MORE-IGAMI, followed by a craft session where she taught about twenty little ones and their parents how to make a hopping origami frog. Dori happens to be the perfect person for this  because she’s an amazing teacher and instructor, and she has more patience than about 125 of me put together. Thanks for the visit, Dori!

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CABIN READS

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Last night I launched CABIN READS, a recurring WV literary event here in my new hometown of Wardensville. Situated between North Mountain and the Cacapon River, our region is a stunning example of West Virginia’s best. Our first event was hosting a reading by the six authors of the LOST RIVER WRITER’S RETREAT. We heard heartfelt poetry, hilarious middle grade, compelling nonfiction, historical crime fiction, and riveting adult fiction. I love writers. I love how clever they are when they’re reading their work or when they’re choosing their stories over dinner. Thank you Retreat Founder John Copenhaver,  DeMisty D. BellingerJessica Hendry NelsonNoah StetzerKara Waite and pictured, Kate Hattemer. Our next CABIN READS event will be with my SCBWI friend and critique partner and debut PB author Dori Kleber. The schedule can be found right here.

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Congratulations to the Winner of the 2014 Sue Alexander Award!

Recently I posted about being nominated for the 2014 Sue Alexander Award for Most Promising New Work at the SCBWI Conference in Los Angeles. It was my complete honor to have that experience, and I still can’t believe it. I didn’t win but I feel so encouraged as a writer to keep my head down and keep writing!

This can be a lonely, frustrating business, and it takes more perseverance and patience than most folks can muster on their own. A reward like this nomination was a tremendous boost to my spirit, and helps me to keep going.

But now, huge congratulations to the winner:  LINDA KAO for THE TREASURE OF THE FOGGY ISLES!

Big props to the runners up, as well: Lori Snyder for THE HEART AT THE END OF THE WORLD and Natalie Hyde for GOLD RUSH!

Thanks again to the Sue Alexander Award Committee for the time and effort you put into this process. Thank you, SCBWI, for providing so many different ways for writers to grow and learn and be recognized along this journey.

Sue Alexander Award Nomination!

SueAlexanderY’all, my middle grade manuscript has been nominated for the 2014 Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award!  The award is given annually to the manuscript deemed most promising for publication from among manuscripts submitted for individual critique at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Annual Conference in Los Angeles.

I feel very honored to be nominated for an award named after a woman who personified the spirit of the organization to which I owe much gratitude in my journey so far as a writer.

From the SCBWI website: “Sue Alexander was the first member to join SCBWI and was vitally involved with the organization from its inception to her death in 2008. Her responsibilities for SCBWI included, among others, serving as Chairperson of the Board of Advisors (33 years), managing the office (20 years), coordinating — with Lin Oliver — the August conference in California (25 years), and coordinating the Golden Kite Awards (25 years). She was the author of more than twenty-five books for young people, including World Famous Muriel; Small Plays for Special Days; Witch, Goblin and Sometimes Ghost; Sara’s City and award winners Lila on the Landing; Nadia the Willful; and Behold the Trees. In addition to her books, she wrote stories for magazines and for the Los Angeles Times “Kids’ Reading Room” several times a year. Sue passed away suddenly on July 3 at her home in West Hills, California. She was 74.”

I’m so grateful to my supportive, understanding family and friends, to the SCBWI family of writers, illustrators and industry professionals who teach us at the regional and national conferences, and to my Smith classmate Emma Dryden of DRYDENBKS who gave me a loving, yet hearty, shove in the right direction when I felt so far afield.