ONLINE JULY 26
with guests Jennifer Baker, Maisy Card, K-Ming Chang, Melissa Faliveno, Lauren Francis-Sharma, Benjamin Garcia, Racquel Henry, Nazelah Jamison, and Janelle M. Williams
SEMINARS FROM 12:00 ET / 9:00 PT
In this generative seminar, we will discuss how folklore, myths, legends, and deities can be active forces that shape our fictional worlds. Though folklore is typically seen or belittled as simplistic and "of the past," I argue that they can become tools for imagining new futures. I will explore and examine figures from Chinese mythology and folklore (and how other artists have incorporated folklore in various ways into their creative work) in order to present different ways of retelling and subverting "big" stories and creation myths as they interact with our daily lives. We will blur the binary between the fantastic and the everyday and generate new writing based on myths and stories that seem familiar or fixed.
The magic of place in storytelling is in its ability to use facts to offer context and nuance. As such, place should never be discredited or underestimated in its effect on characters. In Ivelisse Rodriguez's short story, Holyoke, Mass.: An Ethnography, she interweaves the history (going back to 1850) of Holyoke into the coming of age story of a teenage Puerto Rican girl. In the majority of Jesmyn Ward's stories, she interprets and interrupts the world, emotional and physical, of DeLisle, Mississippi. With these stories and American History in mind, we'll discuss how place has an effect on us all, and when written into real or imagined places, how deeply flawed and intrinsically beautiful characters come alive.
LIVE PODCAST RECORDING AT 5:00 ET / 2:00 PT
JENNIFER BAKER was named the 2019 Publishers Weekly Star Watch “SuperStar” because her “varied work championing diversity in publishing has made her an indispensable fixture in the book business.” She is the recipient of a 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship and a 2017 Queens Council on the Arts New Work Grant (as well as the QCA Jr. Board Artistic Excellence Award) in Nonfiction Literature for her WIP essay collection. Her essay “What We Aren’t” was also listed as a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2018. With almost 20 years’ experience in publishing in a range of roles, Jennifer currently works as a managing editor, is a contributing editor to Electric Literature , and is the creator and host of the podcast Minorities in Publishing (a finalist for the 2018 and 2019 Digital Book World Best Use of Podcasting in Book Marketing). Jennifer is the editor of Everyday People: The Color of Life — A Short Story Anthology with Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Her short story “The Pursuit of Happiness” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for 2017 by Newtown Literary Journal . Most recently, she's had an essay featured on Longreads’ Fine Lines section, been featured on The Other Stories podcast and had a visual story posted on The Offing's Enumerate section. In December 2013, her young adult manuscript, The Facility, won the SCBWI On-the-Verge Emerging Voices Award for underrepresented voices in children’s literature.
RACQUEL HENRY is a Trinidadian writer, editor, and writing coach who earned her MFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She co-founded Black Fox Literary Magazine in 2011 and remains an active co-editor. In 2014, she founded the writing studio, Writer’s Atelier in Maitland, FL, and was recently appointed as Editor-in-Chief at Voyage YA. Racquel’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry has been published in Lotus-eater Literary Magazine, Moko Caribbean Arts & Letters, Reaching Beyond the Saguaros: A Collaborative Prosimetric Travelogue (Serving House Books, 2017), Thrill of the Hunt Anthology: Welcome to Whitebridge (Palmas Press, 2017), and We Can’t Help it if We’re From Florida (Burrow Press, 2017), among others. She is the author of the novelette, Holiday on Park, and The Writer’s Atelier Little Book of Writing Affirmations (Writer’s Atelier Books, 2018).
ASK THE AUTHOR
LIVE READING AT 6:30 ET / 3:30 PT
LAUREN FRANCIS-SHARMA is the author of Book of the Little Axe (May, 2020) and ‘Til the Well Runs Dry, which debuted in 2014 and was short-listed for the William Saroyan International Prize, awarded the Honor Fiction Prize by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. ‘Til the Well Runs Dry was also chosen as an O, The Oprah Magazine Summer Reading Pick and lauded by the New York Times, USA Today, Essence Magazine, and People Magazine amongst other publications.
BENJAMIN GARCIA’s debut collection, Thrown in the Throat, was selected by Kazim Ali for the 2019 National Poetry Series (Milkweed Editions, August 2020). He is the son of Mexican immigrants and originally from New Mexico, raised in Texas, and currently lives in New York. He received his BA from the University of New Mexico and his MFA from Cornell University. His poems have recently appeared in The Missouri Review, American Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, and New England Review, among others. His essays have appeared in the Kenyon Review.
MAISY CARD is a writer and a public librarian. Her writing has appeared in Lenny Letter, School Library Journal, Agni, Sycamore Review, Liars’ League NYC, and Ampersand Review. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Maisy was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica, but was raised in Jamaica, New York. Maisy earned an MLIS from Rutgers University and a BA in English and American Studies from Wesleyan University. She is the author of These Ghosts Are Family.
MELISSA FALIVENO is a writer, editor, musician, teacher, and Wisconsinite in New York City. Her debut essay collection, TOMBOYLAND, about gender, class, and the American Midwest, is forthcoming from Jill Soloway’s Topple Books on August 4, 2020. Her work has appeared in Poets & Writers, Prairie Schooner, DIAGRAM, Essay Daily, Green Mountains Review, Lumina, and Midwestern Gothic, among others, and received a notable selection in Best American Essays 2016. She has profiled USWNT star Megan Rapinoe and musicians Valerie June and Jason Isbell; and an essay about her life as a former roller derby skater (moniker: Harlot Brontë) was published in the anthology Derby Life (Gutpunch Press, 2015).
NAZELAH JAMISON is a performance poet, actor, vocalist, and emcee. She is an East Coast transplant, former organizer of the Oakland Poetry Slam and sometimes reluctant superhero. Her first book of poetry, Evolutionary Heart, was released in Fall of 2016 on Nomadic Press. Nazelah gives the best hugs in the Bay Area.