When I’m with you I feel like I could die
And that would be all right, all right
And when the plane came in, she said she was crashing
The velvet it rips in the city, we tripped on the urge to feel alive
GUYS! If you swing by the Braddock Avenue Books table (Y17), you can get a SIGNED copy of my novel and PLAY NINTENDO WITH ME. That’s right. We’re going to play NES.
I’ll be there 10:30 through noon on Thursday, and then a few other times throughout the conference. This is your opportunity to challenge the 1995 Video Game Championship II Scranton Branch Winner.
Last week, I covered the panels of AWP 2013. This week, I’m focusing on the offsite events. For me, this is always the best part of the conference. The panels are enjoyable for the most part, but it’s really at the readings where you get to meet the people whose work you’ve been following all year. There’s a ton of amazing events as per usual, so I’ve only listed the ones I’m going to try my hardest to attend. Guess what? They all conflict. It’s AWP, guys.
Oh, and if you want to check me at an event, show up on Thursday night at 8pm for:
A Night of Presidential Fiction Readings
Location: Sweetwater Tavern
Hear original flash fiction about America’s presidents, originally featured at Melville House. Readers include: Steve Himmer, Lincoln Michel, Matt Bell, Robert Kloss, Matthew Salesses, Tara Laskowski, Ben Loory, Aubrey Hirsch, James Tadd Adcox, Greg Gerke, Alan Stewart Carol, John Minichillo, Amelia Gray, Katrina Gray, Joseph Scapellato, Rion Amilcar Scott, Erin Fitzgerald, Tim Horvath, Laura Ellen Scott, Gabriel Blackwell, Christy Crutchfield, Mel Bosworth, Anne Valente, Sal Pane, Ben Tanzer, JA Tyler, Mike Meginnis, and Lauren Becker.
6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Gold Wake Press Reading
Location: Trident Booksellers Cafe
This year Gold Wake is hosting an off-site reading at AWP Boston in 2013! Come over to Trident Books (3-5 min walking from the event center), and hear a slew of terrific authors from Gold Wake Press including Erin Elizabeth Smith, Andrea Witzke Slot, Nick Courtright, Kathleen Rooney, Donora Hillard, Kristina Marie Darling, Joshua Young, T.A. Noonan, Sarah E. Colona, Anne Champion, Brian Mihok, Jeannie Hoag, Kyle McCord.
6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Monster Mags of the Midwest reading
Location: Back Bay Social Club, 867 Boylston
Cincinnati Review, Mid-American Review, and Ninth Letter invite you to an AWP offsite reading, with Steve Almond, Tarfia Faizullah, Roy Kesey, Mary Miller, Sarah Rose Nordgren, and Marcus Wicker. Cocktail hour from 6-7 pm (Back Bay Social Club has both food and drink available for purchase), readings to start at 7
4:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
a reading eXperiment presented by Festival of Language
Location: LIR, 903 Boylston Street
Cost: Free and Open to the Public
Come and witness words and artistry in motion, distorting meanings and kicking expectation to the curb at Festival of Language’s first annual reading eXperiment conducted game show style with Jane L. Carman, Ryan Clark, Andy Farnsworth, Jenny Ferguson, Beth Gilstrap, Sonya Huber, Kathryn Kysar, R.B. Moreno, Theresa O’Donnell, Ted Pelton, Erin Rhodes, Anita Schmaltz, Sarah Stonich, Ben Tanzer, Meg Tuite, and Robert Vaughan.
5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Co-Book Launch: Shane McCrae and Matthew Salesses
Location: LIR, across from Hynes
Join Shane McCrae, author of Blood (Noemi), and Matthew Salesses, author of I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying (CCM), for the double launch of their books. Warning: drinks will be drunk, books will be shared, and good times will be had.
6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
A Table X Reading: Anomalous, Les Figues, Gold Line, Tiny Hardcore, & Rose Metal Presses
Location: CCTV Studio, 438 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 0213938 (near Central Square)
Cost: Free as a bird
Anomalous, Les Figues, Gold Line, Tiny Hardcore, & Rose Metal Presses hosting a reading and book launch. Free snacks and drinks! Sandra Doller, Mike Schorsch, Liat Berdugo, and Sarah Tourjee reading from their forthcoming Anomalous books; Casey Hannan, Ashley Farmer, and James Tadd Adcox from Tiny Hardcore Press; Bradley Harrison, Matt Kirkpatrick, Heather Aimee O’Neill, and Glenn Shaheen from Gold Line Press; and Adam Golaski and Aaron Teel from Rose Metal Press.
7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
Drunken Boat Book Party for Lisa Russ Spaar’s “The Hide-and-Seek Muse”
Location: The Lily Pad Inman Square (1353 Cambridge St in Cambridge)
Join Drunken Boat, online journal of the arts, during AWP at Cambridge’s Lily Pad to celebrate the launch of Guggenheim fellow and award-winning poet Lisa Russ Spaar’s “The Hide-and-Seek Muse: Annotations on Contemporary Poetry,” featuring her memorable micro-essays on some of America’s finest poets such as Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Wright, Carl Philips, Carol Muske-Dukes, Claudia Emerson, and Philip Schultz, and younger writers such as Kazim Ali, Kyle Dargan, and Paul Legault. The reading will feature contributors to the book including Debra Allbery, Talvikki Ansel, Jennifer Atkinson, David Baker, Jill Bialosky, Randall Couch, Kate Daniels, Monica Ferrell, Gabriel Fried, Rachel Hadas, Brenda Hillman, Jennifer Key, L. S. Klatt, Joanna Klink, Erika Meitner, Amy Newman, Meghan O’Rourke, Eric Pankey, Kiki Petrosino, Bin Ramke, Mary Ann Samyn, Allison Seay, Ravi Shankar, Ron Slate, Mary Szybist, Brian Teare, David Wojahn. Free and open to the public.
Sundress Publications / Connotation Press / Boxcar Poetry Review / Best of the Net Reading at The Greatest Bar
Location: The Greatest Bar | 262 Friend Street | Boston, MA 02114
Join us in Boston for a night of reading and general revelry in celebration of Sundress Publications, Connotation Press, Boxcar Poetry Review, and the release of the 2012 Best of the Net Anthology! Readers will include Traci Brimhall, Al Maginnes, Laura McCullough, Alex Pruteanu, Angela Woodward, Marcel Brouwers, Peauladd Huy, Doug Anderson, Sara Lippman, Danny M. Hoey, Jr., and more!
Barrelhouse, Hobart, PANK & Friends: Not Reading
Location: LIR, 903 Boylston St, Boston
It’s a quirky Cinderella story about three fashion-savvy, thrift-loving litmags who fell for rich, sumptuous AWP readings only to discover it’s the partying they’ve loved all along. The threesome comes across many social obstacles, but things come together in the end thanks in large part to a ragtag group of unlikely friends, a Boston bar, and absolutely no pretense of readings or literary gimmickry whatsoever.
East / West Reading
Location: Bell In Hand Tavern, 45-55 Union Street, Boston, Massachusetts
East Coast writers match off against West Coast: Pam Houston, Deb Olin Unferth, Joseph Salvatore, Matthew Vollmer, Scott Cheshire, Christopher Kennedy, David Hollander, Kim Chinquee, Sam Ligon, Lily Hoang, Carmen Gimenez-Smith, Robert Lopez, Aurelie Sheehan.
Sarabande Books Reading
Location: LIR: 903 Boylston St
Brief readings by Elena Passarello, Steven Cramer, Cleopatra Mathis, Lauren Shapiro, and L. Annette Binder. We’ll be debuting Sarabande’s signature bourbon cocktail. Free drinks!
8:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
Mission Creek Festival & the Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review
Location: Club Passim
Join Iowa’s Mission Creek Festival and Johns Hopkins’ The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review at historic Club Passim for words, music, and drink. Featured Author: Steve Almond. Featured Music: TBA.
8:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m.
VIDA Prom: a Reading and Dance Party
Location: Daisy Buchanan’s, 240 Newbury Street, Boston MA 02116
Cost: $10 donation to VIDA at the door
Show off your prom dress, boa, and fascinator at the swankiest speakeasy dance party & reading during AWP! Headliners include: Cheryl Strayed, Robert Pinsky, Pam Houston, Alexander Chee, Roxanne Gay (more TBD). Schedule: Doors open at 8pm, Readers read at 9pm, Dance party from 10pm-midnight. Cash bar. Prom attire encouraged but not required. Feel free to wear your roaring ’20s gear and come out to support VIDA!
Words & Music presented by Curbside Splendor, Other Voices Books, AGNI, Emergency Press, Counterpoint, Artifice
Location: 738 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridgem MA
Readings and or music at Boston’s iconic Cantab Lounge by: James Greer (Detective / Guided by Voices), Jessica Keener, Rob Roberge, Jillian Lauren, Joshua Mohr, Caroline Crew, Chris Fink, Ben Tanzer, Tyler McMahon. Word.
6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Bread Loaf Waiters Reading
Join the 2012 Bread Loaf waiters at LIR, a bar right across from the Hynes Convention Center, for a showcase of speed readings in poetry and prose.
6:00 p.m.-7:45 p.m.
Crossing The Line: A Reading Co-Sponsored by The Drum Literary Magazine and the Boston Book Festival
Location: Storyville, 90 Exeter St.
Come join us at the Storyville nightclub for tales of law-breaking, rule-bending, and genre-busting. The evening will feature bestselling/award-winning authors Matt Bell, Jenna Blum, Christopher Castellani, and Marie Myung-Ok Lee. There will be a short, fun (anonymous?) transgression-oriented questionnaire – best answer wins a free drink! Hosted by Dawn Tripp & Henriette Lazaridis Power
A Strange Object and Nouvella Buy You a Beer
Location: Back Bay Social Club, Upstairs, 867 Boylston St.
The gals of A Strange Object and Nouvella want you to come have a Sam Adams with them. Come on. You’re in Boston. Don’t even think about not being there. (And get there early, because they’re buying for the first 50 folks to show up.)
Ampersand, YesYes, and Engine Books
Location: McGreevy’s Irish Bar: 911 Boylston Street
Ampersand Books, Engine Books,and YesYes Books celebrate literature and mayhem with readings by Carrie Causey, Nan Cuba, Nicelle Davis, Luke Goebel, Darby Laine, Courtney Elizabeth Mauk, Gregory Sherl, Nate Slawson, Gregory Spatz, J.A. Tyler, and Angela Veronica Wong
For the third year in a row, there will be a Literature Party at AWP.
Sponsored by HTMLGiant and Submittable and Publishing Genius.
Sermon by SCOTT McCLANAHAN
Responsive reading by MELISSA BRODER
Special music by MIKE YOUNG
… and the evil deeds of Boston’s own THE GREAT BURIERS
PLUS more hijinks like: SARAH JEAN ALEXANDER’s live booze art, MARC KUGINI explains Marie Calloway for your Twitter friends and ALL your hunting and fishing questions answered by JEFF SNOWBARGER
Security provided by Andrew Weatherhead
This year it’s free
Beers and wines for cheaps, like $2 or whatever
Brookline Bookstore Reading Featuring Steve Almond, and friends
Location: 279 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA
Chicago’s Curbside Splendor and Other Voices Books (OVB) present an intimate reading with the following fantastic authors at Boston’s Brookline Booksmith: Steve Almond, Amber Sparks, Rob Roberge, Thea Goodman, Stephen Dau. Wine and other goodies will be served.
Location: Middlesex Lounge
Join us for a special installment of Cambridge’s sexiest reading series! Readers include: James Tadd Adcox, Sam Cha, Melissa Febos, Elisa Gabbert, Robert Kloss, Vanessa Veselka, Adrian Todd Zuniga, and John Cotter as the confessional reader! Hosted by Carissa Halston.
There’s Still Good in You!
Location: Daisy Buchanan’s: 240 A Newbury Street, Boston MA 02116
Heavy Feather Review, Big Lucks, Magic Helicopter Press, and Factory Hollow Press present There’s Still Good in You! an AWP 2013 offsite reading, featuring Jensen Beach, Gabriel Blackwell, Rachel B. Glaser, Evelyn Hampton, W. Todd Kaneko, Seth Landman, Jordaan Mason, Caryl Pagel, Adam Robinson, and Amber Sparks.
I’ve been blogging about AWP for the last four years. You can check the previous guides here (2012, 2011, 2010). So I’m not going to ramble on too much with advice. You know how I feel about AWP. For me, it works best when I plan less. There’s too much to do, and every year it seems like I have more obligations and more friends and writers to meet. I’m never able to do even a fourth of what I’d like to, and often, my favorite moments of the conference have nothing to do with writing. Some of my favorite moments from last year were catching up with old classmates over a tray of deep dish pizza, or the time Kevin Tassini and I dragged Katie Coyle all over Chicago to look for video games. Just go and have fun. Be productive, but don’t overstress.
If you want to see me at AWP, there’s a few options. I’m doing a book signing at the Braddock Avenue Books table from 10:30 to 11:45 on Thursday. Come on down. Buy my book. Hug me? I’ll probably do a few more, and I’ll keep you posted here or via Twitter. I’m also participating in a panel on Thursday from 9-10:15am in Room 108 of the Plaza Level:
R109. Landing the Tenure-Track Job without a Book: What to Expect in the Job Market. (Kevin McKelvey, Salvatore Pane, Keya Mitra, Robert Long Foreman) In a competitive academic job market, how do you make yourself stand out without a book? Writers will discuss their diverse paths to tenure-track jobs and how to develop pedagogy for newer fields such as graphic novels and established fields like professional writing, screenwriting, composition, editing, and publishing. Panelists will discuss publications and teaching loads, how a visiting or contract position can turn into a permanent job, and whether or not you need a PhD.
If you want to see me read, come to this:
So let’s party. Let’s hang out. Let’s be cool. Below is my list of all the panels I’m interested in attending. Remember, these aren’t the “best” panels–I don’t even know what that would mean exactly. These are just the ones I’m going to try and make. Just relax and be cool. I’ll have an off-site guide posted soon.
Room 200, Level 2
R167. Only Half as Crazy as We Seem: Exploring Unconventional Strategies for Indie Lit Startups. (Steve Westbrook, Matty Byloos, Carrie Seitzinger, J.A. Tyler, Skyler Schulze) At present, the notion of developing an independent literary startup tends to be perceived as a naïve dream or a bad business idea. Defying conventional wisdom, contributors to this panel discuss their recent experience of founding successful new journals, presses, and a reading series. As they examine how their efforts toward sustainability intersect or contradict industry lore, they offer strategies for developing alternative funding structures, distribution models, and marketing techniques.
Room 206, Level 2
R172. Literary Writers Writing Popular Fiction: What’s Up With That? (Ed Falco, Julianna Baggott, Lise Haines, Benjamin Percy) What exactly are we saying when we refer to a novel as literary or serious fiction, as opposed to popular or commercial fiction? Can clear distinctions be made? What do these commonly used terms—literary, serious versus commercial, popular—mean to writers? Is it possible to write a commercial novel that is also literary? Writers who have published literary works as well as novels that might be considered popular fiction explore these and other relevant questions.
Room 313, Level 3
R185. Too Much or Not Enough? Expectations in the Introductory Multi-Genre Creative Writing Classroom. (Carrie Shipers, Laurel Gilbert, Heather Kirn Lanier, Casey Thayer) Five teachers from two-year colleges will discuss best practices for teaching introductory-level multi-genre creative writing classes. What are the unique challenges of teaching creative writing in this setting, and how do we respond to them? Panelists will address how much (and what kind) of writing students should do; the appropriate role of reading student and published texts; expectations for revision; and the efficacy of full-class workshop.
Room 102, Plaza Level
R187. Party Down: Effective Fundraising Events on the Cheap. (Steph Opitz, Maribeth Batcha, Paul Morris, Eric Lorberer) Fundraising events don’t need to be fancy dinners and formal wear—learn from folks from One Story, PEN America, and Rain Taxi about producing effective and novel small fundraising events and strategies on a budget.
Room 104, Plaza Level
R189. Nothing but the Truth: Perspectives on Creative Nonfiction in the Classroom and Beyond. (Catherine Cortese, Michael Martone, Diane Roberts, Robin Hemley, Debra Monroe) Creative nonfiction continues to grow in popularity among readers and students of writing. The genre, however, lacks a standard definition. Some believe the slippery nature of perception affords writers infinite liberties, while others see the genre as one that artfully deploys stable facts. This disparity makes the genre tricky to write and trickier to teach. The writers on this panel will discuss the freedoms and constraints of the genre in their classrooms, as well as in their own work.
Room 200, Level 2
R196. From Parts to a Whole: Turning a Bunch of Essays into a Unified Book. (David Giffels, Chuck Klosterman, Sean Manning, Chuck Klosterman, Meghan Daum) Why do some books of essays feel like collections of B-sides, outtakes and orphans, while others carry the thematic and narrative satisfaction of a good concept album? Drawing from their own experiences, this panel of successful authors discusses vital techniques for conceiving, organizing, developing, and enhancing a collection of creative nonfiction essays into a unified whole. We will address how to balance recurring themes, maintain voice and tone, how to build bridges, and other topics.
Room 103, Plaza Level
R218. Does Place Still Matter? The Relevance of Regional Fiction in the 21st Century. (Brett Boham, Stewart O’Nan, Susan Straight, Alex Espinoza, Michael Jaime-Becerra) Attempts to categorize American literature often begin and end with region. Southern fiction. New England poetry. Midwestern novel. But to what extent is regionalism a useful lens through which to understand contemporary American literature? How do so-called regional writers conceptualize place? And has the expansion of the American counterculture and social media forever changed the landscape of regional fiction? Panelists will discuss the advantages and limitations of thinking regionally.
Room 105, Plaza Level
R220. All the Young Dudes: A Reading from Four Debut Collections. (Jared Yates Sexton, Eugene Cross, Andrew Scott, Jensen Beach) It’s said that everyone has stories, but publishing those stories, particularly a book-length collection of them, is proving more confounding a process than ever. Join four emerging writers with debut collections for a short reading from their work, followed by a Q&A session detailing how they got their first book deals, their experiences in attracting presses and navigating contracts, and an array of advice for aspiring scribes.
Room 200, Level 2
R226. Second Sex, Second Shelf? Women, Writing, and the Literary Marketplace. (Christine Gelineau, Erin Belieu, Bobbie Ann Mason, Lydia Diamond, Meg Wolitzer) Statistics suggest a gap still exists. But is there a problem, and if there is, what is its nature? What changes/remedies/metamorphoses can/should be imagined? Do you think about this issue differently in terms of your writing and in terms of your career? Accomplished writers, who happen to be women, theorize and report out of their own experiences and analysis of the current literary scene.
Room 206, Level 2
R231. The New Kids in the Class—Teachers Under 35. (Michael Croley, Laura van den Berg, Erica Dawson, David James Poissant, Holly Goddard Jones) Five professors discuss their transition from graduate student to faculty member and the advantages and difficulties their age has posed in negotiating—and finding—their teaching styles with undergraduate and MFA students as well as what role(s) they take on in their courses and departments. The session offers insights and best practices regarding the first few years on the job in and out of the classroom, while also discussing how gender may affect the perception of a young teacher.
Room 305, Level 3
R238. Oh, Grow Up: Writing Kids’ Voices in Literary Fiction. (Alexi Zentner, Alison Espach, Aryn Kyle, Haley Tanner) A lot of literary writers are writing young adult novels, but what about writing the voices of young adults and children in literary fiction? Five novelists talk about how to create believable young voices in adult fiction, how to avoid the imitative fallacy, the power of narrative distance, and how to balance grown-up needs while having kids in the story.
Alice Hoffman Bookfair Stage, Exhibit Hall D, Level 2
BF16. Major Jackson’s Ploughshares Issue Reading. (Ladette Randolph, Major Jackson, Maggie Dietz, Emily Bernard, David Huddle) Ploughshares literary magazine editor-in-chief Ladette Randolph will host a reading to celebrate Major Jackson’s guest-edited issue. Jackson will read from his work and speak briefly about his experience selecting work for the magazine. He will be joined by contributors from his issue, including Maggie Dietz, Emily Bernard, and David Huddle.
Hynes Ballroom, Level 3
R244. Alice Hoffman & Tom Perrotta: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Grub Street. (Christopher Castellani, Alice Hoffman, Tom Perrotta) Internationally best-selling writers Alice Hoffman and Tom Perrotta, authors of over thirty books between them, read from their recent fiction. After the reading, Grub Street artistic director and novelist Christopher Castellani moderates a discussion that focuses on how these authors continually appeal to wide audiences with novels and stories of great depth, subtlety, and cultural relevance. The discussion will also touch on how these authors use humor and magic in their work, the creative roles they’ve played in their film adaptations, and other topics related to the craft of fiction.
Room 104, Plaza Level
R248. Eros in the Classroom. (Heather McNaugher, Michele Morano, BK Loren, Eileen Myles, Barrie Jean Borich) More than a few academic careers in literature and writing were ignited by a crush on a teacher. But desire in the classroom is constructed, often for good reason, as threatening and inappropriate; we therefore don’t acknowledge or talk about it. This panel, inspired by Michele Morano’s recent Ninth Letter essay, “Crush,” speaks plainly and honestly about the overlap of desire and pedagogy, and how the writer-teacher has constructively channeled it into her/his creative work.
Room 200, Level 3
R255. Thoreau’s Granddaughters: Women Writing the Wild. (Suzanne Roberts, Cheryl Strayed, Pam Houston, Gretchen Legler, Li Miao Lovett) Do women approach writing both the wildness of the land and the wilderness of their own bodies differently from men? Do women have a uniquely feminine vision of what it means to be wild? Are they judged by a different set of aesthetics? These five women panelists, including memoirists, novelists, and poets, will discuss their literary influences, the joys and challenges, and the internal doubts and external criticism they face in writing the wild.
Room 208, Level 2
R262. What to Do Before You Debut. (Randy Susan Meyers, Nichole Bernier, Jane Roper, Carleen Brice) Authors are often naïve about their role in finding readers, and they are rarely taught the iterative steps involved in the process of a book launch. Panelists will share specific methodologies, from best practices for websites, publicity, marketing decisions, and working with publishing houses, to assessing the line between awkward hawking and reasonable audience building. Timelines, methods, and tools offered will be balanced with discussion of the art of finding comfortable promotional voices.
Room 309, Level 3
R270A. Southern Writers in Exile. (Michael Croley, Richard Bausch, Michael Griffith, Steve Yarbrough, Brad Watson) Writers who identify as southern don’t often stray far from home, but as some have moved into teaching positions, they find themselves now living all over the country, out of their comfort zones. This panel explores how that distance has affected each writer’s approach to their craft and teaching, as well as what it means to be a southern writer no longer living in the South, and what role regionalism plays in the landscape of American literature.
Room 103, Plaza Level
F134. Courage, Craft, and Cunning: From MFA Thesis to Published Book. (Jayne Anne Phillips, Will Schutt, Christa Parravani, Ryan McIlvain, Akhil Sharma) This panel features poets and fiction writers whose manuscripts began in their MFA thesis and progressed through revision and invention to first books published by respected presses. Each will read for four minutes, discuss mentorship in their MFA programs, and compare notes on structuring first books, publishers, and the cunning (as in artful, resourceful) required of writers whose lives embrace far more than writing. Audience Q&A will follow.
Room 109, Plaza Level
F139. The Geek in Me: Writing from the Cultural Fringe. (Ethan Gilsdorf, Lizzie Stark, Peter Bebergal) Geek and fringe subcultures such as Dungeons & Dragons, Larping, psychedelia, punk rock, and comic books can be ideal portals through which to examine the self, construct narratives, and comment on the culture at large. In this session, three panelists whose books mix memoir, pop culture, and ethnography discuss best practices for breaking into subcultures conducting fringe culture reportage and using that research to tell powerful and poignant stories about the human condition.
Room 101, Plaza Level
F161. Experimental Fiction Today. (John Parras, Daniel Green, Alissa Nutting, Ted Pelton, M. Bartley Seigel) Editors, writers, critics, and teachers discuss recent trends in experimental fiction and how such work enriches the publishing landscape, the creative writing workshop, and the direction and function of literature itself. What are some of the more exciting trends in innovative fiction? What are the special challenges and rewards for writers testing fiction’s limits? How does fabulist work work? If all literature is innovative, what distinguishes the experimental from other types of fiction?
Room 200, Level 2
F171. Does the World Need Another Literary Magazine? (Tom Bligh, Catherine Dent, Dave Essinger, Karolina Gajdeczka, E. Ethelbert Miller) Undergraduate literary journals encourage students to take responsibility for the shape and form of their work and to learn about publishing through firsthand exposure to the process. Panelists share unconventional wisdom on ways to help print and online journals survive and thrive while sustaining enthusiasm and maintaining high standards. Editors discuss the advantages to joining the Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors (FUSE) and explain how to start your own FUSE chapter.
Room 202, Level 2
F173. How to Build a Successful Kickstarter Campaign for Your Publishing Project. (Meaghan O’Connell, Benjamin Samuel, Mat Honan, Joshua Mandelbaum, Laurie Ochoa) Kickstarter moderates a panel of editors from Electric Literature, Words Without Borders, Slake, Longshot, and Tomorrow Magazine for an instructional and informational session on developing a successful Kickstarter campaign for your periodical or publishing project. We’ll walk you through the process step by step and discuss how to best represent your brand, set a fundraising goal, shoot a video, create rewards, engage backers, and promote your campaign.
Room 210, Level 2
F180. The Urge Toward Memoir. (Elisabeth Schmitz, Jill Kneerim, Michael Thomas, Jeanette Winterson, Lily King) Novelists Jeanette Winterson, Emily Raboteau, Michael Thomas, agent Jill Kneerim, and editor Elisabeth Schmitz discuss the writer’s urge toward memoir. What defines memoir and is it any more “true” or less creative a process than fiction? Panelists will talk about a favorite memoir and the forms they invented for their own.
Room 206, Level 2
F205. A Point of View on A Point of View. (Daniel Menaker, Amy Hempel, Bret Anthony Johnston) Point of view is the lens through which a writer conveys the vision of a story. But what is it about point of view that makes an editor pick an unknown writer out of a pile of unsolicited submissions? And what is it about point of view that makes a series of short stories cohere into an original and memorable collection? In A Point of View on A Point of View, distinguished editor Daniel Menaker and much-anthologized writers Amy Hempel and Bret Anthony Johnston turn a lens on the lens itself.
Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Level 2
F219. Don DeLillo & Dana Spiotta: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by The Center for Fiction. (Noreen Tomassi, Don DeLillo, Dana Spiotta) Celebrated novelists Don DeLillo, author of Underworld, Libra, and White Noise, and Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia, present readings, to be followed by a discussion moderated by Noreen Tomassi, Executive Director of the Center for Fiction.
Room 108, Plaza Level
F227. Write Short, Think Long: Exploring the Craft of Writing Flash Nonfiction. (Kathleen Rooney, Sue William Silverman, Peggy Shumaker, Judith Kitchen, Ira Sukrungruang) In celebration of this popular emerging genre, as well as the publication of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction: Advice and Essential Exercises from Respected Writers, Editors, and Teachers, edited by Dinty W. Moore, five of the book’s twenty-six diverse contributors gather to discuss what makes good flash nonfiction memorable and unique, and to offer up ideas and techniques for writing, publishing, and reading the brief essay form well.
Room 202, Level 2
F233. Women on the Road: Exploration, Inspiration, and Imagination in Fiction. (Tara L. Masih, Mary Akers, Jessica Anthony, Midge Raymond, Laura van den Berg) An exploration of crafting stories and novels that place characters in distant regions and countries, and how travel abroad helped shape the countries of the panelists’ imaginations. Panelists will share travel experiences and photos, inspirations, readings, and the process of creative observation. Tips will be offered on using research to fill in travel gaps, both in contemporary and historical contexts, and on negotiating the complexities of writing about cultures different from one’s own.
Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Level 2
F250. Alison Bechdel & Jeanette Winterson: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Emerson College MFA. (Alison Bechdel, Jeanette Winterson, Elisabeth Schmitz) Alison Bechdel, author of the graphic memoir Fun Home and the ground-breaking comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, and Jeannette Winterson, author of Written on the Body and the memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, present readings from their work followed by a discussion moderated by Elisabeth Schmitz, Executive Editor at Grove/Atlantic, Inc. The events will be introduced by Emerson College’s Steve Yarborough, author of the novels Safe from the Neighbors and The End of California.
Room 202, Level 2
F263. Blue-collar College Students and the Creative Writing Degree. (Jerry Wemple, Lawrence Coates, Claire Lawrence) Faculty from creative writing programs in rust belt regions that traditionally serve students from blue-collar backgrounds ponder what, exactly, they are preparing their students for, since most undergraduates will not become “professional” writers. The panelists discuss what they are trying to accomplish in their programs, what their graduates feel they’ve learned and how they are using that knowledge, and potential revisions to a program after re-assessment at the ten-year mark.
Room 206, Level 2
F266. Bring Out Your Dead: Writing Ghosts (and Zombies) in Literary Fiction. (Rebecca Makkai, Tea Obreht, Lauren Groff, Dan Chaon, Alexi Zentner) The ghost story thrives in literary fiction as well as the oral tradition, defying genre. How do we keep these compelling tales fresh? How do we frighten without resorting to cheap tricks? How do we navigate the borders between spirituality, science, doubt, and a reliable narrative voice? And why are we drawn to these themes again and again? Five writers introduce you to their ghosts and tell you how they summoned them.
Room 207, Level 2
F267. What We Write About When We Write About Music. (Laurie Lindeen, Rick Moody, Will Hermes, Jen Trynin, Jacob Slichter) All art aspires to music because it touches our hearts, souls, senses, and imaginations This panel of writers, musicians, and writing instructors loves, appreciates, knows, and plays music. They have written passionately about music in memoirs, essays, novels, songs, poetry, and blogs. Each individual on this panel would like to share his or her unique path with prose and music, and share their collective beliefs in the emotional, rhythmic importance of musicality when writing and when teaching writing.
Room 102, Plaza Level
F269. The Literary Legacy of Andre Dubus. (Matthew Batt, Andre Dubus III, Melanie Rae Thon, Nancy Zafris, Bruce Machart) Andre Dubus (1936-1999), author of nine volumes of fiction and two collections of essays, including Meditations from a Moveable Chair and Dancing After Hours, was a long-time resident of Haverhill, Massachussets, and is widely recognized as one of the greatest practitioners and teachers of the contemporary short story. Panelists, including Dubus’s son, a former student, a close friend, and a lifelong fan, will discuss their relationship with Dubus and what they learned from his work and life.
Room 110, Hynes Convention Center, Plaza Level
F283. Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors (FUSE) Caucus. (Catherine Dent, Michael Cocchiarale, Esme Franklin, Andrew Baker, Sarah Gzemski) Are you an undergraduate interested in editing and publishing or a faculty member working with undergraduate students on a literary journal or small press? Come join FUSE for its annual meeting, which includes national elections and FUSE chapter updates, followed by a roundtable discussion. This year’s topic is the interdisciplinary nature of undergraduate publishing, i.e. how and why to forge good relationships among departments. Bring ideas and journals to exchange.
Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Level 2
F284. Amy Bloom & Richard Russo: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Lesley University. (Leah Hager Cohen, Amy Bloom, Richard Russo) Amy Bloom is author of the New York Times best-selling Away: A Novel, and Where the God of Love Hangs Out, a collection of short fiction. Richard Russo is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls, Straight Man, and Nobody’s Fool. The reading will begin with an introduction by poet Steven Cramer, director of the Lesley University Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing, and will be followed by a discussion moderated by novelist and critic Leah Hager Cohen, author of The Grief of Others and House Lights.
Hynes Ballroom, Hynes Convention Center, Level 3
F285. Language at the Breaking Point, Sponsored by Blue Flower Arts. (Kwame Dawes, Jorie Graham, Terrance Hayes) Pulitzer Prize-winner Jorie Graham and National Book Award-winner Terrance Hayes stretch language past the barriers of mind and limitations of personal experience to reinstate a kind of dignity to the world. Their creative tensions puncture the commonplace allowing the familiar to dislocate, laying bare our tenuous connection to life. Yet grace and a vivid, wakeful presence abide. Their poems demonstrate how the excavation of language itself can shape new possibilities for imagination to evolve.
Room 303, Level 3
S123. Puritan Scar, Scarlet Letter: Contemporary Writers on Hawthorne’s Masterwork. (John Domini, Amy Wright, Heidi Julavits, Jennifer Haigh) No novel so established Boston as a literary center as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850), and few have left such an indelible trace across the American project since. Hester Prynne’s struggle raises core issues of outsider and community in all their moral contrariness. As art, too, the novel sets a rare challenge, working cross-gender and cross-genre, at once romance and realism, transcendental and ambiguous. Panelists assess the impact the book had both locally and worldwide.
Room 111, Plaza Level
S137. The Art and Craft of Short-Form Nonfiction. (Sarah Einstein, Joni Tevis, Brian Oliu, Chelsea Biondolillo) Can you write an essay in 140 characters? In 750 words or fewer? And can you get it published once you have? Join the managing editor of Brevity, two authors of short-form collections, and a graduate student working in this exciting new form as they share techniques and strategies for writing and marketing short-form nonfiction—from the lyric to the expository.
Room 200, Level 2
S138. The Lake Effect: A Celebration of Fifty Years of Creative Writing at Syracuse University. (Sarah Harwell, George Saunders, Arthur Flowers, Brooks Haxton, Christopher Kennedy) Syracuse University’s creative writing program celebrates its fifty-year anniversary with a reading by current faculty. The faculty will read from their own work as well as highlight work from a diverse and celebrated group of alumni and past faculty. Readers will include poets Brooks Haxton, Christopher Kennedy, and Sarah Harwell and fiction writers Arthur Flowers and George Saunders.
Room 207, Level 2
S144. Agents, Editors, and the State of Publishing. (Mary Gannon, Jofie Ferrari-Adler, Jennifer Joel, Chuck Adams) Agents and editors share behind-the-scenes perspective about what authors need to know about the changing industry of publishing. How have e-books, e-readers, and self-publishing affected the industry? With the closing of Borders and the growing influence of Amazon, how have changes to distribution channels affected the way publishers market books, and what does this mean for authors? How have the best practices for submitting work to agents and editors changed?
Room 302/304, Level 3
S148. Breaking the Jaws of Silence. (Sholeh Wolpe, Kim Addonizio, Tom Sleigh, Quincy Troupe, Yusef Komunyakaa) Poets are a threat to despotic regimes as light is a threat to darkness. In a project to benefit PEN USA’s Freedom to Write program, prominent American poets raise their voices and call on poets to bear witness, to collectively engage, to activate, to call, to give texture, to demand, to caress, to shatter, to build, and to never let the world forget.
Room 306, Level 3
S150. If These Walls Could Talk… Oh Wait, They Do! (Eleanor Henderson, Stewart O’Nan, Tea Obreht) The whole world is a stage, but as fiction writers we get to choose where and when to set a story. That decision can influence everything else in the novel, for better or worse. Four novelists talk about the pressures that settings, both urban and rural, can place on our fiction, and how and why to make choices about landscape.
Room 209, Level 2
S172. From the University of Nebraska Press: Readings from The Prairie Schooner Book Prize Anniversary Reader. (Hilda Raz, Shane Book, Brock Clarke, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Susan Blackwell Ramsey) A perfect time capsule of the diverse, experimental trends in American poetry and short fiction over the last ten years, The Prairie Schooner Book Prize Anniversary Reader pulls together excerpts from all twenty winning books of Prairie Schooner’s Book Prize Series. The Press will launch this anthology at AWP 2013; come listen to four of the most successful winners read and hear Hilda Raz, legend and influential founder of the Book Prize Series, discuss finding work that speaks to our living moment.
Room 302/304, Level 3
S174. Write Where You Know: When Setting Serves as a Main Character in a Novel. (John Roche, Jennifer Haigh, Thomas Kelly, Richard Russo) Richard Russo’s bestselling novels, including Pulitzer-winner Empire Falls, uniquely capture a sense of place, whether it’s dying blue-collar towns in upstate New York or New England enclaves. Thomas Kelly, the author of three novels praised for their authentic depiction of New York City, and Jennifer Haigh, whose four novels include Faith, set in Boston, will join Russo in discussing the importance of setting in their fiction, at times to the point where place itself becomes a main character.
Room 306, Level 3
S177. Reading by Grand Central Authors. (Benjamin Percy, Julianna Baggott, Ed Falco) Discover three of the strongest voices in contemporary fiction at a reading by Grand Central’s finest. Julianna Baggott is the author of Pure, the first book in a postapocalypic series which was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Ed Falco’s most recent novel, a prequel to The Godfather titled The Family Corleone, is based on material excerpted from screenplays by Mario Puzo. Benjamin Percy’s new novel, Red Moon, is an epic and terrifying story of lycans set in the American West. Prepare for a thrilling night—and take the cannoli.
Room 306, Level 3
S204. How to Lose Friends and Alienate Loved Ones: Exploitation vs. Documentation in Creative Nonfiction. (B.J. Hollars, Roxane Gay, Marcia Aldrich, Ryan Van Meter, Bonnie J. Rough) Not every story is flattering, nor is every character. Nevertheless, nonfiction writers continue to document their lives and the lives of others, often at the risk of violating personal relationships. How should writers navigate between revealing the true nature of their subjects without alienating the people themselves? Join four writers as they explore the fine line between documentation and exploitation, among other ethical dilemmas inherent in writing of friends, family, and loved ones.
Room 103, Plaza Level
S211. Video Games, Fan Fiction, and Comics: Alternative Genres as Legitimate Literature. (Leslie Salas, Jim Miller, Elaine Phillips, Kirsten Holt) Alternative forms of narrative are often perceived with disdain or suspicion even though they address the same plots, themes, and conditions of respectable literary forms. Comics have begun to break away from this stigma, but what about more mainstream genres, such as fan fiction and video games? How do all three of these alternative forms both threaten and reinforce ideas about originality and narrative? This panel will make the case for alternative genres as creative literature.
Room 200, Level 2
S219. A Reading by Matthew Batt, Jen Percy, and Rob Currie, Jr. (Matthew Batt, Ron Currie, Jr., and Jacob Paul) Matthew Batt, author of Sugarhouse, Ron Currie, Jr., author of God Is Dead, Everything Matters, and Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles, and Jacob Paul, author of Sarah/Sara, will read from their recent work, all of which deals with, in the face of catastrophic loss, the sometimes funny, sometimes harrowing ways we try to mend our lives.
Room 210, Level 2
S228. Art vs. Commerce: Writing for Love and Money. (Elizabeth Benedict, Stephen McCauley, Stephen Elliott, Maud Newton, Steve Almond) Grace Paley’s advice to writers: Keep your overhead low. But when teaching doesn’t lead to tenure, how do literary writers cobble together a living and a life while writing work that matters? Panelists who have had unconventional careers largely outside the academy examine their decisions and discuss the role of money, literature, and serendipity in their creative pursuits: editing an online literary magazine, writing soft-core porn, and creating advice columns, TV shows, and yoga books under a pseudonym.
Room 302/304, Level 3
S229. Z.Z. Packer & Meg Wolitzer: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. (Cheryl Strayed, Z.Z. Packer, Meg Wolitzer) Fiction writers will give a reading followed by a conversation about race, literature that happens to be written about women (as Wolitzer puts it in a recent New York Times essay), and the realities of the contemporary publishing landscape, moderated by Cheryl Strayed, VIDA board member and author of Wild. AWP participants are encouraged to join a brief Q&A period to be held afterwards.
Room 302/304, Level 3
S256. Smart Girls. (Terry Ann Thaxton, Terese Svoboda, Bobbie Ann Mason, Kelly Cherry, Elissa Schappell) Girl does not denote age but power—no men in it. No ladies-first either. A girl’s got gumption. A pre- and post-feminist name for great girl lit. Different from the chick kind, the just-hatched; we’ve been around, we’re serious. This is for women and men who go for it, featuring readings from our books that qualified us for The Smart Girls club. We represent a diversity of age, region, and genres.
Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Level 2
S263. Augusten Burroughs & Cheryl Strayed: A Reading & Conversation, Sponsored by the Wilkes University Low-Residency MA/MFA Program in Creative Writing. (Bob Morris, Augusten Burroughs, Cheryl Strayed) Augusten Burroughs, author of memoirs Running with Scissors and Dry, and Cheryl Strayed, author of the best-selling memoir Wild and the voice behind the Rumpus’s beloved “Dear Sugar” column, will present readings of their work, followed by a discussion moderated by columnist and commentator Bob Morris, author of the memoir Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating with My Dad. The authors will be introduced by playwright and novelist Bonnie Culver, director of the Wilkes University Low-Residency MA/MFA Program in Creative Writing.
Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be part of the “Vampire by Vampire: Genre Writing and the Creative Writing Workshop” panel at AWP with Jeffrey Condran, Alissa Nutting, Elizabeth Weber, and B.J. Hollars. It went so much better than I hoped for and lots of interesting–and frustrated–students asked questions and stopped to talk with us even after the panel ended. A few days later, Matt Bell asked me to share my opening statement from the panel, and I figured I might as well put it here so that anyone who missed the panel interested in genre and the writing workshop could check it out. I’ve also included B.J. Hollars’ opening statement below, and if anyone else wants to contribute–from the panel or otherwise–please e-mail me and I’d be happy to publish them here on my website. I’d love to continue the amazing discussion we began at AWP. So, without further adieu, here’s B.J.
Genre fiction can be a colossal failure in the creative writing classroom, but so can more conventional fiction. ‘Failed’ attempts are not monopolized by any one genre. There’s a grand tradition of ‘failure’ in the workshop, none more so because a vampire makes an appearance in the prose. In short, ‘failure’ takes on many forms.
Yet the workshop’s ‘successes’ are diverse as well. The ability for students to give birth to multiple characters in less than a nine-month gestation period is a feat that not even nature can top. And so when undergraduates do this, it’s something to be admired, regardless of whether these characters have razor-sharp canines or black capes or a B.A. in blood transfusion from the University of Transylvania.
Placing too many restrictions on genre—telling students what they can and cannot do—is almost like asking them to write stories with half the alphabet. And writing is hard enough.
When a student leaves my classroom, I hope for two things.
1.) That the student has a greater exuberance to write than when she first stepped through the door.
2.) That the student has a greater exposure to the many genre possibilities available to her.
As such, in my creative writing classroom, students have few restrictions other than that I encourage them to write in more than one genre. I call this my ‘shoe shopping theory.’ After all, how many of us walk into a shoe store and find the perfect pair of shoes on the first try? Sometimes we need to walk in them for awhile, break them in, earn a few blisters. By toying with genre, out students have more tools at their disposal, more opportunities for success, a greater versatility.
I am ‘pro’ genre fiction in the workshop for three reasons.
1.) Genre fiction adds much needed diversity into the creative writing classroom.
2.) It gives students the opportunity to write what they love, though it also encourages them to discover new loves as well.
3.) In the end, the class is about the student, and I am only one person in it. And frankly, I don’t want to be the teacher that told a seventeen-year-old Stephen King to knock it off with the horror, informed a young Nora Roberts that romance has no place in the world, asked Louis L’amour to holster his six shooters. Sometimes a student has already found her niche, and I don’t want to ‘unfind’ it.
However, I acknowledge three ‘cons’ as well.
1.) When workshopping genre fiction, I’ve observed the occasional pushback from other students. They’re forced to recalibrate beyond a ‘normal’ aesthetic, which can be difficult.
2.) For sci-fi and fantasy, it’s quite hard to create an entire world and its people in twelve double-spaced pages. Similarly, it’s hard to workshop these pieces.
3.) Finally, many professors feel that since they aren’t experts on genre fiction, they’re uncomfortable providing feedback to students that may lead the students in the wrong direction. This seems fair. However, I don’t want my own ignorance to stifle anyone else’s creativity. Arguable, every story—regardless of genre—has a plot and characters and a setting. All of these skills can be easily transferrable. To quite Robert F. Kennedy (who may or may not have been talking about genre fiction), ‘That which unites us is far greater than that which divides us.’ And I think this applies quite well to genre fiction in the workshop setting as well. “
And now my statement:
My experience with genre writing is a little different than most in that I not only write literary fiction, but I also write very genre heavy comic books. Even my prose is varied in style. Sometimes I’ll write really realistic stories and other times there will be ghosts and haunted Nintendos. The schools I’ve taught at so far have been resistant to allowing student writers to produce genre fiction. On one hand I see their point. My experience with students who come into writing workshops who only want to write genre hasn’t been super positive. They’re often frustrated by the outside readings that are so unlike what they’re attempting to create, and their stories usually focus 100% on plot and often ignore characterization or any attempt at emotional complexity. On the flip side, I understand their frustration. They recognize that the university doesn’t value the kind of writing they most admire, and in so many ways, we’re discouraging them from producing the type of work they most care about. I can definitely relate to that as an undergrad. Whenever I brought in something to workshop that was slightly left of realism, the students and professor would essentially spend the entire workshop reconstructing the story minus those elements. That type of environment can be pretty demoralizing.
So far, I’ve mostly taught intermediate and advanced levels of creative writing, and one of my biggest concerns about genre fiction is that it sometimes isn’t allowed in senior and cap stone classes. Am I doing a disservice to students by allowing them to write in a mode that’s deemed totally unacceptable in upper-level classes? The best solution I’ve come up with so far is to first make it very clear that students can’t critique a story simply because it’s realism and they hate realism, or on the flip side, because it’s fantastic and they hate the fantastic. Then, I try right from the outset to include a lot of writers who are experimenting with genre elements in literary fiction. We read Etgar Keret’s “Fatso”, essentially a reworking of a traditional werewolf story. We read Matt Bell’s “His Last Great Gift”, about a 19th century minister building a techno robot savior. We read the ghost-laden craziness of George Saunders. And we read “Porn Star” by Alissa which involves anal sex on the moon. The key for me with genre students has been to show them that character still matters in genre writing and is the most important element of all writing. I ask them to think about any story they like, be it a movie, comic, novel, whatever. They always have memorable, interesting characters even if they’re not likable. I tell them that literary fiction is the ultimate umbrella genre. It can include elements from realism, sci-fi, western, horror, you name it. When students begin to understand that they hopefully start to see the university’s focus on literary fiction as an opportunity to experiment and not as some kind of arbitrary restriction meant to guilt them for liking what they like. When students put up straight genre for workshop, I’ll often discuss the differences between the original Star Wars trilogy and the prequels. One has memorable characters doing interesting things with emotional consequences. The other has one-dimensional names moving around in a video game. I ask them to aspire to the former, and I think they respect that.
Now that I have a tenure track job and a forthcoming novel, I’ve decided to turn this blog into a tumblr about all the retro video games I find.
Ok. I’m not going that far, but I do think it might be fun if I document some of the games I find in my travels. Most people who know me in real life know I’m a huge retro game collector. I don’t much care for the new systems–I have a Wii that I mostly use for Netflix and occasionally NBA2K12–and instead prefer the games of my youth or earlier: the Nintendo Entertainment System and games where you go right and jump. I started collecting in 2004 and my ultimate goal is to own all 750 NES games. So far I’m a little over 200 mostly because I’ve dipped into collecting Super Nintendo, Atari 2600, Intellivision, and most recently, Sega Saturn games.
What most laypeople find relatively interesting about retro gaming is the way I go about finding them. I personally think buying them online is cheating and half the fun of the hobby is finding these things in the wild. That means flea markets, pawn shops, and thrift stores. You can find old games via retail outlets, but those are growing rarer and I try to avoid them because of the marked up prices. Nintendo games are not worth more than $5, and I do my best not to pay more than that.
Recently, I visited Chicago, Columbus, and Indianapolis. Here’s what I found along with a few things tracked down in Pittsburgh. Everything was purchased within the last two weeks.
I found these in an Exchange chain store in Chicago. They’re Super Famicon games–the Japanese Super Nintendo equivalent. Dragon Quest I & II, Dragon Quest V, and Dragon Quest VI. They’re text heavy and completely in Japanese and I have no way to play them, but at $5 a pop, I couldn’t pass them up–my friends Kevin and Katie were with me when I purchased these and when I told them they were completely impossible to play they just blinked at me; even the store clerk sassed me.
I also picked these up during AWP at a different retail store that had tons of retro games. I nabbed Wall Street Kid for 95 cents and A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Bloblonia for $2. I regret nothing.
These were total no brainers. Complete, in-box Intellivision games from the same Chicago retail store as above. Star Strike was $5 and Demon Attack was $2. The later is my favorite Intellivision game that I currently own, and the former was promoted by the Paris Review‘s George Plimpton.
I picked these up at the Exchange a few blocks away from my apartment. $2 each for Viper and Wrath of the Black Manta, common but fun games, and $5 for King of the Ring, a pretty uncommon, bordering on rare, late generation NES title. Plus it has Bret Hart on the cover.
Intellivision games are wildly overpriced, so I was ecstatic to find these three titles for $1 each at a retail store in Columbus, Ohio. BurgerTime is an all time favorite, and I’m curious to see what 1982 NBA action looks like on Intellivision. Tron Deadly Discs is the steal of the group, as I’ve seen it go complete, in-box for over $25. Plus, it yells at you. I have the Intellivision voice module and greatly look forward to being verbally abused by the Master Control Program.
Both of these gems cost $2. I picked up Marble Madness at the same Columbus store from above, and I found All Pro Basketball–developed by one of my favorite NES companies, Vic Tokai–at a flea market in Pittsburgh, Trader Jack’s.
Professional Idiot Chris Lee left his Nintendo 64 at my house last year, and I’m never giving it back. At Trader Jack’s, I haggled some bro eating a sandwich into giving me Perfect Dark and Wave Race 64 for a combined $4. Eat it, Chris Lee.
This is easily my best thrift store find–surpassing Double Dragon III for $1 in 2005–and my best system find ever–surpassing an Odyssey 3000 at Trader Jack’s for $6. I purchased this Sega Saturn with all the hook ups and a controller at Goodwill for $13. They clearly didn’t know what they had. Saturns can set you back $50 normally, and the clerk thought that a stack of Atari 2600 games would work on it. I MEAN COME ON.
The system has a broken watch battery inside, so every time I turn it on it asks me if it’s 1994–my girlfriend saw this and burst out laughing–but other than that, it works great.
Another steal at Trader Jack’s! I bought the turbo pad and multi-controller adapter for Saturn at $5 combined, and I found the regular pad in Columbus for $7. Now I can play Sega Saturn with five other friends. The only difficulty is finding a single other human being on earth who wants to play Sega Saturn in 2012.
Saturn games are pretty difficult to track down these days, but I managed some good deals. I found Dayton USA for $2 in Indianapolis and Fighting Vipers for $8 in the Dormont Exchange. Scud–based on a comic written by Community creator Dan Harmon–and The Horde—a strategy adventure starring Kirk Cameron as a medieval servant named Chauncey–set me back $6 combined at Trader Jack’s.