Salvatore Pane

Tag: Spider-Man

Books and Booze Podcast

5169_524716058084_7552179_n

Last night, mere moments after the Knicks’ excruciating loss to Boston, I recorded a podcast about Last Call in the City of Bridges with the fine folks at Books and Booze. I want to thank Renee Pickup, Jessica Taylor, and Dakota Taylor for having me. I tried to keep it together and only devolved into a long tirade about Reggie Miller once. Topics include social media, Nintendo, Weekend at Bernie’s II, and the time David James Keaton bought me a Spider-Man fighting ring for our trip to Vegas.

Advertisements

I AM GOING TO LIVESTREAM MY ATTEMPT TO FIX THE 99 PLAYOFFS IN NBA 2K ON SEGA DREAMCAST, AND THEN I WILL BECOME A REAL HUMAN BEING (Part 1)

Let me take you back to 1999. It was a pivotal year in my sports fandom. Dan Marino, my all-time favorite football player and the unquestioned leader of my beloved Miami Dolphins, played his final game. The NBA lockout was drawing to a close, but not without affecting my enthusiasm for the game. My love affair with the NBA, and more specifically, the New York Knicks, began five years earlier when Patrick Ewing led the team to the Finals. Battle-tested warriors like John Starks and Charles Oakley lost out to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets while Michael Jordan hammed it up in Birmingham playing minor league baseball. I was ten years old and still vividly remember where I was when we lost the title. My mother had taken me to a pool party one of her co-workers was throwing, and I sat dry and upset in the living room watching the game unfold with the co-worker’s husband. We sat quietly, and the man only made a comment when Ewing, or more frequently Olajuwon, threw down a thunderous dunk. At halftime, my mom drove me home, and I watched the Knicks wilt. Something about the way they so utterly choked–I need not mention John Starks’ disastrous performance–endeared the Knicks to me more than any title ever could. Like Spider-Man, my favorite superhero, the Knicks could lose and even be embarrassed. This was no dynasty, and over the next five years I watched them choke again and again, tormented by Reggie Miller, Pat Riley, and then the Supreme Evil One, Michael Jordan, returned from the baseball fields of mediocrity to again torment Patrick Ewing, the college foe he’d dispatched in the NCAA title game a decade earlier.

After Jordan’s second of three retirements, it became clear that we’d reached this iteration of the Knicks’ final chance for glory. By the time I prepared to enter high school, Patrick Ewing was on the slow slide to forty and could barely dunk, Larry Johnson’s stats had regressed every season since his rookie year, and Allan Houston was about to endure a series of career shortening injuries. Even Jeff Van Gundy, my favorite Knicks coach, was about to be kicked out of Madison Square Garden forever. The window for the Knicks to get a title was about to slam shut, and what I didn’t know at the time was that both the Knicks and Dolphins were about to begin a decade of irrelevance. The days of watching Knick game after Knick game on the MSG network were about to come to a sudden stop.

If you don’t know the history, here’s what happened: the Knicks barely made the ’99 playoffs. After a series of unexpected wins against longtime rivals, the Heat and Pacers, the team lost to the Spurs in the Finals in an eerie callback to the ’94 series John Starks no-showed. Dan Marino retired. Patrick Ewing left New York. I entered high school and adopted a pretentious too cool for sports mentality I awkwardly cultivated deep into college. I found my way back to basketball through March Madness years later, but it wasn’t till Amar’e Stoudemire signed with the Knicks in the summer of 2010 when I really began following the team night in and night out again

All of this preamble exists so I can tell you this: last week I purchased NBA 2k on Sega Dreamcast for 99 cents. In it, the Knicks are how they exist in my sepia-toned memories. Patrick Ewing! Larry Johnson! Latrell Sprewell! Allan Houston! Charlie Ward! Marcus Camby! Kurt Thomas! I can replay the ’99 playoffs and fix things once and for all. I WILL LIVEBLOG MY JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF THE DIGITAL PLAYOFFS, AND THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL I BECOME A REAL PERSON.

Over the next few weeks (months?), I’m going to be chronicling my run through the ’99 playoffs. I’ll also be livestreaming all future games on my ustream channel. Unfortunately, NBA 2k doesn’t allow you to select which teams make the playoffs, so what you see below is the playoff picture the computer dealt to me. One game in, and the Knicks have annihilated the Scottie Pippen-less Bulls to take a 1-0 lead. Purists take note, I have updated the ’99 best of five round one format to the best of seven round one the NBA currently uses today. Please forgive me.

Please, please forgive me.

2013-01-30 17.09.06 2013-01-30 17.09.19
2013-01-30 17.25.45 2013-01-30 17.39.46 2013-01-30 17.40.15

Edward James Olmos and the Next Big Thing

bsgadama

Cathy Day recently tagged me in The Next Big Thing, a series of blog entries where writers across the genres interview themselves and promote their books. Basically, I answered a bunch of e-mail chain questions. It’s come to this. Expect interviews from Tyler Gobble and Jay Varner next week.

What is the title of your novel?

Last Call in the City of Bridges.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

On one level, the book is about how modern twenty-somethings mediate loneliness by turning to virtual friends on Facebook and Twitter instead of seeking comfort from physical, flesh and blood people. I was living in Pittsburgh when I started writing the book—this was in the summer of 2009—and the majority of my friends suddenly and en masse moved away. We tried to keep in touch via Facebook, but I quickly found myself feeling more depressed as I “liked” their photos and made comments on their links. I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling.

What genre does your book fall under?

Literary fiction? Humor? Coming of age? Pop culture? Maybe wacky literary pop culture infused coming of age fiction?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

You know Edward James Olmos? The dude who played Admiral Adama in Battlestar Galactica? The sixty-five year old actor made famous in Stand and Deliver and Selena? I have this weird fantasy for a film version of Last Call where Olmos plays every character kind of like the barbershop scene in Coming to America, or more accurately, Eddie Murphy’s less successful venture, The Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps. Olmos plays nerdy twenty-something protagonist Michael Bishop. Olmos in drag plays love interest/pastor’s daughter Ivy Chase. Olmos plays Michael’s dead best friend from high school. Olmos plays everybody. The soundtrack is completely culled from Busta Rhymes’ 1999 sci-fi epic Extinction Level Event: The Final World Front. I would definitely watch that if somebody made it.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

EXTRAORDINAY SWAG AND A MOUTH FULL OF GOLD:  THE MICHAEL BISHOP STORY (TRILL BOY IS SOME SHIT YOU NEVER HEARD OF)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The novel was published by Braddock Avenue Books, a fantastic independent press based out of Pittsburgh. It’s headed up by Jeff Condran and Robert Peluso, both amazing writers in their own right. My work is represented by Jenni Ferrari-Adler of the Union Literary Agency. She’s a great editor, and she’s been an absolute pleasure to work with.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I completed a “draft” of Last Call in about four months, but it was missing major characters and what eventually became the ending. It couldn’t be more different, and it took me about three years of editing for the book to become what it is now.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Man, this is ridiculous. Because if I say, “this book is a lot like The Great Gatsby,” I come off as a total douchebag. Instead, I think I’ll list some books that inspired Last Call: Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth, The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon, and anything and everything Lorrie Moore has ever done.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Kanye West. A$AP Rocky. Patrick Ewing. Spider-Man. Spider-Ham. Spider-Man 2099. Spider-Ham 2099. The world in Super Mario Bros. 3 where everything is really big. All the levels in Super Mario Bros. 3 where Mario gets to ride around in a giant green boot.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Look. I’m the worst at trying to convince people to read my stuff. For a brief, terrifying couple of days I thought You Better Fucking Read This: A Novel was a good title for the book. So I don’t know. If you want to read a book about the internet, sex, booze, classic Nintendo games, relationships, Obama, Pittsburgh, Kanye West, religion, death, and finding your way in the world, this might be a book you enjoy.

Last Call #KanyeWest Mixtape Spider-Man Advance Copy Contest Winners

There were a lot of Last Call in the City of Bridges and #KanyeWestSavedFromDrowning contests this weekend. I’m not going to list all the winners, just the folks who won a PERSONAL MIXTAPE MADE BY THIS GUY in addition to a ’90s issue of Spider-Man with a poem about Spider-Man written by me. Also, one person who watched my livestream on Friday won the last review copy of my novel.

WINNERS (?) BELOW

MIXTAPE + SPIDER-MAN POEM

Brian Oliu
Sam Martone
Katie Coyle

FINAL ADVANCE COPY OF LAST CALL IN THE CITY OF BRIDGES

Bob Helfst

Thanks everybody who submitted contest entries, bought the novel and/or chapbook, or watched the livestream. You guys are all dope.

Win My Novel Before It Comes Out

Contest time. The next person who pre-orders my novel Last Call in the City of Bridges from Braddock Avenue Books’ website and then sends me proof–please don’t give me your credit card info–will win a ton of stuff.

I’ll mail you an advance reader’s copy today for free. You’ll get the book way before its November 6th release date. I’ll also send you a copy of my chapbook from NAP called #KanyeWestSavedFromDrowning. I’m also throwing in two of the following. IT’S YOUR CHOICE. A copy of GQ where I’ve dog eared all the stuff I want to buy–I warmed it up for you! A copy of a Clone Saga issue of Spider-Man from the mid-nineties–referenced in the book! Or a copy of Excitebike for the Nintendo Entertainment System. I’m signing everything.

IT’S ONLY $16!

Retro Video Game Finds IV

I caught you slipping, Reggie Miller.

Dispatches From a Creative Writing Camp: SPORTS! COMICS!

For the third summer in a row, I’m teaching at the Young Writers Institute in Pittsburgh, a day camp for grade school and high school students who have elected to spend their time away from school learning about poems and stories. Before, I always taught at the grade school component which, although it involved serious writing, was also broken up with trips to the library, parks, and various tourist locations across Pittsburgh. This year I’m teaching in the high school version and really enjoying it. The day is broken up into a series of workshops which any student can sign up for. I teach one a day, and I’ve been experimenting with things that come from my own writing and other lectures/exercises I use with my college students.

I thought it might be interesting to share some of my workshops here. Much of what I do in the classroom involves talking. I’m chatty. Below, there are three prompts about sports, but most of that hour long workshop was spent discussing why sports are so important to so many of us and why it’s so difficult to write about something so many people can relate to. I figure out what I think on a subject by talking, and the students who gravitate toward me the most do the same. This is all to say that I can never replicate an hour long workshop by posting prompts, and I hope you don’t judge me on these alone. That’s not the intent.

Dude. I just want to share some exercises and thoughts.

1. Writing About Sports: Nonfiction AND Fiction

A. Write about your most vivid experience playing a sport, organized or non-organized. Focus on the sights, smells, and sounds. Can you make your experience stand out for people who’ve gone through similar events?

B. Explain why your favorite team is your favorite team. What makes them special and unique? Why should anyone care what team you root for other than you? Should they care? Is it all basically the same anyway, or is there a fundamental difference between a Yankees and Pirates fan?

C. Write a fictionalized account of your favorite athlete. Do not put them in a familiar situation. What does it mean to be an athlete/celebrity if we’re putting them into scenarios we know have nothing to do with them? Can a totally fictionalized scenario about an athlete/celebrity shed light on who we perceive them to be?

2. How to Write a Comic: Superheroes and Origins

HANDOUTS:

Note: This is an excerpt from an unpublished script written by myself and my longtime comics co-writer Mark Kleman.

Page 1 EXT. OUTSIDE SNAKE WELL – DAY

Wide establishing shot of Snake Well. It’s a small 3 road town in the middle of the desert surrounded by a twenty-foot wall built from logs. In the center of the town is a a 4 story wooden tower vaguely resembling a rook chess piece. The buildings are are all reminiscent of the main streets in classic Western films like True Grit or The Searchers of Tombstone. There are a few wooden houses apart from the main roads and a tent city as well. The city is buzzing with haggard men and women milling about and tending to their horses. The sun hangs bright in the distance.

Snake Well, Texas – 1885

A covered wagon pulled by two side-by-side horses  approaches the reader slowly. Two men are sitting in the front bench of the wagon, and a third sits on a separate horse that trots alongside them. The reader cannot see inside the wagon. The men are dressed like cattle rustlers–worn cowboy hats and chaps, dust-covered and hungry. REGULATOR 1 (the man on the bench) is bearded, curly hair hanging down for his hat. REGULATOR 2 (the other man on the bench) looks young, no older than a teenager, a twinkle in his eyes. REGULATOR 3 (riding the horse) is paunchy.

Two guards sit atop a fortification on the gate in the wooden wall surrounding Snake Well. Both guards appear middle-aged, neither are particularly tough looking. They eye the approaching strangers suspiciously.

Guard 1

What do you want, strangers?

Regulator 3

We’s just looking for a place to stay and water our horses. On our way to California.

Guard 1

I got orders not to let any pass till the boss returns.

Close-up on the wagon. REGULATOR 2 has moved the curtain and now the reader can see a little bit (although not everything) inside. There is a sick woman–FEMALE REGULATOR–brunette with her hair in a bun dressed in a torn Victorian dress. She is coughing, holding a handkerchief to her mouth. REGULATOR 1 looks disgusted because the guards won’t let them in.

REGULATOR 1

My wife’s sick with dysentery! Please, she just needs water!

Close up on the guards. GUARD 2 gives GUARD 1 a pleading look to do what is right. GUARD 1 looks put out.

Guard 1

Ah, hell. Open the gate.

A. Jack Kirby and Stan Lee used to work primarily in the nine panel grid, the most classic of sequential art structures. One of the major difficulties for writers in the comic business today is not being overly wordy and letting the art tell the story. This can be especially difficult for those of with a prose background. Today, can you write a one page, nine panel script using less than 15 words of dialogue or captions on any given panel? Remember, your descriptions can be as long as you want, just make sure you keep your panels clean of too many words. To get you started: a character in a New York City apartment looks out their window and is shocked to see…

B. You are now freed from the nine panel grid and may use as many or as few panels as necessary to tell your story. I’d like for you to now create your own superhero or villain and tell their origin. Think of how Spider-Man was born when puny Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider. Remember, origins don’t necessarily have to be long. Look at the Fantastic Four example above. Dr. Doom’s entire origin is given in five panels.

2012 AWP Guide

And so it begins again. In less than two months we will be reunited in Chi-town to discuss our websites, publications, and favorite Nintendo games. xTx will play Dark Tower. Devan Goldstein will cry. Brian Oliu will rock a track suit. I will undoubtedly ramble about mid-nineties Spider-Man stories to vaguely interested new friends.

A-W-P!

This is my third year writing a guide, and it’s my fourth time attending. Each year has been significantly better than the last. What began as an excuse to hang around an exotic city with my friends has turned into the conference where Facebook Comes to Life! Here are all those people that post things that I click a button to like! And most of them are great people too! And they’re all fun to drink with. Let me recap what I basically said in last year’s guide. There are two AWPs. There’s the day AWP where you engage in thought provoking panels and strike up conversation with interesting people in the bookfair who work for journals and presses. Then there’s the night AWP where you attend reading after reading and everything is in a bar and everyone’s going nuts. It’s the worst. It’s the best. It’s AWP.

In the unlikely event that you’re interested in hanging out with this champion (crickets), here are three times/locations you can definitely find me.

Thursday
7

Convocation in Chicago
Location: Beauty Bar
Cost: Free
PANK, Annalemma, and Mud Luscious will once again host a holy meeting of literary minds. Convocation in Chicago will feature performances by Scott McClanahan, Daiva Markelis, Jac Jemc, Robb Todd, Sal Pane, Brian Oliu, Aubrey Hirsch, Matt Bell, xTx, Chris Newgent, Brett Elizabeth Jenkins, Casey Hannan, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Brandi Wells, Doug Paul Case, Ryan Bradley, Myfanwy Collins, Sarah Rose Etter, Laura Ellen Scott, Molly Laich, and Allyson Boggess.

Friday
7
Stymie Magazine Presents: A Really Big Show
Location:Theory Sport.Dine.Lounge; 9 W. Hubbard
Cost: FREE
Stymie Mag is coming to AWP 2012 and we’re throwing a party, or at least a reading with words, beverages, and good times at Theory Sports Lounge. We couldn’t be more excited and hope you are too (and that you’ll mark the date/time on what we’re sure is an already busy AWP calendar)!

Featuring:
Cynthia Hawkins, Tim Kahl, Jeanie Chung, James O’Brien, Lauren Becker, Alex Moody, Steven Kowalski, Joseph Baron-Pravda, Diane Durant McGurren, Shaindel Beers, Sal Pane, Erin Elizabeth Smith, Joe Ponepinto, J. Bradley, Megan Cass, Elijah Burrell, Ilan Mochari, Tyler Gobble, Mark Cugini, and Maria Nazos

Saturday
10:30am-11:45am
S143. Vampire by Vampire: Genre Writing and the Creative Writing Workshop
(Jeffrey Condran, Aubrey Hirsch, Alissa Nutting, Salvatore Pane)
Honoré Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, Lobby Level
At a time when many students’ visual literacy is as highly developed as their traditional literary skills, when genre fiction dominates publisher and best-seller lists, and when many writers of literary fiction are open to narratives that reach beyond realism, instructors are often under pressure to include genre traditions in the fiction workshop. Four fiction writers teaching at colleges with diverse missions share stories and discuss strategies for including genre conventions in the workshop.

Below are the panels I’m thinking of attending. Let me be extremely clear on this. These aren’t the top however many panels of AWP. These are just the ones I’m most interested in seeing. That means there’s a huge fiction/comics/pedagogy/small press bias. Also, I’ll be rolling out a guide to the outside events sometime in the near future. Get pumped.

Thursday
9-10:15

R103. A Writing Life, After the Workshop
(Ilana Shabanov, April Newman, Daniel Prazer, James Lower, Sheree Greer)
Boulevard Room A,B,C, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
This intensive presentation covers what your MFA program might have missed: how to organize and sustain a writing life in today’s economy. Our event showcases planning ideas, technology solutions, and tools writers can use to take control of their career and maintain a writing lifestyle long-term. The approach is engaging to the audience, displaying websites and tools available to writers to promote their work. The audience members will come away with resources and an action plan for their writing life. A Q&A session follows.

R104. The Constant Critic Anniversary Panel: Poetry Reviewing in the 21st Century
(Karla Kelsey, Ray McDaniel, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Vanessa Place, Jordan Davis)
Continental A, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level
In 2002, Fence publisher Rebecca Wolff began the Constant Critic, an online-only poetry book review website. The venues for poetry criticism have dramatically altered in the past ten years, but the ,CC, has remained. This panel, staffed by the site’s five critics (two of whom have been with the project since the beginning) discusses what it means to have a lengthy presence in one venue along with issues surrounding the rapidly changing world of poetry publication, dissemination, and criticism.

R108. Reports from the Trenches: Teaching Novel and Novella Workshops
(Richard Sonnenmoser, Sabina Murray, Katherine Karlin, Cynthia Reeves)
Lake Erie, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Workshops focused on long-form narratives are difficult for many creative writing teachers to imagine. This panel focuses on issues related to the effective teaching of novel and novella workshops for graduates and undergraduates. Panelists who have been in the trenches of long-form workshops will discuss course design and suggested readings and give advice about the problems specific to workshops focused on longer forms.

R111. Of, By, and For the People: Indie Lit in the Second City
(S. Whitney Holmes, Jacob S. Knabb, James Tadd Adcox, Amanda Marbais, Jonathan Fullmer)
Lake Ontario, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Editors from a range of Chicago publications—online and print, established and upstart—discuss why independent literature thrives in Chicago, how their organizations contribute to a dynamic local literary community, and how their publications contextualize the city’s contemporary literary landscape for readers outside of Chicago. Panelists invite questions about how to get involved in the literary and publishing community in Chicago and offer advice for fostering such a community in any city.

R117. The Business of Publishing Your Novel with an Independent Press: Author and Publisher Perspectives
(Dennis Johnson, Joe Meno, Adam Levin, Christopher Boucher, Leigh Stein)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Melville House publisher and co-founder Dennis Johnson leads a practical discussion of the publishing process with four authors in various stages of their literary careers: Joe Meno has had seven books published since 1999, Adam Levin’s first novel was a 2010 critical hit, and Christopher Boucher and Leigh Stein have debut novels appearing in 2011 and 2012. Topics include acquisitions, editing, big house versus indie publishing, publicity, marketing, tours, social networking, and the changing role of the author.

R119. Flash Points: Publishing Flash Fiction in an Evolving Landscape
(Glenn Shaheen, Roxane Gay, Nancy Stebbins, Edward Mullany, Adam Peterson)
Empire Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 3rd Floor
Editors from PANK, NANO Fiction, matchbook, SmokeLong Quarterly, and the Cupboard discuss trends they see in the flash fiction submitted to their journals. What are some tropes they’re tired of? Things they wish they’d see more often? Are prose poems and flash fiction pieces scrutinized differently when submitted? Join the editors as they attempt to (briefly, of course) characterize the landscape of contemporary flash fiction and give advice to those who are submitting their shortest work.

10:30-11:45

R127. Ideas That Always Work; Solutions That Never Fail: Best Practices for the Creative Writing Workshop
(Christopher Castellani, Ethan Gilsdorf, Lisa Borders, Jill McDonough)
Continental A, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level
Every workshop has problems: the dude who won’t stop talking; the lady who keeps psychoanalyzing; the inappropriately dirty/violent/creepy story. Every workshop needs new ideas: unique exercises that always yield worthwhile pages; rules that structure conversation without squashing spontaneity. In this panel, instructors of all genres will share case studies of how they deal with common problems and also reveal their best strategies for maximizing the effectiveness and fairness of workshops.

R130. Angles of Ascent
(Toi Derricotte, Major Jackson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Dawn Lundy Martin, Vievee Francis)
International Ballroom South, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
In this reading, representative voices of eighty poets spanning three generations discuss and read from the anthology Angles of Ascent (edited by Charles Rowell). This landmark project was published by W. W. Norton in February 2012. Toi Derricotte, Major Jackson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Vievee Francis will discuss the nature and importance of Angles of Ascent in American poetry. This will be followed by twenty minutes of readings and a ten-minute exchange with the audience.

R134. Phoning It In: Publishing through an iPhone App
(Maribeth Batcha, Tyler Meier, Sunyoung Lee, Daniel Pritchard, Chad Post)
Lake Michigan, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Representatives from five leading publishers—Boston Review, Kaya Press, Kenyon Review, One Story, Open Letter—discuss their experiences: the pitfalls, successes, and strategies of publishing digitally.

R142. Ten Years of Literary Politics: Is There Still Room and Interest in the New Marketplace?
(Dennis Johnson, Valerie Merians, Jessa Crispin)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Jessa Crispin, founder of the seminal lit-blog Bookslut, leads a discussion with Melville House founders Valerie Merians and Dennis Johnson on the challenges and importance of publishing political literature in a changing industry. Topics explored include: books of longform cultural and political rhetoric in the age of the Internet, the specific demands of political publishing, and the dedication to activism in the arts.

12-1:15

R153. Writing the American West
(D. Seth Horton, Antonya Nelson, Toni Jensen, K. L. Cook, Claire Vaye Watkins)
Continental B, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level
Best of the West: New Stories from the Wide Side of the Missouri is an annual anthology of exceptional short fiction rooted in the western United States. Four award-winning contributors gather to read from their recently anthologized work. They will be introduced by D. Seth Horton, the series co-editor

R159. A Novel Problem: Moving from Story to Book in the MFA Program
(Cathy Day, David Haynes, Patricia Henley, Sheila O’Connor, Elizabeth Stuckey-French)
Lake Michigan, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Short stories are often our main pedagogical tools, but the book is the primary unit of literary production. When are apprentice writers ready to write novels, and how do we review them in a workshop setting? How can we create courses and curricula that encourage students to move toward and complete book projects? This panel will explore the challenges of accommodating the novel or the novel-in-stories within the structure of an MFA program.

R164. A Reading from the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop Instructors
(David Lynn, David Baker, Nancy Zafris, Rebecca McClanahan, Geeta Kothari)
Wiliford A, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Held annually in the month of June, the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop is a week-long residential writing experience that focuses on the generation of new material in an intimate, creative, and productive setting. This reading by recent faculty offers the opportunity to hear the work of returning instructors and will include an audience guided Q&A about Kenyon’s process-oriented approach.

R170. Villains and Killers and Criminals, Oh My: Representing Evildoers in Literary Fiction
(Reese Okyong Kwon, Matt Bell, Eugene Cross, Brian Evenson, Lauren Groff)
Honoré Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, Lobby Level
Iago, the Misfit, Milton’s Satan, Judge Holden—some of the most memorable characters in literature have been the evil ones. “The death of Satan was a tragedy / For the imagination,” said Wallace Stevens. If this is true, how can fiction writers profit from the inclusion of villainy, and what might be lost? Join writers as they discuss their experiences incorporating elements of evil into their fiction, providing examples from their own and others’ work.

1:30-2:45

R175. The Tech-Empowered Writer: Embrace New Media, Experiment, and Earn
(Christina Katz, Jane Friedman, Seth Harwood, Robert Lee Brewer)
Boulevard Room A,B,C, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
What can a professor, a journalist, a novelist, and a poet teach you about new media? Using real-life examples from our own experience and that of other tech-savvy writers, we’ll construct a composite of how working writers use technology to invest in their careers, experiment and launch new works, and grow their income opportunities. Whether you need a day job, a part-time job, or just enough gigs to pay a few bills, there have never been so many ways for tech-savvy writers to earn.

R180. East and West: Creative Nonfiction and the Possibility of Post-Orientalist Travel Writing
(Joshua Schriftman, Faith Adiele, Fred D’Aguiar, Elizabeth Kadetsky, Oona Patrick)
Joliet, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
New travel writing too often builds on old notions of race. Developing cultures get reduced to romantic piquancy, and national identities become exotic foils to Western quests for identity: find prayer in one nation; food in another; love in a third. We may know Orientalism when we see it, but does this ultimately help us as writers to avoid it? How can Westerners writing on Eastern experiences use the tools of creative nonfiction to write outside of these old imperialist patterns?

R187. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Reading
(Peter Mountford, Alexander Chee, Bruce Machart, Dean Bakopoulos)
Waldorf, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
A reading by four writers who have had books published in 2011 by one of the most esteemed publishing houses in the United States, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The authors will read from their diverse work and discuss the challenges and benefits of publishing literary fiction with a large publishing house and the changing landscape for emerging novelists.

R191. Keeping a Debut Book Alive
(Justin Taylor, Heidi Durrow, Marie Mockett, Joanna Smith Rakoff, Dylan Landis)
Crystal Room, Palmer House Hilton, 3rd Floor
What happens once a publisher says yes? First, champagne—then the author’s hard work starts. In this economy, relying solely on an in-house publicist, especially for a novel or story collection, can hurt a new book from a little-known writer. Four emerging authors reveal how they generated their own buzz. They discuss publicists, websites, mailing lists, social networking, book festivals, blogging, the art of coaxing people to readings, the legendary book tour—and who really pays for it all.

R193. The Bookstore Is Not Your Best Friend: Effective Small Press Marketing Strategies
(Colleen McKee, C.J. Kearns, Erin Wiles, Behnam Riahi, Winnie Sullivan)
Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
Many publishers and authors starting out mistakenly assume that the first (or even only) places they should market their books and journals to are bookstores. While bookstores should be their friends—and often are—they are not necessarily their best friends. In this panel, publishers and PR people from young yet successful small presses discuss alternative venues for readings and book sales, from anarchist bakeries to punk bars, galleries to outdoor fairs, burlesque nights to feminist groups.

R195. Beyond Pulp—The Futuristic and Fantastic as Literary Fiction
(Anjali Sachdeva, Victoria Blake, Kevin Brockmeier, Brian Evenson, Matthew Williamson)
Red Lacquer Room, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
This panel examines the role of science fiction, horror, and fantasy writing in the world of serious literature. Literary journals’ submission guidelines often include the phrase “no genre fiction,” but these genres include talented writers who wield all the tools of literary fiction. Why are fantasy and sci-fi so often considered trivial? How do publishers separate literary genre writing from pulp fiction? The panel will discuss how literary genre writing is promoted, written, and published.

3-4:15

R208. Periodical Wisdom: Advising Student-Run Lit Mags
(Jay Baron Nicorvo, Jennifer Acker, Don Lee)
Lake Michigan, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Current faculty advisors and publishers of literary magazines discuss the ins and outs of directing a student-run publication.

R212. There Will Be Blood: Writing Violence in Fiction
(Alexi Zentner, Antonya Nelson, Benjamin Percy, Alan Heathcock)
Waldorf, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
As writers, we are often told to kill our darlings and to leave blood on the page. But what if we really mean it? Four writers talk about when, why, and how to introduce violence into fiction, how to choreograph a moment of physical savagery, and walking the line between too little and too much bloodshed.

R215. Points of View/Angles of Approach
(Peter Turchi, Robert Boswell, C.J. Hribal, Susan Neville)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Point of view is one of the most complex of the basic elements of fiction, with far more variables and possibilities than general discussions typically acknowledge. The writers and teachers on this panel will discuss “Deep Point of View: what we don’t talk about when we talk about point of view”; “The Reliably Unreliable Consciousness”; “First Person: From I to IIIIII”; and “Don’t Be So Sure: Interrogating the First-Person Narrator.”

R218. The Geometry of the Novel: Making “Shapelier” Fiction
(Peter Grandbois, Debra Di Blasi, Michael Martone, Lance Olsen)
Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
While Jerome Stern’s classic Making Shapely Fiction focuses on alternative narrative forms, most of the shapes are actually variations of the Freytag pyramid, for example, his “Journey,” “Visitor,” “Bear at the Door,” and “Aha” shapes. This panel seeks to expand Stern’s premise in order to explore not only the power alternative shapes offer in driving longer, book-length narratives, but also the aesthetic beauty of geometries that work with a story, not against it.

R221. What about Blog?: How Blogging Can Propel Your Career and Polish Your Craft
(Sarah Klenakis, Turi Fesler, Claire Bidwell Smith, Rachel Vogel, Caitlin Leffel)
State Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
Sure, lots of writers blog, but what can you do to actually capitalize from your daily posts? A writer, editor, literary agent, and blog sponsor come together to discuss what appeals to them when reading online, how you can better attract followers, make money from your blogging, and possibly even find a job. From sharing success stories to blogging “don’ts,” this panel will clarify the murky waters that surround online writing.

4:30-5:45

R233. The Renaissance of Midwestern Literature
(Jason Lee Brown, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Dan Chaon, Mark Wisniewski, Rebecca Makkai)
Lake Ontario, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
There is no doubt that midwestern literature exists, but how do we define and support its eccentricities and its coexisting relationship with other regional literature? Contributors to the new anthology New Stories from the Midwest read excerpts of their work and comment on the burgeoning renaissance of midwestern literature.

R236. What’s Wrong with the Whole Truth?
(Susan Resnick, Philip Gerard, Peter Trachtenberg, Paige Williams, Rebecca Skloot)
Waldorf, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Many writers feel comfortable molding the truth to create a more satisfying story, yet still calling their piece nonfiction as long as the emotional core and basic frame of the work remain true. Not the writers on this panel. These authors, journalists, and nonfiction professors will explore the philosophy of factual versus emotional honesty and discuss how to achieve both—beautiful and moving nonfiction writing that is 100% true.

R238. Opening the Circle: Connecting Workshop Pedagogy and Public Audiences
(Sarah Harris, Tim Mayers, Dale Rigby, Drew Krewer)
Wiliford B, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
The CW workshop has been often critiqued, but seldom clearly defined. We argue that the workshop is a valuable space for openness, collaboration, and creativity, and these pedagogical aims can be achieved when the circle of the workshop is opened to include real-world audiences. Presenters will describe current methods of instruction used in the workshop and present attendees with a variety of workshop methods that allow students working in various genres to connect their work with audiences.

R239. Poetry Reading for Beauty is a Verb: New Poetry of Disability
(Jim Ferris, Cecil Giscombe, Stephen Kuusisto, Laurie Clements Lambeth, Ellen McGrath Smith)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
A reading by poets featured in the new anthology Beauty is a Verb: New Poetry of Disability. The book originated from a panel of the same name presented at the 2010 AWP conference in Denver. Following the panel, presenters Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black, and Michael Northen came together to develop the anthology.

R244. The Way the Wind Blows: Trends in Contemporary Short Fiction
(Todd James Pierce, Steve Yarbrough, Kevin Moffett, M.M.M. Hayes, Darlin’ Neal)
Red Lacquer Room, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
In this panel, five noted short-story authors identify trends in contemporary short fiction. From the research-based stories of Andrea Barrett and Jim Shepherd to the sardonic explorations of Stacey Richter and George Saunders, this discussion will focus on how the form of the short story has evolved over the past ten years, with an eye toward understanding where the form is headed.

7:00-8:15

A Reception Hosted by Chatham University
Private Dining Room 4, Hilton Chicago Hotel 3rd Floor
Join students and faculty from Chatham University for a reception.

Friday
9:00-10:15

F112. The Fiction Chapbook—A Sleeper Form Wakes Up
(Nicole Louise Reid, Eric Lorberer, Diane Goettel, Kevin Sampsell, Abigail Beckel)
Marquette, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
In recent years, the literary marketplace has seen an upswing in publication of fiction manuscripts as chapbooks—a format associated mainly with poetry. A chapbook is the perfect medium for a short story or a clutch of short-shorts, and is capable of bringing an intimacy and aesthetic appeal unattainable by full-length books. Editors from Black Lawrence Press, Future Tense Books, Rain Taxi, RopeWalk Press, and Rose Metal Press, will discuss a range of experiences with this exciting format.

F116. Thirty Years of Award-Winning Short Fiction: The Drue Heinz Literature Prize
(Shannon Cain, Adria Bernardi, Tina May Hall, Edith Pearlman)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
The University of Pittsburgh Press celebrates thirty years of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for short fiction, featuring a panel of four DHLP winners. The authors will read from their work and discuss how they discovered their literary talent, what inspires their writing, what excites them about the writing process, and how their work fits into their daily routine. The audience is invited to participate in a Q&A, and the authors will sell and sign copies of their books following the event.

F119. Literature and the Internet in 2012
(Roxane Gay, Stephen Elliott, Blake Butler, James Yeh)
Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
The literary editors of four leading web magazines—HTMLGiant, the Rumpus, PANK, and the Faster Times—offer a roundtable discussion about how the Internet is changing literature and literary publishing in the 21st century.

10:30-11:45

F138. Apocalypse Now: A Multi-Genre Reading of Apocalyptic Literature
(Brian Barker, T.R. Hummer, Pinckney Benedict, Judy Jordan, Kevin Brockmeier)
Waldorf, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Earthquakes, global warming, peak oil, and giant, man-eating ants: every generation has its version of the apocalypse and an abundance of writers who write about it. In recent years, the end of the world has become the subject for a number of literary writers, and a new genre of literature is emerging. Five award-winning poets and novelists read from their apocalyptic literature, examining how their work has been influenced by recent events and by the sense of impending doom we humans share.

F145. The Hollywood Stint: Prose Writers and Writing for the Screen
(Andrew Scott, Douglas Light, Tom Chiarella, John McNally, Owen King)
Red Lacquer Room, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
Writing for Hollywood has long appealed to prose stylists such as Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, and many contemporary writers. These panelists will discuss writing across genres, what’s required to write for the screen, how their fiction writing skills aid or hinder their attempts to please Hollywood, their dealings with producers, studios, and television networks, and the changing perceptions about screenwriting within creative writing programs.

F147. Home and Away: The Influence of Travel on Writing
(Stephan Clark, Sabina Murray, Jeff Parker, Kyle Minor, Jensen Beach)
Wabash Room, Palmer House Hilton, 3rd Floor
Every writer works alone, but some go to great distances to do so. This panel brings together five writers who have traveled extensively—to Australia, Haiti, Hungary, the Philippines, Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine—to discuss how travel and living abroad have enriched their fiction and nonfiction, allowing them to tell stories they otherwise would not have known and, paradoxically, better write about their own culture.

12:00-1:15

F149. Ghostwriting the Eulogy: How to Survive and Make Your Name beyond the Academy with a Degree in Creative Writing
(Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, Kim Addonizio, Dana Gioia, Maggie Dietz, Simone Muench)
Boulevard Room A,B,C, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
With the expansion of programs in creative writing, more and more degreed creative writers are overwhelming the academic job market, causing many of us to seek different ways to make a buck while continuing to write. Ghostwriting, editing, independent scholarship, running a workshop, writing for TV: you name it and the five poets and novelists on this panel have done it. They will share with us the creative ways they’ve found to make a living and some tricks they’ve learned along the way.

F153. A Reading and Conversation with Jaimy Gordon and Rebecca Skloot
(Jaimy Gordon, Rebecca Skloot, Donna Seaman)
Grand Ballroom, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
A reading and conversation by best-selling authors Jaimy Gordon and Rebecca Skloot. The conversation will be moderated by critic and editor Donna Seaman.

F154. Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem
(Harold Schechter, Cornelius Eady, Lynn Emanuel, Patricia Smith, Brian Turner)
International Ballroom South, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
What are the moral implications of writing about violence? Where is the line between portraying violence and exploiting it? The danger of writing about violence is that we might wind up aestheticizing it. If there is a difference between sensationalism and truth, when do we put down the pen and do something to help the victims? Or is writing about violence a form of action, an effective way of addressing the problem? Panelists will address these questions and more.

F156. Measuring Creativity: What Do Grades Have to Do with Artistry?
(Cass Dalglish, Heather Gibbons, Kate Green, Ellen McGrath Smith, Cary Waterman)
Lake Erie, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Creative writing teachers constantly face the inadequacies of conventional grading as they work in an unconventional field that often defies prescriptive norms. Five faculty members with diverse backgrounds—lecturer, instructor, assistant professor, and professor from community college, private college, and public university settings—will offer meaningful assessment tools for the survival of students and teachers alike, including self-evaluation, scoring machines, grade contracts, and chapbooks.

F160. Works in Progress Mix Tape
(Ken Chen, Nami Mun, Don Lee, Prageeta Sharma)
Marquette, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Participants read new work and the life behind their literature: private writing rituals, relationships with mentors and peers, favorite books, songs on iTunes repeat and performance-enhancing alcoholic drinks, social media and other procrastination devices. Ask nicely and they’ll talk about writing as Asian Americans when only 5% of the authors reviewed in the New York Times are writers of color. Presented by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.

F166. Short but Not Too Sweet: Three Emerging Writers Read from Debut Story Collections
(Megan Mayhew-Bergman, Emma Straub, Stuart Nadler)
Crystal Room, Palmer House Hilton, 3rd Floor
Long live the short story! Writers are often discouraged from pursuing short story collections, but this panel will prove they are still viable. Come hear emerging writers read from their debut story collections. The panelists will then engage in an honest, lively, and practical discussion about what it takes to get a short story collection published and open the floor for questions.

1:30-2:45

F178. National Book Critics Circle Celebrates Award-Winning Authors
(Jane Ciabattari, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Jennifer Egan, Jane Smiley, Isabel Wilkerson, Darin Strauss)
Grand Ballroom, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
A reading by Bonnie Jo Campbell (AWP Prize, 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist in Fiction), Jennifer Egan (2011 National Book Critics Circle and Pulitzer Prize in Fiction), Jane Smiley (1992 National Book Critics Circle Award and Pulitzer Prize in Fiction), Darin Strauss (2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction), and Isabel Wilkerson (2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction and Pulitzer Prize Winner in Journalism).

F181. Reinventing Realism: The Craft of Alice Munro
(Catherine Brady, Rachel Hall, Kim Aubrey, Michael Byers, Alice LaPlante)
Lake Erie, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Alice Munro has much to teach about the elegant execution of craft fundamentals. She also deserves her due as a daring innovator who’s inexhaustibly curious about the possibilities of form and the conventions of fiction writing. Panel participants will discuss Munro’s use of time in narrative; consider her methods of characterization, including her depiction of thought; and discuss her manipulation of point of view in the service of dynamic plotting.

F182. Let’s Work Together: Pedagogies of Rhetoric in the Creative Writing Class
(Richard Greenfield, Minal Singh, R.J. Lambert, Robert Houghton, EmmaLee Pallai)
Lake Huron, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Exploring the intersection of creative writing and composition, this panel will discuss pedagogy practices where the writing of composition texts integrates creative writing pedagogy with an emphasis on rhetoric. We will also discuss the benefits of utilizing rhetorical analysis as the basis of discussing creative writing texts in workshop as well as informing composition of the creative writing text itself. Each member of the panel will provide assignments or exercises as examples.

F189A. Anytown, USA: Representing Place in Fiction
(Ron Hansen, Ladette Randolph, Eric Goodman, Sherrie Flick, Robert Vivian)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
How do we define place in fiction? Does the location matter? How do place and region shape the writing and vise versa? This panel aims to answer the larger question of how to define place while also representing the sometimes misunderstood middle coast, featuring authors whose fiction is set in the Heartland, a place many times more clearly defined by what it is not than by what it is. Each author will share a unique approach to representing place in writing.

F196. Between Song and Story: A Reading from the New Autumn House Nonfiction Anthology
(Sheryl St. Germain, Debra Marquart, Michele Morano, John Price, Jane Fishman)
Wabash Room, Palmer House Hilton, 3rd Floor
Readings and discussion from the newly published Autumn House anthology of essays, Between Song and Story: Essays for the 21st Century. This anthology is the first of its kind to focus on the lyric and formally adventurous essay. Five contributors, including one of the editors, will read and discuss their essays, focusing on formal strategies that challenge the traditional essay form.

3:00-4:15

F208. Will Write for Food: Writers Working Outside Academia
(Chloe Miller, Alison Hicks, Patricia Lewis, Valerie Martinez, August Tarrier)
Lake Michigan, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
During the past two years, openings in English departments declined more than 40%. Creative writing tenure-track openings declined more than 30%. At the same time, the demand for writing opportunities is widening, encompassing community-based, travel, and virtual writing communities. Panelists will discuss writing lives outside academia, including entrepreneurial ventures in online teaching and mentoring, editing and coaching services, workshops and retreats, and community engagement projects.

F218. Gender Interrupted: Poetry of the Alternatively Gendered
(Stacey Waite, Joy Ladin, Ely Shipley, Samuel Ace)
Lake Ontario, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
This reading features the work of alternatively gendered poets and writers, work that re-imagines and redefines the terrain of gender itself. In this unique and first-of-its-kind reading, the voices of transsexual, transgendered, and intersexed writers make their contribution to the rich and diverse aesthetics and politics of queer writing in the 21st century.

4:30-5:45

F232. Writing Games: Gaming, Digitally, and Creative Writing Pedagogy
(Stuart Moulthrop, Lane Hall, Anne Wysocki, W. Trent Hergenrader, Matthew Trease)
Lake Michigan, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
This panel discusses relationships among writing, digitality, games, and the creative writing classroom. Addressing Surrealist parlour games, Oulipian constrained writing techniques, Candyland, Uno, animation, and videogames, panelists consider the possibilities of games and digitality for developing generative writing exercises and helping students understand how textual experimentation fits within the craft of writing.

F238. Chapbook Publishing in the 21st Century
(Genevieve Kaplan, Lucas Southworth, Kristy Bowen, Elizabeth Wilcox, Ander Monson)
Wiliford B, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Even as print traditions are evolving rapidly, chapbook publishers embrace and promote a somewhat antiquated literary form: the printed chapbook. Chapbook editors and publishers participating in this roundtable will offer perspectives on the business and art of the chapbook, centering their discussion around advantages of the printed chapbook format, aesthetics and innovations in chapbook publishing, and methods for success for new and established chapbook publishing ventures.

F245. Finding the Time—And Money!—to Write
(Angela Veronica Wong, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, Kirstin Chen, Farrah Field, Kim Liao)
State Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
All writers struggle with this quandary: either we have time to write and no money, or money and no time. But there are ways you can have both! Get practical advice and aesthetic inspiration from five writers under thirty-five who have all received grants, residencies, and fellowships propelling their careers forward. Especially useful to emerging writers battling the post-MFA slump, all genres (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, scholarly research/writing) and many varieties of funding sources are addressed.

Saturday
9:00-10:15

S103. Connecting with Readers via Your Website and Social Media
(Michele Wolf, Kim Addonizio, Leslie Pietrzyk, Matt Bell, Paul Lisicky)
Boulevard Room A,B,C, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
Having a vibrant, user-friendly Web presence—via your own website (supplementing a publisher’s and/or employer’s page for you), blogging, Facebook, and other social media—has become a key asset for engaging readers and students, being part of the conversation, and expanding interest in your work. Learn how to create an appealing, fun-to-click site that best represents your books and passions, what resources and social media contact that readers most appreciate, and what pitfalls to avoid.

S104. Midwest Gothic: Dark Fiction of the Heartland
(Jodee Stanley, Brian Kornell, Dan Chaon, Cathy Day, Michael Czyzniejewski)
Continental A, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level
From the stories of Sherwood Anderson to contemporary Midwestern fiction, authors have explored the darkness that lies beneath the placid exterior of an often-dismissed region of America. Five Midwest-based writers and editors will discuss how the prairie landscape and traditionally Midwestern character traits, including politeness, stoicism, and a wariness of the unknown, combine with traditional Gothic literary elements to create a rarely discussed subgenre of fiction, Midwest Gothic.

10:30-11:45

THIS IS WHEN MY PANEL IS, DOPES.

12:00-1:15.

S165. Mine Is Clouds: Revisiting the Life and Work of Richard Brautigan
(Shawn Mitchell, Joe Meno, Sean Lovelace, Theresa Williams)
Empire Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, Lobby Level
A forefather of flash, a witty poet, and a great American surrealist, Brautigan has influenced artists ranging from Haruki Murakami to Neko Case and from Aimee Bender to Tobias Wolff. But despite having sold millions of books during his lifetime, he remains less known compared to other Beat and cult writers. At this panel contributors to the forthcoming tribute anthology, Mine Is Clouds, will consider Brautigan’s importance today and celebrate his life and legacy with a reading of his work.

1:30-2:45 

S180. Writing Visually: Using Comics in the Writing Classroom
(Anne Panning, Matt Madden, Hillary Chute, Jarod Roselló, Jessica Abel)
Lake Michigan, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Many incorporate reading comics in their classes these days. But how can you use comics to teach writing? On this panel, two teaching cartoonists and three literature and writing professors will discuss ways to introduce the practice of comics into the creative writing classroom and how that can benefit students’ writing—of prose as well as of comics. Approaches include the Bechdel method of writing comics without drawing and using panels to visually activate prose (or poetic) writing.

S183. Ambitious Fiction: Tackling Big Ideas, Lots of Characters, and/or Lush Language
(Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Jane Smiley, Achy Obejas, Allen Gee, Brian Bouldrey)
Waldorf, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Everyone admires a spare, economical story or novel that moves forward with seemingly little effort. But some stories just can’t be told simply. They may have a large cast of characters. They may involve big, even complicated, ideas. They may call for a lush, rather than frugal, style. What is involved in biting off a big storytelling mouthful? This group of fiction writers will discuss their choices to sometimes write rich, rather than minimalist, fiction.

S189. A Reading Celebrating Twenty-Five Years of Product, the Center for Writers Literary Journal
(Kent Quaney, Michael Knight, Andy Plattner, Mary Miller, Damian Dressick)
Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
The Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi has just published the 25th anniversary edition of its student literary journal, Product, and as a celebration of this landmark will present a reading to showcase some of the best writers the program has produced. Noted alumni Michael Knight and Andy Plattner, recent graduate Mary Miller, and current student Damian Dressick will represent the Center for Writers in a reading exemplifying the artistic standard of the program.

S190. Unrequited Love: Renewing Your Vows to the Troublesome Novel
(Elizabeth Brundage, Stewart O’Nan, Jenna Blum, Alice Elliot Dark, Carole DeSanti)
Honoré Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, Lobby Level
Unpublished novels are like unrequited love affairs, they linger in the hearts and minds of writers for years to come; many of us have one stashed in a drawer. And yet often within the existing work, a new novel can be rescued. This panel will explore strategies of revision, encouraging a fresh perspective, a renewed faith in the text. Other topics will include structural elements such as characterization, pacing, thematic possibilities, and our enduring commitment to the sentences we make.

S192. You + Me = We: Collaborative Authorship as Pedagogical Practice
(Lily Hoang, Sequoia Nagamatsu, EmmaLee Pallai, Adam Crittenden, Kelsie Hahn)
State Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
Authors often work together to create scholarly articles, novels, short stories, screenplays, poetry, and beyond. Collaboration allows all parties to parlay their strength to the page, be it research, sentence structure, concept, or more. It also provides a rich learning experience improving not just writing skills, but also interpersonal skills. This panel will discuss ways of incorporating the collaborative model of authorship in the composition and creative classrooms.

3:00-4:15

S206. Orion 30th Anniversary Reading
(Jennifer Sahn, Amy Leach, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Benjamin Percy, Luis Alberto Urrea)
Waldorf, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
For thirty years, Orion has used literature to bring our relationship with the natural world alive, in the belief that the arts connect people to the world, inspire action, and provide a way of thinking about a better future for people and the planet. Join Orion’s Editor-in-Chief and four of the innovative and exemplary writers who have helped make Orion one of the most respected magazines dedicated to the intersection of literature and the environment.

S215. Men from Venus, Women from Mars: Writing from the Perspective of the Opposite Sex
(Reese Okyong Kwon, Jennine Capó Crucet, Alan Heathcock, Kyle Minor, Kevin Wilson)
State Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
The old canard that fiction writers should write what they know would seem to prohibit writing from the point of view of characters of the opposite sex. Meanwhile, some of the most believable and compelling men in literature have been created by women, and vice versa. What is the appeal of writing from the head of an opposite-sex character, and how does one do so credibly? What politics should we consider? Panelists will offer perspectives, tips, and examples of effective embodiment of the other.

4:30-5:45 

S220. Ear Candy: Teaching the Pleasures of Poetic Meter
(Liz Ahl, Jeff Oaks, Annie Finch, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Tara Betts)
Continental B, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level
Rooted in a diversity of aesthetic and pedagogical perspectives, this panel focuses on the teaching and learning of meter: how, when, and why might one teach meter to young poets? Is teaching meter like teaching other elements of poetic craft and technique? Is meter akin to music or language when it comes to learning and teaching? How can we help our students sing out rather than slog through? How might activities like scansion, reading aloud, or imitation, help poets develop an ear for meter?

S223. Poetry Reading: Pitt Poetry Series
(Ed Ochester, Toi Derricotte, Ross Gay, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, David Wojahn)
International Ballroom South, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
Series Editor Ed Ochester will introduce the poets as they read from their new books from the Pitt Poetry Series of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

S225. Home Sweet Home: Short Story Collections and Small Presses
(Caitlin Horrocks, Amina Gautier, Shannon Cain, Adam Schuitema, Kelcey Parker)
Lake Erie, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
With trade publishers less willing to take a risk on story collections and agents and editors advising writers to just finish a novel, where can the story writer turn? Five debut authors discuss their experiences with the small, independent, and university presses that are increasingly the most welcoming homes for story collections. They’ll discuss how they found their publishers, what small publishers can (and can’t) offer story authors, and how these presses are helping collections thrive.

S233. The Art of the Short Story Collection
(Mary Rockcastle, Richard Bausch, Laura van den Berg, Tiphanie Yanique, Daniel Libman)
Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
In the successful short story collection, the individual stories must move, delight, and entertain, and the collection as a whole must do so as well. What makes a collection of short stories a satisfying whole? How should it be put together? What should the writer consider when deciding upon content, placement, length, title? How easy or hard is it to sell? Robert Bausch, acknowledged master of the short story form and author of eight collections of short stories, joins three authors of very different, all successful, debut short story collections. Each will talk about his/her process in creating, shaping, and publishing the short story collection.

S236. Why Independent Publishers Matter / Independent Publishers and the Changing Industry
(Michael Miller, Tom Roberge, Jeff Shotts, Laura Howard, Eric Obenouf)
Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
Bookforum editor Michael Miller, along with selected editors and publishers from various independent presses, will discuss the changing landscape of the publishing industry and the ongoing rise of independent publishers: why they are leading the way and what this means for the future of the industry as a whole.

Free Comic Book Day 2011

So most of the people who read this blog are probably from the literary world, and hey, that’s awesome. That’s my primary… world I guess. But I wanted to take some time to talk about another medium of fiction that is near and dear to my heart: comic books. Most indie lit writers/readers always come out to support indie bookstores, and I think it’s time that we recognize we have a cousin in arms in comic book stores. They’re all indie. And they might be dying on account of a host of factors (mostly the same ones plaguing the brick and mortar book stores). This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, an event which I think has become the comic store’s best attempt at bringing in new readers. But what is Free Comic Book Day? Glad you asked!

Free Comic Book Day is exactly what it sounds like. You go to your comic store and get free comics. Not just any comics, but a whole host of comics prepared from the major publishers and the indies to try and hook in new readers. Most comic stores have other events as well. I’ll be at Phantom in the Attic in Pittsburgh this year, but last year I went to my childhood store, Comics in the Green in Scranton. They had face painting for the kids and a couple of artists and writers doing free signings for the adults. The local news team even dropped by. But what are some of the comics you can get for free? CHECK THIS SHIT OUT!

I’m a massive fan of Dan Slott’s Spider-Man and this is the perfect jumping on point. If you enjoyed the Spider-Man films, go to your local comic store and pick this issue up for free.

Ian Brill has been knocking his Darkwing Duck and Rescue Rangers series out of the park. If you have any nostalgia for Disney Afternoon, check out this book FOR FREE.

There’s a Green Lantern movie coming out. Read this and you’ll know who the character is. Plus, it leads into Flashpoint which is DC’s big summer event.

Remember The Dark Crystal? It’s back. In comic form! This one’s from Archaia and they always put out quality work. Recommended. I picked up their Fraggle Rock book for my goddaughter recently and she seemed to enjoy it.

It’s called Super Dinosaur and it’s written by Robert Kirkman, co-creator of The Walking Dead. What else do you people want?

I’ll admit I wasn’t on the Atomic Robo bandwagon when it first came out, but I was totally wrong. This book is hilarious. Bizarre science and wacky time travel. Did I mention it’s free?

There are these movies coming out. Captain America and Thor. Prepare yourself!

More people need to be going to Free Comic Book Day. You have nothing to lose. It’s free. Seriously, if you’ve ever even considered getting into comics now is the time. Pick the series you want to get into then take the free issue. It’s that simple. They tell you want to buy next. And if you do go, buy something (I recommend volume one of Ex Machina). Support your local comic stores or we’re not going to have a comics industry ten years down the road.

Oh! And you say you don’t know your local comic book store? BOOM! This site finds it for you.

Worst. Spoilers. Ever.

4. Age 12. Location: Comics on the Green. I had been reading the Clone Saga storyline in the Spider-Man books for 3 years. Everything had been building to a final revelation of just who exactly was behind replacing Spider-Man with a clone. In those days, I didn’t go to the comic store every Wednesday, I went about once a month and bought all the books I was behind on. So I missed the final issue by about three weeks. I went to the store like normal and picked out the issues, but at the cash register some teenage nerd looked at my picks and said, “Man, I couldn’t believe it was Norman Osborn behind it the whole time.” 3 years of my life! 3 years of my life! I didn’t read comics seriously for 10 years after this incident (combined with the oft maligned Onslaught crossover).

3. Age 21. Location: Parents’ House. During winter break from college, I came down with the flu. So I read. I read a lot. I had just finished a very lackluster novel by Nick Hornby that mentioned another novel called Revolutionary Road by some guy named Richard Yates, and I bought that next on a total whim, mostly because Richard Russo did the introduction. I was stunned. And to this day, RR is still my favorite book. But halfway through I dropped it and lost my place, and when I picked it up it was open to somewhere close to the end and I read the words “April Wheeler was dead.” I was only maybe 60 pages in. O youth! O lost!

2. Age 22. Location: Parents’ House. I’d just graduated from college and was spending my days subtitling DVDs in Scranton while waiting to move to Pittsburgh for grad school at the end of the summer. I was watching Attack of the Show on G4, because sometimes I like to be pandered to, and they did a segment about spoilers in which a man dressed like Doc Brown revealed how various season finales would wrap up. I didn’t believe him, didn’t believe that the frat boys at G4 knew anything. But then Doc Brown stared out from the television and told me that tonight, on LOST, Jack’s flashback wouldn’t be a flashback at all, that it would be a flashforward, that season four would be about the cast’s attempts to get back to the Island. A part of my soul died that day.

1. Age 14. Location: Steamtown Mall – Electronics Boutique. I skipped school to go see The Phantom Menace with my mother. We arrived downtown where the movie theater was but tickets were sold out for the first morning showing, so we bought some for the afternoon. The mall was next door, so we went over there for awhile where I killed time in the video game store salivating over posters of Chrono Cross which would be released later that summer. And then, while minding my own business, some asshole in a dragon button up shirt (remember those?) started talking to the clerk and said, “Man, I can’t believe Lucas killed off Qui Gon AND Darth Maul! I thought they were going to be in all three.” It was up until that time the worst moment of my life. Little did I know that my life would soon be ruined by sitting through The Phantom Menace, the greatest tragedy in all of human history.