Thursday, February 7, 2008

Fiction Seminar on Saturday!

Just a quick reminder about this weekend’s fiction writing seminar. It looks like a great line-up!

Fiction Writing All-Day Seminar
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Sponsored jointly by American University’s Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program and Washington Independent Writers (WIW)

American University
The Atrium, First floor of Battelle Building
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016-8047

To register for the seminar online or for more information, click here.

My Panel: Writers’ Blogs, A New Literary Genre
Writers' Blogs: are they as necessary an appendage to a Web site as a Web site is to a book? Are they just a whiz-bang book PR tool, or a new literary genre with magnificent potential--or both? Who is doing what? What works, what doesn't?

Moderator: C.M. Mayo, blogging as "Madam Mayo," is the author of Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico (Milkweed Editions), and Sky Over El Nido (University of Georgia Press), which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her blog is and her website is

Deborah Ager, publisher of 32 Poems, has received the Tennessee Williams Scholarship in Poetry from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and fellowships and residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Casa Libre en la Solana, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Poems from her forthcoming collection, Midnight Voices, have appeared in Best New Poets 2006, Tigertail: A South Florida Anthology, The Georgia Review, New Letters, New England Review, and the Writing Poems textbook. Her blog is

Wendi Kaufman is the creator and editor of The Happy Booker ( a Washington DC-based literary blog that covers readings and literary events (primarily in the Washington, D.C., area) with a smattering of book reviews, author visits, and literary interviews. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Fiction, New York Stories and other literary journals.

Leslie Pietrzyk is the author of two novels: A Year and a Day (William Morrow) and Pears on a Willow Tree (Avon Books). Her short fiction has appeared in many journals, including The Iowa Review, TriQuarterly, Shenandoah, Gettysburg Review, The Sun, and The New England Review. She has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers' Conferences as well as from the KHN Center for the Arts and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She teaches at Johns Hopkins University and the Writer's Center. She has been writing the blog Work in Progress since March 2007.

Shawn Westfall covers the local literary scene for DCist,, part of the Gothamist media network, which operates the most popular network of city blogs on the internet today with approximately 1.8 million unique visitors a month. His writing and book reviews have appeared in the pages of the Honolulu Weekly and The San Antonio Express-News. By day Shawn works as a copywriter for the Washington Speakers Bureau, and also teaches classes in improvisational comedy at the DC Improv.

Speakers include:
Susan Richards Shreve, who has published thirteen novels, most recently A Student of Living Things. She also recently published the memoir Warm Springs. She is a professor of English at George Mason University and formerly co-chair and president of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

Mary Kay Zuravleff is the author of The Bowl Is Already Broken and The Frequency of Souls, both published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Her first novel won the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of the Arts and also the James Jones First Novel Award.

Renowned poet E. Ethelbert Miller interviews Edward P. Jones. Jones was born and raised in Washington, D.C. Winner of the Pen/Hemingway Award and recipient of the Lannan Foundation Grant and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, Jones was educated at Holy Cross College and the University of Virginia. He has been a professor of fiction writing at a range of universities, including Princeton. His first book, Lost in the City, was short listed for the National Book Award. His novel The Known World was awarded the 2004 Pulitzer Price for Fiction.

Additional Panels:
“If Rodney Dangerfield Were an Author . . .” Genre writers may get readership, but they don't always get much respect from the critical community. Are these literary specialists able to transcend the "limitations" of their chosen forms? Or are those limitations a source of strength? Some of the Washington area's leading writers -- in genres ranging from chick lit to gay lit to fantasy to mystery -- argue the merits of their craft and discuss the best ways to make it in the genre market. With Louis Bayard, Christina Bartolomeo, Austin S. Camacho, Keith Donohue, and Alex MacLennan.

Fiction Under Forty
The panel will explore various issues related to craft and subject matter concerning the young fiction writer at work today. Why is it that more and more writers are finding their voices at an earlier age? Are their perspectives on place, identity, ethnicity, and other subjects different from those of older writers? What are the particular challenges the young fiction writer faces today? With Sudip Bose, Josh Emmons, Olga Grushin, and Alix Ohlin.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.