#ArtLitPhx: A Talk with Marlon James

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The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing presents award-winning writer Marlon James. He debuts a brand new talk, “When Books Come out of Books” on Thursday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. in the Marston Exploration Theater, ISTB4 at Arizona State University, Tempe Campus (781 S Terrace Rd, Tempe, AZ 85250). This event is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, please visit the event page or the Facebook event.

Marlon James is an award-winning author and novelist whose short fiction and essays have appeared in Esquire, Granta, Harper’s, The Caribbean Review of Books, Bronx Noir, and the New York Times Magazine. His accolades include the Man Booker Prize, the American Book Award, and the Anisfield-Wolf Prize. James was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1970. He graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in Language and Literature, and from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania in 2006 with a Masters in creative writing. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and teaches English and creative writing at Macalester College. He is currently at work adapting A Brief History of Seven Killings into an HBO television series.

#ArtLitPhx: Changing Hands and the Piper Center Present Garth Risk Hallberg

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Garth Risk Hallberg will be visiting Changing Hands Phoenix with his debut novel, City on Fire. The event is co-presented by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU. The New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Vogue, Newsday, The Atlantic, and others named City on Fire the Best Book of the Year.

The event takes place on Wednesday, September 21st at 7 PM – 9 PM. For more information about the event, please visit the Facebook page or the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing page.

The author was born in Louisiana and grew up in North Carolina. His writing has appeared in Prairie SchoonerThe New York TimesBest New American Voices 2008, and The Millions; a novellaA Field Guide to the North American Family, was published in 2007. He lives in New York with his wife and children.

Intern Post, Ofelia Montelongo: Desert Nights, Rising Stars

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Photo by Ofelia Montelongo Valencia

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing organizes the annual writers conference Desert Nights, Rising Stars. Every year they bring writers from across the country to a three-day event full of workshops, classes, and readings. This past February was my second year volunteering at the event. And once again, I felt like a groupie when meeting famous authors.

After being in the financial industry for so many years, I sometimes feel like an outsider in the writing world. But, one of the main reasons I love this industry is because everyone is interested in you–in your writing and in you as a person, not the company you represent. Being you is important in the writing world. You are the only person that is more passionate about your work than anyone else.

It is incredible to be able to meet so many writers at the same place. Being a writer sometimes feels idiosyncratic and isolated, and this event has helped me to see that I’m not the only one that feels that way. I have met wonderful volunteers, attendees, and faculty who I befriended and keep in contact with.

There is some sort of magic in being able to talk with the author (Manuel Muñoz) of that book you read a semester ago about craft, endings, and the struggles of being a bilingual Latino writer.

There is some sort of magic in reading aloud your work in front of excellent writers like Alice Eve Cohen.

There is some sort of magic in being able to see that behind a published book there is a person who is not too different from you. And that they were once in your role; they were once an aspiring author learning the craft of writing.

There is some sort of magic in listening to real literary agents share their wisdom on the world of publishing and learning to“never pitch over the summer” and “never send query letters on the holidays.”

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Photo by Ofelia Montelongo Valencia

There is some sort of magic in eating lunch with the people you aspire to be like: award-winning writers who just signed their book for you; writers who just told you that success is a mix of hard work and a lucky break; writers who told you that they hope to get your book signed one day.

There is some sort of magic during these three conference days everywhere you want to see it; you can even find it in the delicious afternoon snacks.

The most important element of this kind of conference is how you feel at the end of it. How you feel during these three days would be worthless if you do nothing about it. If you feel inspired at the end, then it was worth it; you know can go back and keep writing. If you feel discouraged because you learned the toughness of the writing and publishing business, then it was worth it; you know can go back and keep writing. Between MFA readings, panels, conferences, and classes, the magical key that everyone agrees with is that the only way to be successful is to sit and write your best work.

Writing Workshop with Mary Sojourner: Writing the Forbidden

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 2.31.51 AMAuthor Mary Sojourner will be hosting a one-day Creative Nonfiction and Fiction workshop at the Piper House at Arizona State University on Saturday, January 16 from 10am to 5pm. 

“The Forbidden is a chimera, a shape-shifter. A woman writing during the seven hundred years of the Inquisition could be killed simply for writing anything. Books were once banned for sexual content. Sexual content now sells everything.

Our family, ethnic group, gender and culture impose sanctions against the forbidden. But the deepest rules about what we may or may not write lie within us. We have been and are forbidden to write about our sexuality, our fear, the realities of our aging, our loneliness, our secret delight.

You know what you have longed to write and feared to write. For six hours, we will work with writing exercises and support to bring out The Forbidden. We will work in strict confidentiality. I am a writer who works always from Place – within and outside. I know what I have felt when I have broken the rule: You can’t write about that.”

For more information or to register, click here.

Can’t make the workshop? Mary Sojourner also provides weekly writing tips, challenges, prompts, and exercises through her website.