Authors Talk: Jo Scott-Coe

Jo Scott-CoeToday we are excited to feature author Jo Scott-Coe as our Authors Talk series contributor.

Jo discusses how her essay, “The Other Spencer Girl,” led her to write her recently published book, MASS: A Sniper, a Father, and a Priest. About “The Other Spencer Girl,” she notes on the visual contrasts between the lives of Cleveland Elementary School shooter, Brenda Spencer, and Princess of Wales, Diana Spencer. About MASS: A Sniper, a Father, and a Priest, she talks about UT shooter, Charles Whitman, and how his intense catholic upbringing has not been fully explored. Jo ends her talk by illuminating the question that arises from both of her mentioned works: “What if there is something we need to learn, something really awful that is hiding in plain sight, in ourselves, in the places we think we are safe, in the places we are comfortable and self-satisfied either collectively or alone?”

The Other Spencer Girl” can be read in Issue 14 of Superstition Review. MASS: A Sniper, a Father, and a Priest can be purchased from Pelekinesis now.

#ArtLitPhx: Community Creative Writing Workshop for Fiction or Nonfiction with Jennifer Spiegel

 

Join local author Jennifer Spiegel (Bell) for a free community creative writing workshop every Monday at Phoenix College! The class will take place in room B-126.

The focus will be on getting down the basics and hitting the hot topics. Jennifer will lead prospective writers of every skill level through a different topic each week.

List of topics:

3/26 Taking the community pulse: Fiction or nonfiction, writing goals, and basic principles.

4/2 Character and Point of View

4/9 Show don’t tell

4/16 Descriptive language

4/23 Dialogue

4/30 Beginnings and ends

5/7 Hot topics, publishing, writing in the age of #metoo, and the writing life.

Contact jenniferbell@phoenixcollege.com to RSVP or to ask any questions!

Jennifer Spiegel is mostly a fiction writer with two books and a miscellany of short publications, though she also teaches English and creative writing. She is part of Snotty Literati, a book-reviewing gig, with Lara Smith. She lives with her family in Arizona.

 

Contributor Update: Kirsten Voris 3rd place in Tuscon

Kirsten VorisWe are happy to announce that Kirsten Voris took third place in the 2018 Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards in non-fiction for her story, “With Vampires, There Were Rules.” The full announcement can be read online at Tuscon Festival of Books.

Kirsten, whose poetry is featured in Issue 18 of Superstition Review, was recently featured on the blog for “Swimming with Headscarf Ladies” which can be read here.

Congratulations, Kirsten!

#ArtLitPhx: Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference

The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference is three days of craft talks, panels, workshops and presentations at Arizona State University. With more than 50 sessions from over 25 faculty members in multiple genres and fields, the goal is to provide writers with opportunities to make personal and professional connections, advance their craft, and deepen their engagement with the literary field. View the full conference schedule here.

About the conference from the host, The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing:

“We are committed to creating an accessible and inclusive space for writers of all backgrounds, genres, and skill levels. Conference faculty and programming encompass many genres which can often go under served in the literary field, including Young Adult, Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Crime Fiction, Translation, Graphic Novels, Hybrid, and more.

Special topics like climate change, social justice, and other contemporary issues also feature prominently.

Publishing, editing, agents, and other aspects of the business of publishing are included as well.

Beyond sessions, attendees can also participate in receptions, discussion groups, after-hour socials, and other opportunities to connect with fellow conference-goers, develop relationships, and build community.”

The 2018 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference will take place from Thursday, February 22 through Saturday, February 24. Writers of all backgrounds and experience levels are encouraged to attend. Register here.

Contributor Update: Kirsten Voris Semi-finalist for Nonfiction

William-Allen. Scarf image from "Swimming with Headscarf Ladies" by Kirsten VorisWe are happy to announce that SR contributor, Kirsten Voris, was one of fourteen semi-finalists in Hippocampus Magazine’s 2017 The Remember in November Contest. In addition to making the top fourteen, “Swimming with Headscarf Ladies” is also featured in Hippocampus’s December issue of 2017.

Visit “Swimming with Headscarf Ladies” in Hippocampus’s December issue to read Kirsten’s piece. Also on Hippocampus, the full announcement is available here.

You can read Kirsten’s essay, “The Walk Through” in Issue 18 of Superstition Review here.

Congratulations, Kirsten!

Authors Talk: Anthony Mohr

Today we are pleased to welcome author Anthony Mohr as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this brief interview, Anthony speaks candidly about what inspired his essay, “Risk.”

Of all the memories that conglomerate in the essay, he says that the game itself is what primarily inspired this essay. Anthony then tells us that “98.5%” of everything in the essay is true, from the names of the characters to the dialogue from the military. In light of this, we discuss his friends’ reactions to the essay and their role in preserving the truth of the essay.

You can read and listen to “Risk” in Superstition Review, Issue 19.

Authors Talk: Maggie Kast

Today we are pleased to feature author Maggie Kast as our Authors Talk series contributor. Maggie asks what imagination is and how it plays its “particular and equal role in the project of gaining knowledge.”

She quotes Michael Chabon’s author’s note to his novel Moonglow, a work based on facts except where they “they refused to conform with memory [or] narrative purpose.” While not displacing critical thought, narrative imagination can “make the familiar strange” and thus reach new vision.

You can read and listen to Maggie’s essay “The House Will Burn” in Superstition Review, Issue 19.

Authors Talk: Charlotte Holmes

Today we are pleased to feature author Charlotte Holmes as our Authors Talk series contributor. In her talk, quick and simple at first glance, she explores how we negotiate space as humans and as writers.

Charlotte begins by talking about the space that is the subject of her essay, “Open House:” a large home that once hosted a monastery. She imagines all the ways someone might use so much space. There would be room to take up modern dance, have multiple writing rooms, or to host all of your relatives. If one doesn’t want it at the moment though, “just close the doors.” She relates this to the negotiation of space on the page and tells us how “Open House” uses white space.

You can read and listen to “Open House” in Superstition Review, Issue 19.

Contributor Update: Sherrie Flick

"Contagious Empathy"Today we are pleased to share news about past contributor Sherrie Flick. Sherrie’s essay “Contagious Empathy” has been recently featured in Creative Nonfiction’s Fall Science and Religion Issue. The essay can be read on their website here. Purchase Creative Nonfiction’s Issue 65 by clicking here.

To read “Not Talking About Sage” by Sherrie in Issue 10 of Superstition Review click here.

Editorial Preferences in Nonfiction: Jaime Faulkner

When I’m reading nonfiction, I’m looking for strong sensory detail and a solid voice from the speaker. The best kinds of essays are the ones that start with a high level of specific detail and open up to the reader, allowing them to reflect back on their own experiences. This occurs through developing the setting with concrete imagery. Whether it is focused on just one striking event or transverses months or years, sensory details are essential to understanding how the characters are shaped by their surroundings — and to ground the audience in those moments.

Consider Hamartia: The Failure to Recognize, Rachel Toliver’s essay in Issue 151 of TriQuarterly. The essay is highly personal, lush with detail, and uses location to stunning effect: The street is empty except for a little boy who wears only shorts and stands solemn in his black body. He takes up the middle of the pavement and he stays there, face quiet in the midst of concrete curbs and locked car doors. I can sense, looking at him, the translucent column of his personhood there, patient inside his chest. The scene suspends the boy in the moment, and Toliver allows the reader to rest in that image with her. In just a paragraph, it develops space and setting very quickly with details that provoke thoughts about politicizing black bodies, childhood, and observing the inner world of other people.

I am looking for deeply personal essays — because I’m reading to learn from the speaker, develop my own empathy and try think about the world in new ways. It can be tempting to overgeneralize; as Mary Karr says in The Art of Memoir, “I’ve said it’s hard. Here’s how hard: everybody I know who wades deep enough into memory’s waters drowns a little.” However, when speakers shy away from the gritty details, the story suffers. Vulnerability and thoughtfulness are exactly what I’m looking for in nonfiction. Not every piece needs to be sentimental or overwrought, but I want the speaker to really dig into the memories they choose to share and to clearly show readers why these thoughts matter.

I believe the best literature encourages readers and writers to reach out and learn from each other, and that’s where nonfiction shines. By grounding a story in rich sensory detail and honest reflection, the speaker is allowing us to live, briefly suspended in their moment.

Jaime FaulknerBio: Jaime Faulkner is a junior at Arizona State University majoring in Communication. She is currently the Nonfiction Editor for Superstition Review, as well as a volunteer editor with Four Chambers Press. Upon graduation, she hopes to work in publishing as an editor and author.