Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ashland University MFA at AWP

Ashland MFA faculty members and alumni are represented on multiple panels at the AWP Conference in Washington, DC, February 8-11, 2017. 

Below is a list of conference sessions involving our Ashland writing community. Know of a book signing, reading, or other event that we’ve missed? Please let us know so we can add it to the list: mfa@ashland.edu.

We’ll be at Booth #167, so stop by and say hello. Students, faculty, and alumni who would like to help man the booth for an hour or so, please contact Cassy at cbrown44@ashland.edu. 
See you in Washington, DC!

Thursday, February 9


R196. A 25th Anniversary Reading by CGU's Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award Winners 
Thursday,12:00 pm- 1:15 pm
Location: Room 206, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Claremont Graduate University’s Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award is one of the most prestigious prizes a contemporary poet can receive. The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award was created in 1993 to both honor a poet and provide resources to allow literary artists to continue honing their craft. These past recipients of the Kingsley Tufts Awards showcase the breadth and depth, as well as geographic and aesthetic diversity, of the poetry that CGU’s Tufts Awards supports and celebrates.

Book Signing: 
Moon City Press Table (125)
Thursday, 2:00-3:00 pm
Ashland MFA graduate Sarah Freligh will sign copies of her award winning poetry collection Sad Math at the Moon City Press table. 

Thursday, 3:00-4:15 pm
Location: Room 202A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

As fiction writers, we often feel pressure to write inside the confines our own experience, as defined by our ethnic identity, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, and so on. This panel explores the edges and interstices of that pressure. In what contexts is it acceptable to write outside such confines? In what contexts is it not? What does "diversity" mean when creating a fictional world? As writers, who has cultural permission to press past the confines of one's own identity?

Thursday, 4:30 pm- 5:45 pm
Location: Marquis Salon 1 & 2, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
Illness and health, injury and healing, life and death: medical subjects carry drama and our core humanity. No wonder ours is a golden age of nonfiction by physicians and nurses. Five college and MFA faculty present the literary strategies of medical authors they love to teach. How do these scribes portray patients with diseases, the vicissitudes of treatment, the healer’s empathy, the toll it takes on all? How do we teach our students the art and craft of reading and writing medical narrative?

Friday, February 10


Friday, 9:00 am- 10:15 am
Location: Capital & Congress, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
"When the vein of jade/is revealed in the rock," Lu Chi writes in his classic The Art of Writing, "the whole mountain glistens." Likewise, a single detail can reveal the meaning and mystery of a scene, an essay, or a book. Practitioners of various nonfiction forms, from journalism to hybrid, each choose a particular detail from a well-regarded nonfiction and show how it becomes—by its context, its imagery, its power to—the vein of jade that allows the whole to glisten.

Friday, 10:30 am- 11:45 am
Location: Room 101, Washington Convention Center, Level One
The internet is the most significant advance in writing and publishing since Gutenberg, and it's also one of the defining subjects of contemporary literature. It can be a powerful tool and a supreme distraction, an interruption or inspiration. Writers of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction talk about how the web has influenced their work and working lives, and discuss the internet as a subject, compositional instrument, publishing platform, and (sometimes troubling) extension of the writer’s brain.

Friday, 10:30 am- 11:45 am
Location: Archives, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
Writing with empathy in mind, especially in nonfiction, can create texture in our work and be transformative for both writer and reader. On this panel we explore various angles of perspective: scenes where narrators show empathy toward other characters—especially ones who are unlikeable—and vice versa, reflections that suggest empathy of a memoirist for a younger self, as well as techniques for showing empathy, as a writer, for the reader, and from both reader and writer for the nonhuman world.

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Location: Salon F, Washington Convention Center, Level One
When we talk about the structure of narrative, it is often by using the Freytag pyramid: rising action, plateau, denoument, climax, and so on. This panel will discuss the reality of plotting/structuring a novel, often using criteria that has little or nothing to do with Freytag. Structure can be based on criteria unconcerned with plot and plot can go far from structure. What possibilities exist and how might we offer such possibilities to ourselves and our students?

Friday, 3:00 pm- 4:15 pm
Location: Liberty Salon N, O, & P, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
How do writers follow the thread of a thought through the maze of events in an essay or memoir? What is the art of reflection? Writers of nonfiction may have more latitude than poets or fiction writers to tell as well as show in their work, but the challenge is to keep these ruminations from becoming dull, simplistic, or moralistic. Panelists examine the way writers keep ideas lively and offer techniques for effectively weaving the thread of thought into the fabric of nonfiction.

F268. The Village of Your Novel 
Friday, 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
Location: Room 207B, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Rebecca Smith,  Carole Burns,  Robin Black,  Margot Livesey
Jane Austen advised that three or four families in a country village was the very thing to work on. Two hundred years since the publication of Emma, the idea of the village of your novel can help you manage a cast of characters, build tension, and create a sense of place. This international panel looks at ways writers create villages (inner city or rural) and demonstrates practical methods and exercises for leading readers into a convincing world, utilizing its spaces and playing with its rules. 


Friday, 4:30 pm- 5:45 pm
Location: Marquis Salon 6, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
Robbie Maakestad, Speer Morgan, Jodee Stanley, Sarah M. Wells, Joel Hans
As readers increasingly turn to the internet for literary content, journals face a serious question: print or digital? For The Missouri Review, River Teeth, Ninth Letter, Cartridge Lit, Fairy Tale Review, and Phoebe, the answer has been a mixture of both mediums. Editors discuss solutions, such as audio/podcast platforms, online issues, digital chapbooks, blogs, and digital archival, which their journals have implemented to fit the evolving literary landscape.

AWP Ashland Gathering
Friday, 5-6 p.m.
Location: Shaw's Tavern 520 Florida Ave NW
Join us for refreshments and socializing!  

Offsite Creative Nonfiction Reading
Friday, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm 
Location: Shaw's Tavern 520 Florida Ave NW
Join Under the Gum Tree, Fourth Genre, and River Teeth for a happy hour. Three magazines publishing exclusively nonfiction are partnering on this event to  bring you a line up of previous contributors. Grap your happy hour drink of choice from the cash bar and toast to some true stories. Readers will include MFA Faculty Steve Harvey. 

Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands Pre-Publication Party/Reading
Friday, 7:00 pm 
Location: Renaissance Hotel
Alumni Joseph Hess will read as part of the pre-publication event for the forthcoming Nuclear Impact Anthology: Broken Atoms in our Hands. Joe will have three poems in the collection which comes out in February. 

Saturday, February 11


Saturday, 9:00 am- 10:15 am
Location: Marquis Salon 3 & 4, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
This panel of Hudson Whitman authors—first-time and established—will read from their books, demonstrating that a small independent press—devoted to books on nursing, health care, education, and the military—can be a smart, vibrant, and alternative publisher of socially relevant nonfiction.

S180. The Path to Publishing a First Story Collection. 
Saturday, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Location: Liberty Salon M, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
(Erin Stalcup,  Robin Black,  Lori Ostlund,  Melissa Yancy) 
Four authors discuss their different paths to publishing their first books. One of the panelists got an agented two-book deal with a big New York house, one got an unagented contract with a small university press, and two won contests: the Drue Heinz Prize and the Flannery O’Connor Award. They’ll share their stories, and provide resources and handouts to help audience members understand ideal and realistic possibilities, and navigate their own journeys to publication.



Saturday, 3:00 pm- 4:15 pm
Location: Room 203AB, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Do poets who translate produce a new poem that imitates the source material, or do they bring across the idiom and word in the full definition of the word "translating"? Are poets vehicles for the work they translate, or are they called on to recreate? If the latter, what is permissible within the context of literary translation? The following languages are used as examples in this panel: Danish, French, Hebrew, Kurdish, and Romanian.

Saturday, 3:00 pm- 4:15 pm
Location: Capital & Congress, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
Many essayists have employed speculation throughout the form’s history, relying wholly on speculation (relating nothing verifiable) rather than engaging “fact.” Virginia Woolf’s “Death of a Moth,” for example, does not require a verifiable moth to achieve its power. But what are the limits to speculation? Must essayists always signal their speculative intentions? Can an essayist delve into the traditional realm of the fiction writer, overturning traditional notions of point of view in the essay?


Click here to see the complete AWP Conference schedule.



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