On Saturday, February 12, at 2:30pm WriterHouse presented a group reading and signing by nine WriterHouse members. Authors: Lena Cantrell McNicholas, Elizabeth Tidwell, Linda Levokove, Sheila Dane, Greg Allen Morgoglione, Helen Williamson, Mary Alice Hostetter, Mathew Stowell, and John Thelin. The readings ranged from poetry to mystery to children's books and memoir. Three of the readers burst into song! This was the first of what we hope will be annual opportunities for members to showcase their work to the public.
On Thursday, February 10, 2011, 7:00pm, the "SFF" group, which meets the first Monday of each month, read from their work. Body part replacement, fairies on sailing ships, and scary internet dating were some of the themes of the evening. The group hopes this will be a recurring event.
On January 15, 2011, at 7:00pm, Warren Rochelle spoke about incorporating the personal and the mundane into his fantasy.
Elves, dragons, and wizards. Witches and wardrobes and talking lions. At first glance these commonplace elements of fantasy seem to have little or no connection to the world in which the fantasy writer and the fantasy reader live. How does one handle the intersections of the fantastic and the real? Warren Rochelle is the author of The Wild Boy, Harvest of Changelings, and most recently, The Called, the sequel to Harvest,
Thursday, December 2, 7:00pm
Jay Varner, author of the memoir Nothing Left to Burn (Algonquin Books 2010), talked about the pain, pleasure, and dangers of writing about family. His memoir is the story of a son’s relationship with his father, the fire chief and a local hero, and his grandfather, a serial arsonist.
Kristin Swenson is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA and writes for Publishers Weekly, The Christian Century, Huffington Post, and Beliefnet, among others.
Dylan Landis's novel-in-stories was hailed by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout as a "wonderful, intriguing, and original debut," yet 17 publishers initially rejected it. On October 21, 2010, an eager audience gathered at WriterHouse to participate in a discussion of Normal People Don't Live Like This and Landis's challenging path to publication as a debut fiction author over the age of 50 in a difficult economy. Landis talked about the role of determination and faith while pursuing publication and discussed craft, including research, revision, and surviving rejection.
Dylan Landis has published fiction in Bomb, Tin House, Best American Nonrequired Reading and elsewhere, and has won a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and other awards. A former journalist, Landis covered medicine for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and interior design for the Chicago Tribune, and has written ten books on decorating and other subjects. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Jehanne Dubrow is married to an officer in the U.S. Navy and currently lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she is an assistant professor in creative writing and literature at Washington College. In her spare time, she teaches classes at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, MD.
Sunday, September 19, 2010, Fran Hawthorne, author of The Overloaded Liberal: Shopping, Investing, Parenting and Other Daily Dilemmas in an Age of Political Activism (Beacon Press, 2010), talked about about making the political personal. How do you mix research and expert opinion with your own perceptions? How do you tackle a serious topic (like saving the earth) and make it intimate enough to be an enjoyable read? What happens when you insert yourself as a character in a nonfiction book?
Hawthorne was introduced by WriterHouse member Sharon Harrigan. Listen to a portion of the presentation:
Hawthorne is a freelance reporter for the New York Times, Newsday, and The Scientist, with 20 years of journalism experience and four books to her credit.
Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, discussed the publication of her second novel, The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove, in a special event at WriterHouse on Sunday, August 22, 2010.
Bezellia Grove belongs to an important family in Nashville, but risks it all for a romantic relationship with the gardener's son in the complex racial environment of the south in the 1960's.
"Gilmore’s second novel...is a highly emotional story that vividly evokes a sense of place, the 1960s era, and the heady feelings of first love." --Booklist
Poet and WriterHouse poetry instructor Sam Witt read from works old and new on July 20, 2010 at WriterHouse.
Listen to his presentation:
SAM WITT is the author of two books of poetry, Everlasting Quail and Sunflower Brother. Witt holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, has traveled to Russia on a Fulbright scholarship, and has taught at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Iowa, the New England Institute of Art, and Harvard University.
On May 28, 2010, novelist Martha McPhee joined an appreciative group for a brown-bag lunch literary salon, discussing the role of research in fiction, highlighting her foray into the world of mortgage-backed securities for her latest novel Dear Money. In this Pygmalion tale of a novelist turned bond trader, McPhee brings to life the greed and riotous wealth of New York during the heady days of the second gilded age.
MARTHA McPHEE is the author of the novels Dear Money, Bright Angel Time, Gorgeous Lies, and L’America. Her work has been honored with fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2002 she was nominated for a National Book Award.
Read her Business Week article about her Wall Street research.
On Tuesday, May 11, members, guests, and friends gathered at WriterHouse for the launch of WriterHouse instructor Meredith Cole's newest mystery: Dead in the Water.
Meredith won the St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic best traditional first mystery contest with her book Posed for Murder, published February 2009. Her short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and the anthology Murder New York Style. She is a member of both Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and currently serves on the board of MWA-MA. She teaches writing and lives in Charlottesville.
On Tuesday, May 4, at 7:00 p.m., Gina Welch appeared at WriterHouse to discuss the undercover journey that produced her book In the Land of Believers: An Outsider's Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church.You can listen to an interview with Gina on WVTF.
Born in Cleveland, OH, Gina grew up in beautiful Oakland and Berkeley, CA. She was a Henry Hoyns fellow at the University of Virginia, where she received my MFA in Creative Writing in 2004. Her writing has appeared in Playboy, Time Out New York, UVa Alumni Magazine, and Meridian. She's taught writing at the University of Virginia, American University, George Washington University, UVa Young Writer Workshop, and WriterHouse.
On April 18, 2010, we celebrated the publication of Kathryn Erskine's latest novel for young people, Mockingbird. Kathy is a WriterHouse member and is currently teaching Writing Children's Literature.
Read more about Kathy, her family, and her work, in this interview with Publishers Weekly.
Charles Shields, author of Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee and a forthcoming biography of Kurt Vonnegut, shared his insights on the use of details in biography at WriterHouse on Tuesday, April 6, 2010.
Listen to his presentation:
Charles J. Shields spent four years researching and writing Mockingbird. Shields has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in American history from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where he was a James Scholar. He lives in central Virginia with his wife, Guadalupe.
A lively crowd gathered on January 5, 2010, to help WriterHouse member Laura Bynum celebrate the release of Veracity, the first commercially published book partially written and edited at WriterHouse.
Veracity is an astonishing debut novel about a chilling, all-too-plausible future in which speech is a weapon and security comes at the highest price of all. Publisher's Weekly called Veracity "emotionally gripping...reminiscent of 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale."
The launch caught the attention of area media:
- On Monday January 4th, reporter Bianca Spinosa interviewed Laura at WriterHouse for the Newsplex evening news. You can watch the video here.
- On Tuesday morning January 5th, Brad Savage interviewed Laura on his show "Community Corner" on 106.1 The Corner station.
- NPR reporter Martha Woodroof of public radio station WMRA featured WriterHouse and the Veracity launch on her blog January 7th. Read the article here.
On Friday, October 23, 2009, University of Virginia professor Jennifer Burns read from her new book, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right. Along with her reading, she talked about the steps she took to turn a doctoral dissertation into an engaging, informative, and still scholarly work on a significant American figure.
Listen to her presentation:
Jennifer Burns is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Virginia. She has published extensively on the history of conservative thought, and her podcasted lectures on American history have won an appreciative worldwide audience.
Stephen Elliott read from his latest book, The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism, and Murder, at WriterHouse on Saturday, October 24, 2009.
Listen to his presentation:
Elliott is the author of seven books including Happy Baby, a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lion Award as well as a best book of 2004 in Salon.com, Newsday, Chicago New City, the Journal News, and the Village Voice. In addition to writing fiction he frequently writes on politics. In 2004 he wrote Looking Forward To It, about the quest for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
Elliott's writing has been featured in Esquire, The New York Times, GQ, Best American Non-Required Reading 2005 and 2007, Best American Erotica, and Best Sex Writing 2006. He was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and is a member of the San Francisco Writer's Grotto. He is the editor of The Rumpus.
- Read an excerpt from The Adderall Diaries
- An interview with Stephen Elliott
- Elliott's playlist at largehearted boy
- San Francisco Magazine reviews The Adderall Diaries
Josh Weil spoke to an audience at WriterHouse on September 24 on the subject of "The Renegade Form: A Case for the Novella in Contemporary Fiction." Josh also read from his debut collection of novellas, The New Valley. Set in the hill country between West Virginia and Virginia and written in strong, masterful language laced with tenderness, the novellas examine the strength and fragility of familial bonds and the yearning for human connection that runs through the lives of three different men in rural America.
JOSH WEIL was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of rural Virginia, to which he returned to write the novellas in his first book, The New Valley. His short fiction has been published in Granta, StoryQuarterly, New England Review, Narrative and other journals. He has been a regular contributor to The New York Times and written for Guernica, Orion, and Nylon Magazine. Since earning his MFA from Columbia University, he has received a Fulbright Grant, scholarships to the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, a fellowship to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Dana Award in Portfolio. He currently divides his time between New York City and a cabin in southwestern Virginia, where he is at work on a novel.
WriterHouse members were invited to attend an exclusive literary salon on September 8, 2009, with Tammar Stein. Tammar is the author of the award-winning novel, Light Years, a Virginia Reader's Choice book. Her second novel, High Dive, was nominated as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, 2009. Her third novel, Kindred, is due out in 2010. The topic of her discussion was "Write What You Know: Mining Real Life for Fiction."
Tammar grew up in Charlottesville, attending Charlottesville High School and UVA. She currently lives in Florida with her family and bilingual dog.
Jenny Block, author of Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage spoke to WriterHouse members and guests at a reading and question-and-answer session on Wednesday, July 18, 2008. She read a selection from her book and answered questions on her decision to write a memoir about such a personal and controversial topic. Jenny Block's work has appeared in It's a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters. Open grew from the piece "Portrait of an Open Marriage," which was originally published in Tango and was reprinted by Cosmopolitan Germany and The Huffington Post.
Click on the audio player to hear her presentation: