When it’s our turn to host Thanksgiving dinner, we do more than eat … we play.
And get loud.
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When it’s our turn to host Thanksgiving dinner, we do more than eat … we play.
And get loud.
Tucked away among the many books I bought at NCTE is this treasure: a collection of Donald Graves’ essays on writing workshop. An added bonus is a DVD that captures footage of Don… Read MoreAdd a Comment
As of November 20, 2012 (that is, Midnight Eastern Time tonight) I am closed to queries. I will reopen to queries January 7, 2013.
If I already have your work, you should hear from me by January 7. (That's the point of taking the break, I have to catch up!)
The 2014 Devil's Kitchen Reading Awards in Poetry and Prose
The Department of English at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and GRASSROOTS.
SIUC's undergraduate literary magazine, are pleased to announce the 2014 Devil's Kitchen Reading Awards. One book of poetry and one book of prose (novel, short fiction, or literary nonfiction) will be selected from submissions of titles published in 2013, and the winning authors will receive an honorarium of $1000 and will present a public reading and participate in panels at the Devil's Kitchen Fall Literary Festival at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. The dates for the 2014 festival will be October 22-24, 2014. Travel and accommodations will be provided for the two winners.
Entries may be submitted by either author or publisher, and must include a copy of the book, a cover letter, a brief biography of the author including previous publications, and a $20.00 entry fee made out to SIUC - Dept. of English.
Entries must be postmarked December 1, 2013 - February 1, 2014. Materials postmarked after February 1 will be returned unopened. Because we cannot guarantee their return, all entries will become the property of the SIUC Department of English. Entrants wishing acknowledgment of receipt of materials must include a self-addressed stamped postcard.
Judges will come from the faculty of SIUC's MFA Program in Creative Writing and the award winners will be selected by the staff of GRASSROOTS. The winners will be notified in May 2014. All entrants will be notified of the results in June 2014.
The awards are open to single-author titles published in 2013 by independent, university, or commercial publishers. The winners must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must agree to attend and participate in the 2014 Devil's Kitchen Fall Literary Festival (October 22-24, 2014) to receive the award. Entries from vanity presses and self-published books are not eligible. Current students and employees at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and authors published by Southern Illinois University Press are not eligible.
Entries must be postmarked December 1, 2013 - February 1, 2014
(please do not send materials early or late).
Send all materials to:
Devil's Kitchen Reading Awards/GRASSROOTS
Dept. of English, Mail Code 4503
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
1000 Faner Drive
Carbondale, IL 62901
No, it’s not back in print—as I wrote that subject title I suddenly realized I might be setting some of you up for disappointment. But I hope you’ll find this almost as good a surprise. This time of year, I get a lot of email from readers looking for copies of Hanna’s Christmas, which has been out of print for, I don’t know, a decade at least. Sometimes the letters sound pretty frustrated: as the holidays approach, used copies of the book jump to astronomical rates in the resale market. I don’t have any available for sale myself—I didn’t even hold on to enough copies for my own children. (I didn’t have quite as many kids when I wrote the book.)
But a couple of days ago, I got a lovely email from a teacher who said her class really wanted to hear the story, and would I consider reading it aloud in a video. Would you believe that has never occurred to me? It was a great idea, and that’s what I’ve done. I made a short video intro below and then comes a second video with the reading of the book. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
(Direct link here.)Add a Comment
Chautauqua Institution, the pre-eminent expression of lifelong learning in the United States, is pleased to invite 2014 submissions for The Chautauqua Prize, a distinguished national literary prize for a work of fiction or literary/narrative nonfiction.
Awarded annually since 2012, The Chautauqua Prize draws upon Chautauqua's considerable literary legacy to celebrate a book that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and honor the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts. The author receives $7,500 and all travel and expenses for a one-week summer residency at Chautauqua Institution in western New York.
Eligible books for the 2014 prize will have been published in English in the United States during 2013. Nominations will be accepted beginning Sept. 9, 2013, from publishers, agents, authors, and readers. The deadline for nomination is December 31, 2013. Longlist finalists will be notified in February 2014, at which time authors will be asked to select their summer visit time to Chautauqua should they be awarded the prize. Shortlist finalists and the winner will be notified in April and May 2014. Chautauqua Institution will celebrate the winner in the summer of 2014, at a time selected by the winner and Chautauqua Institution.
Chautauqua’s commitment to the literary arts is immersed in its rich history. In addition to the 135-year-old Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, Chautauqua’s literary arts programming includes summer-long interaction of published and aspiring writers at the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, the intensive workshops of the nationally recognized Chautauqua Writers’ Festival, and lectures by prominent authors on the craft and art of writing.
The Chautauqua Prize is awarded through a two-tiered judging process that includes Chautauquans who are writers, publishers, critics, editors, librarians, booksellers, and literature and creative writing educators. Each nominated book is evaluated by three reviewers, with the final selection made by a three-member, independent, anonymous jury.
- See more at our website.
I'm so excited I might barf.Add a Comment
Stories go a long way from start to (hopefully) finish.
Mom’s first book went from this…
December 12 is my Gotcha Day. You can read my Gotcha story here . We celebrated with ice cream. Mom made me a doggie yogurt ice cream pop with a cookie handle.
I went from this…
Change is good.
This is part of a very brief passage in A Drive Into the Gap and I've been thinking about it a lot since I read it last week:
On some level, most novelists write fiction to create order our of chaos. When you shape a fictional story, you can tie every loose end, fit the round pegs comfortably in circular holes. In a novel the author can create a world that makes sense.
The non-fiction writer often does the opposite. He starts with the assumption that the true story he wants to tell conforms to a logical narrative. Instead he discovers that there are always motivations that are incomprehensible. That people act irrationally. That memories are imperfect. The non-fiction writer uncovers the chaos hidden beneath the orderly surface.
There was a very big part of me that desperately wanted to make A Map of My Dead Pilots fictional. I wrote parts of it that way at first, or tried to. but the truth kept beating me down and forcing its way into the narrative. At one point in the final manuscript I do tell readers how I would have rewritten one small story if it is was fiction; how I would have made it a happily ever after.
Truth is so messy. I don't think some novelists realize that. Truth is just impossible to accept sometimes. Guilfoile writes that "...there are always motivations that are incomprehensible". This is the question of why behind every pilot error aircraft accident. I'm still trying to understand some from 1929. I look at accident reports and wonder, "Why did this pilot take this chance that killed him?"
Two weeks ago a pilot crashed in Alaska and died along with three of his passengers. The final Probable Cause report is likely a year away but I know we are never going to understand why he made the final decisions that led to the crash.
Truth is so messy. In a novel I could tell you what he was thinking; what all of them were thinking. As a journalist, as an nonfiction writer, I can only tell you what happened and then lead into the chaos with me so we can both try to find answers together.Add a Comment
Seeking PROSE ON POETRY. Doesn't matter what form the prose takes (review, interview, essay, missive, etc.). Doesn't really matter how long it is (although it can be too long, I can't conceive of it being too short). I would like you to submit said prose on poetry to me for possible inclusion in POETRY CITY, USA, VOL. 4, an anthology of poems read at the Great Twin Cities Poetry Read (GTCPR) plus various prose on poetry (thus the call).
The GTCPR is an annual reading, held in April, at which 30 or so poets all read a single poem each. A year after the reading, the anthology comes out. That means that the GTCPR held on April 26, 2014, with be the fifth anniversary reading. That night will also be the night POETRY CITY, USA, VOL. 4 launches. Any prose on poetry that you submit, if accepted, will go in it.
I need to receive anything you want me to consider by Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. Send pieces to:
mauchmauch [at] gmail [dot] com (Change [at] to @ and [dot] to . )
Full disclosure. Yes, Dot. is one of those picture books written by a celebrity (business maven Randi Zuckerberg) to convey a particular lesson. I am not generally a fan of such books. This one is even kind of a spin-off of an adult title by the same author (Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives), with the same release date. And yet, Dot. worked for me.
Dot. is a simple story. We learn that a little girl named Dot is quite skilled in the use of digital devices. "She knows how to tap ... to touch ... to tweet ... and to tag." And she talks and talks on phones and devices and webcams. But when Dot's brain becomes a bit fried from too much device-time, her mother sends the zombie-like child outside to "reboot." Outside, among friends, Dot learns different meanings of tap (tap dancing), touch (touching a sunflower), tweet (like a bird), and tag (you can guess that one). And at the end, she and her friends embrace both the outdoors and real togetherness AND devices.
I think that ending is a big part of what made the book work for me. If the story had ended with Dot realizing the error of her device-prone ways, and spending all of her time playing outside, well, it just wouldn't have been realistic. But it IS realistic to think that a child could get caught up sitting around inside, tapping away on the computer, only to be reminded that playing outside is fun also. Only to be reminded that it's more fun to do whatever you're doing with other kids than to do it alone.
By keeping the focus entirely on Dot, and finding a solution to her specific problem of tech burnout, Zuckerberg avoids making Dot. feel didactic. It helps, I think that Mom is only shown as a pair of hands shooing Dot outside. Otherwise, there are only kids, dogs, and butterflies.
I also quite liked the parallelism that Zuckerberg uses, between actions we do on devices, like "surfing", and actions that can be done in real life, like "surfing." Some of the examples work better than others ("swiping" paint seems a bit of a reach), but the idea of focusing on these dual meanings works.
Joe Berger's illustrations help, too. When Dot, in dotted dress, is "surfing" on the computer, she lies across the back of the couch with one leg up, reaching down to the computer. This is a nice visual clue to what is to follow later. The indoor illustrations are fun, but all set against plain backgrounds, white walls, etc. This provides a nice contrast when Dot goes outside, and is surrounded by birds, flowers, trees, and so on. I'm not quite sure why Dot has gray hair, but she also has an impish smile, a swirly skirt, and a cute dog.
I think that kids will like her. And if they like Dot, hopefully they won't feel dictated to by the point that this book is making. And let's face it. There are an awful lot of kids out there who could benefit from spending a few hours outside, where the only screen is the screen door. Mary Lee from A Year of Reading liked it, too, calling Dot."the perfect antidote to BYOD" (bring your own device).
I suspect this one will work better with five to seven year olds, kids who spend a bit of time using keyboards, and talking on the phone to friends or family members. My three year old was unimpressed. I think you'll find that Dot. is worth a look, particularly for libraries and classrooms. Perhaps one could pair it under the Christmas tree with a jumprope and some sneakers.
Publisher: HarperCollins (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
FTC Required Disclosure:
This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).
It is the eternal battle for storytime librarians. I see it on Twitter and listservs, I hear it from co-workers and neighboring libraries — how and when do you schedule your storytimes?
In an ideal world, there would be a storytime that began every fifteen minutes in every library so that any child would be able to attend regardless of their never-ending schedule of naps and feedings and preschool and Mommy & Me classes and doctor’s appointments. But we don’t live in an ideal world.
We do the very best that we can to provide for our patrons.
This past year, I added a monthly evening storytime for my patrons to work around their busy schedules. And for the first time since I started at my job, evening storytime is flourishing and gaining numbers while morning storytime is lagging.
I’ve decided to take the months of December and January off from morning storytime to try and figure out what I need to do to increase my morning attendance again.
Previously, we’ve done Tuesday or Thursday mornings at 10:00 a.m. since 2006. Should we be having storytime at 9:30 or wait until 11:00? Do I need to change my day? Is it finally time to start doing a babies/toddlers storytime in the morning and save preschool for immediately after-school?
I wish I could say that I have the answers that I know many of us are seeking. But all I can say is that I have the willingness and chance to change my habits to try and better serve my patrons.
So, tell me, have you radically changed when you schedule your storytimes? What worked? What flopped? Let me know!
- Katie Salo
Youth Services Manager
Melrose Park Library
This morning I received the yearly Christmas letter from the pastor at my church, and it came as a surprise because so far this year, I haven’t acknowledged the most heavily celebrated holiday on the Christian calendar.
In his letter, Pastor Bob enumerated the many things he loves about Christmas: the lights, the music, and the atmosphere of joy—and it’s all true; just ask my neighbors. They’ve had their Christmas lights up since November 29th.
Usually, on December 1st, I’m ready for the holiday season, too. By December 1st, I finally allow for tinsel and 99.9 FM (the Christmas station). This year, something is different, and I’m not entirely sure what.
Is it Grandpa being gone? He was the ultimate lover of Christmas and Frank Sinatra’s “The Christmas Waltz.” He was our patriarch, and this is our first Christmas without him.
Perhaps because of this, I’ve been oddly emotional. While shopping for tree trimmings at Michael’s, for instance, I told Jake, “I gotta get out of here” and started crying as soon as we stepped outside. The next night, my husband (who is not into holidays) was the one who dragged out our fake Christmas tree.
I don’t feel giggly inside. I don’t feel joyful. I don’t believe Santa Claus is coming to town, and let’s not forget: my parents arrived last night. Yes, this will be the first time I’m not in Ohio to celebrate Christmas, but the grief people at Hospice say this is good. After a death in the family, you’re supposed to change up the holidays so the absence of a loved one isn’t quite as obvious. Yet, even with the arrival of mummy and daddy, I still don’t feel like decorating or singing carols or baking cookies.
But this morning, Pastor Bob’s Christmas letter was a revelation, because along with not thinking about Christmas, I also haven’t thought about Jesus.
From Pastor Bob’s letter: “My prayer for you is that as your scurry about with many and varied preparations for Christmas … the real meaning and message of Christ’s birth will not be lost. Pause and remember the message of Christmas is simply this: ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.’”
This holiday season may be tougher than most. My family will be separated into east and west coasts. I’ll be in the sunny desert when I really want snow. We’ll all be without Papa, and that will be hard. But Christmas isn’t about the decorations, the presents, or Frank Sinatra. Christmas is about a baby born in a manger—and it’s time I remembered.
The First Day is now accepting submissions within the following genres:
Personal essays about individual, spiritual journeys
Thought-provoking articles about issues and culture in a non-academic style
Engaging reviews of new movies, music, television, and books
Short fiction (7,000 words or less), flash fiction, and poetry
Original artwork and photography
Interviews with inspiring artists and people making a difference
The theme for our winter issue is water; deadline by the end of December. Submissions can range from stories of birth, baptism, flow, emotion, nature, health, healing, or any other topic you think may be appropriate.
We print four times a year and also consider submissions for our website.
editorATfirstdaypressDOTorg (Change AT to @ and DOT to .)
with submissions or queries. Submissions may be in the text of the email or in an attached Word document (docx., doc., pdf, rtf.). Please include a brief bio in your email.
It struck me as akin to calling an author on the phone and saying, “Hi, I reviewed your book!” and then hanging up. Which is how I phrased it to a friend later that day, who replied with, “And what would be wrong with that?”
I wished I had more of an answer than, “I don’t know … but something.”
I don't generally do it, but more because I'm lazy (my blog is set up to auto-tweet whenever I post) than because I have strong feelings about the practice. I have noticed, though, that Kirkus will sometimes include an author's handle when tweeting my columns, but only (hopefully?) if I had a positive reaction to the book. (Otherwise, it would be a little bit like, "Hey, you! Yeah, you right there! LEILA HATED YOUR BOOK!" Which would be mean.)
I do see his point about it seeming "chummy", but couldn't that be said of any social interaction between authors and reviewers?
At the same time, when I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE a book, I oftentimes will tweet the author and tell them that. Because sometimes, I just want to thank someone for writing an awesome book. So I don't know if I think that's any more or less "chummy" than telling them such at BookExpo or wherever.
What say you?Add a Comment
Booth: A Journal is now accepting submissions for Resurrection Tales: New Life for Old Characters.
Anything in the public domain is fair game to be remixed, twisted, fanfic-ed. The basic idea here is to revisit characters we all know and call them back to action. One last labor for Hercules? Cool. A mash-up of the tale of Jonah and Moby Dick? Send it our way. A hard-boiled noir about the murder of the Wicked Witch? We want to read it for this forthcoming series on Booth.
Length: No restrictions
Forms: It should work on paper or a screen. Other than that, no restrictions. Prose, poetry, infographics, origami templates, whatever.
Enter the LOTR Topophilia writing contest by Dec. 24 to win €60, €25, or €15 and have your story performed at #touristwalkDublin.
There's no entry fee. Just send us 400-500 words (fiction or nonfiction) focused on love for a place -- any place in the world -- to:
topohilia13ATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to .)
The winners will be chosen by our panel of judges: Irish writer Ruth Gilligan, Liberties Press publisher Seán O'Keeffe, the Tourist Walk team, and the Love on the Road 2013 team.
The winning stories will be published online and performed at the MART gallery in Dublin's Rathmines neighborhood on the evening of 3 January, 2014 as part of #touristwalkDublin, an event organized by Tourist Walk, a cross-discipline art project that seeks to explore and celebrate the unique character of location through live music.
The three winners can attend #touristwalkDublin and do live readings of their winning submissions, email audio recordings of their submissions to be played at #touristwalkDublin, or ask one of us to read their submissions for them at the big event.
The authors of the winning stories will get: First Prize: €60 and a signed Tourist Walk poster; Second Prize: €25 and a copy of the just-released anthology of stories about love and travel, Love on the Road 2013; Third Prize: €15.
For details, visit our website. For more information on #touristwalkDublin, go here. For more information on Love on the Road 2013, visit this site. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at:
topohilia13ATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to .)
Question: I'm writing a book about my family history and want to start each chapter with a date of importance or life changing event for each. Most ofAdd a Comment
My long-suffering Facebook Friends heard me go on at length yesterday about the 120 plus or minus cupcakes I had to ice and box up. During a roughly 6-hour period I also made an additional two-dozen cupcakes that didn't need icing as well as some mini-meatloaves and asparagus for dinner.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Gail. But did you do any writing?
I did some yesterday morning. And that led to something happening yesterday during my cupcake binge.
While I was revising a chapter yesterday morning, I realized that a lot of what I was reading was similar to what I'd read in the chapter before. I felt that the new chapter was necessary because it dealt with the protagonist's parents' response to what he was doing. But this is a mystery, and the details being discussed had all appeared in the chapter before. If I couldn't come up with a new significant step in the story, I might need to eliminate a section. If I eliminated a section, I might be left with a hole in the plot that would need to be filled.
While I was working on cupcakes, the significant step I needed came to me. I had a breakout experience. With breakout experiences it's easy to focus on the breakout, because that idea/thought is so important. But the breakout can't come without some input first. You take in information, work to a point at which nothing more is happening for you, then let your brain relax with a totally different activity. Like icing and fancying up cupcakes.
So the work/input is important, maybe the most important part of the process.The more you work, the more opportunities you have for breakout experiences. Conversely, the less you work, the fewer opportunities you'll have for those breakouts. Writing every day won't insure a daily breakout experience, but it increases your opportunities for having them at some point.
In fact, writing every day helps make it possible for you to keep working when you're not, technically, working because you're relaxed brain is doing something with the material you provided it with earlier in the day.
Minerva Louise is an oldie but certainly a goodie, so I am writing to keep her going a little longer. For those familiar with Minerva, you know that as a very naïve chicken, she is often confused by the world around her, making assumptions that are often wrong, and humorous as well. In this story, Minerva Louise mistakes Christmas lights for fireflies and Santa for a farmer in a red hat. And what is the farmer doing on top of the roof? She warns him that it is slippery, but he falls down the chimney anyway! She tries to tell the farmer in the red hat to take the stuff out of her farmer’s socks and wonders about the tree that must have come inside to get out of the cold – and someone has been laying the most beautiful “eggs” on its branches! Young children will love to correct the reader (and Minerva Louise), because they know what Minerva does not about Christmas. This is still a wonderful read-aloud, and shouldn’t be forgotten.
Posted by: Mary