Denver AWP 2010

Here’s what looks good to me. * = where I’ll most likely be during that time period.

12-7 Register

R106. Reading, Writing, and Teaching the Literary Fantastic. *
(Sarah Stone, Joan Silber, Melissa Pritchard, Doug Dorst, Sylvia Brownrigg)
We’ll explore how fabulous or numinous fiction can be meaningful and believable: from completely alternate worlds to literary ghost stories to essentially realist stories that depict characters’ beliefs about the supernatural. We’ll consider great examples and describe ways for writers and their students to unlock their own inventions and move beyond genre cliches. The panel will include handouts with reading lists and writing exercises.

R118. The In Sound from Way Out: Submission to Publication.
(M. Bartley Seigel, Margaret Bashaar, Aaron Burch, James Grinwis, Jennifer Pieroni, Roxane Gay)
Editors from five eclectic little magazines—Bateau, Hobart, PANK, Quick Fiction, and Weave—unpack their editorial projects and processes, quirks and anomalies, across genres, and invite questions to initiate dialogue among panel and audience members.

R143. Shameless Book Promotion: Squad 365 Rides Again! *
(Marisha Chamberlain, Margaret Hasse, Jon Spayde, Todd Boss)
Last year, we drew an overflow crowd for an AWP panel on creative book promotion. Participants called us “educational, generous, warm, and funny.” Collaborating, blogging, and presenting as “Squad 365,” we’re two poets, a novelist, and a nonfiction writer with books out from Norton, Nodin, and Random House in 2008, and from Soho Press in 2009. In 2010 we’re back again with another lively discussion about simple and innovative ways to win readers, promote a little on a regular basis, and enjoy marketing.

R163. What’s Your Platform? What Agents & Editors Are Looking For in Writers. *
(Christina Katz, Jane Friedman, Robin Mizell, David W. Sanders, Sage Cohen) Yes, the quality of your writing still matters. But becoming visible and influential is more crucial to landing a book deal than ever, according to agents and editors in every facet of the publishing industry. Aspiring authors need to develop a platform in order to get noticed. Fortunately for emerging writers in all genres, there are more affordable, accessible tools available for platform-development and building, which make this important responsibility a pleasure and not a chore.

1:30-2:45 (a TON to see)

R177. Following the Paths to Publication: First Books and What Happens Next.
(Dan Wickett, Seth Harwood, Anis Shivani, Shawna Yang Ryan, Lowell Mick White) The first book is an important, joyous event in the life of any writer. Yet the process of achieving the first book is rapidly changing, largely through accelerated technologies and increasingly fractured demographics. How can writers successfully react to these changes? What constitutes ultimate success? On this panel, five debut authors will discuss their varied paths to publication, the impact the book has had on their lives, and the larger implications of change in publishing practices.

R184. How to Start Your Own Online Literary Magazine: Five Editors Tell All.
(Rebecca Morgan Frank, Michael Archer, Thom Didato, Gregory Donovan, Ravi Shankar) Have you dreamed of starting your own online literary magazine? Join the editors of Blackbird, Drunken Boat, failbetter, Guernica, and Memorious, five longstanding and respected online journals, as they share the ins and outs of developing and sustaining a literary journal on the web. Come hear about the unique advantages and challenges of editing in this expansive medium, and learn pointers for financing, marketing, and managing the technical challenges of a web-based journal.

R185. Best New American Voices 10 Year Anniversary Reading.
(David James Poissant, Dani Shapiro, Christian Moody, Ted Thompson, Laura van den Berg) Best New American Voices, Harcourt’s annual anthology series, features short stories from emerging writers enrolled in writing programs across North America. After ten volumes, the series is drawing to a close, but not before celebrating its 10th anniversary! Series coeditor Natalie Danford will discuss the impact of the book on American fiction in the 21st century, while Dani Shapiro will discuss the stories she chose for the 2010 edition. Four contributors will read from their works.

R186. Ecotone 5th Anniversary Reading.
(Ben George, Robert Wrigley, Benjamin Percy, Kathryn Miles, Cary Holladay, Reg Saner) Ecotone, the award-winning semiannual magazine published at UNC Wilmington, celebrates its 5th anniversary in 2010. In its short life, the magazine has already had its work reprinted in several annuals of the Best American series and in the Pushcart Press anthology, among others. Ecotone seeks to bring together the literary and the scientific, the personal and the biological, the urban and the rural. Please join us for a reading by six of our outstanding and widely acclaimed contributors.

R187. Byronic Vampires and Melancholy Green Men: Harnessing Genre for Literary Use. *
(J.W. Wang, Mark Winegardner, Stephen Graham Jones, Tom Franklin, Leah Stewart, Julianna Baggott)
Perhaps no word can be more anathema to literature than genre. Yet, in the postmodern world the dividing line is often blurry, or even nonexistent, and we see more and more authors making use of familiar genre elements for their literary pursuits: vampires, the mafia, romance, etc. This panel explores the notion of genre versus literature: what the dividing lines are, how one informs the other, how one goes about bringing the two together, successes and failures.

3:00-4:15 (none – bookfair?)

4:30-5:45 (none – bookfair, local, dinner?)

NIGHT: Chabon Keynote at 8:30-10 and Keyhole Party

FRIDAY April 9

9:00-10:15 (none – breakfast?)

F138. The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, & Writers in the Field. *
(Abby Beckel, Randall Brown, Kim Chinquee, Sherrie Flick, Robert Shapard, Lex Williford)
Join five of the twenty-five contributors to this ground-breaking anthology for a roundtable discussion on the history, cross-cultural influences, reemergence, and current practices in the field of flash. These authors also will offer exercises and read examples of stories that will be of use and interest to anyone who writes, teaches, edits, or just generally enjoys the short short form.

F150. Indie Mags: Publishing Outside of MFA Programs and Other Institutional Support. *
(J.W. Wang, Aaron Burch, Dave Clapper, Mike Young, Jennifer Flescher, Blake Butler)
Independent journals provide an alternative to the established journals affiliated with universities and creative writing programs, and they frequently serve as pioneers in the world of literary publishing. Join editors from Tuesday, An Art Project, Hobart, NOÖ Journal, Juked, Lamination Colony and SmokeLong Quarterly for a roundtable discussion about the workings of independently-published literary journals, what it takes to keep them going, and what these journals mean to potential contributors.

F164. The Future of Book Publishing: How Authors Should Navigate the New Market.
(Mary Gannon, Dennis Loy Johnson, Jeffrey Shots, Michael Reynolds, Lee Montgomery, Julie Barer) Editors and agents will discuss the changes that have occurred in the practices and policies of literary publishing—from acquiring books, producing them in all of their incarnations, and marketing them. They will also offer timely advice on how authors should best navigate the changing industry and the new market.

1:30-2:45 (none – bookfair, late lunch, exploring Denver)

F197. What We Hate: Editorial Dos and Don’ts. *
(H. Emerson Blake, Katie Dublinski, Andrew Leland, Denise Oswald, Daniel Slager, Rob Spillman)
You won’t find this in the FAQ. Get it straight from the source. Six distinguished magazine and book editors speak candidly about what they love and loathe and everything in between. What do editors really want from writers? What do they absolutely not want? If you’re positively sure you know the answers to these questions, then don’t come to this panel featuring editors from The Believer, Graywolf Press, Milkweed Editions, Orion, Soft Skull Press, and Tin House..

F215. The Road Less Taken and the Ivory Tower: Getting Creative about Creative Careers. *
(Laura Valeri, Andrea Dupree, Margo Rabb, David Rothman, John Brehm) Poets, fiction, and nonfiction writers with different degrees and career tracks discuss the skills and strategies that helped them succeed, including why we should look beyond the MFA vs. PhD argument into the roles of writing programs today, what academic searches really value, how academic careers interact with creative careers, and why finding alternatives that keep us prolific, creative, and advocating for the art is an essential strategy for success.

F229. Navigating Chaotic Changes in Literary Magazine Publishing.
(Melanie Moore, Maribeth Batcha, Carolyn Kuebler, William Pierce, Stephanie G’Schwind) Join publishers and editors from American Short Fiction, One Story, AGNI, Colorado Review, and the New England Review for a discussion of the opportunities and challenges in the current “publishing crisis.” As more readers come to expect free content on the internet, how can literary publishers continue to pay writers, sustain their operations, and build their audiences? As paradigms shift, learn how these magazines are adapting their business models and their magazines to succeed.

NIGHT: Tons of receptions including Tin House from 7-8:15; George Saunders and Etgar Keret reading at 8:30-10, Velvet/OWC/OWP reading from 6-9.


S109A. Insider Strategies for Getting your Books Published.
(Jeff Herman)
Learn proven insider techniques for getting commercially published.

S115. Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy… Seriously. *
(Anthony Smith, Brian Evenson, Stephen Graham Jones, Tod Goldberg, Mark Smith, Seth Harwood)
Six writers of genre fiction who also teach and/or have graduated from university creative writing programs dicuss how they approach genre fiction as a serious literary pursuit rather than as a lesser form of fiction. In addition, they discuss attitudes towards genre fiction in the university and how those attitudes have changed over the years.

S125. CLMP Panel—Life on the D-List: Digital Publishing. *
(Richard Nash, Chad W. Post, Ivory Madison, LeAnn Fields, Leslie McGrath)
Panelists savvy in the ways of zeros and ones—from University of Michigan Press,, Drunken Boat, and Open Letter Books—talk about the hows and whys of this next phase of the published word.

S152. Harper Perennial Presents: A Reading by Kevin Sampsell and Justin Taylor.
Harper Perennial presents Justin Taylor and Kevin Sampsell reading from their newly published books. Justin Taylor reads from his debut story collection, Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever, a collection of prophetic, provocative, and dazzlingly written stories that explore the ways our everyday delusions invite pain, disappointment, and even joy into our lives. In A Common Pornography, a memoir told in vignettes, Kevin Sampsell intertwines recollections of small-town youth with darker threads of family history and reveals how incest, madness, betrayal, and death can somehow seem normal.

S160. Conflict vs. Chaos: Workshopping the Violent Story.
(Robin Romm, Daniel Stolar, Eric Puchner, Andrew Altschul, Darrin Doyle)
Narrative fiction requires conflict in order to function, but student writers often equate conflict with violence. Writers like Paul Bowles, Junot Diaz, and Flannery O’Connor have used brutality to great effect. But simply parroting the action won’t produce literary fiction. How do we teach our students to turn violence into complex, literary conflict? How can a student learn to avoid gratuitous gore? This panel will focus on practical methods and strategies for critiquing the violent story.

S163. Evolution of the New Media: Online Literary Journals and Websites in 2010. *
(Dan Albergotti, Dan Wickett, Jeremiah Chamberlin, Terry Kennedy)
This panel examines the evolution of online publishing and literary promotion via digital media in the 21st century. Dan Wickett and Jeremiah Chamberlin will discuss ways their sites have developed an extended literary community for emerging writers, while Dan Albergotti and Terry Kennedy will address how aesthetics of online journal design and presentation have evolved in recent years.

S172. Weirding It Up: How and Why to Deploy Unusual Points of View. *
(Kyle Minor, Benjamin Percy, Christopher Coake, Lauren Groff, Holly Goddard Jones) Most craft discussions of point of view are heavy on the basics: single and double voiced first person narration, the central consciousness and the close third, omniscience and the free indirect style. But what happens to point of view when, say, a story demands the writer tell it backwards from end to beginning, or shift the point of view at a story’s beginning or end, or enter into the mind of a monster?

S194. Demystifying the Hiring Process: Inside the Search Committee.
(Laura Lee Washburn, Jeffrey Thomson, Amy Sage Webb, Amy Fleury)
Panelists will share extensive experiences with searches, explaining what committees look for and the constraints they’re under. We’ll offer practical advice from how to do a presentation to the “Don’ts” of the interview process. We’ll focus on the committee’s perspective at universities of a variety of sizes to help candidates see how minor details make major differences. This panel continues the conversation from AWP in Chicago with more time for audience participation and questions.

S201. Thirty Years of Mid-American Review: An Anniversary Reading.
(Matt Bell, Matthew Eck, Karin Gottshall, Jeffrey McDaniel, Michelle Richmond, Alison Stine) This reading celebrates the 30th Anniversary of Mid-American Review, the literary journal edited and published by students and alumni of Bowling Green State University’s program in creative writing. MAR is proud of its tradition of featuring work by contemporary writers of eclectic voices and styles, and the five presenters have all contributed to the magazine’s pages over the years.

4:30-5:45 (none – bookfair?)

NIGHT: Nothing major – Velvet/WC/OWC/OWP/Cult dinner?

Where to pre-order Transubstantiate

Pre-order 4.1.10 - Release 6.18.10

The signed/limited, paperback and ebook will go on sale this Thursday. There will only be ONE HUNDRED of the signed/limited editions, which have a glossy dust jacket, extra chapter, extended interview from The Cult ( and an audio cd with several short stories on it (we’re still nailing them down, but it’ll be a great mix of my previously published but hard to find shorts in print).

Here are the links for the various formats. Thanks so much for the support.


Cover art for Transubstantiate

Pre-order 4.1.10 - Release 6.18.10

Pre-order 4.1.10 - Release 6.18.10

Well, I’m finally able to post up the artwork for the covers of Transubstantiate. Thanks Jamie for the great work, and everyone at OWP for letting me be a part of this process.

Pre-orders start on 4.1.10 for the signed, limited of 100 hardcovers with extras like a bonus chapter, extended interview and audio cd with several short stories, as well as the paperback. Release date is 6.18.10. You can also come join the Facebook Group to stay in the loop. 700 members and growing.

“Released” is now live at Outsider Writers Collective


My troublesome child “Released” is now live at Outsider Writers Collective.


“Released” by Richard Thomas
by Pela Via

“I lie on the soft floor, arms numb, darkness wrapping around me like a tight jacket.”

This story gives a good taste of Richard’s longer work—it’s concentrated, dense and visual, and it’s eerily smart. There are layers to his stories, something to gratify and disturb every part of one’s brain. Masterful insanity in prose that charms, I’d fear him if he wasn’t so goddamn likable.

Cienfuegos by Chris Deal


One of the most talented emerging authors I know is Chris Deal. He and I have published together many times, and I’ve also published his work, as well. This collection of short fiction is really fantastic. I was lucky enough to run a fun little contest over at The Velvet, where we had a 100 word short story contest. Just something I thought might be interesting. Mr. Deal really came out of his shell and created some fantastic imagery, eventually winning. Cienfuegos is the result of that inspiring competition, and I’m happy that I could be a part of his process.

Here is the official blurb I sent him:

In Cienfugeos, Chris Deal writes about solitude, loss, and the cold certainty of death, a chill running over you as the stories unfold, and then, he drops you into a furnace of hate and mysticism, the short, fractured stories abruptly over with nothing left but an echo. These are all in the same world, in different worlds, in the mirrored reflection of places that seem familiar, and yet, are not at all what you thought you knew, unexpected and piercing. You could call this a collection of flash fiction, and that would be correct if you meant blinding white light, a crack of violent thunder, and the distant shrieks of babies crying, mothers unsettled and father frowning, arms crossed in defiance. These are moments in time, a snatch of conversation, the last visions of dented souls bound for other places. His work is visceral, haunting and always steeped in history, ancient tales made new. This is the tip of the iceberg in so many ways.

So pick it up today, it’s worth every penny. Brown Paper Publishing did a great job getting this out.