Thanks to a gracious invitation from the UAB Creative Writing faculty (headed by the inimitable Kerry Madden), a group of ASFA-CW students ventured over to Southside to hear children’s author Linda Sue Park read and answer audience questions this week. She had lots of great, practical writing advice, such as: when in doubt, start a draft in third person POV because it’s more flexible, especially with genres that require a lot of exposition (fantasy, historical, sci-fi…). You can always go back in another draft and shift POV to see if that does something interesting to the narrative. Also: the Pomodoro Technique! Thanks to Linda Sue, Kerry, and UAB for availing us of the opportunity…
This past Friday, as a part of the Ron Casey Visiting Writers’ series at ASFA-CW, we were graced by the presence of Sheree Renee Thomas, who read from her latest multi-genre collection, Sleeping Under the Tree of Life, and then inspired us all with a set of feeling/thinking/writing exercises that encouraged us to shed our preconceived notions of what (and how) we’re “supposed” to write. Below the break, check out a few examples what we were able to create: Continue reading
We’re pleased to again join forces with the Nitty Gritty Magic City Reading Series and the Desert Island Supply Company (with an able culinary assist from the good folks at Church Street) to host “Writers on the Mic” this month. Here’s the deets:
- Who: Sheree Renée Thomas | Jenny Sadre-Orafai | Robert Collins [Scroll down below the break for more about these fine writers, including bio material and related links…]
- What: Poetry! Fiction (speculative and otherwise)! Hybridity! Books! (And music and food and drink, oh my!)
- When: Thursday – Feb 8 |Doors – 7 pm | Show starts at 7:30 pm
- Where: DISCO | 5500 1st Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35212
- Why: Because art saves the world. Every time. But don’t take our word for it: just ask the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Humanities Foundation, who have generously supported this program for precisely that reason.
Cate O’Toole was awarded a Rachel Carson Fellowship and earned her MFA in fiction from Chatham University. She is the author of the chapbook Big Women, Big Girls (Stamped Books, 2011) and her stories have appeared in Six Sentences and the 6S Vol. 1 anthology, Wanderlust Review, The Linnet’s Wings, shady side review, and elsewhere. Cate was the 2012 recipient of the Poetry & Prose Winter Getaway’s Jan-Ai Scholarship. She lives and writes in Seattle, WA.
Her collection of flash fictions, Oh My Darling!, re-imagines the folk ballad “Oh My Darling, Clementine” into a haunting choose-your-own-adventure (CYA) narrative, of which Harmony Neal writes: “All roads lead to death — it’s the choices along the journey that make the life. Cate O’Toole has masterfully created the parallel stories of Clementine, letting the reader choose her path, which, while not pretty, is made of choices, as all lives are. Grim, sure, but choose your own adventure never goes out of style, especially when the language sings and the setting gets dirt in your teeth.”
After reading (and loving) Oh My Darling! for this past year’s Senior Thesis seminar, ASFA-CW Seniors (’17) Norah Madden-Lunsford and Willow Tucker devised their own CYA adventure for Cate to navigate. Here’s the path she took: Continue reading
Above: an interview with Colum McCann wherein he talks about his novel TransAtlantic. And here’s a link to the New York Times review of the book.
As further context for Breakfast on Pluto and TransAtlantic — and as comparison/counterpoint to Dubliners — there’s the story of incarcerated IRA member Bobby Sands who, in 1981, went on a hunger strike in Her Majesty’s “Maze” prison in N. Ireland to protest prison conditions there. He died after 66 days of the strike, but he also ignited the passions of those in N. Ireland who were opposed to the British government’s policies in N. Ireland, even those who were not supporters of the IRA. Here’s more about Sands and about Steve McQueen, the filmmaker who made the 2008 film, Hunger, which is based on Sands’s hunger strike and his experience in prison.