I've got a lot of good news to share in this post, so I'll get right down to business.
Welcome our new VP
As of February of 2014, Kristine Snodgrass has been the acting vice president of the Gulf Coast Association of Creative Writing Teachers. Kristine brings a lot of experience to GCACWT. A professor of creative writing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, she is a longtime GCACWT presenter and reader. A widely-published writer, she's the editor of Cake, a literary journal based out of FAMU's Department of English. With Jay Snodgrass, she is the new director of Anhinga Press.
Next year, Kristine will take over as president of GCACWT.
The schedule for the 2014 conference is posted at http://www.gcacwt.com/2014-program.html. Please take a look and be sure that there are no errors and that your name is spelled correctly. I will try to take any scheduling requests into consideration. However, there is simply no what I can build a perfect schedule.
If you are designated a "chair" in one of the reading panels, your job will be to negotiate things in the room. Understand that each reader has about fifteen minutes or so to read. In the past, everyone has been gracious about time. I hope that tradition continues. Chairs might want to familiarize themselves with their fellow readers, as well, which leads me to:
Who Are You?
If you're coming to the conference, please take a few minutes to update (or add) your biographical sketch for the website. Please keep biographies to around 100 words.
Below is a list of "open" panels, those panels that have been accepted but still need participants. If you'd like to be on one of these panels, simply click on "Panel Request" under "Fairhope 2014" at http://www.gcacwt.com. There, you can fill out a form to join an existing panel.
Women in the Literary World
This panel will discuss the presence of women in the literary world, with a focus on the VIDA statistics over the past few years, what we mean when we say "women's writing", and how to promote the work of women and minorities through writing and publishing. Feminism and intersectionality in publishing will be a concern, though not strictly a focus. Confirmed participants include Rachael Peralez, Fiction editor for Quaint Magazine and Kia Groom, founding & poetry editor for Quaint. We have reached out to Belle Journal for their participation, but not yet heard back. Contributing panelists welcome.
Panelist: Kia Groom (Editor, Quaint)
“Why I Write Southern Sacrilege: Reflections on Flannery O’Connor’s 'The Church and the Fiction Writer.' ”
Much southern writing deals with religion in a rather sacrilegious manner. I propose a panel on using religion in creative writing and the special consequences and approaches of doing so.I will be making a presentation on Flannery O'Connor's words on the topic and invite anyone else who finds that religion holds a special place within your prose or poetry to join in. Discussions on the unique approach to religion in southern literature, observations on different approaches to using religion in your writings, pedagogical approaches to discussing religion of southern literature in the classroom, or even general observations of the reaction of people to your writing about religion can be shared. I invite anyone with something to say on this topic to join in.Participants: C.D. Mitchell (Chair), Chris Tusa, Matt Forsyhe
“The Spark: How to Ignite Students' Creativity”
Writing teachers in both the creative writing and the composition classroom face similar challenges. How can we as educators help students spark their own imaginations? This panel invites participants to discuss various exercises, theories, practical, and not-so-practical pedagogies for the writing classroom.
Participants: Ash Bowen (Chair), Kristine Snodgrass, Beth Rodgers
Writing the Sex Scene
Many are aware of the Literary Review's Award for the worst written sex scene in the previous year (http://www.literaryreview.co.uk/badsex2013.php). Beth Ann Fennelly just wrote a great article in Poets and Writers about her experience writing the sex scene in her last novel. The challenge seems to be how to describe the familiar without using the old worn out cliches, while preserving the reality of the situation. Is it best at times to just get down and dirty with it and use those old, nasty descriptors, or should we talk poetically using metaphors to get across our orgasms? I suggest panelists bring examples of the best and worst sex scenes and talk about issues they have faced in writing such material. The wild popularity of Fifty Shades proves there is a market for such material, but is it the sex, or what happens afterward that makes the sex powerful? Sex changes relationships, so should the focus in literary material be on what happens afterward? I welcome panelists to join and make suggestions. This was an issue I struggled with in my first book, and I'd love to know what others think!
Participants: C.D. Mitchell (chair), Chad Faries
Writing and Publishing Trade Books: Options for Creative Writers
Panel chair Kate Cumiskey writes:
I have found that, as a working writer with an MFA in poetry, writing trade books has helped gain recognition for my poetry. I wrote a trade nonfiction book for one publisher; was contacted by another interested in my poetry after he read that book; then other trade publishers for my nonfiction. I currently have a memoir contract and a trade nonfiction contract. There is discussion in the literary world about whether to write for trade publishers. It’s a hot topic among writers; I'd like to delve into this. For some of us who wish to write full-time (eventually forgoing teaching) this trade/literary situation is an option.
Participants: Kate Cumiskey (chair)
What are Editors Looking For?
This panel will feature editors from literary magazines and small presses around the region discussing submissions. They'll talk about what moves a submission to the top of the slush pile as well as what gives a submission a one-way trip to the rejection folder. This panel needs more small-press editors.
Participants: Danita Berg, Chair (Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine), Chris Tusa (Fiction Southeast), Tom Holmes (Redactions: Poetry & Poetics), Kristine Snodgrass (CaKe), Jim Miller (?m), Randy Bates (Bayou)other panelists TBA
So, send in your panel requests, reading questions, and student contest entries asap, folks. Time is quickly running out, and March edges closer each day. Before we know it, GCACWT '14 will be upon us. I am very much looking forward to our keynote speaker, author and naturalist Susan Cerulean.
If you're on Twitter or Facebook, use the hashtag #gcacwt to promote the conference. Feel free to add me on Twitter: @NewberryJeff. You should also visit the official GCACWT Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fairhope-Writers-Conference-GCACWT/137216292987138).
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gulf Coast Association of Creative Writing Teachers
Gulf Coast Association of Creative Writing Teachers brings together teachers of writing, students, writers, editors, and publishers from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and others from—or interested in— the Gulf Coast region and its writing.