Filtering by: Saturday September 29

Creating the Surreal Through Mystery, Fantasy, Legend & Invention:  In Conversation with Marisa Silver & Laura van den Berg
Sep
29
4:15 PM16:15

Creating the Surreal Through Mystery, Fantasy, Legend & Invention: In Conversation with Marisa Silver & Laura van den Berg

Presenters:  Marisa Silver, Laura van den Berg
Moderator:  Katherine Taylor

Try to bill a novel as surreal, and people immediately think that the book is just plain weird. They tend to offer excuses about how they don't really like fantasy or science fiction. Somehow we have forgotten that surrealism in literature was born alongside the same movement in the world of visual art. When we talk about the surreal, we are suggesting that something intrigues and unsettles our subconscious because it places objects and situations that seem to be at odds alongside one another. For example, a deceased husband returned to life in another country or a young girl who transforms into the stuff of fairy tales, both create the illusion for the reader that he or she is standing on the edge of a world that runs parallel to our own. It is an exhilarating and terrifying and ceaselessly imaginative place to inhabit, and of even greater interest is learning how these two writers are able to bring their readers to this brink.

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This Calls for an Adventure
Sep
29
4:15 PM16:15

This Calls for an Adventure

Presenters:  Lindsay Eagar, Liesl Shurtliff, Greg van Eekhout
Moderator:  Jess Mills

It seems silly to say so, but sometimes all one needs to escape for a while is to embark on an adventure from the comfort of one's living room chair. We have all experienced the pleasure and excitement of getting so swept away in a story that we forget where we are and who we are for a time, and instead find ourselves inhabiting the pages that rest in our hands. Writers who inherently understand this power that books possess are able to draw us into their stories with action-filled plots, a true sense of heart and hope, and a protagonist whom we want to succeed. So for those times when nothing but some time checked out of reality will do, look no further than these middle grade favorites. 

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Bringing History to the Present: In Conversation with Gary D. Schmidt & Ilyasah Shabazz
Sep
29
2:45 PM14:45

Bringing History to the Present: In Conversation with Gary D. Schmidt & Ilyasah Shabazz

Presenters: Gary D. Schmidt, Ilyasah Shabazz
Moderator:  Colby Sharp

History officially recognizes the civil rights movement as something that began in the mid-1950s. One could argue, however, that it began at least a century earlier, or even earlier still, when any minority voiced its demands for equality. Sojourner Truth is one of America's most well remembered and well respected figureheads for the rights of women and African Americans. She escaped slavery in her early 30s and campaigned tirelessly the rest of her adult life for the freedoms she considered to be God given to all people. She died in Battle Creek, Michigan about 50 years before the birth of another indomitable woman who fought for these same rights. Betty Shabazz lived some of her most formative adolescent years in Detroit before her future as the wife and partner of Malcolm X was even a fleeting thought. Despite having lived decades apart, these women's lives both reflect a history that is very much alive in our present. Join two exceptional writers as they converse about how they approach the retelling of such powerful stories.

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Poetry as Craft
Sep
29
2:45 PM14:45

Poetry as Craft

Presenters:  Pino Coluccio, Dean Rader, Nick Twenlow, Lisa Wells
Moderator:  Skip Renker

Just as we know that the act of reading poetry can be so different from that of reading a novel, so too is the act of writing poetry. The craft has a vocabulary unto itself. It directly traces its roots to the days when humans used to share stories in song or spoken verse. It strikes some uncanny balance between lyricism and utility. For better or for worse, many readers consider poetry to be more challenging to read. Based on some vague recollection of one high school poetry class, many mistakenly believe that they either don't understand or don't like it. And yet, it is a form constantly able to reinvent itself. So how is the process of crafting poetry different from that of writing anything else? From where do poets draw inspiration? What do they read for education? What do they read for entertainment? Do they practice reading their work aloud? And how would they convince someone to give poetry a try?

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Unraveling the Complexities of Friendship
Sep
29
1:15 PM13:15

Unraveling the Complexities of Friendship

Presenters:  Makiia Lucier, Katherine Marsh, Kat Yeh
Moderator:  Lisa Blanchard

Some of the most memorable characters in all of literature are the main characters' best friends. Piglet to Pooh. Ron and Hermione to Harry. Sam to Frodo. These sidekicks are so essential to furthering the plot, helping the main characters out of sticky situations and, most importantly, revealing facets of their friends that would never be revealed to readers otherwise. In order to do so, these friendships are required to weather some ups and downs, harsh truths and well-meaning lies, the joys of success and the pains of failure, the bonds of togetherness and the loneliness of independence. Writing for an audience for whom friendship is messy and wonderful and always changing, these authors craft their work with sensitivity and understanding.

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Giving Voice to Multiple Narrators
Sep
29
1:15 PM13:15

Giving Voice to Multiple Narrators

Presenters:  Debra Jo Immergut, Jessica Shattuck, Marisa Silver
Moderator:  Glen Young

When a writer can successfully employ multiple and varied narrative voices to tell a complete story, it can be awe-inspiring. That moment when the reader believes, without question, that the narrators have each been born of a different pen is an accomplishment of the highest order. No longer is the story simply being read; it is being lived. We aren't being told what a character thinks or how a character feels by an omniscient narrator, or by another character. Instead, we experience the story alongside each character, granting us sundry perspectives as we view the narrative more completely. One can't help but wonder about the unique challenges to this writing process and how a writer makes the decision to tell a story with multiple voices from the start.

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Resurrecting the Past
Sep
29
12:00 PM12:00

Resurrecting the Past

Presenters:  Patrick Flores-Scott, Heidi Sopinka, Laura van den Berg
Moderator:  Sarah Cohen

It seems to be an inherent element of human nature that we can never escape our pasts. We may come to terms with the past. We may utilize it to gather life lessons. We may try to outrun or deny it. We may embrace it and reflect on it with fondness. In many novels, the plot really takes off when a character's past shows up unexpectedly. This may lead to the development of a mystery or the use of clever plot devices like flashbacks and shifting time. It almost always causes the character to consider the truth of his or her past—a truth that has often been misremembered with time. Inevitably, we can count on the resurrection of one's past to make for great storytelling and our own self-reflection.

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The Art & Storytelling of Illustration
Sep
29
12:00 PM12:00

The Art & Storytelling of Illustration

Presenters:  Abby Hanlon, Heather Ross, Matt Tavares, Chris Van Dusen
Moderator:  Susan Capaldi

It is common for us to hear young people talk about their dreams to become artists or cartoonists or fashion designers when they grow up. So why is it that we so rarely hear any of them say that they would like to one day illustrate books for children? At what point did the immensely gifted artists whose work graces some of our favorite picture books and early readers make the decision to utilize their degrees and backgrounds in fine arts and design and education and outdoor adventure to illustrate children's books? What is it like to illustrate your own text as opposed to that of someone else? And most daunting of all: in an industry with thousands of illustrators hoping to find work, how do you make yours stand out?

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Saturday Soup & Stories
Sep
29
11:00 AM11:00

Saturday Soup & Stories

  • Holy Childhood Community Center (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

A come-and-go lunch and author reading.  Drop in anytime to listen or purchase soup (My Sister's Bake Shop), bread (Crooked Tree Breadworks), and dessert (Tom's Mom's Cookies). Beginning at 11:00 a.m., every 15 minutes different authors will be reading brief selections from their works. Tickets available here.

Saturday authors in order of appearance:
Porter Fox
Leah Thomas
Tess Sharpe
Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough
Greg van Eekhout
L.L. McKinney
Ilyasah Shabazz
Mark Sarvas

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So Your Book's Been Called a "Page Turner." Just What Does that Mean, Anyway?
Sep
29
10:30 AM10:30

So Your Book's Been Called a "Page Turner." Just What Does that Mean, Anyway?

Presenters:  Rene Denfeld, Karen Dionne, Paul Doiron, Bryan Reardon
Moderator:  Kent Case

In blurbs, press releases and trade reviews, all of the featured books on this panel have been deemed "page turners." We, as readers, have all used this term at one time or another to describe a book we have read, or when seeking a recommendation of what to read next. A book that keeps us turning the pages, right? We know it when we read it and stay up way to late finishing it, but just how do writers of page turners keep us flipping through chapters at such a rapid pace? There are clearly unmistakeable elements in the plot, character development, tone and language, atmosphere, and dialogue that cause us to read some books more quickly than others. It is fascinating to consider how these writers think about crafting stories in such a way, and how they might define their own work. Do they stay up late writing, too?

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Taking on Today's Challenges for Young Readers
Sep
29
10:30 AM10:30

Taking on Today's Challenges for Young Readers

Presenters:  Patrick Flores-Scott, Jo Watson Hackl, Katherine Marsh
Moderator:  Susan Capaldi

There are complex, nuanced and sensitive topics in nearly all of adult literature. While writers must be thoughtful in how they present these topics, most correctly assume that their adult audience has some working knowledge of any number of difficult themes, as well as the ability to process them. But how does a writer tackle these same subjects for young readers who may be less informed? From PTSD to immigration, political unrest to mental illness, timely and important issues make their way into middle grade and young adult literature. As they should. The writers brave enough to tell these stories have the added challenge of considering the age and maturity of their readers. It is no small feat. 

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Stories of War: In Conversation with Jessica Shattuck & Janet Fitch
Sep
29
9:00 AM09:00

Stories of War: In Conversation with Jessica Shattuck & Janet Fitch

Presenters:  Janet Fitch, Jessica Shattuck
Moderator:  Terry Gamble

A great many challenges await the author who is writing a war novel—endless research, emotional hardship, and accountability, just to name a few. And then there looms the task of creating a work which steps out from the hundreds of other war novels published each year and makes itself known. These writers who find success in the genre know that they must craft stories which offer something different. Sometimes this comes with a fresh perspective. Other times, it requires the development of a character to align with historical events. And still other variations arise in how the story is told. It is interesting to know the risks and rewards of writing stories of war, and to gain some understanding of how writers become interested in these stories and how they even begin to tell them.

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Characters Coming of Age
Sep
29
9:00 AM09:00

Characters Coming of Age

Presenters:  Brandon Hobson, Ray Robertson, Tess Sharpe
Moderator: Dianna Behl

 

There are distinct characteristics which define a novel as a coming of age story: an adolescent with a unique voice, formative events that shape who the character becomes, and emotional growth. Typically, we think of this type of novel coming to an end when the youth reaches adulthood, but adulthood can be a bit fuzzy. It is not necessarily defined by age, but rather by a level of maturity that is reached. It is interesting to consider the decisions a writer must make to determine when their characters have come of age. How does the world decide when a child has grown up? What knowledge must be gained, and what experiences lived? These authors target such an impressionable period in life, but one which we all know firsthand, making these stories somehow familiar to us all.
 

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