Search

About Us

News

News Archives:  2016  |   2015  |   2014  |  2013 2012

Master Class with Roger Rosenblatt Returns to Southampton Writers Conference July 12 - 23

roger rosenblattThe Southampton Writers Conference at Stony Brook Southampton will once again offer a Master Class led by New York Times best-selling author Roger Rosenblatt and featuring esteemed guest writers during this year's event, running from July 12 to 23, 2017.

"Imagine What You Know: Five Ways of Looking at Writing" is a groundbreaking approach to examining the art and craft of writing for every genre, using a multi-media array of music, film clips and other works of art to broaden and deepen the discussion. The class was designed by Roger to be as useful for accomplished writers as it is for those taking their first steps or simply exploring the idea of writing.

All those who sign up for the Master Class will have access to everything that is offered during the 12-day conference—evening salons, guest author readings, panel discussions and more—with the only exception being the graduate credit-bearing workshops.

The fee for the Master Class is $650. For more information, or to apply, visit the Writers Conference website or email Christian.McLean@stonybrook.edu.

The deadline for applying is July 1. 

The five topics for this year's Master Class will be:

  1. (Thursday, July 13, 9:45 am) You and the Night and the Music: On Cadence and Language with Sharon Olds.
  2. (Saturday, July 15, 9:45 am) Seeing the World as a Do-Over: On Matters of Consequence with Brit Bennett.
  3. (Monday, July 17, 9:45 am) The Short Story in the Long Run: On the Core Moment with Frederic Tuten.
  4. (Wednesday, July 19, 9:45 am) Now You See Me, Now You Don't: On Self-Recognition with Natalie Diaz.
  5. (Friday, July 21, 9:45 am) In My End is My Beginning: On Structure and Timing with Patricia Marx.

Each two-hour and 45 minute session is divided into thirds. In the first part, Roger discusses the day's topic, linking recordings, film clips and other media to his discussion of the subject. In the second section, he talks with that day's guest. In the final third of each day's class, Roger gives the group a prompt for 10 or 15 minutes of writing, and then leads the entire class in finding what is best and most useful about what each student writes.

Students of the Master Class have called it inspiring and fun, citing it as "wonderful," "insightful," "amazing." One novelist wrote: "He put the most positive spin possible on each class member's remarks as he listened with extraordinary intensity. His class still lingers in my head." Another wrote: "Roger taught me more in five sessions than I had learned in numerous semester-long writing classes."

 

Young Artists and Writers Project 9th Annual Middle School Playwrights Festival Coming May 20

YAWP festival
Playwrights, actors, and stage crew at the 2016 YAWP Middle School Playwrights Festival. 
Dane Dupuis photo

Five short plays written and performed by local middle school students will be presented at Stony Brook Southampton's Avram Theater on Saturday, May 20, at 7 p.m. as the culminating event of the 2016 Young Artists and Writers Project (YAWP) Middle School Playwriting program.

Playwrights for the festival were drawn from YAWP playwriting classes at Eastport South Manor, The Ross School, Shelter Island School, and the YAWP Summer Conference session.

This year, YAWP has entered into a new partnership with GoodCircle, a crowdfunding platform that brings businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations together to raise funds and awareness for specific, tangible projects.

Speaking about the partnership, GoodCircle Co-Founder Joan Overlook noted that "YAWP is raising money to fund scholarships and expansion in three additional schools. To ensure YAWP's transformative creative writing programs can serve even more young people, we are currently looking for business partners for this project."

The Middle School Playwrights Festival represents a collaboration between student playwrights, actors and designers who have been taught and mentored by theater and writing professionals affiliated with Stony Brook Southampton's MFA in Creative Writing and Literature, which created and sponsors the YAWP programs. Professional directors stage the plays, which encompass an array of genres—from comedies to dramas—with subject matter drawn from the students' own lives.

The Young Artists and Writers Project is dedicated to mentoring middle and high school students in the development of creative expression and critical thinking through writing, and is an integral part of Stony Brook Southampton's commitment to its community and to the next generation of readers and writers. The YAWP programs send professional writers and teaching artists into classrooms to lead workshops in a wide array of writing disciplines, including Playwriting, Screenwriting, Poetry, Personal Essay and Fiction.

YAWP is now partnering with GoodCircle, a crowdfunding platform that brings businesses, individuals and non-profit organizations together to raise funds and awareness for specific, tangible projects. "YAWP is raising money to fund scholarships and expansion in three additional schools. " says GoodCircle Co-Founder Joan Overlook, " To ensure YAWP's transformative creative writing programs can serve even more young people, we are currently looking for business partners for this project."

More than 100 students participated in the YAWP Middle School Playwriting Residency this spring. Over the course of two months, students explored the basic elements of dramatic writing: how to develop ideas, characters, themes, dialogue and scenes. One play from each participating class was then selected for production in the Festival.

The Young Artists and Writers Project is helmed by Executive Director Emma Walton Hamilton and Program Director Will Chandler.

Hamilton is a bestselling children's book author, editor and arts educator and serves as director of the Southampton Children's Literature Fellows program. A co-founder of Bay Street Theatre, she was the theatre's co-artistic director and subsequently director of education and programming for young audiences for 17 years.

Chandler, an American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) Nicholl Fellowship screenwriter, also served as education director and as a teaching artist for Bay Street Theatre. He has written a number of screenplays for clients ranging from Sony Pictures to actor Russell Crowe and has been a story analyst/script doctor for ABC, CBS, NBC, Viacom and HBO, among others.

"Dramatic writing and production skills give young people unparalleled lessons in communication and collaboration," Hamilton says. "They build confidence, and have a direct impact on young people's abilities to become engaged and compassionate citizens in later life. This project represents a wonderful synergy between all the creative disciplines and values about which we are passionate."

"When we go into schools, we work closely with classroom teachers as we convey the basic elements of dramatic writing," Chandler added. "Learning dramatic writing is a great way to improve overall writing skills, but what we're really teaching them is that each student has a ‘voice,' and we want to hear it."

For ongoing curriculum development and program design, the YAWP administrators draw on the substantial strengths of the Stony Brook Southampton MFA faculty, including novelist and MFA Director Robert Reeves; Whiting Award-winning poet Julie Sheehan; best-selling memoirist and editor-in-chief of The Southampton Review, Lou Ann Walker; and screenwriter and Emmy Award-winning producer Annette Handley Chandler.

"The YAWP programs are a wonderful way for us to reach—and to help shape—the next generation of American writers," said Reeves, "as well as an ideal way to offer training and teaching experience to our very talented graduates and graduate students."

The YAWP Middle School Playwriting Festival takes the stage Saturday, May 20 at 7 p.m. at the Avram Theater in the Fine Arts Building on the campus of Stony Brook Southampton, 39 Tuckahoe Road, Southampton. Tickets for the performance are free. For reservations and more information, email william.chandler@stonybrook.edu.

 

Award-Winning Novelist Julie Shigekuni Next Up at Writers Speak on April 19

julie shigekuniNovelist Julie Shigekuni will be the final guest in the spring 2017 Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. Shigekuni will read from and discuss her work on Wednesday, April 19, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

The author of four novels, Shigekuni is a creative writing professor at the University of New Mexico, where she is also the development director of a new Asian American Studies program. Her latest novel, In Plain View, released in 2016, is set in the Japanese-American community in Los Angeles in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.

Author Ann Patchett has called Shigekuni's prose "shimmering and hallucinatory. The beauty of her writing turns the heat and hard times of California into a dreamscape."

Shigekuni, who received a BA from CUNY Hunter College and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award and the recipient of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature. She has also received a Henfield Award and an American Japanese Literary Award.

On Wednesday, May 3, the evening will be devoted to readings by degree candidates currently enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs begin with a brief reception at 6:30 p.m.; readings begin at 7 p.m. and are followed by a Q&A and book signing. All programs are held in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 39 Tuckahoe Road, Southampton, NY 11968.

For more information, call 631-632-5030. On Facebook, visit Writers Speak Wednesdays; to follow on Twitter, @ WritersSpeakWed.

 

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Judith Miller Coming to Writers Speak on April 12

judith millerAuthor and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Judith Miller will be the next guest in the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. Miller will discuss her work on Wednesday, April 12, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

An investigative reporter formerly with The New York Times, Miller is now an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of its magazine. Since 2008, she has been a commentator for Fox News on national security and foreign policy issues.

Miller has written five books. Her latest, The Story, A Reporter's Journey , published in 2015, is a memoir on her career and threats to quality journalism that also addresses her controversial reporting on Saddam Hussein's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction during the lead-up to the Iraq War, during which Miller was embedded with U.S. troops for four months.

The book also details her involvement in the investigation of George W. Bush administration aide Scooter Libby in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. In 2005, Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to reveal a source in the case and received the Society of Professional Journalists' "First Amendment Award" that year.

Miller, who lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, first joined the Times Washington bureau in 1977. She covered the securities industry, Congress and foreign policy, particularly the Middle East, and served as the paper's Cairo bureau chief, its Paris correspondent, and its deputy bureau chief in Washington. In 2002, she was part of a reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize for "explanatory journalism" for a series of articles on Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

On April 19, novelist Julie Shigekuni will be the final guest of the spring Writers Speak series. The evening of May 3 will be devoted to readings by degree candidates currently enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs begin with a brief reception at 6:30 p.m.; readings begin at 7 p.m. and are followed by a Q&A and book signing. All programs are held in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 39 Tuckahoe Road, Southampton, NY 11968.

For more information, call 631-632-5030. On Facebook, visit Writers Speak Wednesdays; to follow on Twitter, @ WritersSpeakWed.

 

Emma Walton Hamilton and Julie Andrews Welcome Stars and Children to Julie's Greenroom

julie's greenroomSouthampton Arts has turned its attention to Netflix. More accurately, we're voraciously binge-watching Julie's Greenroom, produced and written by our very own Emma Walton Hamilton and hosted by her mother, Julie Andrews.

Julie's Greenroom (released March 17th) teaches kids the wonder of the performing arts and the way they enhance our lives. Ms. Julie (played by Julie Andrews, of course) is a theater teacher to five attentive and curious puppet children, a dog, and a duck named Hugo. Also on hand is the human stage manager, Gus, played by Giullian Yao Gioiello of The Carrie Diaries. Over the course of the 13-episode season, Ms. Julie helps the "Greenies" create a musical. The show was first proposed to the pair by The Jim Henson Company.

Creative collaboration is another theme of the show. Not only are the puppets a diverse batch of creative types, but every episode, a mega-talented, art-loving guest visits to teach something new: Alec Baldwin stops by to talk acting, Idina Menzel takes the crew to broadway, Bill Irwin shows how clowning is done, Josh Groban stops for a song, and Sara Bareilles talks about songwriting.

emma walton hamiltonJulie's Greenroom has received press attention from The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vulture and National Public Radio, as has the dynamic and determined mother-daughter pair. Most recently, the two wrote a defense for the arts, published online by CNN: "Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton: Rescue the Arts from the Budget Chopping Block."

"The arts are the first to go when the artist block falls," they write. "This is mind-boggling to us, considering how much the arts benefit our lives and our world. They foster collaboration and creativity, essential skills for navigating in the workplace and surviving in a challenging world. They cultivate empathy and tolerance, by bridging cultural and socioeconomic divides."

They wrote in response to President Trump's proposed budget that cuts all National Endowment for the Arts funding. Walton Hamilton and Andrews have been vocal before about defunding the arts; they spoke to Buzzfeed about it in February. Nor is their advocacy surprising. Together, the pair has written over thirty children's books, and Walton Hamilton has also written a book for parents about childhood literacy. Both Julie Andrews, an Oscar-, Grammy-, and Emmy- winning actress, and her daughter Walton Hamilton, who with her husband founded Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, NY, are as deeply committed to the importance of literature as they are to that of the theater.

Writers Speak Features Author and Film Professor Jamal Joseph on February 22

jamal josephAuthor and Columbia film professor Jamal Joseph will be the next guest in the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. Joseph will read from and talk about his work on Wednesday, February 22, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

Joseph is the author of "Panther Baby: A Life of Rebellion and Reinvention"—which he is adapting into a screenplay —based on his time spent in the Black Panther Party as a young man. He has also written an interactive biography of Tupac Shakur, "Tupac Shakur Legacy," published in 2006 by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.

A Columbia University School of the Arts graduate film program professor, Joseph has written, directed and produced various film and television projects. He is the founder and artistic director of IMPACT, a Harlem-based youth theater company, and executive director of New Heritage Films, a non-profit that supports minority filmmakers.

Other writers and programs scheduled for the spring series include: Omar Bah in conversation with Harriet Levin Millan, March 1; a Faculty Reading on March 8 featuring Kaylie Jones, Susan Scarf Merrell, Star Black, Terese Svoboda, Julie Sheehan and Lou Ann Walker; Tim Murphy, March 22; Stacey Waite in conversation with Charif Shanahan, March 29; Judith Miller, April 12; and Julie Shigekuni, April 19. On May 3, the evening will be devoted to readings by degree candidates currently enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs are free and open to the public. The evenings begin with a brief reception at 6:30 p.m.; readings begin at 7 p.m. and are followed by a Q&A and book signing. All programs are held in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 39 Tuckahoe Road, Southampton, NY 11968.

For more information, call 631-632-5030 or visit Writers Speak on the web. On Facebook, visit Writers Speak Wednesdays; to follow on Twitter, @ WritersSpeakWed.

 

Bestselling Author Helen Simonson Kicking Off Spring Writers Speak Wednesdays Series

helen simonsonBestselling novelist Helen Simonson will be the first guest in the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. Simonson will read from and talk about her work on Wednesday, February 8, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

Other writers and programs scheduled for the spring series include: Jamal Joseph, February 22; Omar Bah in conversation with Harriet Levin Millan, March 1; a Faculty Reading on March 8 featuring Kaylie Jones, Susan Scarf Merrell, Star Black, Terese Svoboda, Julie Sheehan and Lou Ann Walker; Tim Murphy, March 22; Stacey Waite in conversation with Charif Shanahan, March 29; Judith Miller, April 12; and Julie Shigekuni, April 19. On May 3, the evening will be devoted to readings by degree candidates currently enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program.

Simonson, who earned her MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton in 2008, turned her thesis into a debut novel — Major Pettigrew's Last Stand — that became a New York Times bestseller. The Times' Janet Maslin warned readers they'd fall "head over heels for Ms. Simonson's funny, barbed, delightfully winsome storytelling."

Born in England, Simonson is also a graduate of the London School of Economics and now lives in Brooklyn. Her second novel, The Summer Before the War, was released in 2016.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs are free and open to the public. The evenings begin with a brief reception at 6:30 p.m.; readings begin at 7 p.m. and are followed by a Q&A and book signing. All programs are held in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton, NY 11968.

For more information, call 631-632- 5030 or visit the website. On Facebook, visit Writers Speak Wednesdays; to follow on Twitter, @ WritersSpeakWed.

Writers Resist: Teach In/Speak Out Coming to SB Southampton Sunday, Jan. 15

tracy king-sanchez
Tracy M. King-Sanchez

On January 15 — Martin Luther King Jr.'s actual birthday — writers, activists and community members will come together at Stony Brook Southampton beginning at 2:30 p.m. as part of Writers Resist, a nationwide movement to honor democracy and celebrate the history and promise of a diverse nation.

On the same day, hundreds of others in cities across America will be gathering for a "re-inauguration," an affirmation of their shared commitment to equality and justice. As fliers for the afternoon programs in Southampton point out: "You don't have to be a writer to resist."

Cosponsored by the MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton, Canio's Books in Sag Harbor, Poetry Street, and PEN America, Writers Resist: Teach In/Speak Out will bring together several groups from across the East End. Workshops and readings in two separate programs will be dedicated to empowering the community while offering a rare opportunity for residents to join together to celebrate diversity and their common humanity.

"The obvious question prompted by the title would be: ‘resist what?'" said Julie Sheehan, director of the MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton. "Rather than organizing resistance to any one individual or institution, these programs all over the country are aimed at resisting the erosion of the values that make our democracy work: The value of freedom of expression, public education for all, and tolerance in a pluralistic society."

julie sheehan
Julie Sheehan

After the presidential election, Sheehan said, people felt afraid and fractured and many wanted to "do something." At times like this, she said, "It's important for people to come together and recognize that this country has been through very hard times—including a civil warand we can get through anything if we can come together, whatever our differences, to affirm our democracy."

The Teach In, running Sunday, Jan. 15 from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m., will consist of free writer-led workshops in English and Spanish, open to the public, including children.

To get things started, MFA in Creative Writing student Afua Ansong will talk about why it's important for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and all immigrants to speak out.  Author Roger Rosenblatt will speak about why writing matters, and the importance of storytelling and bearing witness.

Participants will have the chance to record their experiences and insights about where the country has been and where it is going. These writings can be developed into letters to the editor, persuasive lobbying tools, or personal testimonies used to build networks of support.

A workshop for Spanish speaking writers will be led by Sandra Dunn. Depending on the number of participants, small group workshops for English speakers will be led by Lou Ann Walker, Julie Sheehan, MFA alumna Maggie Bloomfield, and MFA students Zinnia Smith and Anthony DiPietro.

All those who wish to participate are asked to RSVP to Julie Sheehan at (631) 996-4421.

The Speak Out program that follows, beginning Sunday, Jan. 15 at 4 p.m., will include readings from the past and present, writings selected to highlight the ideals of democracy, diversity and free expression. Along with their own original material, writers will be reading from such sources as the preface to Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass"; Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" and an original source of the term "welfare," the preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

Afua Ansong, Otilia Aguilar, Megan and Scott Chaskey, Ursula Hegi, Kathryn Levy, MFA alumna Tracy M. King-Sanchez, Roger Rosenblatt, Grace Schulman, Philip Schultz, L.B. Thompson, Adrienne Unger, and MFA alumna Michelle Whitaker will present works that inspire them and offer hope for the future.

The Speak Out event will also include an audience-based Twitter storm based on the Langston Hughes poem, "Let America Be America Again." A short section of the poem will be handed out to all members of the audience with smartphones and Twitter feeds upon their arrival, with instructions to tweet the lines at some point during the program.

A reception will follow, offering a chance to talk, mingle and connect.

Both events are free and the public is welcome to attend one or both. No reservations are needed for the reading. Events will be held in the Duke Lecture Hall at Chancellors Hall, Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton, NY 11968.

Writers Resist began the week after the presidential election as a call to writers by PEN America, among others, to resist the growing challenges to freedom of expression. Events are scheduled in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Oakland, Austin, Portland, Omaha, Seattle, London, Zurich, Hong Kong, and many other cities.

One of the founders of the movement, poet Erin Belieu, believes these events are a first step in focusing public attention on the ideals of a free, just and compassionate society. "This is only a starting point in raising our voices in defense of democracy," said Belieu.

Call Julie Sheehan at 631-996-4421 or Canio's at 631-725-4926 for more information about Writers Resist: Teach In/Speak Out in Southampton. For more information about Writers Resist nationally, visit www.writersresist.org.