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YAWP 10th Annual Middle School Playwrights Festival Coming May 12 to the Avram Theater

yawp playwrights festivalSix short plays written and performed by local middle school students will be presented at Stony Brook Southampton's Avram Theater on Saturday, May 12, at 7 p.m. as the culminating event of the 2018 Young Artists and Writers Project (YAWP) Middle School Playwriting program. Playwrights for the festival were drawn from YAWP playwriting classes at Bridgehampton, Pierson, Ross School, and Shelter Island.

Tickets to the performance are free. For reservations and more information, email william.chandler@stonybrook.edu.

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 playwrights festivalMore 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.

yawp playwrights festival"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 place this year on Saturday, May 12, 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.

 

 

Memoirist Melissa Febos, Novelist Alex Gilvarry Join the Next Writers Speak April 25

melissa febosMelissa Febos and Alex Gilvarry will be the next guests in the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton.

Febos and Gilvarry will read from and talk about their work on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in Chancellors Hall at the Southampton campus.

Melissa Febos is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin's Press, 2010) and the essay collection, Abandon Me (Bloomsbury, 2017). Her second essay collection will be published by Bloomsbury in 2019.

Her work has been widely anthologized and appears in publications including The Believer, Tin House, Granta, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Glamour, Guernica, and others. The recipient of an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, she is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Monmouth University.

alex gilvarryAlex Gilvarry is the author of From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant, winner of the Hornblower Award for First Fiction, Best New Voice 2012 by Bookspan, and selected by the New York Times as an Editor's Choice. His second novel, Eastman Was Here, was published this past year and nominated for the PEN Open Book Award.

He is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 nominee and has received fellowships from the Harry Ransom Center and the Norman Mailer Center. He lives in Staten Island, New York and is a professor at Monmouth University where he teaches fiction.

The final Writers Speak reading scheduled for the spring on May 2 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 Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 39 Tuckahoe Road, Montauk Highway, Southampton, NY 11968.

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

 

Novelist/Journalist Daniel Alarcon and Poet Debora Kuan Team Up for Next Writers Speak April 18

daniel alarconDaniel Alarcón and Debora Kuan will be the next guests in the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton.

Alarcón and Kuan will read from and talk about their work on Wednesday, April 18, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

Daniel Alarcón is the host of "Radio Ambulante," an award-winning Spanish-language podcast distributed by NPR. His books include War by Candlelight, Lost City Radio, and At Night We Walk in Circles. His graphic novel, City of Clowns, was published in 2015. His most recent book, The King Is Always Above the People, was longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award.

He is a recipient of a Lannan Literary Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fulbright Fellowship. Born in Lima, Peru, Alarcón was raised in the United States, and studied Creative Writing at the Iowa Writers Workshop. He teaches at the Columbia University School of Journalism.

debora kuanDebora Kuan is the author of two collections of poetry, Xing, (Saturnalia Books, 2011) and Lunch Portraits (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016). Her fiction and poetry have appeared in The Awl, The Baffler, Boston Review, Brooklyn Rail, Fence, Pleiades, The Iowa Review, and other journals. A former fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center Writers' Institute in fiction and nonfiction, she received an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a BA in English from Princeton University. She has taught at the University of Iowa, The College of New Jersey, and New York Institute of Technology, and is currently a director of English Language Arts assessment at the College Board.

The next writers scheduled for the spring series are Melissa Febos and Alex Gilvarry, reading on April 25. On May 2, 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 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.

 

Poet Jericho Brown Joins Writers Speak Series on March 21

jericho brownPoet Jericho Brown 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. Brown will read from and talk about his work on Wednesday, March 21, at 7 p.m. in Chancellors Hall.

Jericho Brown is the recipient of the Whiting Writers Award and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Arts. His first book, Please (New Issues, 2008), won the American Book Award, and his second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon, 2014), was named one of the best poetry books of the year by Library Journal. His poems have appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The Best American Poetry.

Brown earned a PhD from the University of Houston, an MFA from the University of New Orleans, and a BA from Dillard University. He is an associate professor in the creative writing program at Emory University in Atlanta.

Other writers and programs scheduled for the spring series include: Daniel Alarcón and Debora Kuan, April 18; and Melissa Febos and Alex Gilvarry, April 25. On May 2, 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 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.

 

Novelist Lee Clay Johnson Coming to Writers Speak on March 7

lee clay johnsonUPDATED: Johnson's Writers Speak appearance rescheduled for April 4 due to weather

Novelist Lee Clay Johnson 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. Johnson will read from and talk about his work on Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

Lee Clay Johnson is the author of the novel Nitro Mountain (Knopf), which won the 2017 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has appeared in Lit Hub, the Oxford American, The Common, Appalachian Heritage, Salamander, and the Mississippi Review.  He holds a BA from Bennington College and an MFA from the University of Virginia. He grew up around Nashville in a family of bluegrass musicians, and currently lives in St. Louis and New York City.

Other writers and programs scheduled for the spring series include: poet Jericho Brown, March 21; Daniel Alarcón and Debora Kuan, April 18; and Melissa Febos and Alex Gilvarry, April 25. On May 2, 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, 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton, NY 11968.

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

 

Writers Speak Goes on the Road, Debuting Off Campus in Sag Harbor March 1

Five writers connected to the MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton are taking the popular Writers Speak program on the road this week. For the off-campus debut of Writers Speak, Star Black, Emily Smith Gilbert, Christian McLean, Susan Scarf Merrell and Lou Ann Walker will all read from their work on Thursday, March 1, at 7 p.m. at Baron's Cove in Sag Harbor.

star blackStar Black's poems have been anthologized in The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, 110 Stories: New York Writers After September 11, The Best American Erotic Poems: From 1880 to The Present, and Poetry After 911: An Anthology of New York Poets. She is the author of four collections of sonnets—Waterworn, Balefire, Ghostwood and Velleity's Shade — a collection of double sestinas, Double Time, and a book of free verse, October for Idas. Her collages have been exhibited at Poets House and The Center for Book Arts and published in One of a Kind: Unique Artists Books by Pierre Menard Gallery.

emily gilbertEmily Smith Gilbert's short fiction, creative nonfiction, and book reviews have appeared in Consequence Online, The Greensboro Review, TSR: The Southampton Review, and the Waterhouse Review, among others.

Gilbert is the managing editor of TSR: The Southampton Review. She has a BA from Bard College and an MFA from Stony Brook Southampton.

christian mcleanChristian McLean is the director of Summer and Special Programming at Stony Brook Southampton's MFA in Creative Writing program and founding director of the MFA's International Writing Workshops in Italy and Kenya.

His fiction has been published in Scores Anthology, Our Story and TSR:The Southampton Review. His poetry has been featured in a collaborative work at the Dundee Contemporary Arts Museum (Dundee, Scotland) and he is also the author of Duckhampton.

susie merrellNovelist, short story writer, and essayist Susan Scarf Merrell is director of the Southampton Writers Conference and a professor in the MFA in Creative Writing program. She is the author of the non-fiction work, The Accidental Bond: How Sibling Connections Influence Adult Relationships, the novel A Member of the Family, and, most recently, Shirley: A Novel, which was selected as one of the top 50 novels of the year by The Washington Post and has been optioned by HBO.

lou ann walkerLou Ann Walker is the interim co-director of the MFA in Creative Writing program, a professor, and the editor-in-chief of TSR: The Southampton Review. Walker's memoir, A Loss for Words, won a Christopher Award. Her other books include Hand, Heart & Mind. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Life, The Chicago Sun-Times, The New York Times Book Review, and The Oprah Magazine.

The doors will open for this free program at 6:30 p.m. and the readings will begin at 7. A meet and greet will follow the readings. Baron's Cove is at 31 West Water Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963. For more information, call 631-632-5028. On Facebook, visit Writers Speak Wednesdays; to follow on Twitter @WritersSpeakWed.

The Writers Speak program returns to the Stony Brook Southampton campus on Wednesday, March 7, when novelist Lee Clay Johnson will be the next guest in the spring series of free author talks and readings open to the public. Johnson will read from and talk about his work at 7 p.m. following a brief reception starting at 6:30 p.m. in Chancellors Hall.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs at the campus are free and open to the public. The 7 p.m. readings are followed by a Q&A and book signing. All programs are held in Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton, NY 11968.

 

Memoirist and Journalist Judith Newman Joins Writers Speak on Feb. 21

judith newmanMemoirist and journalist Judith Newman 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. Newman will read from and talk about her work on Wednesday, February 21, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

Judith Newman is an author and journalist. Her most recent memoir, To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and The Kindness of Machines, was named a New York Times notable book of 2017. She is also the author of You Make Me Feel Like An Unnatural Woman: The Diary of a New (Older) Mother; Tell Me Another One: A Woman's Guide to Men's Classic Lines; and Parents from Hell: Unexpurgated Tales of Good Intentions Gone Awry.

Newman's work has appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Harper's, The Wall Street Journal, and Vogue. She also served as Contributing Editor at Allure. Newman currently resides in New York City with her husband and twin sons.

Other writers and programs scheduled for the spring series include: Lee Clay Johnson, March 7; poet Jericho Brown, March 21; Daniel Alarcón and Debora Kuan, April 18; and Melissa Febos and Alex Gilvarry, April 25. On May 2, 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, 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton, NY 11968.

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

 

Poet Sam Sax Coming to Writers Speak Wednesdays on Feb. 14

sam saxPoet Sam Sax 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. Sax will read from and talk about his work on Wednesday, February 14, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

Sam Sax is a queer Jewish writer, performer, educator, organizer, and the poetry editor at BOAAT Press. He is the author of Madness (Penguin Books, 2017), which was the winner of the 2016 National Poetry Series Competition, selected by Terrance Hayes.

His most recent collection, Bury It (Wesleyan University Press, 2018), is the winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. He has received fellowships from the NEA, Lambda Literary, and the MacDowell Colony. His poems have appeared in BuzzFeed, The New York Times, Poetry Magazine, Tin House, and other journals.

Other writers and programs scheduled for the spring series include: Judith Newman, February 21; Lee Clay Johnson, March 7; poet Jericho Brown, March 21; Daniel Alarcón and Debora Kuan, April 18; Melissa Febos and Alex Gilvarry, April 25. On May 2, 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, 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton, NY 11968.

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

 

Brooklyn Rail Fiction Editor Donald Breckenridge Joins Writers Speak on Feb. 7

donald breckenridgeAuthor and Brooklyn Rail fiction editor Donald Breckenridge 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. Breckenridge will read from and talk about his work on Wednesday, February 7, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

In addition to being the fiction editor of the Brooklyn Rail, Donald Breckenridge is co-founder and co-editor of InTranslation, a venue for outstanding work in translation and a resource for translators, authors, editors, and publishers seeking to collaborate. He has written four novels, edited two fiction anthologies, and introduced the NYRB Classics edition of Henri Duchemin and His Shadows by Emmanuel Bove.

Breckenridge's latest novel, And Then, is a ghost story, telling tales about the people that come and go from the lives of others and the indelible marks they leave. Opening with a vignette describing Jean Rouch's short film "Gare du Nord," Breckenridge sets a deeply unsentimental tone, both necessary and greatly in opposition to his descriptions of his father's slow and deliberate death.

Interwoven are the stories of a young woman's hopeful arrival in New York, a young man's voyeuristic summer spent housesitting for his professor, and a soldier who never made it out of Vietnam. What they all have in common is a deep preoccupation with the way lives resonate and connect, an emotionally honest love story about how people relate to others and to themselves.

Other writers and programs scheduled for the spring series include: poet Sam Sax, February 14; Judith Newman, February 21; Lee Clay Johnson, March 7; poet Jericho Brown, March 21; Daniel Alercón and Debora Kuan, April 18; Melissa Febos and Alex Gilvarry, April 25. On May 2, 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, 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton, NY 11968.

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

 

Roger Rosenblatt and Lou Ann Walker Kick Off Spring Writers Speak Wednesdays on Jan. 31

roger rosenblattAuthors and faculty members Roger Rosenblatt and Lou Ann Walker will be the first guests in the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. The two authors will read from and talk about their work on Wednesday, January 30, 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: Donald Breckenridge, February 7; poet Sam Sax, February 14; Judith Newman, February 21; Lee Clay Johnson, March 7; poet Jericho Brown, March 21; Daniel Alercón and Debora Kuan, April 18; Melissa Febos and Alex Gilvarry, April 25. On May 2, the evening will be devoted to readings by degree candidates currently enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program.

Roger Rosenblatt is a novelist, memoirist, essayist, columnist, and playwright. The author of five New York Times Notable Books of the Year and three Times bestsellers, he has published three memoirs: Making Toast, Kayak Morning, and The Boy Detective. His Off Broadway play, Free Speech in America, was one of the Times Ten Best Plays of 1991, and he adapted his bestselling novel Lapham Rising as a screenplay for an upcoming film.

Rosenblatt's most recent novel, Thomas Murphy, was published in 2016. He has held a Briggs-Copeland appointment at Harvard, and was the winner of a Fulbright Scholarship. His honors include two George Polk awards, the Peabody and Emmy, Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize, seven honorary doctorates, Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement, and the President's Medal of Chautauqua Institution. Rosenblatt is currently Distinguished Professor of English at Stony Brook Southampton and resides in Quogue.

lou ann walkerAn editor, author, and professor, Lou Ann Walker teaches at Stony Brook Southampton, where she is also Interim co-director of the Creative Writing and Literature program as well as Editor-in-Chief of TSR: The Southampton Review. Formerly an editor at Esquire and New York Magazine, her most recent book, A Loss for Words, won a Christopher award. She is also the author of Hand, Heart & Mind: The Story of America's Deaf People, Roy Lichtenstein: The Artist at Work, and Amy: The Story of a Deaf Child.

Walker has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Allure, Esquire, and Parade. She is the recipient of several fellowships, including a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Marguerite Higgins Reporting Award, and has served on the advisory boards at the Theatre Development Fund and the Museum of Modern Art. Walker currently resides in Sag Harbor.

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

 

Stories from The Southampton Review Are Featured on NPR 'Selected Shorts' Podcasts

selected shortsThree stories by members of the Southampton Arts family that have appeared in The Southampton Review were performed on two recent episodes of National Public Radio's podcast, Selected Shorts.

The January 4 episode, titled "Crossing the Line," included two TSR stories that were also read at a Southampton Writers Conference event in Avram Theater in the summer of 2017. Douglas Lawson's funny "Love in a Kitchen Garden" was read by actor Richard Kind. (It begins at minute 11:00 and ends at 32:30 of the podcast.)

The next story up at 32:30, "Brand Values," was written by MFA student Emily Buckler. 

The December 28, 2017 episode of Selected Shorts, titled, "I Do, I Do,"  features another story published in The Southampton Review — Roxanna Robinson's "In Naples," which was also performed at the Writers Conference last summer. 

Visit the Selected Shorts website for more.

 

Alumna and TSR Associate Editor Vanessa Cuti Published in the Kenyon Review

vanessa cutiVanessa Cuti, a graduate of the Stony Brook Southampton MFA program and current associate editor of The Southampton Review, was recently published in the Kenyon Review.

Cuti's short story, "A Box to the Moon," appears in the November/December 2017 issue.

Cuti was interviewed by TSR assistant editor Lindsay Adkins in TSR Online:

How long did it take to write "A Box to the Moon" and get it to a place where you were ready to submit it for publication? Could you describe your rewriting process a little bit?

A woman left a note on the front door of my house with wording pretty similar to what I use in the story. I found it so strange and creepy and I knew I wanted to do something with it but I couldn't find my way in right away. I had several stops and starts and the document just hibernated in my drafts for about a year. I would go back in, make some attempts, and then put it back to bed for a while. I thought about it all the time but I had no idea what I was doing. It was frustrating. I don't remember how it happened, but I got an idea how to use it and the draft came together pretty quickly after that. Within a few days, I'd say.

Read the full interview on TSR Online.

 

The Winter/Spring 2018 issue of The Southampton Review Is Here!

TSR 2018 spring launch partyThe Winter/Spring 2018 issue was celebrated at with a launch party and readings at Stony Brook University's Manhattan campus on November 17, 2017.

The festivities opened with an introduction by Editor-in-Chief Lou Ann Walker and featured readings by writers Remy Barnes, Saptarishi Bandopadhyay, Maura Lee Bee, and our own poetry editor Cornelius Eady. Fiction editor Amy Hempel rounded out the evening reading her own work.

Other contributors to the current issue include Billy Collins, Julia Slavin, Paola Peroni, Lore Segal, Terese Svoboda, and the winners of the TSR Short Short Fiction Contest.

Purchase the latest issue of The Southampton Review — or better yet, SUBSCRIBE — at TSR Online.

 

An Interview with MFA Alum and Author Nora Decter

By Valerie San Filippo

nora decter
Photo by Nadine Espinoza Martyn

Nora Decter, a 2016 graduate of Stony Brook Southampton's MFA, received  a book deal with Orca Publishing for her MFA thesis, a YA novel titled How Far We Go and How Fast. We sat down with her to talk publishing and making the most of an MFA experience.

When did you complete your MFA? What was your main focus while you were here?

I graduated in August of 2016. My focus was fiction, novel-length fiction specifically. I arrived with a first draft of a novel and a plan to finish it my first year and then write something new as my thesis in the second year. In the end, I did not manage to write two books in two years, but I still believe in setting unattainable goals and then trying to attain them.

And now you have a book deal with Orca Book Publishers! That very exciting, can you talk a bit about that?

My YA novel How Far We Go and How Fast, which was my thesis, will come out in Fall 2018. It's at the copy-editing stage now, and I'll be getting cover designs soon, all of which is exciting/nerve-wracking.

For those who are preparing to reach out to agents and publishers, what's something you wish you'd been told before you took the plunge?

Remember not to rush it and really make sure the work is ready. You can always remind an agent or an editor who you are six months down the line. And, if any of your profs offer help writing query letters or elevator pitches, absolutely do it. Talking about your work in a sales capacity is always going to be slightly torturous, but the practice is so valuable when it comes time to submit.

What are your future plans and goals in writing? Got any new projects in the works?

Yes, I'm working on a new novel, the idea for which, in a very roundabout way, originated from a prompt Ursula [Hegi] gave in her novel class. It's been nice to switch back and forth between editing How Far We Go and the fun, exploratory first draft work on the new one.

Do you have any advice for students who are currently pursuing an MFA?

Give yourself time to write (you might think that's a given for those pursuing an MFA, but it's not!). But also give yourself time to make friendships with classmates. Be generous in the consideration you give to each other's work. If you're like me and your MFA is sort of an interlude from your real life, you'll be glad to have made writer friends when it's over. Writing can be scary and hard, but knowing that I have a bunch of good friends an email away who will take the time to read my work and look for ways to make it stronger is heartening.

Looking back on the program here, what was one of the best lessons you learned? Any memories you'd like to share?

Writing prompts are actually good for you. I've never met a prompt I didn't hate at first, but almost inevitably there comes this magic moment where I see how I can approach it in my own way, and twenty minutes later I've written something I never would have otherwise.

As far as memories go, my favorite times were probably when we'd cram a bunch of people into the TSR office before Writers Speak for an event we may or may not have been referred to as wine Wednesdays. Most of my favorite MFA memories were sponsored by Bottle Hampton.

 

Southampton Arts: Recent Publications

Faculty & Staff Publications

Billy Collins: "My Father's Office, John Street, New York City 1953," Xerox's "Set the Page Free" Project, Speaking of Work

Neal Gabler: "One Year Later: the Political Cancer Metastasizes," billmoyer.com; "Tax 'Reform:' Have Americans Finally Wised Up?," Common Dreams

Ibi Zoboi: American Street, National Book Award Finalist

Student and Alumni Publications

Lindsay Adkins: "Nocturne: Last Night," Gamut

Anthony DiPietro: "Those Two Spiders Died Loving Each Other," "How to Become an Artist," Califragile; "Grindr User Agreement," Plenitude Magazine

Nicole Hebdon: "Seraphim," Grain Magazine; "You Die in the End," F(r)iction

Nancy Keating: "Killdeer," E-Ratio 24; "J. Peterman Is Selling Grandpa's Police Whistle for $40," Long Island Quarterly; "String Theory," Tar River Poetry; "Calling Out the Muse at 37th and 6th," Crab Creek Review

Lucinda Kempe: "Breeding," Jellyfish Review

 

Annual MFA Student Reading and Holiday Party was WONDERFUL

With a theme based on Frank Capra's classic holiday movie It's a Wonderful Life, the MFA student reading and holiday party certainly was wonderful!

The variety of student work showcased was tremendous and there was no lack of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.

After the reading, the celebration began in earnest. Faculty served students food inspired by the movie: macaroni and cheese, tuna noodle casserole, roast chicken — the list goes on! To top it all off, the marvelous Roger Rosenblatt spun tunes on his record player.

It was a night full of food, literature, and, of course, fun. 'Tis a wonderful life in Southampton!