February 8, 2020 § Leave a comment
“A vibrating current of electricity dwells just behind everything in nature and the encounter with the painting, like the encounter with the trout, links you to that current, if only for a fleeting instant. A connection is made between you and something larger. Something important and true. Winslow Homer knew this. Eric Aho knows it too.”
Wrote this essay for the catalog accompanying an exhibition of my good friend Eric Aho’s recent work at the Tayloe Piggott Gallery in Jackson, Wyoming. Very happy to share it here. If you haven’t seen Eric’s work, well you really should.
July 21, 2017 § Leave a comment
Very much looking forward to this talk, which I’ll be giving at 7:30PM on July 26, at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center in Brattleboro, Vermont, in collaboration with talented painter Julia Jensen! If you’re in southern Vermont, come out to hear a novelist and an artist discuss the rich historic, literary, and artistic legacy of this very special island. Here’s a link to the event. Drinks and snacks too!
The talk is in anticipation for the Museum’s sponsored trip to the island coming up October 26-29, 2017, which Julia and I will be co-leading.
July 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
Very much looking forward to giving this illustrated talk on one of my favorite Spanish artists and the times that produced him. The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries encompass a fascinating era in Spanish history, well into the decline of the great Empire, with plenty of corruption and chaos to go around, culminating in the Napoleonic invasion of the Iberian Peninsula and the dark times that followed.
Among other things, we’ll be tracing Goya’s evolution from a designer of light-hearted tapestry cartoons to First Court Painter to an artist who captured his age with a darkness and power that sent western civilization’s understanding of what creative art is and can be hurtling into the future.
We’ll also be serving tapas and summer wine. So if you’re in the area on Thursday, July 21, at 5:30 PM, stop by BMAC in downtown Brattleboro!
March 22, 2016 § Leave a comment
CURRENTLY BOOKING TRIPS FOR WINTER ’21 AND BEYOND – Hey everybody, recent changes in US law now make it possible for individuals to travel to Cuba without signing on with a tour group. This is an exciting development because it can now be done more affordably than ever, at your own pace, and according to your own interests. You DO need to make arrangements in advance, however—and in order to avoid falling into the well-grooved touristic route it’s a very good idea to seek expert advice. And, well, that’s where I come in!
If you’ve been meaning to get to Cuba, but don’t like the idea of being on a tour group and/or don’t want to spend a fortune doing it, click here to read all about letting me help you up a customized independent trip.
February 25, 2016 § 1 Comment
November 26, 2015 § 2 Comments
Pleased to note that my short fiction collection, “A Field Guide to Murder and Fly Fishing,” was named a semifinalist for the 2015 Subito Press Book Prize. So far, earlier versions of the same book have also been shortlisted for the New Rivers Press Many Voices Project, the Autumn House Fiction Prize, and the Lewis-Clark Press Discovery Award. Stories within the collection have won a Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Award and the Grand Prize of Outrider Press’s The Mountain anthology, and have been shortlisted for many awards including the Lightship Publishing International Literature Prize, the Glimmer Train Short Story Award, The Richard Yates Short Story Award, and others.
It’s been a long road for these stories, all of which have appeared previously in literary magazines and/or anthologies, but a final home may be in sight. Stay tuned for more exciting news about the collection . . .
September 15, 2015 § 3 Comments
What a privilege it is to be heading back to Spain, the country that I’ve long considered my home away from home. This is a special trip, too, my first time on National Geographic’s fascinating Northern Spain by Private Rail. We’ll be starting in Santiago de Compostela and making our way across the northern breadth of the Iberian peninsula to San Sebastián, all aboard the extremely well appointed Transcantábrico Gran Lujo.
Of course we’ll be stopping quite a bit along the way, to explore Romanesque chapels, mountain villages, and prehistoric cave art. I’ll be giving a series of lectures focusing on Spanish history, the life and times of Francisco de Goya, and Ernest Hemingway’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War, and of course I’m hoping to be able to get a bit of good writing done too. All in all, much to look forward to!
May 1, 2014 § 2 Comments
Very excited to be heading down to Boston tomorrow morning for Grub Street’s annual Muse & The Marketplace conference. I don’t attend many writing conferences, but I’ve been lucky enough to have participated in this one for the last two years and it’s very, very good. Grub Street is somehow able to attract such a smart and friendly crowd of writers, agents, editors, and various others associated with this business of putting words on paper to enrich and enliven our world.
Also exciting: this year will be my first as a presenter, or “Special Guest,” in the official parlance. I’ll be giving a talk called “Narrative as Time Machine: The Art of World-Building in Historical Fiction.” The talk will feature excerpts from some of my favorite works of historical fiction, including Edith Wharton’s classic The Age of Innocence, Mary Renault’s The King Must Die, James Welch’s Fool’s Crow, Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, and Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient. Very much looking forward to it!
While there, I’ll have a chance to run a couple of works-in-progress by a few agents and editors, and, perhaps most exciting of all, I’ll be bringing along (and giving away) several advance readers’ copies of my new novel, Will Poole’s Island, which has an official release date of August 15, 2014, and which, ahem, can now be pre-ordered on Amazon. Wish me luck!
March 27, 2014 § Leave a comment
Excited to be heading back to Cuba with National Geographic Expeditions from March 30 to April 7! I’ve done this particular itinerary a good number of times now, and there are almost always surprises — most of them pleasant, all of them fascinating.
Then again, it’s impossible to be in Cuba on any given day and NOT have a fascinating experience of one kind or another. This is particularly true because the island is undergoing such a rapid period of change; every time I return there are changes, most of them subtle, some of them not. Don’t worry, I’m taking notes!
If anyone is looking for an opportunity to experience for yourself what I’m talking about, here’s an upcoming program I particularly recommend.
September 15, 2013 Comments Off on Spain and Portugal with National Geographic
Very much looking forward to heading back to the Iberian Peninsula! This time it’s in my continuing capacity as a featured expert for National Geographic Expeditions: On September 30 I’ll be flying to Lisbon for a journey through Portugal and Andalucía, finishing up in Madrid on October 11. I’ll be giving talks on history, art, Goya, and Hemingway, and generally trying to be as helpful as I can both with trip logistics and in terms of helping travelers make personal connections with the fabulous life and culture of one of my favorite parts of the world. Coincidentally, I’ve just posted a craft analysis on For Whom the Bell Tolls, which may be of interest if you’re a writer or a close reader of Hemingway’s fiction.
Back in the U.S. on October 12.