What Novels Can Do That Movies Can’t

January 10, 2015 § 1 Comment

grubstreet-logoIn anticipation of the 10 week novel class I’m teaching at GrubStreet this winter, I have a little piece up at The Grub Daily called “What Novels Can do that Movies Can’t, and Why We Need to Keep Writing Them.” Here’s an excerpt:

“One of the great things about being alive in the twenty-first century is the abundance of good movies – and, lately, of good and even great TV series. But the happy truth is, even in this environment, novels are holding their own. This may be due to what novelist and writing teacher John Gardner referred to as the “vivid, continuous dream” of fiction, which is more than a writing workshop cliché.”

Read the whole post here.

Vermont Public Radio Interview

November 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

vprReally enjoyed my interview with Peter Biello of Vermont Public Radio on Wednesday, November 26, 2014.  Peter is an insightful reader and an excellent interviewer; we had a lively and wide-ranging conversation about the genesis of Will Poole’s Island, various aspects of early America, and new perspectives on the Thanksgiving myth. Click here for the podcast and transcript. 

Will Poole’s Island is a Middlebury Magazine Editors’ Pick

November 21, 2014 § 2 Comments

Fall_COVER1.inddI’m very happy to announce that Will Poole’s Island appears as an Editors’ Pick in the Fall 2014 edition of the award-winning Middlebury Magazine. As a Middlebury alumnus and soon-to-be Middlebury parent, this is a particular honor.

Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego

October 30, 2014 § 1 Comment

IMG_4439Getting packed and ready for an adventure in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego with National Geographic Expeditions.  We’ll start off in Buenos Aires, but the real adventure begins once we reach Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, and board a ship for the onward journey into the Straits of Magellan. We’ll follow in the wake of Darwin’s Beagle and use Zodiacs to land at various locations in and around the fabled Cape Horn and the Agostini Sound, exploring the fjords, tidewater glaciers and pristine high latitude temperate rainforests of this spectacular convergence of land, sea and glaciers. From our debarkation point at Punta Arenas, we’ll head up to the dramatic, glacier-sculpted granite spires and horns of Torres del Paine National Park for several days of hiking through some of the most compelling landscapes and some of the lowest human population densities on the planet. We’ll wrap up with a visit to the Chilean capital, Santiago.

ISlide1n my role as the National Geographic featured expert, I’ve been working hard to prepare a lecture series that I hope will be of interest to my fellow travelers. The lectures have certainly been fascinating to research and compile. I’ll begin with a brief introduction to the history and geography of the places we’ll be visiting. The subsequent lectures will focus on the lives of explorers and adventurers who were shaped by youthful journeys to Patagonia or Tierra del Fuego, and who have gone on to make important contributions to humanity and the planet: Charles Darwin and the voyage of the HMS Beagle; the radical individualist artist Rockwell Kent and his madcap journey to Cape Horn on a tiny refurbished lifeboat; and a pair of dirtbag California climbers, Doug Tompkins and Yvon Chouinard, who packed into a white Ford van and set off on a six month quest to climb Mount FitzRoy in 1968. These dirtbags went on, of course, to become wildly successful entrepreneurs and key contributors to the cause of environmental conservation.

HMS Beagle in Sydney Harbour Ron Scobie 1838For my last lecture I’ll talk about life as a writer in modern America, and specifically the process of researching, writing, and publishing my recently released debut novel, Will Poole’s Island. Very much looking forward to this trip!

An interview on travel and writing

October 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Had a great discussion with Troy Shaheen of Putney Student Travel on writing, travel, and leaving the digital world behind. Here’s an excerpt:

“For me, writing is an essential part of traveling. It’s a way to filter the experience, to interpret and record and bestow meaning. Travel allows you to see the world fresh; good writing does the same thing. This is why travel programs with a writing component, or writing programs with a travel component, are so consistently enriching. Travel lends itself naturally to writing.”

You can read the full interview here. And here’s a photo with a wonderful group of young writers on a Putney Student Travel program in Ireland in 2013:

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Short fiction out in three new anthologies

October 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

Excited and honored to be included in all three of these newly released anthologies! If you like to support emerging writers and are interested in new directions in quality short fiction, you can order any of these by clicking on the links. Enjoy!

1981749_10152076755785665_9026521051802965047_n“The Money Pill.” An American tour guide living in Cuba discovers hidden powers and comes to understand the costs of putting them to use. Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet. Press 53. 

Basic RGB“Six Feet Under the Prairie.” A college kid takes a summer job on an electrical construction crew as Denver’s sprawl encroaches. Manifest West. Western Press Books /University of Colorado Press.

IMG_2910“Tower Eight.” A pair of teenage misfits experiment with LSD and put themselves into dangerous situations in rural New Hampshire, establishing a tight friendship as they hurtle toward a tragic end. Grand Prize Winner, The Mountain. Outrider Press. (Order directly from Outrider Press by emailing outriderpress@sbcglobal.net)

Back to Iberia with National Geographic

September 8, 2014 § 2 Comments

IMG_2461As always, it’s a thrill to be heading back to Portugal and Spain in my capacity as a featured expert with National Geographic Expeditions. We’ll be starting out in Lisbon and making our way east through Evora, Mérida, Sevilla, Ronda, Granada, and Madrid. We will of course hit the major historical landmarks, and quite a few of the lesser known sights as well. We’ll have a chance to hear some of the world’s great fado and flamenco artists, learn how to make ceramic tiles Portuguese style, taste freshly pressed olive oil, and sample some of the best cuisine and wine the Iberian Peninsula has to offer.

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I’ll be giving talks about the sweep of Spanish history from Iberian origins to the Roman Empire, the Moors and the Reconquest, the Habsburgs and the rise of the Spanish Empire, Goya and the Bourbons, and, of course, Ernest Hemingway and the Spanish Civil War. I always look forward to these trips as a chance to revisit a region I know and love with fresh eyes, and to learn as well from my fellow travelers and the outstanding local experts we encounter throughout the program. Over all, not a bad way to spend eleven days in September.  ¡Viva!

 

 

Literary New England Radio Show

July 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

It was a true pleasure to chat recently with Literary New England Radio Show host Cindy Wolfe Boynton about Will Poole’s Island. We discussed the genesis of the book, some of the historical research that went into it, the extent to which the protagonist is an autobiographical figure, and my version of the 21st century writing life. Cindy asked good questions, and I began by reading a brief excerpt from Chapter Four of the book. All in all, a most enjoyable conversation!

tumblr_inline_n8ija7kxFp1s04kqrThe show, which also features distinguished New England authors Deborah Harkness, Erika Johansen, and Courtney Maum, aired Monday, July 14, 2014, and is available as a podcast for you to download and hear at your own leisure by clicking here.

Note: Once you download the podcast you can move the cursor to whatever point you want to start listening. My portion of the interview begins at minute 38.50.

 

 

 

Writing in Ireland Program

July 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

IMG_1758This week I am once again privileged to joining a group of young American writers on Putney Student Travel’s Writing in Ireland program. We’ll be spending time in Dublin and on the stunning, mystical isle of Inishbofin off the Connemara coast. Very excited!

As anyone who’s been following this blog knows, in my day job I travel a great deal — mostly to Spanish-speaking countries with wonderful organizations like National Geographic Expeditions and the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center — but I have to say this is a special trip, one of my favorites. There’s nothing like working and adventuring with a group of passionate young writers who are up for anything and enjoy spending all day and night geeking out about literature and craft.

IMG_1816We’ll do field exercises to generate new work, have some feedback sessions leading to revision, and of course mount a final reading, which will take place this year on July 12th, 2014, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., at the Irish Writer’s Centre, located at 19 Parnell Square, Dublin.

If you’re interested to see what we’re up to and what an international travel program for young writers looks like, take a look at the program blog.

Short fiction collection a finalist for the New Rivers Press Many Voices Project

April 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

NRP PostercrI actually got a call about this a few days ago, but I didn’t want to post it here until it was “official,” i.e., until the public announcement had been made. Anyway, now that is is official, I am honored to report that my short fiction collection, provisionally titled Crime and Fly Fishing,  has been selected as one of ten finalists for this year’s Many Voices Project prize! New Rivers Press is a wonderful Minnesota-based organization whose mission, in part is to “publish and promote enduring contemporary literature.”  The Many Voices Project (MVP) is an annual competition the press has run since 1981 for “new and emerging” writers, meaning writers that have not published more than two books of creative writing. MVP is the oldest competition of its kind and has a prestigious reputation, and I couldn’t be more excited to be among the finalists. Please keep your fingers crossed!

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