Hollins Writers Karen Osborn and Shelby Smoak Win Gold IPPY Awards

centervilleKaren Osborn, this year’s Louis D. Rubin, Jr., Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University and a 1979 Hollins graduate, and Shelby Smoak M.A. ’99  have each received a 2013 Independent Publisher Book Award gold medal for their latest work.

The “IPPY” Awards, launched in 1996 and designed to bring increased recognition to the deserving but often unsung titles published by independent authors and publishers, honored Osborn in the Popular Fiction category for her novel, Centerville (West Virginia University Press), and Smoak took top prize in the Autobiography/Memoir III (Personal Struggle/Health Issues) category for Bleeder: A Memoir (Michigan State University Press).

Set in the summer of 1967, Centerville (which shared the gold with All the Dancing Birds by Auburn McCanta) is the story of how the bombing of a small Midwestern town’s drugstore alters the lives of the community’s residents. The book is based on an incident that occurred during Osborn’s own youth and explores how a small town copes with a senseless act of violence.

Osborn is the author of three other novels: Patchwork, Between Earth and Sky, and The River Road. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in journals nationwide, including The Southern Review, Kansas Quarterly, Clapboard House, Poet Lore, Wisconsin Review, New England Watershed, and The Centennial Review. Her grants and awards include fellowships from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and a Notable Book of the Year Award from The New York Times.

In Bleeder, Smoak, a hemophiliac, discovers at the start of his college career that he has been infected with HIV during a blood transfusion. This devastating news leads him to see his world from an entirely new perspective, one in which life-threatening illness is perpetually just around the corner.

Smoak’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in journals and magazines such as Northern Virginia Review, Clues, Cucalorus, Juice, The Crutch, New Thought Journal, Cities and Roads, and Coastal Plains Poetry.


Hollins Debuts Online Writing Classes in Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction

tinkermtnHollins University is giving both novice and practiced writers the opportunity to grow their craft through the flexibility of online learning as the school nationally recognized for its creative writing program launches the Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop/Online (TMWW/O) this fall.

The program’s inaugural session begins September 8 and continues through November 10.

Open to all adults, TMWW/O will offer 10-week courses taught exclusively by published authors who earned a master’s degree in the Hollins creative writing program. Enrollment for each course is capped at 15 students in order to ensure each student receives quality and comprehensive feedback.

“Each class focuses on generating and revising new work, with an emphasis on the writer’s voice, form, and metaphor,” says Program Director Luke Johnson M.F.A. ‘09, who teaches at the University of Mary Washington and is the author of the 2011 poetry collection, After the Ark. His poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Poetry Northwest, The Southern Review, The Threepenny Review, and the Best New Poets anthology.

Johnson adds that classes are designed to foster participation from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. “Whether you’re just starting your first poem or adding to an already extensive oeuvre, the online classroom offers an opportunity for in-depth engagement with accomplished writers and peers, and the flexibility to access weekly writing assignments, discussion boards, and craft lectures. Whether through a chat room, a threaded discussion, or a live interaction, the online format provides a multitude of ways to improve as a writer.”

TMWW/O will offer the following courses during the fall of 2013:

  • The Art of Writing Fiction. Students focus on acquiring the tools necessary to create their own writing and edit it for publication, from creating compelling characters to crafting complete stories with something at stake. Students share their own writing for peer review in a digital workshop environment led by CL Bledsoe M.F.A. ‘08, an eight-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of five novels and four poetry collections.
  • Poetry: Starting with the Line. This course, taught by Johnson, is designed to benefit both the beginning and the practiced poet, and to provide an opportunity for each to develop his or her craft while assembling a portfolio of new work. The course starts with an understanding of the poetic line and uses this to explore the fundamentals of poetry.
  • Creative Nonfiction: Tell It Slant. This class explores the art of the memoir and techniques for illuminating experience while also considering the narrator’s combined role of participant/observer. Constance Adler M.A. ‘99, whose book My Bayou: New Orleans Through the Eyes of a Lover was published in 2012, is the instructor.

 


Two Hollins Alumni Among Best New Poets for 2013

poets2013Meighan L. Sharp M.F.A. ’11 and Chad Temples M.F.A. ’08 are two of the 50 emerging writers whose poems have been chosen for publication in the annual anthology, Best New Poets.

This year, nearly 4,000 poems were considered from nominations made by literary magazines and writing programs, as well as an Open Internet Competition. Typically, a group of four to five readers reviews each manuscript and recommends between 120 and 200 semi-finalists to Best New Poets’ guest editor, who selects the winners. Award-winning poet Brenda Shaughnessy, whose work has appeared in the Yale Review, the Boston Review, McSweeney’s, and Best American Poetry, was the anthology’s guest editor for 2013.

Sharp’s “Beyond Measure,” previously published in DIALOGIST, and Temples’ “Walking, Talking, Singing” earned the poets their inclusion among what Jazzy Danzinger of Best New Poets calls “our outrageously talented final 50.”

Best New Poets is currently published by Meridian and Samovar Press. Thanks to a partnership with the University of Virginia Press, the anthology is distributed through Ingram and Baker & Taylor directly to bookstores. Best New Poets is also available for purchase through various online outlets.


Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop/Online Introduces New Eight-Week Session

tinkermtnHollins University’s Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop/Online (TMWW/O) is returning this fall with three new eight-week workshops to help writers of all abilities grow their craft through online learning.

TMWW/O’s Fall 2014 session takes place September 29 – November 22. It features noncredit workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction that are designed for writers eager to produce new work on a flexible schedule. The workshops are taught by published professionals who are all graduates of Hollins’ nationally recognized creative writing program.

Program Director Luke Johnson is excited about the changes TMWW/O is introducing with the fall session and their benefit to enrollees.

“We’ve reduced the duration of the workshops from ten weeks to eight based on feedback we received from our community of writers,” he explains. “We’ve also reduced the cost of the workshops from $750 to $500.”

Johnson adds that the workshops have been restructured to further enable participants to enjoy “lively conversation and immediate feedback.” He notes that enrollment for each workshop will continue to be limited to 15 students to ensure students can fully engage with faculty and fellow writers.

TMWW/O will offer the following workshops this fall:

  • Making Poems. Writing new poems is the goal of this workshop taught by Will Schutt, winner of the prestigious Yale Series of Younger Poets award. It will include formal writing exercises. Students will have ample opportunity to share and discuss their writing with their peers, and address questions of craft with the instructor. Participants will also read and consider works by contemporary American poets.
  • Writing Your Life: Creative Nonfiction. Students will read the writing of acclaimed creative nonfiction writers such as Annie Dillard and produce their own personal narratives. Participants will discover their own writing and each other’s while fostering a community centered on careful observation, critical encouragement, and crafting compelling stories. This workshop is taught by Luke Johnson, TMWW/O program director and author of the 2011 poetry collection, After the Ark.
  • Forays in Storytelling: Elements of Short Fiction. Part reading, part writing, and all investigation, this workshop will explore what makes a good story. Led by Michael Overa, who has taught writing throughout the Seattle area and whose work has appeared in the Portland Review, Quiet, Pindeldyboz and the Denver Syntax, among others, Forays in Storytelling will challenge students to write and discuss original short fiction beyond their self-imposed boundaries.

“By connecting writers across the country,” Johnson says, “we hope to allow the writing and sharing of creative work to continue well after each session has ended. With an emphasis on voice, form, and metaphor, our goal is to help you become a better writer.”

The deadline for registering for the TMWW/O Fall 2014 session is September 22.


Carrie Brown Named Finalist for the Library of Virginia’s 2014 Fiction Award

brownDistinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing Carrie Brown’s most recent novel, The Last First Day, is one of three finalists for the Library of Virginia’s 2014 Emyl Jenkins Sexton Literary Award for Fiction.

The library calls The Last First Day  ”an exquisitely written story of abiding love.” Kirkus Reviews describes the novel as “bittersweet with nostalgia, surprisingly sensual and sharply nuanced in its depiction of the strains and rewards that shape any long marriage.”

Brown previously won the Library of Virginia’s fiction prize in 2001 for The Hatbox Baby and in 2005 for Confinement. Her 2008 novel, The Rope Walk, was a finalist for the award.

The Emyl Jenkins Sexton Literary Award for Fiction will be announced on Saturday, October 18, at the 17th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards Celebration Honoring Virginia Authors and Friends.


Two Hollins Authors Are Among This Year’s “Best New Poets”

poetsS.H. Lohmann ’08, M.F.A. ’12 and Brittney Scott M.F.A. ’10 are two of the poets whose work is featured in Best New Poets 2014, an annual anthology of 50 poems from emerging writers that will be published this November.

Each year, a guest editor selects poems from nominations made by literary magazines and writing programs, as well as an open internet competition. This year’s guest editor, award-winning poet and author Dorianne Laux, chose Lohmann’s “Lullaby” and Scott’s “The Money Shot.”

Launched in 2005, the Best New Poets anthology series is published by Samovar Press/University of Virginia Press.