Pine Manor College, Chestnut Hill, MA          
Contact: Tanya Whiton,
For Release: Monday, October 4, 2010              


The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program offers four fellowships of $1,000 each for students beginning our program during the winter residency/spring semester: The Dennis Lehane Fellowship for Fiction; The Michael Steinberg Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction; The Jacqueline Woodson Fellowship for a Young People’s Writer of African or Caribbean Descent; and The Sharon Olds Fellowship for Poetry.

The fellowship deadline for winter/spring 2011 is Friday, October 15 (not a postmark date; materials must be received in our offices before or on October 15).  

For more information, go to:

We are happy to welcome our new intern, Carrie Margolis, to the MFA office. A Pine Manor undergraduate and English major, Carrie was a big help during the summer 2010 MFA Residency, and we are glad to have her on board.

To read Carrie’s bio, go to:

Our alumni guest columnist this month is Erika Sanders, who writes on the subject of National Novel Writing Month and the joys of ugly first drafts.

To read Erika’s column, click here, or scroll to the end of the page.



Solstice MFA Director and poet Meg Kearney will read with fiction writer Debra Spark on Thursday, October 7 at 7 p.m. at the University of Southern Maine’s Glickman Library in Portland, ME.

For more information, email:


As part of the annual Boston Book Festival on Saturday, October 16, Meg Kearney will read with poets Jill McDonough and Kevin Young at 12:30 p.m. at Cloud Place, 647 Boylston St.; and MFA writer-in-residence Dennis Lehane will join A.M. Homes and Tom Perrotta for a discussion on page-to-screen adaptations at 1:30 p.m. in the John Hancock Hall, Back Bay Arts Center, Boston, MA.

For more info:

Poet Kathleen Aguero will read on October 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Carney Gallery at Regis College in Weston, MA.

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Dennis Lehane will read on Thursday, October 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Montante Cultural Center at Canisius College, 2001 Main Street, Buffalo, NY.

For more information, go to:


Meg Kearney will read as part of the Palmetto Children’s Poetry Festival, Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m. at the South Carolina Poetry Initiative & Art Institute, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

For more information, go to:


Young people’s writer Laban Carrick Hill will read on Thursday, October 7 at 4 p.m. at Bear Pond Books, 77 Main Street in Montpelier, VT.

For more information, go to:


MFA graduate Charles Boisseau’s essay, “The Sit Safe Rap,” was recently published by

For more information, go to:

MFA graduate Faye Rapoport-DesPres’ essay “Into the Vacuum” was accepted for publication in a future issue of Prime Number Magazine, and her interview with MFA writer-in-residence Michael Steinberg is featured on the cover of the October issue of the Writers’ Chronicle.

For more information, go to: and/or

Dennis Lehane’s new book, Moonlight Mile, is forthcoming from Harper Collins in November. See the November newsletter for readings locally and around the country.

For more information, go to:

MFA graduate Maryann Jacob Macias’ essay “Un-earthed Mother” is in the current issue of New Beginnings, the journal of La Leche League.

MFA student Alison Stone’s poems “Broken” and “Vivienne Eliot” will be published by Many Mountains Moving.

For more information, go to:

MFA graduate John Theo has an article forthcoming in North Shore Living Magazine.

For more information go to:


MFA graduate Deborah Wood Holton was recently appointed to the position of
Associate Dean for Mentoring and Part time Faculty at DePaul University, School for New Learning, and she will speak on a panel about Toni Morrison’s work on Thursday, October 14 at 6 p.m. as part of the One Book One Chicago series.

For more information, go to:

MFA student Melissa Ford Lucken will be presenting a paper as part of the Midwest Regional Comparative and International Education Society Conference on October 29.

Creative nonfiction writer Anne-Marie Oomen gave a talk and a reading on Wednesday, September 29 at Aquinas College’s Wege Auditorium in Grand Rapids, MI.

MFA student Colleen Shanahan will be speaking to the English Senior Seminar class at Saint Leo University about her experiences as an MFA in creative writing student.

Michael Steinberg will be writer-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center from October 26–31, and during that time, he will also make an informal presentation on writing and editing at Johnson State College.

For more information, go to:

MFA graduate Emily Van Duyne has been invited to give a lecture on line and internal rhyme for the advanced poetry workshop at Rosemont College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program.


Meg Kearney was recently awarded an Individual Artist’s Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.

For more information, go to:

Poet Dzvinia Orlowsky’s book, Convertible Night, Flurry of Stones, and Patricia Fargoli’s book, Then, Something, were recently honored as co-winners of the New England Poetry Club’s Sheila Motton Award.

For more information, go to:

Mike Steinberg will be honored in the fall issue of Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction as a founding editor and significant contributor to the creative nonfiction genre. The issue will feature an excerpt from his memoir-in-progress, Staying in the Game, and a capsule book review.

For more information, go to:

MFA consulting writer Jacqueline Woodson’s stage adaptation of her novel Locomotion premieres at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., October 23–31. Her book Pecan Pie Baby will be featured this fall by both Essence and Ebony magazines in addition to the November book section of Time Out New York.

For more information, go to:



Young people’s writer Laban Carrick Hill was recently interviewed by School Library Journal about his new book, Dave the Potter.

For more information, go to:

Meg Kearney’s poem “1970” will be featured on the Poetry Daily web site on Saturday, October 9.

For more information, go to:


National Novel Writing Month:




The Joy of Writing Ugly

By Erika Sanders
When a friend proposed we participate in National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo, I had my doubts. What kind of story did she think could be produced in thirty days of frenzied writing where the goal is only a high word count, not quality writing? I was recent graduate of the Solstice MFA Program at that time; my focus was still on process and craft. I was supposed to throw that all away for thirty days of speed writing?
I joined my friend for NaNoWriMo 2009 not because I thought I’d produce a manuscript of any value, but because I was between projects. In short, when you’re bored and searching for your next story, sometimes writing gimmicks can be a pleasant distraction. I figured the worst that could happen was I’d only waste thirty days on a story that would turn out to be garbage (better than wasting a year or more, I decided). Once the month was over I could return to my “real” writing as the masters-degree-holding writer I am.

NaNoWriMo kicks off at 12:01 AM on November 1st each year. Thousands of writers from across the globe stay up late, poised over their keyboards, ready to crank out the first 1,666 daily words required to keep on pace to reach 50,000 by November 30th. I’ll admit I had to take an evening nap to be awake at 12:01 AM, but if I was going to do this thing I was going to do it as a part of the over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived culture that is the NaNoWriMo community.
At first, the words came fast. This is great, I thought. I’m writing like a mad genius. Or like a kid off her Ritalin. Nothing mattered but the word count. The high of that first week, however, ultimately wore off. At that point, facing a haphazard plot and characters who had free rein to run around the page as they saw fit, I had a decision to make—forge ahead or throw in the towel. Turns out I’m terrible at walking away from a challenge. I completed the thirty days and reached the 50,000 word mark. According to NaNoWriMo I was officially a winner. Always nice to hear.
Even better than being deemed a winner, however, was what I learned about my writing process over the course of those thirty days. Most important, writing can be reckless and silly and should be so at times. There is a sort of magic that happens when you don’t worry so much about where your story has been, but instead focus on the immediacy of where it is going next. Putting down all my rigidness about how I was supposed to write allowed me to bump into new characters the way you run into someone in a grocery store and strike up an instant friendship. I stumbled upon plot twists I had not planned for and I reveled in filling pages with obnoxious descriptive writing to bump up my word count. I learned to not look back.
I also discovered that there is a benefit to completing a first draft as fast as possible. When it’s then laid before you in all its ugliness you have no difficulty knowing where to start revisions: back on page one. Only this time, you know where you are heading and what characters are joining you on the way. I’m now working on my fourth draft of the story I started during NaNoWriMo 2009.
NaNoWriMo converted me to the joy of reckless, ugly first drafts. I enjoy the process of allowing a new story to spill onto the page from beginning to end, and then stepping back to see if I can find the true story amongst the mess. Getting all the junk on the page right away means I can also get rid of it faster upon revision. Despite the fact of being waist deep in my current draft, I’m tempted to participate in NaNoWriMo 2010—if only to experience the rush of writing ugly once again. A rush that somehow feeds the joy that comes when its time to slow down, go back, and make all the ugly beautiful.


The Gihon River Review is seeking submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

For more information, go to:; or write to: Gihon River Review, Johnson State College, 337 College Hill Road, Johnson, VT  05656

The Pinch isues a call for submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction for its spring 2011 issue.

For more information, go to:

Read Short Fiction announces an open call for submissions.

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Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices announces a last call for submissions for the fall 2010 issue. Past issues have featured several members of the Solstice writing community, including students, graduates, and faculty members.

For more information, go to:

The Greater Brockton Society for Poetry and the Arts is offering a series of readings, workshops, and events on the topic of Emily Dickinson’s work from October 16–December 1 at the Fuller Craft Museum, 455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA.

For more information, go to and click Big Read

Shaking like a Mountain, a journal of literature about music, announces its 2010 Fiction Open, with a deadline of October 31, 2010.

For more information, go to:

Mêlée Live is currently accepting poetry submissions from matriculated MFA students for its inaugural issue. The deadline is November 1, 2010.

For more information, email:

Creative Nonfiction Magazine announces its annual “MFA Program-Off” Contest for essayists, with a deadline of November 5, 2010.

For more information, go to:

Lumina, the literary journal of Sarah Lawrence College, announces the kickoff of its annual submissions period, with a deadline of November 15, 2010.

For more information, go to:

Literary Laundry is accepting poetry, short fiction, and one-act play submissions, with a deadline of December 1, 2010.

For more information, go to:

Hambidge provides a residency program that empowers talented artists of all disciplines; limited scholarships are available.

For more information, go to:

Soaring Gardens Artists’ Retreat encourages applications from emerging women artists.

For more information, go to:

As an undergraduate institution consistently ranked among the most diverse in the country, Pine Manor College emphasizes an inclusive, community-building approach to liberal arts education. The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing reflects the College’s overall mission by creating a supportive, welcoming environment in which writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to take creative risks. We strive to instill in our students an appreciation for the value of community-building and community service, and see engagement with the literary arts not only as a means to personal fulfillment but also as an instrument for real cultural change.

For more information, visit


The Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing
of Pine Manor College

400 Heath Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

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