Inprint Writers Workshops: offering more and doing more for the community

February 22, 2018, by

“We love meeting the wonderful aspiring writers from all walks of life who come to Inprint,” says Inprint Executive Director Rich Levy. “Some of them have been writing for a while and others are just taking a workshop as a hobby, supplementing an already busy work and family schedule. The thing that they all have in common is a desire to tell a story, whether through fiction, poetry, or personal essay. Learning how to shape one’s thoughts in writing is hard but also an exciting process, you learn so much about yourself, the world, and your place in it.”

Over the past few years, Inprint has experienced an upsurge in demand for writers workshops. Meeting this demand has been a high priority for the organization.

“These workshops have been helping Houstonians enhance their creative writing skills since 1991,” says Marilyn Jones, Inprint Associate Director who manages the Inprint Writers Workshops. “We work hard to maintain an intimate and supportive environment in each workshop, so most workshops are limited to 12 people. We also want to offer high quality workshops, so instructors are rotated regularly to avoid burn out, and all participants are asked to fill out evaluations at the end of the sessions to ensure we are meeting participants’ interests.” Continue reading

Celebrating Houston’s Favorite Poems

January 18, 2018, by

All of us have favorites, a song, a color, a book, a restaurant. But what about poems? Which poems have stayed with you over the years, which poems do you come back to and read and reread? Which poems make you think, move you to tears, or make you feel alive?

Former Houston Poet Laureate Robin Davidson took on these questions and the power that poetry can play in our lives when she initiated Houston’s Favorite Poems, now an anthology. Tonight, Thursday, January 18, 6 pm at the Julia Ideson Building, Houstonians will come together to celebrate the launch for the anthology. Click here for more information and join the celebration.

Earlier this week we caught up with Robin to talk about the project and the process of putting the anthology.

INPRINT: What inspired this project?

ROBIN DAVIDSON: Robert Pinsky first came to Houston in the early eighties to stand in for then poetry editor of The New Yorker magazine, Howard Moss, who was teaching a poetry workshop in the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. I was a graduate student in that class. When Mr. Moss became ill, Pinsky stepped in as our teacher, and one assignment that was life-changing for me was the personal favorite poem anthology he asked each of us to develop. We were to choose at least ten of our favorite poems and write them out, feeling the line breaks in our hands as we wrote or typed and allowing the poems to become our own for a moment. The poems could come from any poet, language, or century, including from among our classmates’ work—what a thrilling exercise it was! I’ve kept my anthology to this day, adding to it over time, and have, for many years, asked my own students to keep such an anthology that includes a preface discussing why each poem is meaningful to them. The results are always lovely—moving and beautiful—and the poem choices are often surprising.

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Flash Fiction expert shares tips about the genre with Houston writers

January 2, 2018, by

This January Inprint continues offering a section in Flash Fiction as part of its popular Inprint Writers Workshops offerings, taught by Inprint Fellow (and PhD candidate at the University of Houston) Kaj Tanaka.

Kaj is extensively published, and a number of his pieces are examples of what is often called “flash fiction,” though you may also see (very) short fiction called “nano,” “quick,” “micro,” or hilariously, “sudden.” Flash fiction is generally shorter than 2,000 words, though there are specific forms. For instance, Hemingway made the six-word story famous with “For sale, baby shoes, never worn.” Some writers now compose on twitter (“twitfic”) in the 140-character length, and there are dedicated online magazines to variations of the flash form – see Flash Fiction Online and 100 Word Story, among others, or even the Flash Friday features on the Tin House site.

The form is far from new. The Hemingway piece is famous, but so are stories from writers like Robert Coover, Amy Hempel, George Saunders, and almost any piece from Joy Williams’ most recent release, Ninety-nine Stories of God.

There are a number of advantages to writing flash fiction, not least of which is the basic rule-of-thumb in placing new work – the less space it requires, the easier it (generally) is to find your work a home. Also, since the pieces are shorter, Kaj’s flash fiction workshop will focus in part on helping writers generate new work. Continue reading

Upcoming Texas conference helps boost the careers of freelance writers

December 12, 2017, by

When someone asks you what you do for a living and you tell them you are a writer, you are often likely to receive confused and questioning responses. But what do you really do? Yes, but where do you work? How do you make money from that?

Writers are actually employed across various industries and are often at the heart of many successful businesses. Freelance writers can have thriving, lucrative, and satisfying careers. The American Society of Journalist and Authors (ASJA), which formed a Texas chapter last year, helps with this effort. ASJA’s mission is to be the voice and career resource for independent, entrepreneurial, professional nonfiction writers. Since 1948, ASJA has been giving freelance writers the confidence and connections to prosper.

On February 3, 2018, ASJA will have a day-long conference in Austin “Write In The Heart of Texas,” a day full of panels and workshops for emerging and established Continue reading

Inprint helps seniors write their stories

December 10, 2017, by

“I was over the moon,” writes B. J. Fininis. “$85.00 a week to WRITE! I could hardly believe my ears. My newspaper career was to begin on April 11, 1968.”

Ms. Fininis is one of twelve senior citizens in the Inprint Senior Memoir Workshop at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston (JCC). This Sunday, December 10th, the workshop will celebrate an anthology of the work by participants in the 2015-2017 workshops, with a reading at 2:00 pm. The event will take place at the Inprint House on 1520 Main Street, and is free and open to the public. It’s a great chance to hear from the rich, diverse histories of these amazing writers.

For more than twenty years, Inprint has offered free workshops in the art of memoir to senior citizens around the city of Houston. Very few arts programs and intellectually stimulating activities of this kind exist for the senior population so these workshops fill an important niche. Writing is not only a great way to preserve the rich detail of the past, but can be key to understanding ourselves and each other. Continue reading

Glass Mountain – Houston’s Hidden Secret for Emerging Writers

December 4, 2017, by

small IMG_1629Readers and writers have plenty to take advantage of in Houston: diverse reading series, a slew of writing workshops, and amazing independent bookstores. One of the best hidden secrets for emerging writers in the Houston area is Glass Mountain magazine. The magazine comes out of the University of Houston, which also houses the nationally renowned University of Houston Creative Writing Program (UH CWP).

Besides publishing new work, Glass Mountain offers community to new writers with a reading series. The next reading comes up this Tuesday, December 5th, 7:00 pm at Brasil in Montrose – but if you can’t attend there’s still plenty to take advantage of!

Inprint Fellow and UH CWP student Josie Mitchell serves as graduate advisor to Glass Mountain. She told me more about the magazine’s Boldface Conference, designed specially for people who do not hold and are not pursuing an advanced degree in Creative Writing. The conference’s poetry, fiction and non-fiction workshops are led by Inprint Fellows in the UH CWP. “We also have craft talks, readings, and panels throughout the week,” Josie says. “And food. The food is great!”

I caught up with Josie and the University of Houston undergraduates who serve as Editor (Kim Coy) and Co-Managing Editors (Anthony Álvares and Amanda Ortiz) to learn about Glass MountainContinue reading

“I read and I smoke.” — Laura Bush, Texas Book Festival Founder

November 21, 2017, by

TBF1Before she was the 43rd FLOTUS, Laura Bush was a young Texas librarian with a tobacco habit and a smart mouth. And so it follows that in 1995, when she was First Lady of Texas, she founded the Texas Book Festival. The free, weekend-long event once took place entirely in the Texas Capitol, but in years hence it’s spilled out on to Congress Avenue and nearby church sanctuaries and ballrooms—venues which pass for public spaces around these parts. This year students from the UHCWP, Inprint fellows all, served as volunteers at the festival and readers at the evening Lit Crawl, while taking in two days’ worth of panel discussions by authors from across the literary spectrum. Continue reading

Houston writers come together at Writespace’s Writers’ Family Reunion

November 9, 2017, by

WritersFamilyReunionlogoWe know that Houston is home to many writers. Writespace offers members of Houston’s diverse writing community to gather annually at the Writers’ Family Reunion. This year’s Reunion comes up this Saturday, November 11, 9 am – 5 pm at Writespace in Silver Street Studios at 2000 Edwards, southeast of the Heights. We are one of the co-sponsors, along with Houstonia Magazine, ArtHouston Magazine, Women in the Visual and Literary Arts (WiVLA), Houston Writers House, Public Poetry, Houston Writers Guild, Writers’ League of Texas, Grackle and Grackle. Use the code PAPERPOWER to save $20 on admission. Click here for more information. 

We had the chance to catch up with Writespace founder and director Elizabeth White-Olsen this week to ask her more about the Writers’ Family Reunion and what attendees can expect on Saturday.

INPRINT: How did the Writers Family Reunion first get started, whose idea was it, is it based on a model conducted in another city?

ELIZABETH WHITE-OLSEN: Writing can be a lonely occupation, but when writers feel embraced and supported by community, this can catapult our sense of confidence and success. At Writespace, we seek to offer a place where writers can easily come write, hone their craft, and develop new skills, while feeling celebrated and accepted. Our upcoming literary arts festival, the Writers’ Family Reunion, is designed to strengthen the local writing community by giving writers a sense of homecoming and an Continue reading

Naked Ladies and the Kool-Aid Man: The Poison Pen Reading Series

October 24, 2017, by

PP Octo 2017

When I first moved to Houston from northern California, the city surprised me in so many ways. It’s easier to be a vegetarian here than it was there, and y’all got great bourbon lists at your restaurants and bars! Especially at Poison Girl, host to one of the best reading series in town. This was my favorite surprise: Houston’s vital, thriving, and progressive literary scene.

But not everyone knows about the award-winning Poison Pen series, which runs the last Thursday of every month. This month’s reading takes place on Thursday, October 26th, and will feature Roger Reeves, Onyinye Ihezukwu, and Zachary Caballero.

In an effort to introduce the larger Houston community to Poison Pen, I sent some questions to the series’ current organizers, all of whom are writers themselves, as well as past or present Inprint Fellows: Giuseppe Taurino, Analicia Sotelo, and Erika Jo Brown. These folks vet authors and schedule line-ups to bring new, exciting work to Houstonians. Continue reading

Meet today’s literary stars, and tomorrow’s

October 13, 2017, by


We’re thrilled to report that Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen—who will be appearing in the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series on Monday, November 13, 7:30 pm, at Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall–-was named one of this year’s 24 recipients of MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowships.

We are happy for him and for all of you, who will have the privilege of hearing him speak on his first appearance in the Series. Don’t miss it—he will be in conversation with Houston native William Broyles, founding editor of Texas Monthly, Academy-Award nominated screenwriter, and author of Brothers in Arms, an account of his return to Vietnam to meet the men and women he fought against during the war. Inprint will join with Houston Public Media to live-stream this reading.

Inprint Dermont WardAnother of the 2017 MacArthur “genius” fellowship recipients is novelist Jesmyn Ward, who appeared in the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series in March 2013. You can watch a video here of her reading from her National Book Award-winning novel Salvage the Bones and her conversation with fellow novelists Amber Dermont and Robert Boswell, on the Inprint website in our Archive of Readings. Continue reading