The 2018-2019 Inprint Reading Series Kicks Off with Insight, Obsession, and Humor

October 2, 2018, by

Last Monday night marked the first reading of the 38th season for the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, only days after the happy news that reader Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black was short-listed for this year’s prestigious Man-Booker prize. (Also listed is Richard Powers’ The Overstory, from which he’ll read in the series’ April installment.)

Edugyan read with Meg Wolitzer, and neither author is a stranger to recognition for their work. Edugyan’s previous novel Half-Blood Blues was awarded Canada’s Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and was also a finalist for the Man-Booker. Wolitzer’s new novel, The Female Persuasion, was named one of the most anticipated novels of this year by New York magazine, Time, and others, and several films have been based on her work. The most recent is The Wife, starring Glenn Close. (Playing in Houston now!)

After their readings—alternately funny, exciting, poignant, and wise—the authors sat with former Poet Laureate of Houston Robin Davidson, who invited them to share about their process and the timely thematic concerns of both novels. Continue reading

Local writers celebrate the everyday stories of women

September 14, 2018, by

A very special evening is in store this Saturday, September 15, 6:30 pm at Kaboom Books as local writers  Eloísa Pérez-Lozano, Jody T. Morse (aka J. T. Haven),  and celebrated Houston Poet Laureate Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton read from their work featured in a new anthology, I AM STRENGTH: True Stories of Everyday Superwomen.

The timely anthology includes a collection of true stories, poems, and art by more than fifty women. Tamra Lucid, a blogger for Reality Sandwich and music and a documentary producer at Lucid Nation Media, says, “What makes this compilation extraordinary is that it does not rely on celebrity or well-established writers for content. This book gives voice to women who have remained voiceless for too long. It reminds us of the heroism of women facing what most casually dismiss as common challenges of life. It illuminates the courage and resilience, the resourcefulness and commitment women deploy daily to survive in a world where discrimination and injustice, not to mention cruelty, are all too common. It reminds us that small miracles happen daily. Refresh your faith in humanity here.”

We had a chance to catch up with Eloisa, Jody, and Deborah to talk about the anthology and what audience members can expect Saturday evening.

INPRINT: What was the inspiration behind this book project?

DEBORAH: The collection is geared toward celebrating the stories of everyday women and the power they hold. Continue reading

Houston writer Theodora Bishop wins 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Award

September 11, 2018, by

Theodora Bishop, an Inprint C. Glenn Cambor Fellow, is a woman of many talents. In addition to being the author of a chapbook of short stories, Mother Tongues, winner of The Cupboard’s 2015 contest, she was a Best New Poets nominee and her work has appeared in such well-known journals as Glimmer Train, Prairie Schooner, Arts & Letters, and Short Fiction (England). She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program, and her latest publication, On the Rocks (Texas Review Press) came out earlier this year. I caught up with Theodora to talk to her about the new book and her writing process, among other things, and here’s what she had to say.

MATTHEW KRAJNIAK: Your novella, On the Rocks, won a 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Award. What was that like and what’s different with you and your writing now that this book is out?

THEODORA BISHOP: My husband and I were about ten hours into our drive from Texas to Pennsylvania when I received the news. I thought it was a mistake at first — I’m fairly certain we were listening to a book on CD and mowing down licorice; I was in a whimsical headspace. I was delighted when it turned out it wasn’t a mistake, and doubly delighted that On the Rocks was recognized as a novella. I think the novella is an important narrative form, and one which I relish reading, studying, and working in.Eva (the protagonist in On the Rocks) feels like an old friend, so I’ve enjoyed working on new fiction that feature similarly-minded characters who feel like they could be pals with Eva, if the novella’s universe of Ship Bottom were to slip into theirs. A great thing about the book being out is that I don’t touch the manuscript anymore; there’s been a place cleared in the cupboard, so to speak, and I’m happily immersed in new material. Continue reading

Submit Your Hurricane Harvey Stories to the Houston Flood Museum

June 15, 2018, by

As hurricane season is now underway and an impending storm looms over us this coming weekend, it is hard not to be taken back to last August and the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

Stories often serve as conveyors of our history, reminding us where we have been and possibly enlightening us on where to go from here. It was with this intent that the Houston Flood Museum, funded by the Houston Endowment, was born.

The Houston Flood Museum was initiated by a group of community writers to create a virtual space that collects and preserves stories of the traumatic, catastrophic events during and after Hurricane Harvey from Houstonians who survived the storm’s flooding. The museum will serve as a place to reflect on our shared history, to learn from it, to mourn what we have lost, and to find inspiration about how to move together into the future. Continue reading

Celebrating Books by Houston women: A Summer Reading List

June 8, 2018, by

As we think about good books to read during the dog days of summer, we invite you to add the following books to your list. Released during the 2017-2018 season, these books of literary fiction, poetry, and personal essays are by Houston women. We applaud them and the many other female authors who continue to enhance and expand our literary landscape. Happy reading!

Katherine Center, How to Walk Away: A Novel

Jane Chance, Tolkien, Self and Other: “This Queer Creature”

Leslie Contreras Schwartz, Nightbloom & Cenote

Patricia Hunt Holmes, Searching for Pilar

Sean Johnson, All My Heroes Were Assassinated: Poems for Our Beautifully Tragic Experiences

Caroline Leech, Wait for Me and In Another Time (coming out in August)

Jennifer Mathieu, Moxie: A Novel Continue reading

Writer Adrienne Perry leaves a mark on Houston

May 23, 2018, by

As Memorial Day approaches and college graduation ceremonies have now all taken place, it also means that Houston will soon have to say goodbye to some of our city’s beloved writers, writers who had moved here to study at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program (UH CWP).

ADRIENNE G. PERRY, a recipient of the Inprint C. Glenn Cambor Fellowship, the Inprint Marion Barthelme Gulf Coast Prize, and the Inprint Marion Barthelme Prize in Creative Writing, just completed her PhD in fiction at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. While in Houston, Adrienne has not only been a great friend to Inprint, she also served as editor of Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts from 2014 – 2016, as well as being active with a number of local institutions and initiatives.

Adrienne is incredibly accomplished. She earned her MFA from Warren Wilson College in 2013. She is a Hedgebrook alumna, a Kimbilio Fellow, and a member of the Rabble Collective. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Copper NickelBlack Warrior ReviewNinth Letter, and elsewhere. Currently, she is at work on a novel and an essay collection

This fall she will start the next phase of her career as a Professor of English at Villanova University. Earlier this spring she was kind enough to sit down and talk to Inprint/UH Creative Writing Program Fellow Charlotte Wyatt about her writing, and her experiences living and working in Houston. Continue reading

Pulling Down Words from the Clouds: The Inprint Writers Class at Amazing Place

May 10, 2018, by

For the past year, Inprint C. Glenn Cambor Fellow and UH Creative Writing Program graduate student Niki Herd has been teaching an Inprint Senior Memoir Workshop at Amazing Place, a day center for individuals with mild to moderate memory loss. The seniors have been meeting with Niki on a weekly basis, engaging in creative writing activities. Today, the participants from the Inprint Senior Memoir Workshop will have a celebratory reading. They will read excerpts of their written work for everyone at the center and invited guests. We asked Niki to tell us a little bit about the workshop participants and her reflections on using creative writing to work with the seniors. Please note that all names have been changed for the participants privacy.

Frank, a fighter pilot in Vietnam, saved hundreds of lives on both sides of the war. William, known to break out into song about constitutional law, is a former lawyer who taught at the University of Houston for more than forty years. Lewis, a pediatrician, considers Bolivia home after spending many years there helping the poor. Katherine worked in government and has a flair for the dramatic. When she walks into class, her presence exudes the grace of an elder actress still commanding praise. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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