Charlotte Wyatt

About Charlotte Wyatt

Charlotte is an MFA student in fiction at the University of Houston. She is the Fiction Director for the Napa Valley Writer's Conference, and serves as a Fiction Editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and the Arts. She is at work on a novel.

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

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

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

Nicole Krauss & Nathan Englander call attention to the radical resilience of cities in post Harvey Houston reading

September 25, 2017, by

small Nicole Krauss RM3_0950Last Monday’s sudden storms brought uncomfortable reminders of the recent devastation in and around Houston, echoed now in Puerto Rico, and Florida, and other parts of the Caribbean and the Gulf. Those of us who made it to this season’s first installment of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series were soggy and a little anxious to come in from the rain. We crowded the orchestra section of Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall, borrowed in the wake of Harvey’s damage to the Wortham Center’s performance spaces.

But rather than distract us, both Nicole Krauss and Nathan Englander called attention to the radical resilience of cities, and how storytelling can serve that resilience. Their readings addressed the dedication and distress so many of us have recently witnessed and felt.

The excerpts Krauss chose from her new novel Forest Dark explored the threshold of self-knowledge and knowledge of others, and of how we probe and expand the rifts in our personal realities. She spoke of the ways in which writing can invent identity, that writing is often an act of self-invention instead of self-expression: “Each time you tell another story,” she said, “you amplify what it is to be yourself.” Continue reading

Seven Reasons to See Catastrophic Theatre’s Snow White

April 24, 2017, by

Photo credit: Anthony Rathbun

Photo credit: Anthony Rathbun

If you haven’t seen it yet, Catastrophic Theater’s production of Donald Barthelme’s Snow White only runs for two more weekends – April 27th – 29th, and May 4th – 6th! (Get your tickets here.)

  1. Snow White by Donald Barthelme – this staging is the world premiere of any fully staged adaptation of Barthelme’s take on the classic fairy tale. Barthelme had begun to write an adaptation himself, which was shelved (okay, put in a drawer) before it could be finished.
  1. The performances – as director Greg Dean put it, he “needed actors with a facility for language, that could ‘switch styles’ easily, and locate the feelings and the jokes that often lie just below the surface of the prose.” His cast delivers, making effortless shifts in tone and energy to match the acrobatic language of the script. Check out the Houston Chronicle and HoustonPress reviews for more.

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A poetic night with Ada Limón and Gregory Pardlo

April 13, 2017, by

RM3_7535Last Monday, the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series welcomed poets Ada Limón and Gregory Pardlo. The poets, former classmates at NYU, have both recently been recognized: Limón’s Bright Dead Things was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. Pardlo won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for his collection Digest, and as of Thursday, a Guggenheim Fellowship. Poet Kevin Prufer, who also serves as a professor at the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program, moderated a discussion with both after the reading.

Limón opened with “How to Triumph Like a Girl,” in which she imagines the power of a race- winning filly’s 8-pound heart: “Don’t you want to tug my shirt and see / the huge beating genius machine / that thinks, no, it knows, / it’s going to come in first.” When Prufer asked after Limón’s performance of the piece, she referred to Frederico García Lorca’s duende, and the heightened expression embodiment can bring to the work. Many of Limón’s poems showcased the same, with lines like, “You wake some days / full of crow and shine,” and “[…] then there’s the silence that comes back, a million times bigger than me, sneaks into my bones and wails and wails and wails […]” Continue reading

George Saunders in the Forest At Night

March 14, 2017, by

rmfoto.com-79On March 6th, George Saunders made his third appearance with the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, in order to celebrate a first—his only novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, just debuted #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.

To tour the book, Saunders has partnered with local actors in different cities to stage readings of the text. He borrowed performers from Houston’s own Alley Theatre—an experience he compared to driving a Lamborghini—for a scene in a graveyard haunted by two of his characters. Appropriately enough, the reading shared the stage with an eerie woodland set for the theater’s current production, Let the Right One In.

rmfoto.com-121Novelist  and Director of the University of Houston Creative Writing Program Alex Parsons interviewed Saunders, whose humane wit set the tone for the evening. “We’re just a couple of guys in the forest at night,” he said, settling into a chair wedged between the scenery. Continue reading

Get away this summer to write

March 6, 2017, by

At the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ annual conference last month, I was amazed by how many summer intensives and workshops for writers were represented on the conference floor. I’ve been lucky to attend a couple in the past, and not only were they transformative to my writing, but each was a great experience overall. (And now that I’m a Houstonian, I realize a summer workshop might also offer a break from the heat…) Since late winter and early spring are when most application deadlines roll around, Inprint suggested I gather the postcards and flyers I collected and share what I found:

napawriters_headerimageNapa Valley Writer’s Conference in St. Helena, CA – July 23rd to July 28th

I have to start here because, full disclosure, I work for this one. I was a participant more than once before they took me on, and each time was not only great for my writing, but the highlight of my summer. You can apply until March 31st for a spot in fiction or poetry, and financial aid is available. Who doesn’t want to write in gorgeous California wine country? Learn more about the faculty, applications process, and deadlines here.

The Breadloaf Writer’s Conference in Ripton, VT

Middlebury College in Vermont has hosted the renowned Breadloaf Writer’s Workshop since 1926. Unfortunately, their application deadline was February 15th  (maybe next year!). Breadloaf now offers an Environmental Writing Workshop (in conjunction with the magazine Orion) and a Translator’s Conference that takes applications until March 1st. They also have a workshop in Sicily that offers rolling admissions til mid-April. You can learn about the individual conferences and their deadlines, faculties, and admissions processes here. Continue reading

Six Tips On Writing From Annie Proulx’s Talk on Craft

February 6, 2017, by

RM3_4143Houston readers and writers alike crowded the Cullen Theater last month to see Annie Proulx read as part of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. She shared an excerpt from her latest book, the award-winning novel Barkskins and gave a brief interview after the reading.

Earlier that same day, as part of an Inprint Craft Talk/Q&A, Proulx generously offered students at the University of Houston a rare opportunity to hear her thoughts on literary craft. Though quick to point out she has never taught creative writing, she answered questions and shared advice culled from her own process. We’ve excerpted a few points from her talk to share with Inprint’s audience:

  • Get involved with words. “[…] the words of your background, the words of your place, the words of your parents.” Proulx emphasized the value of enlarging your vocabulary, especially with rare or unusual language that has fallen out of use: “[…] words that used to be so meaningful about how things were made and cared for.”

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