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

Viet-Thanh-Nguyen

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

Creative writing can help after Harvey

October 3, 2017, by

When any great loss occurs, we need time and a way to process that loss. It’s difficult enough when one loses a beloved car or musical instrument, photos, books, a favorite chair – but when one loses all of it at once – one’s house and nearly everything in it – and when whole neighborhoods are inundated, the loss becomes one that all of us in the region must process, either directly or indirectly. It’s as if there is a toxic gas release or poisons in the water – the malaise affects us all, in one way or another.

There is also the matter of processing the grief that follows loss. Even though this is a different sort of grief than the loss of a family member or friend, still one is haunted by what is missing, or what happened down the road (especially in the quiet hours of the night, when one has time to reflect).

Writing through the grief – acknowledging somehow what happened and what it means to us – is one way to metabolize and learn to live with loss. It’s also cathartic in such circumstances to know those things for which one is grateful, and to whom one is grateful, and to pay tribute to them.

To demonstrate the way creative writing—some unleashing of the unconscious—can help after Harvey, a few weeks ago, at an Inprint Board of Directors meeting, after we were officially adjourned, Cait Weiss Orcutt—a poet, Inprint C. Glenn Cambor/MD Anderson Foundation Fellow, experienced writing teacher, and PhD candidate at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program—led us in a writing exercise to show how one might write creatively in response to trauma, and emerge from the experience both slightly relieved and with a text one might expand upon, and perhaps eventually share with others. Continue reading

Poet Conor Bracken’s chapbook focuses on Henry Kissinger as a model for “everything wrong with masculinity.”

September 29, 2017, by

9781495157684On Friday, September 22, the Houston literary community gathered at Brazos Bookstore to celebrate the release of Conor Bracken’s award-winning chapbook Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour. The manuscript was the recipient of the 2017 Frost Place Competition sponsored by Bull City Press. Bracken, a former Inprint Fellow and current Inprint Poetry Busker, is an active local writer and teacher, and the event was warm and collegial.

IMG_1527Fellow University of Houston Creative Writing Program alum Analicia Sotelo helped introduce and open for Bracken. She described Bracken’s work as interrogating “the white male situation.” Their writing shares, Sotelo says, an interest in “the subtle exploration of power play.” She proceeded to read from her own accomplished chapbook Nonstop Godhead, which includes such titles as “Apologia over Marinated Lamb” and dwells on major Hispanic modern painters such as Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo.
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