Monday, October 3, 2011

Solstice MFA Newsletter, October 2011


Pine Manor College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Contact: Tanya Whiton
For Release: Monday, October 3, 2011


Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are pleased to be able to offer four winter residency/spring semester fellowships for first-semester students:

• 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
• The Sharon Olds Fellowship for Poetry

Fellowship recipients will receive a $1,000 award toward their first semester’s tuition; awards must be applied toward the winter residency/spring semester directly following acceptance. Fellowship applications are due October 14, 2011 (not a postmark date; materials must be received in our offices before or on October 14). The general application deadline is Tuesday, November 15 (not a postmark date).

For more information, go to:

We are proud to announce a new partnership with The Foundation for Children’s Books (FCB), a nonprofit organization that cultivates children’s curiosity, creativity, and academic achievement by igniting in them a love of good books. The FCB and Solstice MFA Program will co-host the first in a series of biannual events, “What’s New in Children’s Books” —a half-day conference featuring authors, illustrators, and library and bookstore professionals— Saturday, November 5th from 8 a.m.–noon on the Pine Manor College campus, 400 Heath Street in Chestnut Hill.

For more information, go to:

We would like to welcome our new MFA Program Intern, Hareem Shafi, who is majoring in English and creative writing in Pine Manor College’s undergraduate program.

This month’s alumni guest column is by Cindy Zelman, who writes about attending a writers conference post graduation.

To read Cindy’s column, scroll down or click here.



Poet and fiction writer Mark Turcotte will read as part of the Kellogg Writers Series, Thursday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m., Good Hall, University of Indianapolis, 1400 East Hanna Avenue, Indianapolis, IN.

For more information, go to:


Multi-genre writer Anne-Marie Oomen will be giving the keynote for the Women's History Project of Northwest Michigan, Saturday, October 22 at 12:00 p.m. in Traverse City, Michigan. She will also be reading from her piece in the anthology Ghost Writers: Us Haunting Them, Friday, October 28 at 5:00 p.m. at Brilliant Books, 305 Saint Joseph Street, Suttons Bay, MI.

For more information, go to:

Mark Turcotte will present as part of "Poets & Editors: A Reading and Conversation," Thursday, October 27 at 3:30 p.m., 3222 Angell Hall, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

For more information, go to:


MFA graduate Alison Stone will host a reading, “Strong Words: Readings by Rockland Poets,” Sunday, October 1 from 2–4:30 p.m. at the Nyack Library, 59 South Broadway, Nyack NY.

For more information, go to:


MFA graduate Kerry Beckford’s opinion piece on the movie The Help recently appeared in the Hartford Courant.

To read the piece, go to:,0,1972753.story

Multi-genre writer Jaime Manrique’s novel Cervantes Street will be published in English by Akashic Books in 2012.

MFA graduate Mike Miner’s piece “The Revenge Game” will be appearing on the Flash Fiction Offensive in October.

For more information, go to:

Poet Dzvinia Orlowsky’s fifth poetry collection, Silvertone, is forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2013.

Writer-in-Residence Michael Steinberg’s craft essay, “The Person To Whom Things Happened: Finding the Inner Story in Personal Narratives,” was recently reprinted in Prime Number, #11. Also, the sixth edition of The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/on Creative Nonfiction, (co-edited by Mike Steinberg and Robert Root) was recently published by Pearson Longman.

For more information, go to: and/or

MFA graduate Alison Stone’s poems “Pleather” and “For Any Occasion” appear in the current Sex/Food/Death issue of Slipstream:


MFA graduate Suzanne Deshchidn was recently accepted into Cornelius Eady’s year-long poetry thesis workshop at the 92nd Street YMCA in New York City, and she has been hired as an adjunct instructor at Passaic Community College in Paterson, NJ, where she will be teaching developmental reading and writing.

Poet and MFA Program Director Meg Kearney will be conducting a workshop and giving a reading at the New York State English Council Conference at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, New York on Thursday, October 20. Her workshop, "Portrait Poems," is scheduled from 9:30-10:30 a.m.; her reading is at 8 p.m.

For more information, visit

MFA graduate Alison McGrath recently attended the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Rocky Mountain chapter conference in Lakewood, Colorado.

Mike Steinberg was a guest writer at the Ashland University Low-Residency MFA Program in July, 2011.


Kathleen Aguero’s poem “Fastenings,” —published in The Cincinnati Review— won first Honorable Mention for the New England Poetry Club's Gretchen Warren Award for best published poem.

MFA graduate Kimberly Kreines (nee Wisneski) has contributed as a script supervisor to the following projects:

• the feature Taco Shop—
• the short My Left Hand Man
• the web series Awkward Black Girl—
• the soon-to-be web series Lost Heroes—
• the soon-to-be web series Exposure —

Also, her spec script for the show Community, entitled "Marketing 101", made it to the top 10% of entries for the Austin Film Festival.

For more information, go to:


Workshops, Retreats, and Pitch Sessions, Oh My!
—By Cindy Zelman

This past August, I attended a writing workshop — the inaugural Wet Mountain Valley Writers’ Workshop in Westcliffe, Colorado— that featured two nationally known writers and teachers: memoirist Abigail Thomas and fiction writer Dorothy Allison. A year after earning my MFA, I was looking for a way to connect with other writers and move my writing forward. I also wanted a chance to work with Dorothy Allison (whom I’d met at a Solstice residency) and on whom I focused my critical thesis for the MFA Program.

When I arrived in Colorado, I found myself among good, strong writers: published writers, genre writers, fiction writers, and essayists. I spent six days with my peers, and the mood at the workshop felt very similar to a Solstice residency: intense, exciting, supportive, emotional, and fun. The workshop’s organizer made it clear this workshop was designed to be a safe place for writers, and much like Solstice, a place to take chances. The workshop helped me reaffirm myself as a writer —my work held up alongside a group of random (yet very talented) writers. I gathered admirers outside of our wonderfully supportive Solstice family. I read aloud and heard those same cheers — from a group of strangers! People wanted my critique of their writing. They wanted to read more of my work. We’re still exchanging manuscripts, even though the conference has been over for weeks. This is the kind of affirmation I’ve missed since graduation.

Yet as the workshop progressed, I heard the other writers saying things like, “This has been a transformative experience,” or “This has been a game-changer in my life.” Their eyes were wide, their souls on fire. They were radioactive, as Solstice Program Director Meg Kearney would say. Yet I did not feel transformed or…radioactive. My transformative experience had occurred as an MFA student at Solstice. Most of the attendees at Wet Mountain did not have an MFA, so for some, the workshop marked the first time they’d experienced a great community of supportive writers. Their lives had begun to change in a way mine already had changed. As an MFA graduate, I found that the workshop critique structured around ten or twenty pages of a work-in-progress is no longer as helpful as when I was a student; I have a whole book for which I need feedback, and hopefully, a second book over the next year. I am now looking for writing time and for a few trusted readers, and access to professionals on the business side of the publishing industry.

With that realization, I’m not sure I need to experience another workshop of this type next year. So what do I need instead to maintain momentum and connect with other writers? Discussions with other Solstice grads helped me to consider, for example, a writing retreat, where I could hole up in a cabin for several hours to write, and then commune with fellow writers for meals and evening readings. Another choice would be to attend a conference where I have an opportunity to pitch directly to editors and agents. (A woman I met at the writers’ workshop, who has published several books of a business nature, suggested that I find such a conference. “There’s nothing like the face to face contact with an agent,” she said.) Although others have suggested that doing research and sending a proposal is more effective than five minutes in front of an agent, I still think a pitch conference might be worth a try. And there are many choices for those on limited budgets and with limited time: most cities provide day-long classes on a host of writing related topics, from craft to writing a book proposal to face to face time with agents and editors. Grub Street does such classes in the Boston area, and I’ve seen similar opportunities around the country advertised in writing magazines.

I encourage my fellow graduates to explore ways to get (and stay) involved with other writers, whether they be Solstice alums or new acquaintances. It will do wonders for your work and for your writer’s soul. And if you’d like to read a book-length manuscript by yours truly…


Esquire announces its short short fiction contest with a deadline of October 7, 2011.

For more information, go to:

Chautauqua announces its annual poetry contest, with a deadline of November 1, 2011.

For more information, go to: http://writers.ciweb/org/literary-journal

Hot Metal Bridge seeks fiction, nonfiction, and poetry submissions for its next issue, with a deadline of November 1, 2011.

For more information, go to:

The Minnesota Review seeks submissions of fiction and poetry, with a deadline of November 1, 2011.

For more information, go to:

Southeast Missouri State University Press announces the Nilsen Literary Prize for First Novel, with a deadline of November 1, 2011.

For more information, go to:

Lumina seeks submissions of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, with a deadline of November 15, 2011.

For more information, go to:

Two Review announces its annual poetry contest, with a deadline of November 30, 2011.

For more information, go to:

The Star Mill Review seeks submissions in short fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and visual art. Open submissions run from October 3–December 31, 2011.

For more information, go to:

The Writers’ Room of Boston is now accepting applications for four fellowships for 2012, with a deadline of December 31, 2011. The fellowships award use of the Writers’ Room to Boston Area residents at no cost for one year.

For more information, go to:

Belletrist Coterie seeks poetry, fiction, nonfiction, essays, interviews, photography, and web-friendly artwork for its inaugural issue of Belletrist Coterie. Open submissions run through January 4, 2012.

For more information, go to:

The Horn Book Magazine, a bimonthly publication dedicated to children’s and young adult books, is seeking article submissions.

For more information, go to:

The Review Review, an online journal dedicated to reviewing and discussing literary journals, has issued a call for writers.

For more information, go to:

South 85 Journal seeks submissions of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, reviews, and criticism by new, emerging, and established writers.

For more information, go to:

Toad seeks poetry, nonfiction, fiction, and visual art.

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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