2015 VISITING WRITERS SERIES
DESI VAN TIL – 9/18/14 – @7:30 EMERY COMMUNITY ARTS CENTER
Desi is a native of Farmington and graduated from Mt. Blue High School. She studied English Literature at Princeton University, then enjoyed a post-graduate cinemaintensive fellowship in Paris before moving to Los Angeles to work in film. She learned the ropes working from mentor Greg Silverman at Revolution Studios and Warner Brothers, then spent five years as VP of Development for Roth/Arnold Productions. Desi associate-produced both Gary Winick’s 13 Going on 30 starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, and Judd Apatow’s Drillbit Taylor starring Owen Wilson. In 2007, Desi moved to Maine with her husband director Sean Mewshaw to create Rusticator Pictures and produce the comedic love story Tumbledown from her own script. Production of Tumbledown took place in the winter of 2014 in Massachusetts, and stars SNL alum Jason Sudeikis, Rebecca Hall, Joe Manganiello, Griffin Dunne and Blythe Danner, among others. Tumbledown, is currently in its final stages of production in Vancouver.
NON-FICTION: DAVID GESSNER – 9/25/14 – @7:30 in The Landing
David Gessner is an American essayist, memoirist, nature writer, editor, and cartoonist. Gessner was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts. He attended Harvard College where he worked at the Harvard Crimson drawing political cartoons, most notably a drawing of Ronald Reagan urinating on an unemployed man in the gutter called “The Trickle Down Theory.” In 2004 he began teaching at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he is an associate professor. He is the Editor in Chief of [Ecotone] the environmental journal he founded in 2004. Gessner is the author of six books of nonfiction. In April 2007, Gessner won the John Burroughs award for Best Natural History Essay of the year. In 2008, his essay, “The Dreamer Did Not Exist,” appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008, edited by Dave Eggers, and in September of that year his essay on teaching and writing, “Those Who Write, Teach,” appeared in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.
POETRY: V. PENELOPE PELIZZON – 10/23/14 – @7:30 in The Landing
V. Penelope Pelizzon is an American poet, and professor. She graduated from University of Massachusetts Amherst, summa cum laude, University of California, Irvine, and University of Missouri in 1998. She has taught at University of California, Irvine, University of Missouri, Washington and Jefferson College, and University of Connecticut. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Hudson Review, 32 Poems, 5 Fingers Review, The Kenyon Review, Field, the New England Review, Missouri Review, ZYZZYVA, Worchester Review, and Fourth Genre.
FICTION: LAURA VAN DEN BERG – 11/13/14 – @7:30 in The Landing
Laura van den Berg was raised in Florida and earned her M.F.A. at Emerson College. Her first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books, 2009), was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection. Her stories have appeared in Conjunctions, The Kenyon Review, American Short Fiction, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, One Story, and have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and the Pushcart Prize XXIV. She is the recipient of scholarships and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, Ragdale, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. LauraReading. She has taught creative writing at Grub Street, Gettysburg College, as the 2009-2010 Emerging Writer Lecturer, the Gilman School, as the 2010-2011 Tickner Fellow, Goucher College, Johns Hopkins University, the Maryland Institute College of Art, George Washington University, and in the M.F.A. programs at Emerson College and Warren Wilson. She is the 2014-2015 Faculty Fellow in Fiction at Colby College. Her second collection of stories, The Isle of Youth, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in November 2013. The Isle of Youth was named a “Best Book of 2013″ by over a dozen outlets, including NPR, The Boston Globe, and O, The Oprah Magazine, was a finalist for the Frank O’Connor Award, and received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. Both Laura’s collections were longlisted for The Story Prize and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Laura’s first novel, Find Me, will be published by FSG in February 2015. She lives in the Boston area.
FICTION: MELISSA FALCON FIELD – 2/5/15 – @7:30 in The Landing
Melissa Falcon Field is the author of the debut novel What Burns Away (Sourcebooks, 2015). Her work includes long form fiction, personal narrative essays, nature writing, and documentary journalism. As an educator and curriculum developer, Melissa has instructed writing workshops at several universities and urban high schools, across the country.
In What Burns Away, Melissa studies the pull between forces—motherhood and self-possession, marriage and independence, nature and science, adversity and affluence, roots and displacement, the virtual world and intimacy, investigating characters torn between those influences just as their past intersects with their future.
FICTION: BROCK CLARKE – 2/26/15 – @7:30 in The Landing
Brock Clarke is the author of five books of fiction, most recently the novels Exley(which was a Kirkus Book of the Year, a finalist for the Maine Book Award, and a longlist finalist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award) and An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England (which was a national bestseller, and American Library Associate Notable Book of the Year, a #1 Book Sense Pick, a Borders Original Voices in Fiction selection, and a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice pick). His books have been reprinted in a dozen international editions, and have been awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize for Fiction, the Prairie Schooner Book Series Prize, a National Endowment for Arts Fellowship, and an Ohio Council for the Arts Fellowship, among others. Clarke’s individual stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Boston Globe, Virginia Quarterly Review, One Story, The Believer,Georgia Review, New England Review, and Southern Review and have appeared in the annual Pushcart Prize and New Stories from the South anthologies and on NPR’s Selected Shorts. His sixth book, the novel The Happiest People in the World, will be published in November 2014. He lives in Portland and teaches creative writing at Bowdoin College and in University of Tampa’s low residency MFA program.
NON-FICTION: DOUG WHYKNOTT – 3/19/15 – @7:30 in The Landing
Douglas Whynott is an American writer who has written and published four critically acclaimed books. He writes what is considered to be literary journalism or narrative nonfiction. The subjects of his books range from migratory commercial beekeepers and the beekeeping industry, to the bluefin tuna fishery in New England, a boatyard in Maine, and a veterinary clinic in New Hampshire. In his early years Whynott worked as a dolphin trainer, fish curator, piano tuner, apiary inspector, track coach, and blues piano player.
Beth Ann Fennelly is an American poet and prose writer. directs the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi, where in 2011 she was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Fennelly has published three full-length poetry books (Open House, Tender Hooks, and Unmentionables) and a book of nonfiction (Great with Child) all with W. W. Norton. She also writes essays on travel, culture, and design for Country Living, Southern Living, AFAR, Garden and Gun, TheOxford American, and others. The Tilted World, the novel she co-authored with her husband, Tom Franklin, published in 2013 (HarperCollins), is an Indie Next pick and has been translated into five languages. They live in Oxford with their three children.