How to Sustain a Creative Life: Insights from Eight Artists

In her Lit Hub essay, “On the Many Paths Artists Take to Sustain Their Creative Practice,” novelist Stacey D’Erasmo explores what keeps us alive in our art. Based on her newly released book, The Long Run: A Creative Inquiry, (Graywolf Press) D’Erasmo discusses her interviews with older artists from various fields and what she learned from them about sustaining a life of art. From dancers to landscape architects, D’Erasmo’s interviews include Cecilia Vicuña, Valda Setterfield, Samuel R. Delany, Amy Sillman, Darrel Morrison, Tania Léon, Blair Brown, and Steve Earle. The Lit Hub article and the book it draws from are deeply valuable to anyone looking to sustain a lifetime of creativity.

Titcomb’s Bookshop East Sandwich

We loved visiting the bountiful Titcomb’s Bookshop in East Sandwich on Cape Cod. The shop offers a wide array of new releases, classics, children’s books, toys, and gifts. The walls to the downstairs children’s area are hand-painted with flowers, bunnies, and bumblebees. We especially loved their many excellent staff picks. We could have spent all day at Titcomb’s, and nearly did! The wrought iron colonial man statue out front was crafted by Ted Titcomb, the eldest son of founder Ralph Titcomb 50 years ago. With a fresh coat of paint every other year, “Colonial Man” has been a local landmark for half a century. On the day of our visit, he was looking a little grumpy due to a futile effort to keep his book dry in a thunderstorm.

This decades old family business changed its name from The Paper Barn to Titcomb’s Bookshop in the 70s. A business that began inside an abandoned barn grew to a thriving 3-story retail store selling new and old books, toys, games, puzzles and cards.  Titcomb’s has enjoyed a warm relationship with customers and authors alike, including visiting writers Geraldine Brooks, Jodi Picoult, Alice Hoffman, Henry Winkler, Jeff Kinney and Jan Brett. In 2022, Titcomb’s won the Independent Spirit Award presented by the Book Publishers Representatives of New England (BPRNE), recognizing the New England independent bookstore of the year.

In addition to new releases, Titcomb’s offers many deep resources, including works on local indigenous culture and history.

Staff picks are abundant and excellent.

 

 

Bookmans of Flagstaff

A third generation Flagstaff local told us not to miss this jewel of the town, Bookmans Entertainment Exchange. We were not disappointed. The store, which also has locations in Tuscon, Phoenix, and Mesa, radiates creativity, innovation, and charming wackiness. The staff is friendly, helpful, inquisitive, and fun to be around. They speak out against censorship and promote freedom of expression. The store includes comfy chairs and eclectic spaces that invite conversation and connection. No wonder it’s a favorite of local college students. The store also supports community-based and national literacy programs. They firmly believe it is never too late to foster a love of reading. We enjoyed a delicious latte and cafe Americano in their wonderful cafe. Books on display included fabulous authors such as Carys Davies, Tommy Orange, Richard Powers and a personal favorite, Joy Harjo.

From June 1 through September 1, 2024, Bookmans offers a “Buy-9-Get-the-10th-Free” program that benefits the local community. For every card you complete and turn in, Bookmans will donate a free book to a local literacy non-profit.

Continue reading “Bookmans of Flagstaff”

Bright Side Bookshop Flagstaff

What a delight it was to visit Bright Side Bookshop, a beloved gathering space in the heart of downtown Flagstaff. They offer an amazing selection of new fiction, nonfiction, YA and children’s books. Their thousands of titles include new releases and old classics. Their diverse collection of novels, memoirs, biographies, reference materials, and graphic novels is lovingly curated by their devoted staff with the aim of representing local, national, and international work that provides opportunities for discovery and conversation.

Bright Side Bookshop, formerly known as the “Barefoot Cowgirl Bookstore,” was purchased in 2017 by long-time Flagstaff locals Annette Avery and husband & wife duo Ben Shaffer and Lisa Lamberson with the intention of developing a dynamic and versatile space for community interaction and events. Together they work with publishing reps and distributors to decide which of the nearly 2,000 new books released every Tuesday will make it onto their shelves. The store frequently hosts authors signings and events. Bright Side has become a beloved staple in the Flagstaff community.

For us, the best aspect of Bright Side is the generous and detailed selection of staff picks, which included work by Miranda July, Nana Kwame Adeji-Brenyah, Ed Yong, Ann Patchett, Rebecca Makkai, and Alexander Chee.

Below are a few of their booksellers with their areas of interest and links to their picks. There’s gold in here! Continue reading “Bright Side Bookshop Flagstaff”

Changing Hands Bookstore Phoenix

We had the pleasure of visiting Changing Hands Bookstore on West Camelback Road in Phoenix, one of their three locations, and home to their own First Draft Book Bar, which serves wine, beer, and coffee. Changing Hands has another Phoenix store at The Newton, an innovative adaptive reuse project that re-purposed the iconic Beef Eaters restaurant. The original Changing Hands location, founded in 1974, is in Tempe. Changing Hands is one of Arizona’s leading independent bookstores, offering new and used books, gifts, and more than 300 author events every year.

Changing Hands began in 1971 when Tom Broderson, Gayle Shanks, and Bob Sommer—all volunteers at an alternative school in Phoenix—discovered that they shared a common vision of working at a bookstore. They envisioned a socially responsible, environmentally sound business that would also be a community gathering place. A few years later their fantasy became a reality when Tom bought a small, struggling used bookstore for $500, which included books, bookcases, and an ancient cash register. Since that store was losing its lease, the books were packed up until a new location could be found. Continue reading “Changing Hands Bookstore Phoenix”

Conjunctions Ghost Issue Submission Call

CONJUNCTIONS submission window for the fall 2024 print issue, “Conjunctions: 83, Revenants, The Ghost Issue,” coedited by Joyce Carol Oates and Bradford Morrow, will close on June 1, 2024.

Conjunctions accepts submissions by postal mail year-round. Please visit their submissions page for our editorial address and further instructions.

SUBMISSION CALL

Ghosts, wraiths, specters. Poltergeists, phantoms, shades. They manifest in many shapes and dispositions in our lives and the literatures of all cultures. From the Egyptian to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, from the Homeric epics to Shakespeare’s King Hamlet, from the Victorian ghosts of Sheridan Le Fanu, Violet Hunt, and M. R. James to Amos Tutuola’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, from the ethereal creatures of Poe to the startlingly “realistic” ghosts of Henry James and Edith Wharton, phantasmagoric beings mingle with the living. Nature itself may be “haunted”—an unknowable presence hostile to human intrusion, as in Algernon Blackwood’s classic “The Willows.” Sometimes a ghostly haunting is metaphoric; often it is literal. The Japanese jorōgumo ghost appears as a beautiful maiden but is a lethal spider monster. Buddhism’s hungry ghosts have enormous stomachs and tiny mouths that represent how worldly desires blocked their path to nirvana.

Being a ghost is being stuck in a limbo between vitality and finality. Ghosts are the unliving-living, the not-quite-dead deceased. Stubborn survivors, they are sometimes caught by surprise, traumatized by violence in the midstream of their lives with much left undone, unsaid, or vengeance to wreak upon the living. Other times they cling to their lives with such intensity that their spirits don’t believe they’ve been torn from a familiar earthly place: a childhood house, a forest glade, a hospital. But however the living are unable to “rest in peace,” revenants are left to wander in search of what was lost when they passed away—usually their very selves.

In Revenants, Joyce Carol Oates and Bradford Morrow will bring together a wide array of writers to explore this venerable theme, including Margaret Atwood, Isabel Allende, Carmen Maria Machado, Paul Tremblay, Brandon Hobson, Stephen Graham Jones, and the editors themselves.

ABOUT CONJUNCTIONS

  • Conjunctions publishes short- and long-form fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and hybrid texts. They do not publish academic essays or book reviews.
  • All submissions must be in English and previously unpublished. They will consider works in translation for which the translator has secured the rights.
  • Although they have no official restrictions regarding word count, most of the manuscripts selected for publication are under 8,000 words long. For poetry submissions, they suggest sending half a dozen poems, depending on length.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

  • Along with your manuscript, please include a brief cover letter. Be sure to list your name, the title of your submission, and your email address.
  • Former contributor to Conjunctions, in print or online? Please note this in your cover letter.
  • All submissions are also considered for publication in the weekly online magazine, which is not subject to thematic restrictions.
  • They cannot accept revisions after a manuscript has been submitted. If a manuscript is accepted, there will be an opportunity to make edits then.
  • While they strongly prefer to receive exclusive submissions, simultaneous submissions are permitted. If a simultaneous submission is accepted elsewhere, please withdraw it from Submittable.
  • Their small editorial staff reads every manuscript carefully and tries to respond to submissions in a timely manner.
  • If a manuscript is accepted for publication online or in print, editors will contact the author via email and Submittable.
  • Writers published in print issues of Conjunctions receive a small honorarium from our publisher, Bard College.

MORE INFO

Are you familiar with our work? Sign up for our newsletter to read new writing in our online magazine every week, subscribe to our print biannual, or order a back issue.

Conjunctions charges a $3 submission fee to help us cover administration expenses. If this fee is a hardship, please email conjunctions@bard.edu and we will waive the cost. If a disability prevents you from using Submittable, please call 845-758-7054 or email conjunctions@bard.edu.

Love our publications? Support Conjunctions by making a tax-deductible donation.

The Nerd Daily Call for Submissions

Established in 2017, The Nerd Daily is a platform for nerds to share their love of nerdy things with the world.

SEEKING: Writing about particular passions, books, movies, TV, gaming, etc. For those interested in writing book reviews, The Nerd Daily offers over 500 digital ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) to choose from at any given time.

AREAS OF INTEREST:

  • Entertainment: News, trailers, casting, and updates.
  • Books: News, updates, reviews, listicles, and recommendations.
  • Movies: Reviews, recommendations, and listicles on past, present, and future movies.
  • TV: Rundowns on the latest seasons, series, or episodes. Recaps and reviews.
  • Interviews: Interviews with authors, fellow nerds, and more.

ELIGIBILITY: Age 16 and over. All submissions in English.

HOW TO QUERY:  Send an email introducing yourself—who you are, how old you are, and where you are from, including your passions, favourite books, TV, movies, gaming, or other nerdy interests to: https://thenerddaily.com/contribute/

 

How to Practice Deep Reading

When was the last time you got lost in a book? Andrew Limbong of NPR’s Book of the Day podcast fills in for Marielle Segarra on NPR’s LifeKit to interview Maryanne Wolf, an expert in the science of reading, about the art of deep reading.  Modern distractions make reading with intention hard to attain. Wolf explains what we lose when we skim, and how to create an environment conducive to immersive reading. You can listen to the episode and/or read the transcript here.

Marielle Segarra: Host of LifeKit.

Andrew Limbong: Host of Book of the Day.

Maryanne Wolf: Director of the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners and Social Justice at UCLA. Author of “Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain In A Digital World” and “Proust And The Squid: The Story And Science Of The Reading Brain.”

Publishers Weekly Summer Reading Picks in Fiction 2024

PW Staff Best Summer Fiction Recommendations

PW Summer Reading Picks

Publishers Weekly is an international news magazine of book publishing and bookselling designed for publishers, librarians, booksellers, and literary agents. PW has published continuously since 1872. Below are a few of their 2024 staff picks for summer reading in fiction. For full reviews of these books, go to Publishers Weekly Summer Reads.

All Fours by Miranda July (Riverhead)

July turns artistic desire and sexual fantasy into riveting fiction in her latest novel. It begins with a middle-aged artist’s cross-country road trip from Los Angeles to New York City but quickly turns into something delightfully weird, as the narrator remodels a roadside motel room and uses it to sort out the next phase of her life.

Bear by Julia Phillips (Hogarth)

San Juan Island feels like a nice place to visit but a difficult place to live, as evidenced by its portrayal in bestseller Phillips’s evocative and nimble novel. Here on this Pacific Northwest hideaway, two sisters respond in very different ways to the arrival of a grizzly bear, and their unsettled question of whether the bear is friend or foe elicits nail-biting suspense.

Lies and Weddings by Kevin Kwan (Doubleday)

The Crazy Rich Asians author takes a dishy tour through a contemporary milieu of royals and the über-rich in Europe, Hawaii, and Hong Kong as the wedding plans of a matriarch’s daughter and son are disrupted by an Austen-worthy series of reversals. Kwan’s pitch-perfect observations on art, fashion, and social etiquette make for a delectable feast.

Little Rot by Akwaeke Emezi (Riverhead)

Sometimes summer reading means frothy escapism, and sometimes it means a scorching state-of-the-nation novel with lurid scenes of sex clubs, vengeful murder plots, and heartbroken young lovers. Emezi’s latest, set in the elite underground of New Lagos, Nigeria, where a jilted man gets in way over his head after a bad night out, serves up incisive class commentary along with loads of titillating fun.

Long Island by Colm Tóibín (Scribner)

Sequel season is raging, and Eilis Lacey is back in this welcome follow-up to Tóibín’s bestseller Brooklyn. The action takes place two decades later, with Irish immigrant Eilis unhappily settled down with her Italian American husband on Long Island in the mid-1970s. A revelation prompts her to return to Ireland, where Tóibín unfurls more than enough juicy drama for another great movie.

The Lost Boy of Santa Chionia by Juliet Grames (Knopf)

The past comes back to haunt a small Italian village in the 1960s, where an American aid worker is pulled into a plot involving an unearthed human skeleton and the unknown fates of two people who disappeared from Santa Chionia years earlier. As a mystery, Grames’s novel is as gripping as they come; it’s also a deeply satisfying character study of an outsider learning more about a place than she’d bargained for.

Not a River by Selva Almada, trans. from the Spanish by Annie McDermott (Graywolf)

Shades of Deliverance darken this haunting and surprising adventure. Somewhere in South America, two men are on a fishing trip, with another friend’s preteen son in tow. The trio attract negative attention from the locals after the men kill and string up a giant stingray on the island where they’re staying. Almada’s dreamlike prose and taut suspense are the ideal match for a sweltering afternoon.

Oye by Melissa Mogollon (Hogarth)

Mogollon builds this irresistible comedy around the serious subject of cancer. Surprisingly, there’s great fun to be had as the teen protagonist is pressed by her mother into helping with her grandmother, who might be terminally ill, while conspiring to keep her in the dark about her prognosis. Lively characters and witty banter make this just the thing to dive into when spending time away from one’s own family.

Same as It Ever Was by Claire Lombardo (Doubleday)

A married woman’s memories of her affair decades earlier return with a vengeance in Lombardo’s sparkling novel. The story begins in a grocery store, where the narrator runs into a friend she hasn’t seen for ages, and from there it leaps vertiginously into the past as the protagonist considers the cost of the life she’s built for herself. Readers will be torn between their instinct to race to the finish and their desire to savor every page.

State of Paradise by Laura van den Berg (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Van den Berg is a master at nudging the familiar world slightly off its axis, and few places are riper for that treatment than Florida. Her latest is about a ghostwriter who returns to the Sunshine State after an unspecified pandemic and discovers that the neighbors are obsessively using a new VR device and that many people have gone missing.

This Strange Eventful History by Claire Messud (Norton)

In the end, summer reading means whatever one is reading in the summer, and sometimes that means carving out time for a hefty literary event. Messud’s saga, which spans from 1940 to 2010, follows a pied-noir family exiled from Algeria during the country’s war for independence. The magnificent sentences and staggeringly deep characterizations are cause enough to save this for a week free of interruptions.

The Witches of Bellinas by J. Nicole Jones (Catapult)

A foggy seaside grove in Northern California provides the stage for Jones’s intriguing novel. Yes, there are witches; they’re members of a cult run by a tech guru and a wellness influencer. There’s also a dead body: the husband of the narrator, who gradually unfolds the mystery of what happened to each of them after they arrived in the witches’ idyll turned nightmare. Jones puts her snappy prose, incisive commentary, and natural storytelling chops on full display.

 

Exploring Social Justice Through YA Books: Free Webinar

DATE: May 8, 2024, Wednesday, 02:00 PM ET
DESCRIPTION: Join Random House Children’s Book authors Jumata Emill (WANDER IN THE DARK), Kim Johnson (THE COLOR OF A LIE), and LaDarrion Williams (BLOOD AT THE ROOT) in a one-hour discussion about their books that focus on social justice.
TOPICS: The authors will delve into social issues such as inequity, inequality, and injustice – including gender inequality, poverty, racism, and LGBTQ+ issues – and explore how they can be portrayed through different genres.
Jumata Emill is a journalist who has covered crime and local politics in Mississippi and parts of Louisiana. He earned his B.A. in mass communications from Southern University and A&M College. He’s a Pitch Wars alum and member of the Crime Writers of Color. When he’s not writing about murderous teens, he’s watching and obsessively tweeting about every franchise of the Real Housewives. Jumata lives in Baton Rouge, La.

Kim Johnson held leadership positions in social justice organizations as a teen and in college, and is now an author and vice provost. This Is My America is her bestselling novel that explores racial injustice against innocent Black men who are criminally sentenced and the families left behind to pick up the pieces. She is an award-winning novelist, with 2021 accolades that include the Pacific Northwest Book Award and Malka Penn Human Rights Award for Children’s Literature. Her second novel, Invisible Son, is another thriller ripped from the headlines about a wrongly accused teen desperate to reclaim both his innocence and his first love in a bold story set in 2020. The Color of a Lie releases in June 2024 which will be her first historical thriller.

LaDarrion Williams is a Los Angeles based-playwright, filmmaker, author, and screenwriter whose goal is to cultivate a new era of Black fantasy, providing space and agency for Black characters and stories in a new, fresh and fantastical way. He is currently a resident playwright/co-creator of The Black Creators Collective, where his play UMOJA made its West Coast premiere in January 2022 and produced North Hollywood’s first Black playwrights festival at the Waco Theater Center. Blood at the Root is his first novel. His viral and award-winning short film based on the same concept, is currently on YouTube and Amazon Prime.

MODERATORRonny Khuri, Senior Editor for Books for Youth at Booklist.
ACCESSIBILITY: For transcription or other accessibility requests, please contact us at webinars@booklistonline.com.
REGISTRATION: Free registration here or search Booklist Webinars.

Prairie Schooner Creative Nonfiction Prize

DEADLINE: August 1, 2023.

WHAT TO ENTER: Any type of creative nonfiction essay up to 5,000 words.

HOW TO ENTER: Via Submittable.

FEE: $20; includes a copy of the Spring 2024 issue.

PRIZE: $1,000 and publication in the Spring issue.

JUDGE: Siddhartha Deb will be serving as Prairie Schooner‘s guest judge. Born in Shillong, north-eastern India, Deb lives in Harlem, New York. His fiction and nonfiction have been longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award, shortlisted for the Orwell Prize, and awarded the Pen Open prize. His journalism and essays have appeared in The New York TimesThe GuardianThe New RepublicDissentThe BafflerN+1, and Caravan

Read more details here.

Red Hen Novella Award

DEADLINE: July 31, 2022

ELIGIBILITY: Open to all writers except those who have had a full-length work published by Red Hen Press.

FEE: $25.

PRIZE: $1,000 and book publication.

WHAT TO ENTER: Fiction manuscript of 15,000–30,000 words.

HOW TO ENTER: Via Submittable.

JUDGE: Dariel Suarez was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. In 1997, at age fourteen, he immigrated to the United States with his family during the island’s economic crisis known as The Special Period. Dariel is now the author of the novel The Playwright’s House (Red Hen Press), finalist for the Rudolfo Anaya Fiction Award and the Massachusetts Book Award, and the story collection A Kind of Solitude (Willow Springs Books), winner of the Spokane Prize and the International Latino Book Award for Best Collection of Short Stories. He has also published a poetry chapbook, In The Land of Tropical Martyrs (Backbone Press).

Ploughshares Emerging Writers Contest

Ploughshares Emerging Writers Contest

DEADLINE: May 15, 2021

ELIGIBILITY: Writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry who have yet to publish or self-publish a book may enter.

WHAT TO ENTER: Fiction and nonfiction: up to 6,000 words. Poetry: 3–5 pages.

FEE: $24. The fee includes a 1-year subscription to Ploughshares.

PRIZE: Publication, $2,000, review from Aevitas Creative Management, and a 1-year subscription for one winner in each of the three genres.

HOW TO ENTER: Submissions must be made via Ploughshares’ online submission manager. You must create an account before submitting.

JUDGES: The 2021 contest judges are Kiley Reid (Fiction), Paige Lewis (Poetry), and Paul Lisicky (Nonfiction).

Writer’s Digest – Short Short Story Competition

The 21st Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition seeks entries of short fiction up to 1,500 words.

DEADLINE: November 16, 2020 (early bird); December 14, 2020 (final).

ELIGIBILITY: Open to all writers except for Writer’s Digest authors, editors, columnists, and instructors.

FEE: $25 (early bird); $30 (final).

PRIZE: 1st place: $3,000 cash, publication, paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference; 2nd–10th place: $100–1,500, publication.

WHAT TO ENTER: Short fiction up to 1,500 words.

HOW TO ENTER: Via Submittable.

Longleaf Review — Expand/Contract Workshop Intensive with Kate Finegan

Longleaf Review offers an intensive three-day workshop led by editor-in-chief Kate Finegan on November 13–15, 2020. The workshop will include craft notes, exercises, an interactive forum, and three 1.5 hour Zoom video conferences. The deadline to sign up is November 10, 2020. Workshops are free for current contributors to Longleaf, $40 for past contributors, and $80 for everyone else.

“In this workshop, we’ll be playing with scope and scale in prose and poetry. We’ll stretch time like taffy, drawing out a single second. We’ll look at life, the universe, and everything through the wrong end of the telescope, so a hundred years shrink to a speck. We’ll explore what happens when we compress and/or cut an experience to its smallest form on the page, versus what happens when we expand and elongate a moment, a metaphor, a sensation. We’ll make the big small and the small big. This play will primarily take place within the container of short/flash forms of both prose and poetry, but there will be space to experiment in longer works, as well. Please note this is a generative workshop; it is not feedback-focused, though there will be opportunities to share your work.”

Kate Finegan, editor-in-chief of Longleaf Review

Bennington College — Young Writers Awards

Bennington College’s Young Writers Awards promote excellence in writing at the high school level. All entries must be original work and sponsored by a high school teacher. A first, second, and third place winner is selected in each category.

DEADLINE: November 1, 2020

ELIGIBILITY: Students in grades 9–12.

PRIZES: 1st place: $500; 2nd place: $250; 3rd place: $125.

WHAT TO ENTER: Students may submit in one of the following categories:

  • Poetry: A group of three poems.
  • Fiction: A short story (1,500 words or fewer) or one-act play (run no more than 30 minutes of playing time).
  • Nonfiction: A personal or academic essay (1,500 words or fewer).

HOW TO ENTER: Online.

Gemini Magazine: Flash Fiction Contest

DEADLINE: August 31, 2020

FEE: $6 per entry.

PRIZE: 1st place: $1,000; 2nd place: $100; honorable mention: $25. All finalists will be published in the October 2020 issue of Gemini.

WHAT TO ENTER: Previously unpublished flash fiction up to 1,000 words in length. All styles, subjects, and genres accepted. Multiple entries allowed.

HOW TO ENTER: Via email or by post. See website for complete guidelines.

ProPublica: Emerging Reporter’s Program

ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom, invites juniors and seniors in college to apply to the Emerging Reporter’s Program, which is designed for those who might otherwise find investigative journalism inaccessible. Five aspiring student journalists will receive a $9,000 stipend and mentorship from a ProPublica journalist who shares similar interests. Emerging Reporters will choose between contributing to a ProPublica story or working on their own investigation.

People of color are especially encouraged to apply. Only current juniors and seniors in college who are U.S. residents are eligible. Applicants must demonstrate financial need. Read more about the program here.