Tag Archives: Elissa Bassist

Mark Your Calendar: MFA Thesis Reading

27 Apr

It’s been posted in the Appearances section for a while now, but in case you missed it I’ll be reading from my MFA thesis at The New School on Friday, May 11.  The readings begin at 5pm and will go til about … 9pm.  It’s going to be a long night, but you’ll get to hear some amazing creative nonfiction writers, fiction writers, and poets.  I’d recommend the event to agents and acquiring editors looking for fresh work.  This isn’t amateur’s night.  Most of these writers have been published in lit journals and have their names on the covers of books.

Here’s the list of writers who will be reading from their MFA thesis.  This list is in alphabetical order and does not reflect the actual order of readings, which has not yet been released.

Connie Aitcheson, Andrew Baranek, Lisa Marie Basile, Elissa Bassist, Maya Beerbower, Justine Bienkowski, Nora Boydston, Peter Burzynski, Maxine Case, Karisa Chappell, Sona Charaipotra, Johnny Chinnici, Nicole Cuffy, Mark Cullen, Andrew Cusick, Jennifer Doerr, Asa Drake, Keara Driscoll, Alex Dryden, Leda Eizenberg, Amy Gall, Britt Gambino, Sarah Gerard, Lenea Grace, Dulcy Gregory, Hanson Hadi, Althea Hanke-Hills, Amanda Harris, Sheryl Heefner, Rachael Marie Hurn, Elizabeth Karp-Evans, Zach Keach, Vivian Lee, Kristen Levingston, Claire MacLauchlan, Kevin Maus, Frederick McKindra, Ruthanne Minoru, Loren Moreno, James Mullaney, Stephanie Nikolopoulos, Stephanie Paterik, Xan Price, Jonathan Seneris, Jade Sharma, Nancy Shear, Justin Sherwood, Tim Small, Daniel Stein, Katrin Thompson, Alex Tunney, Markland Walker, Tamara Warren, Erin Emily Wheeler, Whitney Curry Wimbish, Elisabeth Yriart

The night before, the following people will be reading:

Pia Aliperti, Caela Carter, Bryant Cheng, Dhonielle Clayton, Jason Collins, Dustin Cosentino, Brandon Covey, Justin Davis, Ken Derry, Sarah Devlin, Amy Ewing, Alissa Fleck, Michelle Friedman, Jim Genia, Alyson Gerber, David Gibbs, Jon Gingerich, Alyssa Goldstein, Frances Gonzalez, Melanie Greenberg, Joanna Grim, Francesco Grisanzio, Patricia Guzman, Michael Halmshaw, Corey Haydu, Laura Jo Hess, Molly Horan, Ben Hurst, Amber Hyppolite, Kevin Joinville, Danielle Kaniper, Justin Langley, Winston Len, Madelyn Mahon, Brookes Moody, Ansley Moon, Jane Moon, Christian Ochoa, Mani Parchman, Riddhi Parekh, Nathalia Perozo, Theodore Riquelme, Edwin Rivera, Cristina Sciarra, Mary Thompson, Crissy Van Meter, Jessica Verdi

See!  I told you.  Amazing writers all around.  I’m honored to have worked alongside them.  I look forward to seeing our books side-by-side in bookstores around the globe.

***

Update!  A couple people have asked what time I’m reading.  I won’t know until I get there.  But there will be amazingly talented writers to listen to the whole night.  Also, it’s free and there will be beverages and snacks.  It will be held at Theresa Lang Center, 55 West 12th Street, 2nd Floor.

The after party will be at Fiddlestick’s Pub & Grill at 56 Greenwich Ave.

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30 Rock, Franzenfreude, and VIDA: Women Writers

1 Mar

Last week’s 30 Rock was an episode titled “TGS Hates Women,” a commentary on late summer’s “Franzenfreude” and the recent findings by VIDA that women writers don’t get as much attention as male writers.

When I look around the publishing house I work in and the classroom at the MFA program I attend, I see women.  Lots of them.  That’s not to say there aren’t any guys.  There are.  I see them in their windowed offices, I attend the lectures they organize, and I read the newsletters they write.  That isn’t to say there aren’t women in high-level, high-visibility roles.  There are.  But the percentage of men versus women in these upper-management roles is significantly skewed.

That’s why I wasn’t surprised when I read VIDA’s “The Count 2010.”

The short take is that men far outnumber women in getting published in lit mags and having their books reviewed.  I definitely agree with the commenters that the statistics are inconclusive without the facts of how many women versus men submit manuscripts. My editor friend Elizabeth sent me this follow up to the article, in which the editors responded to the criticism that their publications don’t publish an equal ratio of women to men.

Part of the problem is that women do not submit to well-known, “gender-neutral” publications at the same rate as men.  A few months ago, I went with my writer friend Jane to hear Lorrie Moore (Birds of America) talk with fiction editor Deborah Treisman at the wonderfully designed (hello, tilting fish-tank!) (le) Poisson Rouge for The New Yorker Festival. One of the comments that stuck out the most for me (Elissa Bassist, with whom I took class taught by Susan Shapiro, offers further notes on The Rumpus) was that men more often than women submit stories to The New Yorker, which is why men, more often than women, get published in The New Yorker.

I am a feminist, not a whiner.  I don’t believe in railing against the injustices of this or that without actually doing something positive to enact change.  Dialogue itself is useful but dialogue without action is meaningless.  It reminds me of the whole Christian debate of faith versus works, which is solved quite eloquently by the phrase “faith without works is dead.”  In other words, we can talk until we’re blue in the face about how more women should be published but unless more women are submitting quality work and unless more women are studying and working hard to become editors and unless we get over the silly notion that matters of politics are for men and the world at large and matters of domestic life are for women exclusively then all our philosophizing is for naught.  (Yes, I just said “for naught.”)

Women, if you want to be taken seriously as writers and if you want to get published then study writing, write, revise, and submit to publications!  Aim high.  If you get a rejection, try to find out why.  Then find another publication that you believe is a good fit for your writing style (remember there’s a huge difference between Cosmo and The Times) and submit.  Take classes, form writing groups, seek out professional freelance editors, and work on your craft, continually submitting high-quality work.  Make your writing so good they can’t say no!

Let’s not end up like Elaine Mozell in Meg Wolitzer‘s The Wife. Let’s look at the example Tina Fey set by becoming the first female head writer of Saturday Night Live.   And wouldn’t you know it, she’s a Greek!