Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Writer's Center Partners with Fall For The Book

The Writer's Center has a longstanding annual tradition of hosting a reading as part of Fall for the Book.  This year, the September 22 reading by Clifford Garstang and Hailey Leithauser and the September 27 reading by Jon Pineda and Sarah Pleydell are both included in the festival. We're glad to post Art Taylor's blog about the upcoming festival.
Novelist Sarah Pleydell
From a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist to one of the most important figures in today’s political landscape to the memoirist whose adventures launched Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, this year’s Fall for the Book Festival welcomes some of the nation’s most exciting and provocative writers to its landmark 15th annual festival, September 22-27. Dave Barry, Ralph Nader, and Cheryl Strayed join thriller writer David Baldacci and poet Sonia Sanchez to headline the festival, which hosts events at locations throughout Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland. And as part of its continuing partnership with Fall for the Book, The Writer’s Center will be welcoming acclaimed authors Clifford Garstang and Hailey Leithauser on the festival’s opening day and Sarah Pleydell, and Jon Pineda on the closing evening.
On Sunday, September 22, at 2 p.m., The Writer’s Center hosts poet Hailey Leithauser and novelist Clifford Garstang for readings from their recent and upcoming works. Leithauser is author of Swoop, which won the Poetry Foundation’s Emily Dickinson First Book Award and is forthcoming from Graywolf Press, and Garstang’s novel, What the Zhang Boys Know, published by Press 53, has been named a finalist for the 2013 Library of Virginia Award in Fiction, alongside  Christopher Tilghman’s The Right-hand Shore and Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds.

Then on the festival’s closing night—Friday, September 27, at 7:30 p.m.—The Writer’s Center hosts readings by first-time novelists Jon Pineda and Sarah Pleydell, writers who have each earned distinction in other genres before earning praise for their fiction. Pineda’s new novel, Apology, winner of the 2013 Milkweed National Fiction Prize, follows on the heels of his memoir Sleep in Me, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and his poetry collections The Translator’s Diary, winner of the 2007 Green Rose Prize, and Birthmark, winner of the 2003 Crab Orchard Award Series Open Competition. Sarah Pleydell, whose debut novel Cologne has been described by The Washington Post as “crisply and elegantly written,” is an award-winning writer, performer and playwright who has worked with institutions including The Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Luce Institute.

Beyond these events at The Writer’s Center and the festival’s five headliners, Fall for the Book welcomes a wide range of authors across a diverse set of genres, including:
  • Novelists Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Ellen Crosby, Anton DiSclafani, Allison Leotta, Thomas Mallon, Benjamin Percy, Bob Shacochis, and more
  • Poets Eduardo Corral, Judith Harris, Karen Ah-hwei Lee, William Logan, Robyn Schiff, and more
  • Historians and biographers Marie Arana, Scott W. Berg, Robert Dorr, Dean King, Cate Lineberry, and Daniel Stashower, among others
  • Memoirists Josh Hanagarne, E. Ethelbert Miller, and Elisabeth Petry (daughter of novelist Ann Petry), and more
  • Honest Tea founder Seth Goldman
  • And the festival’s first major cooking and food event, with discussions and demonstrations by Norman Davis, Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray, Krista Gallagher and Kris Schoels, Dave and Claudia Lefeve, Forrest Pritchard, Michael Stein, Joe Yonan, and Peter and Laura Zeranski
  • Plus much, much more!

For a full list of authors attending this year’s festival—September 22-27 at George Mason University and locations throughout Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland—visit


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Publish Now!

Last year we presented “Publish Now!,” a popular one-day program focusing on rapid changes in the publishing world and the resulting opportunities and challenges for writers. The event was a great success – the room buzzing with conversation at the reception following the close of the formal program -- so we’re glad to offer a second “Publish Now!” program on Saturday, October 26.  The day-long program will offer insights into the world of self-publishing in the digital age, Speakers include Amy Abrams, Ken Ackerman, Laura Ambler, Austin S. Camacho, Barbara Esstman, Neal Gillen, C.M. Mayo, Margaret Meacham, Jennifer Miller, Phil Sexton, and Wilson Wyatt.

Phil Sexton, Writer's Digest Publisher

The "Publish Now!" annual seminar is designed to give all writers the latest information they need to publish their work in print or e-book format in the digital age. Self publishing once carried a tremendous stigma, but a Writer’s Digest survey of 5,000 authors revealed how attitudes are changing.  The survey found that 70% of traditionally-published authors who had also self-published actually preferred self-publishing. It's easy to understand the appeal:  self-publishing can be more lucrative for authors than the traditional payment arrangements with established publishers; authors can also have more control over the final products, whether in the form of print books or e-books. Additional control implies extra responsibilities for authors seeking to successfully self-publish.  Our speakers will address the challenges they have faced and ways avoid many of the common pitfalls of self-publishing. 
Wilson Wyatt, an author and photographer active in the Delmarva writing community, has observed significant changes in the publishing landscape: “Self-publishing stands on its own feet and competes head-to-head with traditional publishing. Writers can now take control of their own publishing experience.” Wyatt, a founder and executive editor of The Delmarva Review, played a prominent role in organizing both Publish Now! programs. 

Writer’s Digest publisher Phil Sexton will offer a writer’s perspective in his opening talk, which will address the current  trends in publishing. Sexton has worked with Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million and many other major book retailers and wholesalers in the country. He is also the author of A Picture is Worth 1000 Words, Legends of Literature and The Writer’s Lab.

The program will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 26.  Sessions will cover: preparing and editing your manuscript, alternative publishing techniques, self-publishing choices and costs, business and legal issues and proven marketing strategies. In addition to novels and nonfiction, specialized breakout sessions will be devoted to publishing children’s and young adult, memoir, art and photography, travel and interactive books.

Space is limited and early registration is recommended. Tickets are $100 ($85 for Writer's Center members and $50 for full-time students and military veterans.)  A $25 increase will go into effect after Oct. 1.