Some News!

Sofi Thanhauser, Kelly Hatton, and Joey Rubin — all first-year MFA students — have received Cheney international travel grants. Sofi will go to Tamil Nandu to research textile production.  Kelly will return to Paraguay, where she served in the Peace Corps, to continue work on her fiction and nonfiction projects centered on sustainable farming communities.  Joey will attend the British Centre for the Translation of Literature Summer School at the University of East Anglia in the U.K. Congratulations, all! Well deserved and such fantastics achievements for the MFA program.

 

Also, this week  fiction writer, John Brandon, will visit UW.

John Brandon is the author of three novels, Arkansas, Citrus County, and A Million Heavens, all with McSweeney’s. His shorter work has appeared in Oxford American, The Believer, ESPN the Magazine, GQ, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, The New York Times Magazine, and numerous university journals. During the season, he writes about college football for Grantland.com.

There will be a Q&A with him on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the Carriage House and a public reading at 7:30 p.m. at Second Story Books. Hope to see everyone there!

 

MFA Reading Series Continues…

 

The MFA Student Reading Series is back. Join us for an evening of literary entertainment on Friday, January 25th at 7pm in Night Heron Books, located at 107 Ivinson Street. Enjoy work by Irina Zhorov (nonfiction), Jason Burge (fiction),Kristen Gunther (poetry), & Estella Soto (fiction).  Musical stylings will be provided by MFA students Daniel Freije and Caleb Johnson. Eat some cookies, drink coffee and bask in the literary amazingness. As always it is FREE.

 

 

A Month of Readings

The past two weeks in Laramie have marked an eventful end of the semester. We said farewell to our beloved program director, Beth Loffreda, before she goes on sabbatical in the spring. MFA graduate, Estella Soto, hosted the Laramie Writers of Color Reading which featured Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Miguel Kaminski, and Rattawut Lapcharoensap. Faculty members Andy Fitch and Danielle Pafunda gave a house reading to remember. And last night was the final MFA reading of the year with Brock Jones and Miguel. Enjoy these photos from the events, and have a wonderful break!

Q&A session with Stella, Miguel, A, and Kali

Q&A session with Stella, Miguel, A, and Kali

Kali reading fiction

Stella at the Laramie Writers of Color Reading

Stella at the Laramie Writers of Color Reading

Julian Saporiti entertains all with his musical talent

Julian Saporiti entertains all with his musical talent

Rattawut reads. Everyone is in awe.

Rattawut reads. Everyone is in awe.

Andy and Danielle read from their latest works

Andy and Danielle read from their latest works

Last night's crowd was all smiles

Last night’s crowd was all smiles

Miguel read... in a coat.

Miguel read… in a coat.

Brock reading his astounding poetry

Brock reading his astounding poetry

Rebecca Estee doing what she does - being a great reading series organizer

Rebecca Estee doing what she does – being a great reading series organizer

Miguel reading while making people laugh and maybe cry

Miguel reading while making people laugh and maybe cry

Special thanks to Kali’s grandfather and Chelsea Biondolillo, without whom there’d be no photos.  

Congrats, Chelsea

Chelsea Biondolillo’s piece, “Bird by Desert-light,” an essay about hummingbirds, deserts, and getting laid off, will be published in the Spring 2013 print issue of Phoebe. As well as on their website (at some point): http://www.phoebejournal.com/

This essay originally was selected as a runner-up in both Phoebe‘s 2012 annual nonfiction competition judged by Mary Roach, and Cream City Review‘s 2012 annual nonfiction competition.

 

Travels with Miguel

Miguel Kaminki is a second-year nonfiction student. He enjoys cats and film. He recently had this to say about his MFA-funded summer:
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I had trouble finding reliable photographic evidence of my summer, most of which was spent in the Philippines. I therefore offer the most polite photo from my travels. This portrait, taken outside the University of the Philippines Film Center, was shot with a small, barely functional digital camera, hence the overexposure of the photo, particularly the subject’s arms, denim, and a white box (which, I believe, contained leftover sans rival cake and beef salpicao from a restaurant called Chocolate Kiss). Dated June 22, 3:50PM, the portrait immortalizes the five minutes before me and my companion entered the University of the Philippines Film Institute to attend a screening of Lav Diaz’s Siglo ng Pagluluwal. As you can see, the UP Film Institute portends in the background like the site of a disreputable Tagalog exorcism: wild foliage, decorative handicap ramp, denuded college bulletin board, and a child’s powder blue bike—possibly abandoned.
I won’t bother with a pretentious synopsis, but what you need to know about this film is that its running time is six hours; it’s got Joel Torre; it draws parallels between religious fanaticism and uncompromising artistic vision; only ten other people showed up to watch; and it’s an incredible movie. Undoubtedly the best Filipino movie I’d seen that summer (I’d watched at least fifteen, from Kamera Obskura to Every Breath You Take).

Also, at one point I resolved to take long walks around Manila and photograph every cat I came across. Manila with its slack attitude towards ferals and strays is, above all Southeast Asian cities, a city of cats. The photo below is probably the best of the bunch, though I don’t remember taking it.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation – MFA Style

The summer between our first and second year here at UW is an awesome time for writing. With the finical support of MFA funding and various grants, many of us used this time to travel and gather research for our theses.

This is how Chelsea Biondolillo, 2nd year nonfiction student, spent her summer:
First, I went to NYC where I visited a public high school with a marine stewardship focus. While there, I observed a 10th grade aquaculture class that was managing an oyster nursery and later I dove in the New York harbor with a scuba class of 10-12th graders that included rescue, scientific, and divemaster dive drills. This trip was made possible by Philosophy and Social Justice department funding.

Next, I went to Nebraska to learn more about the tall grass prairie and the issues around its conservation from experts in several fields. I worked with a small group of researchers who are studying an endangered carrion beetle and was able to meet with one of the nation’s most prolific ornithological authors. This trip was made possible by MFA department funding. 

In July I was selected for a year long science writing workshop sponsored by Creative Nonfiction magazine, the Consortium of Science, Policy, and Outcomes and the National Science Foundation. More info here (though they don’t have the new communicators posted yet, I’m one of them for 2012): http://www.thinkwritepublish.org/ The process was competitive and I am really excited to be a part of it. 

What a wonderful couple months, Chelsea. Congrats on all you accomplished! Thanks for the glimpse into your summer.