Lot’s O Highlights:
Meeting Siobahn Campbell, who teachs on the MFA at Kingston University London . Her head of school (aka Dean?) is from Arkansas! Her knowledge of the UK scene was impressive. So MFA’s are creeping onto the landscape in the UK–but Kingston had the first one.
Lunch with Shauna Busto Gilligan, smart, absolutely charming Irish writer from Dublin who is getting an M. Phil from the University of Glamorgan with Philip Gross! We had so much in common personally and professionally–we’re hoping to do some collaborating.
From The Program Directors Speak:
Community. Community. Community. Building community in program is critical. Of course, but this feeds in nicely with some points I make in the first chapter of my book.
Lan Samantha Chang (Iowa): To her students: This is your generation, be part of it.
Maxine Chernoff (SF State): Use the community to build your resources. Start presses, reading series, blogs, web sites. Prepare yourself for the future as well as the present moment.
Fred Leebron (Queens University, Charlotte): Writing is a war of attrition. Don’t attrish!
Let’s Get this Program Started
MFA Programs–Make sure you help students in thinking and planning about their future life post MFA.
The Road Less Travels AKA It’s Not All About Academia
Margo Raab- Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me in Grad School
- Learn the business and how to separate the art from the business.
- Connections do and don’t matter.
- Find a literary community.
- Learn how to do your taxes.
- Find out what it takes not to give up, what sustains and what feeds you as an artist.
The Bookfair. Ahh, the Bookfair. It was the size of a couple of football fields this yearsand I tried to “do” it all at once which was a mistake. By the end I literally felt like I might fall over. But,
- Got to see Graeme Harper and his wife and son, who we spent time with in Portsmouth in 2006!
- Got to chat some more with Paul Munden and pay my NAWE (British version of AWP) dues in American dollars–which saves a trip to Little Rock to change dollars to pounds (Dear Conway: You are big enough now to have a bank that can do exchanges. You really are.)
- Finally got to pick up a copy of the 2008 Missouri Review with Bill Lychack’s story, “Darwin’s Lotus” in it–by the time I visited the MR booth last year, they were all out.
- Got to talk some more to Siobahn Campbell.
- Said hi to the great folks over at Fiction Writer’s ReviewThis is one of the best literary sites on the web; if you’re not reading it, you should be.
- Got some pages of my journal photographed for Di Mezzo Il Mare. These amazing folks are going to get a whole post soon!
But the BEST thing about Day 2? Drinks with our former student, Heather Cox, who regaled us with stories of her life in Chicago at Roosevelt University and wowed us with all the smart things she’s doing to get the most out of her MFA program. But most of all she just made me really really proud. You go Heather, you’ve got it going on!
And on to Day 3! More later,