Monthly Archives: July 2009

Straight from the UK

It was just a few weeks ago that I saw a message from Anthony Haynes on the British Creative Writing Listserv that his new academic publishing company was considering focusing on Creative Writing Studies and asking for feedback. Of course, I wasted no time in contacting him in telling him what an excellent idea that was. We got to speak together about it a week later and he told me he would keep me posted. Yesterday, I got this wonderful news:

We are pleased to announce that we are founding a publishing programme dedicated to Creative Writing Studies.

Q: Why?
A: Creative Writing has come of age as a discipline – and continues to grow – yet academic publishing has not kept pace with this development. There is some good publishing in the discipline, but overall the coverage is patchy. Too often Creative Writing Studies is treated as an add-on to subjects such as English or Literary Studies. The discipline needs its own dedicated, comprehensive, list.

Q: What?
The list will comprise scholarly works and also student guides. All our books will be rigorously peer-reviewed.

Q: Who, whom?

Who: Authors for the list will be Creative Writing Studies scholars and lecturers in higher education.

Whom: The list will be aimed at the various stakeholders – researchers, lecturers, tutors, and students – in Creative Writing in higher education. Our aim is to be the publisher for the Creative Writing Studies community.

Q: Whence?
The Professional and Higher Partnership has extensive experience of academic publishing. We provide editorial or publishing services to publishers such as Sage, Learning Matters, and the Society for Research into Higher Education. The directors are Karen and Anthony Haynes: Karen is an experienced academic editor; her publications include What Do Researchers Do? (Vitae). Anthony is Visiting Professor at Beijing Normal University and Hiroshima University; his books include Writing Successful Textbooks (A&C Black) and Writing Successful Academic Books (CUP, forthcoming – 2010).

Q: When?
The first titles will be commissioned in 2009–10 for publication in 2010–11 onwards.

Q: Where?
Books will be published (or co-published) in all major Anglophone territories.

If you are involved with Creative Writing Studies in higher education, do please contact us with any suggestions, comments, or questions you may have.

Anthony Haynes
Creative Director,
The Professional and Higher Partnership Ltd
Tel. UK (0)1638 663456

Talk about music to this wordamour’s ears! More on this as it develops.

Bye y’all,


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Summer Reading. . .So Far

I love summer because no matter how crazy busy it gets (and this summer definitely qualifies as one of  the  crazy busiest) the seasonal imperative remains that I must read more than usual because that is simply what you do when the mercury starts to climb (103 anyone? but I digress. . .)  This is leftover from blissful childhood summers in which reading was literally all I did.  I’m sure many of you can relate.  Check out this earlier post to bring back the memories.

Anyway, the two weeks abroad definitely helped, but here is what I’ve managed to put away wordwise, so far (since about mid-May):

On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town Susan Loomis Hermann

The author’s  life can seem unbelievably “idyllic” at times–but other than that, it was foodie/francophile heaven all the way–and there’s no doubt, this bold food writer has earned her bliss.

French Milk by Lucy Knisley

An entertaining Gen Y graphic memoir of the author’s five weeks in Paris with her mother, as the two celebrated milestone birthdays. Definitely a writer on the rise.

A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future
by Daniel Pink

Anyone under 30 and anyone who teaches or touches the next generation (parents, mentors)  simply must read this book.  Aka: pretty much everyone.

My Mentor: A Young Man’s Friendship with William Maxwell
by Alec Wilkinson

Maxwell is incandescent in this book and that is what makes it such a treasure–because he was. 

Maisie Dobbs

A mystery of sorts for book club.  Well done–even  though I am not a mystery fan.

The Phantom Tollbooth
by Norton Juster

I read this aloud to my 8.75 year old and neither of us liked it , but since it’s a “classic,” we felt compelled to see it through.  Grr. It was just a series of didactic puns.  FYI: there are two kinds of people in this world, those who enjoy puns and those who do not.  I fall into the latter category.  ‘Nuf said.

Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka
Jon Sciezka’s autobiography about the perils and pleasures of growing up in a family of 5 (I think) boys.  Fun for kids of all ages, reassuring for this sometimes mystified mother of two XY’s.

I also read two manuscripts, my friend, Monda’s novel and my friend, Mike’s memoir. Strong, strong stuff.

On Deck:

Tarte Tatin

More bliss on Rue Tatin and mouthwatering recipes.

The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing by Mark McGurl

Louis Menand’s recent, widely debated article on creative writing programs in the New Yorker was a review of this book.

And still, the nightstand groans with stacks. Wish me luck!
Bye y’all,

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The Kiss Under the Bridge


So, we’re spending our last day in France in Paris, before we fly out the following morning.  We’ve completely exhausted ourselves walking everywhere, because everything seems so, well, walkable in Paris that you don’t realize you’ve walked 20 miles in one day.  The kids are complaining, we’re thinking about finishing with a boat ride along the Seine–even though we’ve done this several times before, I never get tired of it.  And it seems like a good way to get some rest before the long walk from the right bank to the B and B in the latin quarter.

Uh oh.  They don’t take credit or debit cards and we’re running low on cash.  We need 40 euro for the cab ride to the airport in the morning.  Oh, what the hell, how many times do you get to boat along the Seine as dusk turns into night.  We’re counting on finding a money machine on the way back to the B and B.

The upper deck is crowded and our family of four gets split up, John and Jackson behind us, me and Will up ahead of them.  In the row in front of us sit a charming American couple who I judge to be on their honeymoon, such is their dewiness and glow.

As we round Notre Dame towards the end of our trip, the tour guide says something he’s probably said for the tenth time that day or week, that if you kiss your partner and make a wish as we go under the approaching bridge, your wish will come true.


Of course, the couple in front of us kissed.  Of course, they were charming about it.  Of course, I felt compelled to snap their picture.

 After the moment had passed, I showed them the picture on my camera and offered to email it to them if they’d give me an address.  They eagerly agreed, we chatted, the young man (he’s a little younger than me, late 30’s perhaps?) jotting his email in my purse-sized black moleskine labeled “Brilliant Ideas,” on the front.

Of course, it took me awhile to email them the photo, but I finally did last week.  What I received in return was a gift in itself.

Thank you for the pictures.  It was a very special moment for us.  You
captured it for me.  What I am going to tell you below is absolutely

My wish..under the bridge…was for me to go ahead and ask Julie to
marry me while we were in Paris / Europe.  I really didn’t plan this,
but when the wishing bridge thing came up, this is what I wished for.

That night, I told Julie of the wish at dinner…and on the last night
of our trip, in Paris…I asked her to marry me.  She said yes, and now
we are engaged.  The kissing pic is the kiss that sealed this wish.

Actually not sure if I would have done it, had the wish bridge thing not
come up.

Thanks for taking it and caring enough to send it to me.

I hope that you had a nice trip in Paris.

Thank you!

Brilliant ideas, indeed.

Bye y’all,



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