Next Year in Amherst: A Bread Loaf for Jewish Writers

Oh, if I were some years younger! What an incredible-sounding program is in the works:

Tent: Creative Writing, Amherst, MA
A week-long seminar in creative writing and literature at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, June 2–9, 2013. Modeled on the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference, this program will be geared toward aspiring and practicing writers. You’ll participate in creative writing workshops with and attend readings given by visiting faculty, including Eileen Pollack, the former director of the University of Michigan MFA program and winner of the 2008 Edward Lewis Wallant Award. In morning sessions, participants will read classics of modern Jewish literature, from Sholem Aleichem to Grace Paley, with literary scholar Josh Lambert (UMass Amherst), and discuss the roles played by Jews in the creation of literary modernism and postmodernism. You’ll also have opportunities to write in a pastoral setting, meet a visiting agent or editor or two, and visit a writer’s home.

Apply by January 13, 2013. (“Who can apply? North American Jews between the ages of 20 and 30, creative people curious about the connections between Jewishness and modern culture.”)

Best of all: This is one of THREE free programs.

Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • Let’s start with a stupendous-looking opportunity from the Posen Foundation: “The Posen Foundation is proud to announce a unique international fellowship for junior scholars and emerging fiction writers. Each member of the Posen Society of Fellows receives a two-year, $40,000 award, as well as a special opportunity to collaborate with peers and learn from seasoned scholars and writers.” Eligibility: “Eligible scholars should be completing a doctoral dissertation on a topic related to modern Jewish history of culture. Eligible fiction writers should be working on a Jewish-themed novel or short story collection, and should not yet have published their first book.” Application deadline is January 15, 2013, and there’s no application fee. (Thanks to @NaomiDanis for the tip about this amazing program.)
  • Another new opportunity for writers: “Jewish Currents magazine announces its the first annual DORA and ALEXANDER RAYNES POETRY PRIZE for poems on the theme of ‘The American Dream.'” There *is* an entry fee for this competition ($18). Prizes include a cash award of $1,000 to the first-prize winner and $180 to each of two runners-up. “The top 36 poems will be published as a chapbook by Blue Thread, an imprint of Jewish Currents, in the summer of 2013. All submissions will be considered for publication in Jewish Currents. Submission deadline is January 15, 2013. NB: This competition will be judged by Gerald Stern.
  • This week brought us the latest Jewish Book Carnival, ably hosted by the Jewish Book Council’s “ProsenPeople” blog.
  • In a new essay, author Jon Papernick explores the meaning of the tattoo on his arm, in his view and in others’.
  • And in case you missed it, over on my other blog I’ve written about a book that I had the privilege of reading before it was published this month: Susan Kushner Resnick’s You Saved Me, Too: What a Holocaust Survivor Taught Me About Living, Dying, Loving, Fighting, and Swearing in Yiddish.
  • Shabbat shalom.

    From My Bookshelf: Famous Drownings in Literary History, by Kevin Haworth

    Okay, Kevin Haworth’s latest book, an essay collection, isn’t on my physical bookshelf. But it is among my recent Kindle purchases. And I recommend it.

    I recommend it not only because, in the years since I interviewed him about his prize-winning novel, Kevin has become a friend and valued colleague in the arena of Jewish literary culture (even if we don’t always agree). I recommend it because Kevin is a talented writer whose nonfiction is at least as compelling as his fiction; because his is a voice worth knowing; and because his take on elements of Jewish identity in our time–whether he writes about the circumcision of his son, the culture of the Catskills, or what it’s like to leave Ben Gurion Airport just after the Israeli victims’ bodies have returned there from a terrorist attack in Bulgaria–should reach a wide audience.

    If you’d like a taste of the previously published essays that featured in this collection, may I recommend the one titled “The News from Bulgaria”? I suspect strongly that after you read it, you’ll want to learn more about Kevin and his book.

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • Let’s start with this: “The editor of a Polish Jewish monthly was awarded a European Union Prize for Literature for a novel that deals with Holocaust memory. Piotr Pazinski, the editor of the Warsaw-based Midrasz, won the award for his novel ‘Pensjonat’ (‘Boarding House’), which was published in Poland in 2010.”
  • Next up: If you’ll be in New York October 21-22, you may want to stop by the Center for Jewish History, which will be hosting an impressive Second-hand Book Sale. “Authors include: Sholem Aleichem, Marc D. Angel, Paul Arnsberg, Martin Buber, Chaim Grade, Itzik Manger, Thomas Mann, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Stefan Zweig, and others.”
  • December will bring us a new book from Elie Wiesel. This time, he has written a memoir, Open Heart, which stems from his recent experience as a bypass patient.
  • Job alert: “JNS.org, a Boston-based international wire service providing content to Jewish publications across the U.S., is seeking a Washington correspondent to cover major developments in the nation’s capital for a Jewish audience.”
  • If you’ve been wondering how Deborah Feldman has been faring since the publication of her controversial Unorthodox, here’s an update. (Hint: Security guards are involved.)
  • Shabbat shalom.

    From My Bookshelf: THERE’S JEWS IN TEXAS? Poems by Debra L. Winegarten

    So here’s a tribute to the power of social media and technology.

    In addition to participating in the monthly Jewish Book Carnival, I’m a member of the Carnival’s group on Goodreads. The Carnival isn’t intended for authors to promote their own books–the idea is to provide a forum for readers to share news, reviews, and/or interviews featuring (other) authors and books of Jewish interest.

    But last week, our moderator created a new thread in the Goodreads group where authors can promote their own books. And when I scanned that thread, I noticed Debra L. Winegarten’s post about her poetry chapbook, There’s Jews in Texas?

    There’s Jews in Texas? won Poetica Magazine’s 2011 Chapbook Contest. It comprises 13 poems, the first several of which are situated in childhood and evidently reflect aspects of Winegarten’s upbringing in Texas in the 1960s (see a sample poem on the author’s website). Winegarten’s mother is a lively voice in these early poems. Even after Ruthe Winegarten’s passing (midway through the collection, “The Three R’s” discloses that she died the same week as Ronald Reagan and Ray Charles), she remains present as the book moves forward in time. (And move forward it does: “The Price of a World,” is a response to the March 2011 massacre of the Fogel family.)

    In her Goodreads post, the author helpfully noted that the book is available to Amazon Prime members as part of the Kindle Lending Library; that is how I obtained and read it (another thumbs-up for technology). The poems in There’s Jews in Texas? are both accessible and provocative, and I’m glad to have discovered and read them.

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • First up: This week’s New Yorker features a new story by Lara Vapnyar, “Fischer vs. Spassky.” Bonus: Deborah Treisman’s Q&A with Vapnyar about the story.
  • Next: Nina Badzin reviews a new anthology titled Living Jewishly: A Snapshot of a Generation.
  • I learned about the life and work of poet Naomi Replansky this week thanks to Benjamin Ivry’s coverage for The Forward.
  • “On October 16, Leo Baeck Institute will unveil DigiBaeck – a comprehensive digital version of its collections to be made available to all for free online. DigiBaeck encompasses more than 3.5 million pages of documents from German-Jewish history.” Attend the launch (or watch streaming video online).
  • Writing a Jewish-themed YA novel? “In honor of Jewish Book Month, The Whole Megillah is hosting its second annual Write Your Own Megillah event. Think of it as the Jewish equivalent of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). From November 7 through December 7, 2012, you’ll have the opportunity to write the novel you’ve always wanted to write.”
  • Shabbat shalom.