Archive for current events

The National Book Award lists are coming!

The New Yorker is announcing the longlists for the National Book Awards this week, starting with Young People’s literature, out already today. Here’s the schedule for the rest of announcements:

Poetry, Tuesday, September 15, 9:00a
Nonfiction, Wednesday, September 16, 9:00a
Fiction, Thursday, September 17, 9:00a

Set your alarms!

Word’s Worth class

I’m super excited to be teaching a Word’s Worth Writing Center class tomorrow, Tuesday, August 4. They are known for great writing instruction and chocolate, and I promise no matter what, there will be chocolate. I’m relatively confident about the other thing as well, because if there’s one thing I love to talk about it it’s the short story, so imagine how happy I am that’s my topic. For more information on their one-time classes and longer-term classes, check out their website!

Lots of great stuff going on here in Dayton!

Local events

I had a great time at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop spring one-day seminar yesterday! The keynote speaker was Dara Marks, author of Inside Story: The Power of the Tranformational Arc, which I’m very much looking forward to reading. Other presenters were Brad Riddell and Michael London, and I’m only sorry we were presenting at the same time so I wasn’t able to attend their talks.

I did my best to live tweet just a few of the highlights from Dara’s talk, a challenge for someone my age with thumbs the size of bananas. You can follow me at @erinlflanagan if you’d like to see some of the highlights.

Tonight I’m going to be at Thurber House from 6:00-8:00 for another talk on short stories and how to make it as easy on yourself as possible to write them.

What a great time to be a writer and reader in Ohio with so many great events and like-minded folks with which to geek out!

Happy Valley

Back in September, my husband and I got into the  habit of watching the iPad in bed right before I fell asleep. I know it’s supposed to be terrible to watch a screen right before sleep, but since it’s a struggle to keep me up past 9:30, I wasn’t going to worry about it (getting back to sleep when I wake up at 2:00 is another issue altogether).

We went from Barry holding an iPad, to propping it on a pillow, to upgrading to a small laptop propped on the pillow for a bigger screen. Eventually we moved to a huge, old laptop we had in the computer graveyard (ie, basement), but we found out that was too slow, so now we set the most functional medium-sized laptop on top of a pillow that’s topped by the huge laptop. I have a feeling this is what the Woz’s bedroom looks like. Needless to say, it’s been a productive eight months.

One of the best shows we’ve watched so far is Happy Valley. (Other ones we’ve loved include The Fall and Broadchurch. My husband is an Anglophile, a word I had to look up to spell.) From the first episode you know exactly what the situation is; there are no crazy twists or turns like there are in The Killing, another great show, but one that gave me whiplash.


In Happy Valley, this guy does a really bad, dumb thing and this cop is trying to figure out who did the bad thing and is driven by some other things from her past. That’s it. From the get go, all cards on the table, but what makes this so great is that it’s the people themselves that keep the drama going and going and going. The guy who made a bad decision? Yep, he makes another one based on who he is. The cop driven by things in her past? Yep, those things continue to drive her. Without tricks or slights of hands, this show taps the vein of each character and rides the wave, and as a result, it’s fast-paced, exciting, and yes, surprising. Characters act in ways you might not be expecting, but given who they are, that action is always fitting.


Two great readings in Dayton

Two great readings to let you guys know about!

Poet Shane McCrae is reading at Wright State (Stein Galleries, CAC building) at 6:00 on Wednesday, April 15.

Ryan Ireland, former Wright State student, is reading at Books & Co at 7:00 on Thursday, April 16.

These should both be awesome, and I hope to see lots out for the events!

Story for all

Another shout-out for the Antioch Writers’ Workshop one-day Spring Seminar! If you have writer friends who might be interested, I would so appreciate if you’d spread the word!

Ben Stroud reading tonight tonight tonight!


Happy spring break!


Anne Valente came to town

Anne Valente came to Wright State for a reading this past Wednesday, and by god, she was as charming as her fiction. I love it when I like writers as much as I like their writing. She was gracious with her time, attentive to students and their questions, and read with authority and grace.




She lives in Cincinnati and I hope we keep in touch. What a treat to keep meeting such awesome local authors.

Huge thanks to Jane Blakelock for the wonderful pics!


I threw a party for my students

I had two awesome classes this semester–both with great group dynamics and full of great individuals–and since there wasn’t a single person I was scared to let know where I live, I decided to throw a party at my house to celebrate the end of the year and all the hard work they did.

Since we moved to semesters at Wright State, the creative writing curriculum has become a lot more streamlined and I feel like students are really moving through as a cohort rather than taking random classes here and there and never learning each other’s names. On semesters, I’ve seen real bonding happen between the students as they see each other time and again, and they’ve grown a lot more comfortable together giving and getting feedback. I’m hoping at some point two students will start dating in one of my classes and I’ll be invited to the wedding and introduced to their parents as the one who made it all happen. Parents so rarely seem happy to meet creative writing professors but I think this could be the exception.

I don’t want to toot my own horn, but honk honk. I think the party was pretty great. I bought wristbands and had my husband card everyone. Guests were delighted to eat frozen pizzas and drink free beers (I’m not going to lie: we used it as an opportunity to get rid of some bottles people had brought over that we didn’t like and students seemed happy because the beer was still a few steps up from what they could reasonably afford. I remember in college when my girlfriends and I wanted to take it up a notch and let the boys know we were classy, we’d get Coors Light). Mostly it was great because of the guests, who were funny, lively, sweet, and a delight to hang out with.

I’m thinking this might have to become an annual tradition. I remember how much it meant to me when professors opened their homes to me when I was a student and how fun it was to socialize with them as people and writers. It’s another reminder of how as writers we’re all facing the same blank page, and how far community and free pizza can go to making it feel less alone.

Thanks to all my great students! I hope next semester’s punk-asses can live up.