It’s common for writing students to hear that to become a good writer, they must first love to read. It makes sense, so thankfully there is an abundance of reading opportunities at Roosevelt University.
Using similar logic, perhaps the best strategy to become a good published writer is to attend a conversation on writing and publishing with Aaron Burch (Backswing, editor of Hobart), Amelia Gray (Gutshot), and Colin Winnette (Haints Stay) on Monday, September 28 at 5 p.m. on the seventh floor of the Gage Building at 18 S. Michigan Avenue.
A Trio of Facts on Our Conversationalists
1) Burch most recently published his collection Backswing, following two novellas and multiple short story publications in Another Chicago Magazine, Barrelhouse, and New York Tyrant.
2) Hobart: Another Literary Journal launched in 2001, releasing print issues and daily web content. They have also published several books through their Short Flight/Long Drive imprint.
3) After the release of Backswing, Aaron Burch talked with writer Matt Bell about his approach to organizing the stories: “I think the stories in this collection that actually took the most drafts, that I really struggled the most to figure out, are probably the ones where I had a conceit first and was trying write toward that. Usually when that happens, those kinds of stories don’t last very long before being discarded … It took me way too many drafts of each to realize that there wasn’t really a ‘recognizable emotion’ at all, much less to then try to find it.”
1) Her short fiction and essays have appeared in a number of publications, including The New Yorker, Tin House, and VICE. She has also published four books: AM/PM, Museum of the Weird, THREATS, and Gutshot.
2) She has been nominated for multiple writing awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction shortlist in 2012, and she won the Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Award in 2010.
3) In an interview with FlavorWire, Gray said this about American literature: “American Fiction is going great! Today, it’s possible to read both erotica and books written for children without fear of social castigation. In fact, you can read these books out in the open: on airplanes, over dinner, in parks if you still go to parks. Just look at the Kindle bestsellers list and take heart in the fact that America has returned to its porny, easy-reading roots. Your average e-reader is stuffed with enough low-grade smut to power the light bondage fantasies of an entire office of accountants and actuaries. We’ve won, people!”
1) His first novel, Revelation, was published while he was still studying for his MFA at the School of the Art Institute here in Chicago. He went on to publish four subsequent books after graduating.
2) He currently works as an associate editor for PANK, writer/editor for the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and hosts an interview series for Electric Literature, during which he discusses various writers’ favorite books.
3) In an interview with The Offing, Winnette suggested diversity in writing is often his best strategy: “If you have a lot of creative energy and discipline, why wouldn’t you chase after everything you can? Try this, try that. Have some fun with it all. I don’t feel excited to work if I’m doing something that feels redundant … Also, it’s a cliché that writing books is more about asking questions than providing answers, but it’s something I find to be true for myself. Which means that, at the end of a book, I’ve still got these ideas and interests kicking around inside me, narratively resolved (in some way) but not necessarily personally. I’m still me.”
Kathryn Brostowitz is a MFA candidate for Creative Writing at Roosevelt University.