The 2012 Winter with the Writers Festival is officially underway, and how do the interns from Rollins feel? Powerful! We recognize this incredible opportunity to own our education by taking responsibility to learn from this experience and improve our craft. The possibilities are vast due to the wealth of learning experiences available from each other and from the guest writers. Committees have been formed, and everyone is making preparations with fervor - posters proclaim the event across Winter Park, news articles and interviews relating to the authors have been uploaded to the Winter with the Writers’ Facebook page, and groups are forming for interns to discuss the techniques and style of each writer. “Working as the co-administrator of the Winter with the Writers Facebook page allowed me to take off on my own and try out some things that are normally out of my comfort zone. Everyone I’ve worked with so far has been very nice and accommodating. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the semester goes!” exclaims Kristen Arnett.
We eagerly anticipate the arrival of our first guest, Carl Hiaasen, a Floridian journalist and novelist who writes clever, outrageous satire on life in Florida. Join us for a master class with Hiaasen on February 2nd at 4 p.m. in the Bush auditorium. Following, Hiaasen will read selections from his bestselling novels at 7:30 p.m. Intern Adrian Alexander hasn’t missed a WWW reading since becoming a student at Rollins. “Finally getting the chance to work with the writers personally is very exciting. I can’t wait to see what insights they bring to our writing. I am also excited to see the festival from this end of the stage,” says Alexander.
Hiaasen visit marked with preparation, excitement
By David Matteson
As the arrival of the first guest author quickly approaches, the interns’ feelings of anticipation and excitement continue to grow.
“Anyone who is an English major, or who just loves to read, would know that meeting an author of one of your favorite books is an awesome opportunity,” intern Lisa Murray said.
We began preparing for the arrival of this author through the reading of his novels Tourist Season, Hoot and Star Island. Interestingly, Hiaasen’s works are hallmarked by the fact that they are set in South Florida. Despite being native to Florida, intern Kristen Arnett feels that the settings of Hiaasen’s books do not necessarily seem familiar.
“Reading about Miami still feels like a foreign concept sometimes,” Arnett said. “Unlike some of the other interns, I felt as if Hiaasen’s Florida was not necessarily my Florida.”
While the setting is similar in each of the narratives, the subject matter discussed varies in each book. Tourist Season chronicles an elite gang of environmentally concerned terrorists through their often-hilarious misadventures. Hoot, Hiaasen’s popular young adult novel, shares an environmental theme, while Hiaasen’s most recent publication, Star Island, analyzes the culture of celebrities and paparazzi in South Beach. Each work appeals to readers of a wide range of interests. For example, Arnett enjoyed Hoot because of its young adult affiliation.
“I think Hiaasen does a great job of bridging the gap between juvenile and adult fiction,” Arnett said. “All of his books carry the same theme: environmentalism and politics, but the young adult book carried it off the best because that genre is founded in hope and possibility.”
We have continued our preparation for Hiaasen’s impending visit by researching the author in detail. Several of us have focused our attention on Hiaasen’s journalistic career, as he is a featured columnist in the Miami Herald. Others have looked at Hiaasen’s response to interviews regarding his novels, and critical reviews of these works. The overall purpose of this extensive research is to feel prepared to discuss writing with an important icon in American and Floridian fiction.
Quote about preparation and research
Hiaasen’s reading is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Bush Auditorium. Rollins students and faculty as well as members of the community are encouraged to attend this exciting event.
February 6, 2012: Hiaasen’s reading leaves interns excited
By David Matteson
Filling three auditoriums on Thursday evening, the Winter with the Writers 2012 season started with a bang as Carl Hiaasen read from his first novel Tourist Season.
“I thought the turn out for the reading was fantastic. I hope every event is like that,” intern Abigail Mills said. “I think the turn out speaks to the popularity of Hiaasen as well as what his readers think of him. He knows his audience, he knows how to relate to them and they appreciate him. It was very evident that his words have impacted many.”
The event started with the Master Class, where Hiaasen offered advice and suggestions for writing to the interns and a small audience. Answering questions ranging from the development of characters such as Skink, a reoccurring role, to how his golf game had improved, Hiaasen left the interns excited.
“After hearing Hiaasen speak at the master class I realized just how much each writer’s process varies. His visit sparked my desire to fully dedicate myself to what I write. Instead of sporadically creating art, work with it every day,” intern Amanda Hampton said.
The reading was certainly the climax of the evening’s events. Hiaasen read the first chapter from his first solo novel, Tourist Season. Following the reading he expanded on where he comes up with several of the characters and plotlines that occur in his works. He cited his main source of inspiration as being from Florida headlines, some of which he read to the audience.
“I think his writing style meshed perfectly with his personality – he was very dry and funny, and he focused a lot of attention to aspects of journalism, and how that played into his fiction writing,” intern Kristen Arnett said.
Overall, Thursday’s reading and Master class was a fantastic start to the Winter With the Writer’s season. All of the interns are certainly excited for our next event, Ilya Kaminsky and Mihaela Moscaliuc’s reading on Thursday, Feb. 9.
February 6, 2012: Two Poets Are Better Than One: WWW Week Two
This week, the festival continues its salute to the literary arts with two inspiring poets: Ilya Kaminsky and Mihaela Moscaliuc.
Some of the interns submitted poetry of their own to Kaminsky in preparation for his master class. The excitement level surges as the days draw nearer, and interns are anxious to see what they will learn from both classes. Intern Annie Goldman, who submitted a poem, said, “I'm most looking forward to the possibility of Kaminsky saying something constructive about my work so that I can get better, and to hear him read his own work.”
It was great to see fellow interns working to understand the poets and their work. While much of that effort included reading their poetry collections (including Moscaliuc’s Father Dirt and Kaminsky’s Dancing in Odessa), interns will aid in further understanding by discussing the writers through presentations during class meetings. Though this week’s writers have relatively short careers, intern Don Glenn noted the wealth of subject matter available. “Everyone has something they feel comfortable with and there will not be a shortage of material,” he said.
After the success of last week’s events, we are all anticipating the experience to come. “I thought Carl Hiaasen shared some great insight about writing and I can't wait to hear what Ilya and Mihaela will have to say about poetry and translation,” Intern Mandy McRae shared.
On Thursday, Moscaliuc will give a 2 p.m. master class on the topic of translation and Kaminsky will follow with a 4 p.m. master class where he will discuss poetry as well as intern-submitted work. The literary party will not stop there, though, because at 7:30 p.m. both poets will entertain an audience with a reading, on-stage interview and signing. All free and open to the public, of course.
The interns are pumped and we hope everyone else is, too! It is certainly an event not to be missed.
February 12, 2012: A One-Two Punch of Poetry
By Chelsea Cutchens
Winter with the Writers continued this week with not one, but two incredible poets gracing the stage of Bush Auditorium. The master classes and joint reading of Romania-born poet Mihaela Moscaliuc and Russia-born poet Ilya Kaminsky stressed to the interns not only the complexities of the revising process of poetry, but also the universality of language.
First, in Moscaliuc’s master class on translation of poetry, interns discovered the intricacies of both reading and writing translated poetry. “Moscaliuc's discussion on translation fascinated me,” said intern Abigail Mills. “She said it's important for a reader to remember he or she is reading a translation, not because the translation is poorly written or causes the reader to suspect miscommunication, but because the translation embodies a culture and language unfamiliar to the reader.” Moscaliuc’s lesson on translation reinforced the importance of a writer’s relationship with language, and motivated the intern class for the day’s remaining events.
The interns continued to be fascinated by poetry’s reliance on an intimacy with language in Kaminsky’s master class on poetry revision. Several of the interns’ poems were critiqued by Kaminksy, who urged the class to "find the language you absolutely, utterly adore" in their poems, and revise the remaining lines. “His idea of deconstructing the poem by cutting it up into pieces and putting it back together is a new perspective to rewriting our poetry,” said intern Don Glenn. “In that respect, he forever has changed the way I edit my poetry.” Collectively, the interns were blown away by Kaminsky’s mastery of the craft.
As for the joint-reading by Moscaliuc and Kaminsky, both Rollins students and members of the community agreed that two poets were better than one. Said intern Adrian Alexander, “I think that both of the poets worked well together, complimented each other perfectly, and the event flowed with exceptional success. I think they're both so passionate and so talented that it only makes sense that the two readings would blend into one another so perfectly.” Mihaela’s reading of her book of poetry Father Dirt, and Ilya’s reading of passages from his manuscript Deaf Republic inspired the audience with their vivid imagery and cunning craftsmanship of language.
Altogether, Moscaliuc and Kaminsky’s participation in the 2012 season of Winter with the Writers left interns and attendees with a new perspective on the beauty and versatility of language. The insight gleaned from both master classes and the joint-reading inspired the intern class, and reinforced their enthusiasm for the remainder of the festival. Said intern Catheryne Lowe, “In a way, out of all the WWW events I have attended this semester and in years past, this reading most seemed like it was a celebration of language.”
February 12, 2012: The Interns are Pumped for Paula!
In the third week of the Winter with the Writers literary festival, the 2012 intern class eagerly awaits the arrival of the next visiting writer, best-selling novelist and memoirist Paula McLain. Several interns submitted original short stories to McLain for her review prior to her upcoming master class. The fiction writers of the group are especially excited for her arrival, and anticipate her feedback and the insight they will gain through the master class workshop. Intern Adrian Alexander said of the master classes, “They’re the best way to learn an abundance of new things about the writing industry as well as the craft.”
In addition to studying two of McLain’s works, her historical fiction novel The Paris Wife and her memoir Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses, a select group of interns will instruct the group in their weekly class about the stylistic qualities of McLain’s writing, as well as her background and information about her other writing projects. These class presentations will prepare the group for McLain’s master class and prompt questions for the Q&A session following her public reading.
After the tremendous response of the interns to Mihaela Moscaliuc’s and Ilya Kaminsky’s master classes last week, we are all anticipating the week to come. So far, the Winter with the Writers festival has motivated interns to consider their writing in a more serious light: “Now I only want the best words on the page, the best choices,” said intern Catheryne Lowe. We are confident that Paula McLain will continue to inspire the intern class of 2012 and impart to us her knowledge on the fiction writing process.
On Thursday, McLain will lead a master class fiction workshop at 4 p.m., during which time the original work of students will be critiqued. The celebration of fiction will continue with a reading, on-stage interview, and book signing, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Bush Auditorium. All of these events are free and open to the public.
The intern class expects this week’s events to be just as stimulating and insightful as those in past weeks; this writer is not one to be missed!
February 17, 2012: Paula McLain Charms with Beautiful Reading and Stories of Paris
Arianna A. Garofalo
This week, Rollins college welcomed acclaimed writer Paula McLain. McLain has published several collections of poetry, a memoir, and two novels, her most recent of which, The Paris Wife, has been on the New York Times Bestsellers list for almost 30 weeks.
In the 4 pm Master Class, McLain charmed the interns, several of whom had submitted up to 5 pages of a story for her review, with her bubbly, effervescent personality and wonderful smile. McLain's lesson focused on what setting and place can tell us about what we are trying to write. She offered the anecdote of writing her first novel, A Ticket to Ride, which began as just an bubble of an idea. She joked that, when sending the novel to her editor, her editor could smell the baby oil on the tanning girls' skin, but reminded Paula that something had to happen in her story. McLain explained how she used what she had- a location- to figure out what she would write, and encouraged interns to do the same. Intern Holly Stallard was impressed with this piece of advice: "I loved hearing her process [...] starting with an image of cousins sunbathing, such a simple concept, and transforming that image into a story..."
McLain led a discussion of the student's submitted pieces, focusing on talking about setting and how it affects the story, drawing the eager interns into the conversation, as well.
Later on, at 7:30 pm, the Bush auditorium filled with guests excited to hear Paula read from her novel The Paris Wife and take questions, as well as sign books. Paula offered some wonderful stories about her process of getting into the head of Hadley Richardson, Hemingway's first wife. To do so, she read dozens and dozens of love letters from Hadley to Hemingway, one of which she read aloud to a delighted audience. She felt like she really knew Hadley, which is apparent in the pages of her beautifully crafted novel. Intern Kristen Arnett loved the experience. "Listening to Paula read was a real treat. There is just something great about the cadence of her reading, a kind a lilt-and-slide that made listening to her (already stellar) work seem like a transcendent experience."
The interns now look forward to the fourth and final week of Winter with the Writers, when they will welcome Chimamanda Adichie, a Nigerian writer, to the Rollins community.
February 23, 2012: Chimamanda Adichie leaves us on a high note
This week, Rollins College was proud to be able to host the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie to our campus. Adichie has written two novels, Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun, as well as a number of short stories, many of which have been collected in her book The Thing Around Your Neck.
This Thursday started at four pm in the Bush Auditorium, where Adichie gave a master class. Nine interns submitted stories for her to use in the master class, and she made sure to go over them all. She began by asking four interns to give two pieces of information about themselves, one true and one false. The rest of the interns had to guess which fact was true and which fact was not. After guessing she told us that it didn’t matter which detail was true and which wasn’t, all that mattered it what you could convince people was true.
She then dived into the short stories, talking about what worked and what didn’t, and how pieces worked and didn’t work. Even though she only had seventy-five minutes to work with the interns, she covered a wide range of topics from how to keep people engaged within a piece to keeping the stories internal logic sound.
At 7:30 pm, she gave a reading, also in Bush Auditorium. She started by reading a piece from her memoir that she is still currently writing, then read from her short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck.
This was the last of the writers for next year, but many of the interns are looking forward to what might be in store for next year.
February 25, 2012: The Best Kept Secret of the Winter With the Writers Festival
I've been a fan of the Winter With the Writers program since before I sent in my application in to Rollins. The prospect of working on a yearly basis with world renowned authors was one of the major elements that drove me to applying to the school in the first place. After never missing a WWW reading during my time at this institution, I finally got the opportunity to be an intern with the program. Upon interviewing with Carol Frost for a spot in the program I learned something new about the perks of being an intern. Every Wednesday before the Thursday Master Class and Reading, there is a Reception held for the guest author of the week. It's an hour long event in which the interns get to eat, relax, and meet the author as well as some of the remarkable individuals from the community who also attend.These events proved to be some of the most exciting for a number of us interns. I was prepared for the Master Classes. Sitting on stage with the authors while they critiqued our work was a large part of the reason we all signed up. The readings were likewise a foregone conclusion, which is by no means to mitigate the importance of each. But I had no idea that we would spend a night being introduced to the authors, to mayor, to deans, and to highly influential alumni and members of the Rollins and Winter Park community. When I graduate in May, it will be with memories of amazing class discussions, wonderful homework sessions by the lake with friends, and one of the best educations money can buy. But I will never forget that I capped off my time here by spending Wednesday nights conversing with the Mayor of Winter Park, connecting with Deans and faculty members, and laughing with some of the most amazing writers you'd ever hope to find.
Februrary 26, 2012: Life as an intern
Life as an intern for the 2012 Winter with the Writers literary festival has been hectic, but rewarding. In one word, intern Don Glenn calls these past four weeks, “Incredible.” Whether it be running to ensure all in attendance for Carl Hiaasen had a seat, or braving a thunderstorm to meet Chimamanda Adichie, the experience has been one amazing journey. As interns we have blogged, chalked, and even sacrificed pencil sharpeners in order to make this festival a success. Most of all, we discussed the “how” in the writing process, appreciated the value of each genre, and celebrated the international bond language provides.
Every author gave his or her own unique advice. Carl Hiaasen shared how everyday stories can provide inspiration for characters. Ilya Kaminsky taught us that in revision, it is important to “keep the language you love.” Mihaela Moscaluic opened our eyes to the possibilities of translation. “[The] Moscaluic translation class blew my mind. I have gone over her handouts like [five] times now,” says intern Kristen Arnett. Fellow intern Nick Tucciarelli, the 2012 winner of the Vandenberg Scholarship, has already seen the difference the advice from each author has made. “[One] thing I‟ve already incorporated into my writing is taking the time to develop setting,” says intern Nick Tucciarelli, this year‟s Vandenberg Scholarship winner. Tucciarelli continues, “Paula McLain spent time discussing this and it‟s something that I will always remember and be aware of.”
So what are some of the most memorable moments we interns have from this experience? “I can honestly say this is the first time I have felt a real bond with fellow classmates. I love that this internship has fostered that!” exclaims Arianna Garofalo. Other interns, such as Lisa Murray, express their appreciation for the knowledge provided by the master classes. “My favorite master class was by far Adichie‟s [...] she gave such individualized attention and time to each and every piece.”
Together we have recognized the possibilities of language. We have enjoyed the most in depth conversations concerning the writing process during our time at Rollins College, both in and outside of class. We have studied the craft. We have learned valuable insights about the industry. We have enjoyed the writing process. We have become lifelong friends, and it has been an honor.
Holly Stallard sums up the entire experience beautifully: “Not only have we had the chance to meet amazing people, we‟ve also had the wonderful opportunity to experience, „early writers‟ which is quite possibly the most inspiring part of this internship—proof that at the still point of the turning world, there are passionate writers willing to revise and revise and revise.”
Let the celebration continue!