Genres: Poetry and Memoir

Sascha Photo-1

“Music has been known to travel phenomenal distances in no time, and in Sascha Feinstein’s Ajanta’s Ledge jazz tropes leapfrog the lived landscapes, from heart to heart, going wherever this authentic American voice dares to venture sonically and spiritually to places of earned solitude. In other words, in Ajanta’s Ledge—from the public to the personal—this poet travels to the past, present, and future, surveying historical fissures while simultaneously creating those moments of healing that true art always reckons with.”~~Yusef Komunyakaa

SASCHA FEINSTEIN is a poet, memoirist, critic, and editor. His first collection of poems, Misterioso, was selected by Hayden Carruth for the first annual Hayden Carruth Award from Copper Canyon Press. Robert Pinsky described his more recent poetry collection, Ajanta’s Ledge, as “A surge of joy in art, as in certain vocal music, not so much overcoming grief as joining it, even embodying it.” Individual poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Missouri Review, The North American Review, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, Ploughshares, Poets Against the War, and many other journals and anthologies. His other books include a memoir, Black Pearls: Improvisations on a Lost Year; a critical study, Jazz Poetry: From the 1920s to the Present; and a collection of interviews, Ask Me Now: Conversations on Jazz & Literature. He has also co-edited four books, including The Jazz Poetry Anthology and its companion volume The Second Set (both with Yusef Komunyakaa). In 1996, he founded Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz & Literature, a bi-annual print publication, which he still edits. Since 2007, he has hosted Jazz Standards for WVIA, the NPR station for central Pennsylvania. His awards include the 2008 Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Artist of the Year. A former core faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts, he co-directs the Creative Writing Program at Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA, where he has received their highest awards for teaching. At the moment, he’s concentrating on another collection of creative nonfiction, currently titled Wreckage: A Memoir of Art & Junk. You can learn more about Sascha at SaschaFeinstein.com.


Genres: Fiction and Creative Nonfiction


“There is no denying the depth of Connie May Fowler’s talent and the breadth of her imagination.”~~The New York Times Book Review

CONNIE MAY FOWLER is an award-winning novelist, memoirist, and screenwriter. Her most recent novel, How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly, was published by Grand Central Publishing in 2010 to wide acclaim. “Connie May Fowler is a storyteller extraordinaire,” writes The Barcelona Review in reference to her latest novel. Connie is the author of six other books: five critically praised novels and one memoir. Her novels include Sugar Cage, River of Hidden Dreams, The Problem with Murmur Lee, Remembering Blue—recipient of the Chautauqua South Literary Award—and Before Women had Wings—recipient of the 1996 Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Francis Buck Award from the League of American Pen Women. Three of her novels have been Dublin International Literary Award nominees. Connie adapted Before Women had Wings for Oprah Winfrey. The result was an Emmy-winning film starring Ms. Winfrey and Ellen Barkin. In 2002 she published When Katie Wakes, a memoir that explores her descent and escape from an abusive relationship. Her work has been translated into 18 languages and is published worldwide. Her essays have been published in the New York Times, London Times, International Herald Tribune, Japan Times, Oxford American, Best Life, and elsewhere. For two years she wrote “Savoring Florida,” a culinary and culture column for FORUM, a publication of the Florida Humanities Council. In 2007, Connie performed in New York City at The Player’s Club with actresses Kathleen Chalfont, Penny Fuller, and others in an adaptation based on The Other Woman, an anthology that contains her essay “The Uterine Blues.” In 2003, Connie performed in The Vagina Monologues alongside Jane Fonda and Rosie Perez in a production that raised over $100,000 for charity. Domestic violence shelters and family violence organizations have honored her with numerous awards. In 2009, she received the first annual Peace, Love, and Understanding Award from WMNF Community Radio. She is currently working on her next project, a environmental memoir that explores the psychological and spiritual effects of the Gulf oil disaster on everyday life along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. She teaches at the Vermont College of Fine Arts low residency creative writing MFA program. You can learn more about Connie at conniemayfowler.com. Photo credit: ©www.lanceoliverphotography.com


Genres: Fiction and Creative Nonfiction


“…a young writer with talent to burn; the beauty of her writing is matched only by the fierce emotional empathy for her characters.”~~The Courier-Journal

LAURA VAN DEN BERG’S first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, longlisted for The Story Prize, and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Award. Her second collection, The Isle of Youth, will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in November 2013. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize, her short stories and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, One Story, Conjunctions, and Vogue.com, and have been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Best New American Voices, and xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths (Penguin). Laura’s first novel, Find Me, is also forthcoming from FSG, in 2015. She has taught fiction and nonfiction at a number of institutions, including Gettysburg College, Goucher College, Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, and in the M.F.A. program at Emerson College. A Florida native, she now lives in the Boston area. You can learn more about Laura at lauravandenberg.com/.



Special Guest Lecturer

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PARNESHIA JONES is an acclaimed editor and  poet. She is a recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Margaret Walker Short Story Award, and the Aquarius Press Legacy Award. She is published in several anthologies including She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems, edited by Caroline Kennedy; The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, edited by Nikky Finney, as well as Poetry Speaks Who I Am, a book/CD compilation. Jones is a member of the Affrilachian Poets, a collective of Black voices from Appalachia and serves on the board of Cave Canem. She has performed her work all over the United States including the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City, the Art Institute in Chicago, and Vanderbilt University. Her poetry has been commissioned by Art for Humanity in South Africa, Shorefront Legacy, and featured on Chicago Public Radio. Parneshia studied creative writing at Chicago State University, earned an MFA from Spalding University, and studied publishing at Yale University. She is completing her first collection of poetry, Waiting for Hurricanes. She is the Poetry Editor and Sales and Subsidiary Rights Manager for Northwestern University Press.


Special Guest Lecturer

MIT Media Lab Photo Shoot for Alexandra Kahn

DAVID PAUL KIRKPATRICK is an award winning movie maker, author, and speaker. Most notably, he is the former President of Paramount Pictures and the former Production President of both Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures. He is also the Co-Founder of the MIT Center For Future Storytelling. His interests include storytelling, technology, and understanding the stuff that happens behind the curtain. He is the author of the blog Living in the Metaverse.


Adapting Your Work for Film


ALLAN J. MARCIL was born in Pensacola Florida. He graduated from the University of Rochester with a BA in English. He pursued an MFA in Film Production at the University of Southern California where a short film he directed was seen by actor Robert DeNiro and DeNiro’s agent, Harry Ufland, who signed him to a representation contract. That film also won “Best Dramatic Short” in the Jacksonville Film Festival. Marcil worked professionally as a producer and writer and partner in a production company in Los Angeles for the next twenty years. In the last decade, Marcil moved to St. Augustine, FL, earned an MA in English from the University of North Florida and currently teaches in the English and Communications Departments of Flagler College. In 2008, his first play, The Specialist, was selected for a staged performance by the “Florida Senior Playwright’s Festival” at the Hippodrome Theater in Gainesville, FL. CREDITS: Producer, RATED X, Showtime Networks, cable motion picture, starring Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez, World Premiere at Sundance Film Festival, 2000. Executive Producer, THE WEDNESDAY WOMAN, CBS movie for television starring Peter Coyote, Meredith Baxter, John Hurd, 2000. Producer, PRONTO, Showtime Networks, cable motion picture adaptation of Elmore Leonard novel starring Peter Falk, Glenne Headly, James Legros, 1997. Producer, WHITE MILE, HBO cable movie, starring Alan Alda, Peter Gallagher, 1995. Executive Producer, KEY WEST, FBC, one hour series starring Fisher Stevens, Jennifer Tilly, 1994. Executive Producer, FOR THE LOVE OF MY CHILD, NBC movie for television, 1995. Executive Producer, SIN AND REDEMPTION, CBS movie for television, 1995. Executive Producer, BLOODLINES, NBC mini-series, 1994. Executive Producer/Co-Creator DOLPHIN COVE, CBS one hour series, created with Peter Benchley, shot on location in Australia, 1988-89. Executive Producer, FRESH HORSES, Columbia Pictures feature film, starring Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy, 1988. Producer, HOMETOWN, CBS one hour series, 1986-87. Producer, RENO AND YOLANDA, CBS half hour comedy pilot, 1986. Co-Producer, JAMES MICHENER’S SPACE, CBS 13 hour mini-series starring James Garner, Blair Brown, Bruce Dern, Michael York, 1985. Producer, JOHNNY BELINDA, CBS movie for television, starring Dennis Quaid, Rosanna Arquette, 1981. Producer, INVASION OF PRIVACY, CBS movie for television, 1980. Production Executive, WALLENBERG: A HERO’S STORY, NBC mini-series, 1985. Writer/Director. ELDORADO, Independent dramatic short, 1978. AWARDS: Golden Globe nomination, Cable ACE nomination, WHITE MILE; Imagen Award, Cine Golden Eagle FOR THE LOVE OF MY CHILD; Emmy nominations, SPACE, ep.5, WALLENBERG, WHITE MILE; Cine Golden Eagle, Best Dramatic Short – Jacksonville Film Festival EL DORADO.



The nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine evokes all the charm of a Spanish Colonial village, a seaside respite, and a nature lover’s paradise. And don’t forget the ghost tours . . .

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