Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bob Shacochis wins Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction

2014 Taos Summer Writers' Conference keynote speaker, Bob Shacochis, has won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction. Many of you may remember Bob's fantastic keynote reading this summer in which he read from and discussed the themes of The Woman Who Lost Her Soul. While Bob's reading and subsequent roundtable focused on the craft of writing--specifically the way time functions in the novel--it is clear that this behemoth of a novel tackles many pressing political and cultural issues of our time.

In their announcement of the $10,000 award this morning, the judges said that novelist Bob Shacochis “creates an intricate portrait of the catastrophic events that have led to an endless cycle of vengeance and war between cultures.” Find out more here.

In an interesting twist, one of the two runners up for the award is a former TSWC participant, Margaret Wrinkle for her debut novel, Wash

Congratulations Bob! A much deserved award for a fantastic, epic novel. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Nick DePascal's New Book

Former Taos Summer Writers' Conference graduate assistant, Nick DePascal is the winner of the first West End Press Poetry Prize. His book, Before You Become Improbable is just out from West End Press/University of New Mexico Press.
Of the book, Sasha Pimentel says, "Before You Become Improbable  is rich with the artifacts we are left with just before, or in the wake of, absence. It is a book which opens its windows, the floral curtains bunched and billowing, and on the stained wood floors we find finger bones and tufts of hair, or a dead crow with 'feathers erect like goosebumps on the skin'--all invitation to intimacy and history. Equally love poem and elegy, equally an exploration of the artist's life and a frank reflection on marriage, each line falls delicately, though the words and things which make them are hard and sharp. I love the 'stiff fingers' which 'pull the tongue' of this book, each 'bit by bit.' Like Dickinson, Nick DePascal is a poet's poet, a lover's poet."

Nick will be reading at Bookworks in Albuquerque on Friday, September 19th at 7PM. Congratulations Nick! We can't wait to get a copy.

Nick DePascal lives in Albuquerque, NM, with his wife and son. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in RHINO, Sugar House Review, The Emerson Review, The Los Angeles Review, The Laurel Review, Aesthetix, ditch, and more. His essays and criticism have appeared in BoldType, The Rumpus, Pleiades, Rain Taxi, and Tucson Weekly, among others.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

WASH by Margaret Wrinkle

Margaret Wrinkle attended the Taos Summer Writers' Conference ten years ago. Of the Conference she says, "My time in Taos was so pivotal. I found my best reader there and the novel I was working on when I came in 2004 was recently published by Grove Atlantic. In a great coincidence, my book deal came through the same week as that of another student in my Taos workshop named Kristen Kittscher, so the Taos connection brought us back together after many years."

Margaret's book, Wash, released in 2013 was deemed "A masterly literary work" by the New York Times Book Review and Wrinkle was named One of Time Magazine’s "21 Female Authors You Should Be Reading." We agree! Congratulations, Margaret, on your great success and thank you for your kind words about the Conference. After all, our goal is to create a nourishing literary community for writers, in which everyone can form lasting relationships and most of all create great work.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Participant Accomplishment: Congrats Teddy Jones!

A huge congratulations to Teddy Jones! Her novel, Jackson's Pond, Texas, has been named a finalist by Women Writing the West for the annual Willa Awards Contest in the Contemporary Fiction category. The winner will be announced at their conference in October. Teddy workshopped this novel at the Conference in John Dufresne's master class in 2011. Past Willa Award winners include TSWC faculty members Pam Houston, Summer Wood, and B. K. Loren. We're rooting for you Teddy! Congrats!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Until Next Year

What a year! We have to thank you all for making the 16th annual Taos Summer Writers' Conference so incredible. It was such an honor to spend another beautiful week in Taos with all of you.

Among the highlights, of which there were many, was the launch of Rananim. If you still haven't watched this video, which was directed by Conference Assistant Director, Eva Lipton-Ormand, please do, and see what Sharon and Eva have been working on for the past few months. And for those of you who want to continue that momentum from the Conference, consider taking one of the classes.

Debra Monroe said during the week that each time she comes to the Conference it just gets better and better. We agree! And it is all because of you. We can't wait until next July!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

RANANIM: It Is Finally Here!

Many of you may know that the Taos Summer Writers' Conference founder and director, Sharon Oard Warner, began the Conference sixteen years ago in order to create a link between the University of New Mexico and the D.H. Lawrence Ranch just outside of beautiful Taos, New Mexico. For years, the Conference has taken loads of participants to the Ranch, had fellows stay in the fellowship cabin before the property fell into disrepair, and created, at least for this magical week in July, that thing that Lawrence so desired: a utopian society where writers and artists of all kinds can go to create and commune.

Rananim—derived from the Hebrew word for rejoice—is the name D. H. Lawrence gave to his dream of a congenial community of writers and artists. The eleven months the novelist spent at the “Kiowa Ranch,” as it was known in his time, were the closest he ever came to establishing his utopian society. In 1955, Frieda Lawrence deeded the property to the University of New Mexico with the provision that the Ranch be used for educational and recreational purposes and that it be open to the public. Unfortunately, the last decade has been a difficult one for the property, which is in need of restoration and renovation.

In keeping with Lawrence’s vision, Sharon determined to begin Rananim - The Online Community of the Taos Summer Writers' Conference, which will seek to create a community of writers from around the world. Rananim will offer non-degree classes, workshops, and facilitated critiques by distinguished writers nationwide. Registration for the eight-week classes is now open and net proceeds will be used to preserve and protect the D.H. Lawrence ranch, and honor Frieda Lawrence’s vision of the ranch as a venue for the arts. Initial net proceeds of the program (projected to exceed $75,000 per annum by year 3) will also be used to fundraise and eventually to launch a proposal to establish National Landmark status for the Ranch.

To learn more about the project and Lawrence's vision for a community of writers, watch this video, directed by Conference Assistant Director, Eva Lipton-Ormand.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Meet the Native Writer Award Winner: Matthew Skeets

Matthew Skeets of the Navajo Indian Reservation from Vanderwagen has been awarded the 2014 Native Writer Award. He is a recent graduate summa cum laude from the University of New Mexico with two Bachelor of art degrees in poetry and Native Studies. During his undergraduate career he worked closely with poets Luci Tapahonso, Lisa Chavez, and Natalie Scenters-Zapico. Currently he is an intern in communications and social media for American Indian Opportunity in Albuquerque.

Skeets began to write poetry when he first read Emily Dickinson. He spent nearly two years of high school emulating her style, line, and meter. Other poets that Skeets admires include Luci Tapahonso, Sherwin Bitsui, Orlando White, Joy Harjo, Natalie Diaz, Eduardo C. Corral, Rigoberto Gonzales, and Tomás Q. Morín. The Native Writer Award was created in memory of Native author and former colleague Louis Owens. It offers paid tuition for one weekend or weeklong workshop, as well paid lodging to any Native American who is a resident of New Mexico. The award recognizes excellence in fiction, poetry, or nonfiction.

When informed about his award Skeets responded, “It’s a small dream of mine to come to the Conference. Thank you.” Matthew will be attending the weeklong workshop with Tomas Q. Morin. In the past recipients like Chee Brossy, Coral Dawn Bernal and Christina M. Castro have been awarded the Native Writer Award, making Skeets even more honored to have been given the award. This will be his first time attending a writing conference and one of Skeets’ goals after this conference is to compile his best work to then apply to graduate creative writing programs in the fall. Skeets also hopes to gain some perspective on how to normalize his writing life, gaining precision in his writing style and learning to be an active writer outside the workshop setting. Finally, Skeets is thankful to the organizers of the conference for giving him this great opportunity.