Pruyn wins; Marston publishes; Bartlett reads

Three more great bits of news from Peauxdunque. Foremost, peaux-et Cassie Pruyn has had her poem, “Traveler’s Monologue,” selected as one of only fourteen poems in the 2016 Best of the Net! “Traveler’s Monologue” originally appeared in Issue 5 of Border Crossing. Many congratulations to Cassie.

Next, J.Ed. Marston had his flash fiction piece, “His Face in the Light,” accepted for publication by the great Bayou literary magazine. This is J.Ed.’s print fiction debut, and it’s a wonderful piece; we’re looking forward to publication, which you can keep up with on our Facebook page.

Finally, Tad Bartlett will be one of two featured writers reading from their work in the Monday Nights anthology, along with Casey Lefante, this Thursday, February 9, at the main branch of the Jefferson Parish Public Library (4747 West Napoleon Avenue, Metairie). The reading will start at 7 p.m., featuring introductory comments by anthology editors Rick Barton and Joanna Leake, as well as appearances by other contributors to the anthology. Monday Nights will be available for sale.

J.Ed. (top left), Cassie (second row, left), and Tad (bottom row, middle), at the 2015 Peauxdunque Writers' Camp.

J.Ed. (top left), Cassie (second row, left), and Tad (bottom row, middle), at the 2015 Peauxdunque Writers’ Camp.

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Peauxdunque on the 2016 Faulkner-Wisdom lists

Continuing a growing tradition of Peauxdunquians winning and placing in the various categories of the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition (administered by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society), 2016 sees another slew of folks from Peauxdunque placing in the competition. Seven different Peauxdunquians placed nine pieces in three of the competition categories!

  • In the novel category, Emily Capdeville was on the short list for her novel, Where Ground Gives Way to Water. Emily won the gold medal in the novel-in-progress category last year for her manuscript, Search a Dark and Empty Space. Also in the novel category, Susan Kagan’s novel, Ruxandra: Granddaughter of Vlad the Impaler, placed as a semi-finalist.
  • In the short story category, Hayley Lynch‘s story “Horsewomen” was named a finalist, as well as “The New World” by Liz Gruder and “Way Station” by Susan Kagan.
  • In the novel-in-progress category, Hayley Lynch was on the short list with her manuscript, Hunter’s Moon; and Alex Johnson was also on the short list, with Skylakes Fall. J.Ed. Marston placed as a finalist with his manuscript, Dispossession. Sabrina Canfield made the list of semi-finalists, with To the Place Where They Go.

Peauxdunque with Literati Glitterati

This week is filled with events where Peauxdunquians read with, mingle with, and interview some of the leading lights of literature.

The events start tonight at Garden District Book Shop, as Maurice Carlos Ruffin and Emilie Staat read from their contributions to the Scars anthology, joined by editor Erin Wood. The anthology is newly released by Et Alia Press. Maurice, Emilie, and Erin will be reading from 5:30 to 6:30, at 2727 Prytania Street.

On Thursday, October 29, Peauxdunque leads a reading of new works at the Words & Music Conference at the Hotel Monteleone (200-block of Royal Street) at 4:45 p.m. Maurice will be joined by Terri Shrum, Tad Bartlett, J.Ed. Marston, and Zach Bartlett, who are on the bill with 2015 Kirkus Award nominee Harrison Scott Key, writer and documentarian Ellen Ann Fentress, and Faulkner-Wisdom competition gold medalist Emily Capdeville and short-lister Alex Johnson. The reading will take place in Royal Suites C & D.

On Saturday, October 31, the events head up to the Louisiana Book Festival on the state capitol grounds in Baton Rouge. At 11 a.m. in the House Chamber, Maurice Carlos Ruffin will moderate a presentation by 2015 National Book Award Long-Lister T. Geronimo Johnson, and his book, Welcome to Braggsville. At 1:15 p.m. in Senate Committee Room A, Emilie Staat will interview 2015 Booklist Top-Ten (and New York Times Best-Seller) author M.O. Walsh regarding his book, My Sunshine Away. At 2:15 in the same room, Emilie will interview Jami Attenberg, author of Saint Mazie: A Novel.

A great week and weekend for writing and for books. Come join us!

Upcoming Peauxdunque publications, and competition placings

As usual, Peauxdunque’s been a busy place, with plenty new publication and competition news.

Some excellent upcoming publications are in line already for 2016!

Check out our Facebook page for links to Peauxdunque work as it appears.

In addition, Peauxdunque again placed highly in the various categories of the 2015 William Faulkner-William Wisdom writing competition, put on by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society in conjunction with its annual Words & Music Conference. Tad Bartlett and J.Ed. Marston‘s collaborative novel, The Truth Project, made the Short List for the prize in the novel category; Tad‘s novella, “Marchers’ Season,” was on the Short List for the prize in the novella category; J.Ed.‘s stories, “Search for Missing Girl Continues” and “Saying No,” were a Finalist and a Semi-Finalist, respectively, in the short story category; and J.Ed.‘s poem, “Ulysses on the Stoop,” was a Finalist in the poetry category.

Look out for news regarding Peauxdunquian readings during this year’s Words & Music Conference, October 29-November 1.

Peauxdunquians reading at Words and Music

On Thursday this week, November 20, the annual Words & Music Conference kicks off at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, featuring a number of award-winning writers, as well as a strong cast of editors and agents. Also, at the 3:45 session on Thursday, several Peauxdunque writers have been selected to join in a reading of new works.

Amy Conner, author of the new novel, The Right Thing, will be mistress of ceremonies for the event. Among those invited to read are Maurice Carlos Ruffin, winner of the Faulkner Society’s 2014 gold medal for Novel-in-Progress for All of the Lights, Kay Sloan, the 2014 winner of the Novella gold medal for Give Me You, and the winner of the Short Story gold medal, N. West Moss, for Omeer’s Mangoes, who was also a runner-up in the Novel-in-Progress category, who will be reading excerpts from their winning work. Others invited to read are Terri Stoor, a previous short story gold medal winner, and Andy Young, a previous gold medal winner for poetry, who has a spectacular new collection out, All Day It Is Morning. Competition finalists Tad Bartlett, J. Ed Marston, and Emily Choate, will also be reading, along with Mary Helen Lagasse, prizewinning author of The Fifth Sun, who will read from her new book, Navel of the Moon, scheduled for 2015 release. Event is included in writers and sponsors packages. There will be a cash bar.

2014 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition: Ruffin gets gold medal, Choate places, and other Peauxdunque finalists

The final results in all categories of the 2014 William Faulkner-William Wisdom writing competition (run in conjunction with the excellent Words and Music writers’ conference) have been announced, and Peauxdunque is proud to be the home of a new gold medalist: Maurice Carlos Ruffin has won the gold medal in the novel-in-progress category for his work, All of the Lights! (Peauxdunque’s previous gold medalists areTerri Shrum Stoor in the short story category in 2011, and Emilie Staat in the essay category in 2012). Of All of the Lights, category final judge M.O. Walsh observed:

All of the Lights is more than a novel in progress. It is an absolute gift. The story of a black lawyer in an all-white firm, battling personal demons and marital challenges, racism and the complications of ambition, this is a novel with every level of conflict you could ask for: internal, external, familial, racial, social, immediate, and looming. Yet, in spite of this, All of the Lights also manages to be quickly paced and funny. It feels heartfelt and true because the author is the real deal and his characters—BL, Penny, and Nigel—are the benefactors of his skill. So, of course, are we. This is a novel to fly through once for pleasure and then return to savor the little things you may have missed; all the gems scattered about in the author’s clear prose and insight. Ruffin seems to know what makes us human, what makes us interesting, and a book like All of the Lights, the promise of it, is the reason I read. I’ll be shocked if we don’t see this one on bookshelves soon.

Competition coordinator Rosemary James added that, in the novel-in-progress category, “All preliminary round judges selected one entry as the standout, as their first choice. … [A]ll of them sent back words to the effect: ‘All of the Lights is the clear winner.'”

Maurice also won second place in the essay category, with his essay, “A History in Motion.” Final round judge Jane Satterfield wrote, “The vivid and resonant prose of A History in Motion reveals a writer’s fierce ambition to survive and transcend a parent’s suffering, as well as heartfelt tenderness and hope despite the disquieting signs surrounding him.” The essay is already slated for publication in an upcoming Cicada magazine.

In the short story category, Peauxdunquian Emily Choate won third place for her story, “Sky Fire Shrine Machine”! Final round judge Patrick Samway commented:

This story dramatically relates how Nadine comes to terms with the previous amorous relationships of her co-worker Brant, as they sell fireworks whose names provide a wonderful description of their increasingly tense relationship: Incoming!, Napalm Rampage, Exploding Night Arsenal, and Last Chance. Such explosive pyrotechnic devices provide a wonderful comment on the structure of this story.

Other Peauxdunque finalists in the short story category were Tad Bartlett for his story, “Flock Apart,” and Maurice, with his story, “The Boy Who Would Be Oloye.” Emily‘s story, “Eufala,” was on the short list for finalists in the category, along with Tad‘s story, “Superpowerless.”

In the novel category, Peauxdunque’s J.Ed. Marston and Tad Bartlett were finalists with their collaborative novel, The Truth Project.

J.Ed. was also a finalist in the poetry category, for his piece, “Saturday Stops.” Peauxdunque’s Cassie Pruyn, the second-runner-up in the category in 2013, had another finalist poem this year with her piece, “Lost Love Lounge.”

The announcement with full results is here: 2014_Winners

The Writing Process Blog Tour: J.Ed. Marston

The next stop on the Peauxdunque leg of the Writing Process Blog Tour is J.Ed. Marston:

What am I working on right now?

I’m finalizing a coming of age short story that uses technology as a trope for exploring the question of identity. Man, that sounds pompous, but the conceit of the story is kind of complicated, and I’d rather let the story stand for itself rather than trying to describe.

How does the work differ from others in its genre?

Genre is always a difficult question for me. I’ve had more than one experience in which I wrote something and then struggled when asked how it should be categorized. In critiquing an earlier version of the aforementioned short story, Sean Ennis, who was leading a workshop I attended, called it science fiction. I was surprised because the story is set in the present and involves events that could be happening as we speak.

If the story is science fiction, I would say it differs primarily in attempting to use technology to delineate character rather than deploying characters to illustrate something about technology or society.

Why do I write what you do?

I’m fascinated by how we use stories to give meaning to our real-life experiences. This is more fundamental than what writers attempt to create for readers. For good and ill, we all tell ourselves stories all day long, sometimes to motivate ourselves to do something constructive, sometimes to justify ourselves, sometimes as a distraction or to relieve boredom, sometimes as a way of understanding why reality diverged from our expectations, and sometimes for other reasons too plentiful to categorize.

My ambition as a writer is employ my own impulse to tell stories to enact the things that bother me and make me wonder in a way that will capture other people’s imagination.

How does your writing process work?

By fits and starts. There’s a lot of pondering and futzing around. I always think I can come up with a story in the abstract, and then write it. In reality, my work usually starts with a sentence that begs another. I’ve found that my starter sentence will come whenever I spend time on the page (even though it likely won’t be the first one I write). Once that sentence snares my imagination, the process becomes a matter of problem-solving. What sentence would come next? What kind of character would say that? Etc.

I also find that self-imposed constraints help me find the story. When I think, “I could write something about anybody doing anything in any place at any time,” I freeze. But, when I make myself narrow the focus, the words start flowing.