Julie Wrinn's blog

Board membership; Katy Yocom's new book

If you are a Kentucky resident looking for ways to positively impact the literary community, you might consider joining our board. Now is the season when we recruit new members, and you can nominate yourself or a friend at this link: https://womenwriters.as.uky.edu/nominate-board-member. Board members are patrons and volunteers who:

Sapphire Heights Opening Night!

November 7, 2019
Dear Friends,
Live theater is the most ancient of arts, and in a world awash with screens, we need more than ever to share time and space with actors and audience for a singular storytelling experience. That’s what you’ll find tonight and through Saturday, Nov. 9, at our world premiere production of Sapphire Heights.

Sqecial Media, Agnes Varda, Nicole Chung's cover design

September 6, 2019
Dear Friends,
Last year we welcomed a new sponsorship from one of my favorite stores in Lexington, Sqecial Media, and we’re grateful for their support again this year. Sqecial Media’s tagline is “books and curiosities," and this 2nd-floor treasure trove at 371 South Limestone does not disappoint: shelves upon shelves of silver jewelry, scarves, mobiles, paper lanterns, artisan greeting cards, candles, incense, soaps, and tobacco accessories.

Jane Alison, Ashlee Clark Thompson, and Alice Speilburg

August 30, 2019
Dear Friends,
You may have noticed Darcey Steinke’s photo quietly disappearing from our website and Facebook page recently, and I’m sorry to say that it’s because she is unable to join us. Due to a back condition that will require surgery, Darcey had to cancel, and we hope to bring her in a future year.

Guest Column by Jan Isenhour

August 21, 2019: a 40th anniversary guest column from former Board chair Jan Isenhour:
They Were Our Rock Stars, But They Were Not Divas:
Behind the Scenes in the Early Years at the Kentucky Women Writers Conference
 I’m not sure you can imagine how important, how revolutionary, the Kentucky Women Writers Conference was to me when it burst into town in 1979, but I’m going to help you try.

40 Years in the Room Where It Happens

In today’s Lexington Herald-Leader, I have a column on how the conference has evolved over four decades and what it has meant to me: https://www.kentucky.com/opinion/op-ed/article234089712.html. Your “click” helps us and helps the newspaper, so please pay it a visit. If you have your own conference memories, why not post them in the comments? It is our shared history!

Toni Morrison & Historical Fiction

The passing of Toni Morrison on August 5 at age 88 probably means millions of readers pulling her books from their shelves to find the underlined passages and re-live the power and beauty of her language. I know I did.

Earlier this week, Democracy Now with Amy Goodman welcomed Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, and Angela Davis to speak on their friend’s passing. That episode is well worth a view on YouTube, and I was especially intrigued to learn about Morrison’s career as a book editor. Many of us have gotten to know Sister Sonia during her visits to Lexington for the series named after her, and it’s gratifying to hear her thoughts on Morrison.

Mariama Lockington & Sapphire Heights auditions

Some of the most eye opening literature on family comes from authors raised in a nontraditional configuration that sheds new light on the meaning of kinfolk. Transracial adoption is one of those configurations, and we’ll hear more about that at KyWomenWriters2019 from our keynote speaker, Nicole Chung, author of the award-winning memoir, All You Can Ever Know.

Antonya Nelson & 4 Tenacious Women

My first introduction to Antonya Nelson was on a New Yorker fiction podcast, that cozy club of New Yorker authors choosing each other’s backlist stories to read and discuss with preternaturally calm editor Deborah Treisman. A chief pleasure of this podcast is how it showcases affinities among writers, and when Lorrie Moore reads Antonya Nelson’s "Naked Ladies," the shared sensibility is evident. Wry tragi-comedies in the domestic sphere, with a mastery of dialogue as revelation of character. If there’s a quintessential New Yorker fiction writer, it’s Antonya Nelson, who has published no fewer than 17 stories there since 1991.

We’re thrilled to bring Antonya Nelson to this year’s conference, where she’ll give a reading and lead a fiction craft talk. It’s one of several sessions underscoring the value of the “$125 general admission without workshop” option. We know that our registrants return to KyWomenWriters year after year, and sometimes they’re not at a place in their work where they want to do a workshop. Craft talks with some generative exercises can get the juices flowing in a lower-key setting than the intensive workshops. Later that day Nicole Chung will also lead a craft talk in nonfiction, and between those two sessions, you’re sure to come away with new tools and directions for your reading and writing.

Alice Speilburg, Jane Friedman, & Gabehart Winners Announced

Paths to publication are markedly different for the three main genres represented at the Kentucky Women Writers Conference. With fiction, you must wait until your work is complete: no agent or editor wants to speculate on an unfinished story. With nonfiction, however, a sample chapter and outline are often enough to earn a publishing contract. With poetry, the readership is smaller, meaning that agents cannot earn a livelihood by selling it, and you must approach editors directly.

For our annual look at what writers need to know about getting published, we are delighted to feature Alice Speilburg giving two talks at KyWomenWriters2019:
--Representationship: Manager, Editor, Therapist -- What To Expect from a Literary Agent, and
--First Page Critiques: How to Write the Opening that Publishing Pros Want to Read