Why There Are Words has been accepted as a panel at the AWP 2013 Annual Conference in Boston this year, March 6-9. AWP’s is the largest literary conference in North America. The panel will showcase Boston area writers Christopher Castellani, Tracy Winn, Pablo Medina, and Joan Wickersham.
March 8, 2013
10:30 – 11:45 am
Room 302/304, Hynes Convention Center
Christopher Castellani is the son of Italian immigrants and a native of Wilmington, Delaware. He resides in Boston, where he is the artistic director of Grub Street, one of the country’s leading non-profit creative writing centers. He is the author of three novels: All This Talk of Love (Algonquin, 2013) A Kiss from Maddalena (Algonquin Books, 2003)—winner of the Massachusetts Book Award in 2004—and The Saint of Lost Things (Algonquin Books, 2005), a BookSense (IndieBound) Notable Book that was long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2006. In addition to his work with Grub Street, Castellani is on the faculty of the Warren Wilson MFA program and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. He was educated at Swarthmore College, received his Masters in English Literature from Tufts University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Boston University.
Pablo Medina is the author of 13 books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and translation, among them the novel Cubop City Blues (Grove, 2012), the poetry collection The Man Who Wrote on Water (Hanging Loose, 2011), and, with Mark Statman, a translation of García Lorca’s Poet in New York (Grove, 2009). Medina’s work has appeared in several languages, among them Spanish, French, German, and Arabic, and in periodicals and magazines throughout the world. He was a member of the AWP board of directors from 2002-2007, serving as president from 2005 – 2006. Winner of numerous awards, among them grants from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim foundations, the Oscar B. Cintas Foundation, the state arts councils of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the NEA, the Lila-Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund, and others, Medina is currently professor in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College in Boston.
Joan Wickersham’s most recent book, The News from Spain: Seven Variations on a Love Story (Knopf) was named one of 2012’s best fiction picks by Kirkus Reviews and The San Francisco Chronicle and was selected as an Oprah.com Book of the Week. Her memoir The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death in Order (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) was a 2008 National Book Award Finalist, a recipient of the Ken Book Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and an ALA Notable Book, as well as appearing on “best books of the year” lists including The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, Salon, and The Washington Post. She is also the author of a novel, The Paper Anniversary, and her fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and many other publications. Wickersham writes a regular op-ed column for The Boston Globe and her pieces often appear in The International Herald Tribune. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times and on National Public Radio. She has been awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony.
Until Tracy Winn traveled to the Bay Area last year to read at WTAW, where all is copacetic, she didn’t realize living most of her life in the Boston area was idiotic. Growing up in Cambridge in the sixties and seventies influenced her politics. Harvard, where the students were occupying against the war in Viet Nam, was a look-no-hands bike ride away. Her heroes have always been poets and writers. To her left lived Adrienne Rich. The house to her right was Robert Frost’s. She went to Wesleyan University as an undergraduate to study with Richard Wilbur. For several years afterward, she wrote bad poems, supporting herself as a teacher. Along the way, she acquired a M.Ed. from Lesley University, and taught about a thousand six year olds to read. Her father once introduced her at the Faculty Club as a Robert Boswell wannabe. She attended the Bread Loaf School of English where David Huddle’s fiction writing class gave her license to blend imagination and memory. Ten years ago, Warren Wilson’s MFA program for writers shaped her skills. Since then SMU Press and Random House have legitimized her stories with the publication of Mrs. Somebody Somebody. She has been a fellow in fiction for the Massachusetts Arts Council, the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, and the MacDowell and Millay Colonies. Mrs. Somebody Somebody was recognized as a finalist for the John Gardner Book Award, the Julia Ward Howe Award, and the Massachusetts Book Award. Tracy Winn still lives in the Boston area, fool she, and is working on a collection of short stories set in the even colder state of Vermont, as well as a novel set in the hill towns of Massachusetts and the Alps.