New Leaves Conference, April 7-11

New Leaves Conference, April 7-11

The week-long series of events for writers is, like much at Mason, ever-growing.

This year’s series features three visitors who will conduct workshops for current students, a visit by the writer Dinaw Mengetsu whose book is the subject of a text-and-community program this semester, an afternoon of panels and discussions about publishing, readings by two of our creative writing faculty who have new books out, and the cap-off event—a LoudFire reading by current MFA students followed by a reception, also at the Mason Inn. It’s all April 7- 11 on the campus.

Rebecca Dunham, an alum of the Mason MFA poetry program, kicks off the week with a workshop and then a reading from her work at 7:30 on Monday, April 7, in the Johnson Center, Room D. The author of two books of poetry, Dunham currently teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

On Tuesday, Dinaw Mengestu talks about his novel The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, the subject of a spring text-and-community program at Mason, and he also will read from his newest work, the novel All Our Names. The event is at 6 in the Grand Tier of the Concert Hall. Mengestu, who was born in Ethopia, is noted for his fictions that re-create the experiences of the African diaspora. The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears was selected because it portrays those themes well, and it is set in Washington, D,C., in and around the Logan Circle neighborhood, giving a specific locale knowable to Mason students in addition to the broader themes his work raises.

On Wednesday, the novelist and memoirist Mary Gordon visits for a workshop with nonfiction students and then she will read from her work at 7:30 in the Johnson Center, Room D. Her memoir is Circling My Mother: A Memoir,  published in 2007. She currently teaches at Barnard College.

Thursday, fiction writer Kyle Minor comes to Mason for a workshop with graduate students and then he will read from his new book, Praying Drunk, at 7:30 in the Johnson Center, Room F. The book is Minor’s second and weaves together a series of connected narratives that range broadly and even include social and political issues confronting the island nation of Haiti.

Friday begins with a conversation with literary agent Jeff Kleinman at 11 in the English Department conference room so that students and alums can explore the current situation in literary representation. At 1, a panel of recently published writers will discuss their varied experiences in getting their work published. They include Kyle Minor; MFA fiction alum Amanda Duffy, whose first novel is due out in April; MFA poetry alum Alyse Knorr, whose first book appeared in 2013; and Mason undergrad alum Paul Laudiero, who is publishing his first novel through Tumblr. The panel will be in Research 1, Room 163.

At 2:30 on Friday, in Research 1, Room 165, noted literary publicist and consultant Lauren Cerand will discuss the current efforts to reach a wider reading audience by authors and their publishers, including web sites, emails, and various social media. At 4, members of the Mason community who are starting a new press will discuss the work they are doing and how they envision the new venture, which will offer Mason’s students the chance to work in the publications business even as they earn their degrees in creative writing.

At 4:30, faculty members Alan Cheuse and Eric Pankey will read from their newest books. The event is in the Research Building, Room 163.

Events move to the Mason Inn for the LoudFire reading starting at 6, followed by a closing reception at 7.

All events are open to alumni, and all are invited to attend.