Friday Filler

It’s a great time to be literary in Texas. Events for writers and readers are springing up all over the place- many of them free. So for today’s Friday Filler we’re bringing you batch of upcoming events. Check out as many as you can!

-Amy Rose

Anne Lamott At St. Edward’s University

Anne Lamott is the author of over fifteen books, including the bestsellers Grace (Eventually), Plan B, and the well-loved book of the writing life, Bird by Bird.  On April 9 at 6 p.m., BookPeople and St. Edward’s University bring you an Evening with Anne Lamott. She’ll talk about the art of writing as well as her new novel, Imperfect Birds. To purchase your ticket, call BookPeople (512-472-5050) today or drop by the store to purchase your ticket, which includes a copy of Imperfect Birds. You can also purchase your ticket the day of at St. Edward’s University outside of the Mabee Ballroom starting after 4:30PM. For more info on the event, click here.

Erin Murphy Literary Agency Wine Social at BookPeople

Erin Murphy is a leading U.S. children’s book agent, who will just happen to be in Austin on April 16, alongside some of her best clientele. She will also be joined by agent Ammi-Joan Paquette (and some of her clients.) Stop by BookPeople starting at 3 p.m. to mingle, talk books, and ask questions of Erin and her authors. A unique opportunity for aspiring writers! If you’re attending (or thinking about attending) our YA A to Z Conference, this will also be featured as our offsite event! To check out the amazing lineup for the YA A to Z Conference, click here. For more info and the full list of authors at the social, click here!

See One Writer’s Process Unfold Onstage in “Tennessee Transforming: Endings for Summer and Smoke”

Austin Shakespeare presents “Tennessee Transforming: Endings for Summer and Smoke,” portraying Williams’s struggles to revise the play. Materials from the Center’s Williams archive form the basis of this performance. This event is held in conjunction with the exhibition Becoming Tennessee Williams. Drawing on the Ransom Center’s extensive collection of Tennessee Williams manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and artwork, this centenary exhibition explores the idea, act, and process of artistic creation The show takes place Thursday, April 7, at 7 p.m. at the Harry Ransom Center. Seating is free but limited, so get there early! For more info, click here.

Spring Into Spring with Poetry on the Plaza!

The Harry Ransom Center presents the Poetry on the Plaza event Spring into Spring on Wednesday, April 6, at noon. Readers present poems that celebrate spring, a time of renewal, of optimism, of romance. Readers include University of Texas at Austin Department of English faculty members Tom Cable and Oscar Casarez and Michener Center fellows in poetry Laura Dixon and Carolina Ebeid. Refreshments will be served at this free event. For more info, click here.

Meet Author Nina Godiwalla at BookPeople

On Tuesday, April 5th, the WLT will be hosting a Q & A with author Nina Godiwalla at BookPeople in Austin. Besides being a debut author, Nina is also a native Texan, a former WLT member, and a current WLT board member! Come celebrate the book launch party for this exciting new voice in creative nonfiction. For more info on the event, click here. To learn more about Nina and Suits: A Woman on Wall Street, keep reading!

Suits tells the story of a young woman whose fierce ambition leads her from a small, tightly-knit community to the razor-sharp corporate culture of investment banking.

From Bloomberg Reviews:

“In Suits: A Woman on Wall Street, Nina Godiwalla offers an inside look at the finance industry with an outsider’s perspective. Born in Texas to a Persian-Indian immigrant family, Godiwalla is well-positioned to see the humor and chaos of investment banking.”

The L.A. Times says:

“…the story is told with alarming detail and considerable humility — it’s a tale that will help the reader hone his or her ambition down to a finer, more human point.”

Check Out the Footage of PubCamp@SXSW!


For those of you who couldn’t make it, the first-ever Pubcamp@SXSW Interactive was a huge success! With talks and panels from a wide array of publishing industry professionals, it was an informative and inspiring event. And you can still catch the whole thing- online! Look for a sneak peek of our own WLT Agents Conference Keynote Speaker Jane Friedman. And check out talks from Guy Kawasaki, Scott Dadich, Rick Levine, Sarah Wendell, and more! To watch the footage, click here.

While you’re at it, take a look at these fantastic photos of the event by our very own WLT staffer, Amy Rose Capetta!

Announcing PubCamp@SXSW!

4 – 8 p.m. Friday, March 11

Caffe Medici, 200 Congress Ave

FREE! Complimentary beverages & hors d’oeuvres

Register here (Note: Seating is limited, so sign up today!)

The Writers’ League is pleased to team up with Kirkus Reviews to present a brand-new official SxSW Interactive event: PubCamp@SXSW. We’re inviting authors, typographers, cover designers, printers, technologists, retailers, literary agents, publishers and geeks to consider how technology can transform and perhaps improve on what Johannes Gutenberg created more than 600 years ago. Whether you’re brand new to the world of digital publishing or you’ve already a dabbled in it, come to PubCamp to get your questions answered.

The first hour will be informal discussions with digital publishing experts; this is your chance to pick their brains! Then we’ll hear from Guy Kawasaki, Scott Dadich of Wired, Rick Levine of Conde Nast, and Sara Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

The event is free to non badge-holders, but be sure to register in advance (seating is limited)! For more information, click here. To register, click here.

Inspire Literacy, Promote Your Work with Roadrunner Reads

The Writers’ League of Texas is pleased to spread the word about this terrific book drive organized by Margaret and Adrian Eissler. We hope you’ll consider donating a book to this great cause!

– Sara

J. Frank Dobie Middle School in Austin

Roadrunner Reads is a book drive benefitting J. Frank Dobie Middle School in northeast Austin. We invite central Texas writers to donate extra copies of your works to our school. Any number of books helps! Our website, www.roadrunnerreads.org, will recognize donating writers by linking from your name to any website where our visitors can access your works. With several thousand web visitors expected, we hope to give your marketing efforts a shot in the arm while using your donations to pique our students’ interest in writing. Email adrian@roadrunnerreads.org to arrange a donation and web link.

The Roadrunner Reads book drive is a charitable project organized by Margaret and Adrian Eissler. Margaret teaches 6th grade English at Dobie. Adrian is a staff lawyer at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The problem we address is the disturbing lack of reading materials in the classrooms
and homes of our students. Our teachers typically have sufficient funds for one class set of books, which four or five classes must then share. Students therefore are not able to take books home. Approximately 80% of our students report fewer than four books in their entire home, and nearly half
have never personally owned a book. Libraries are available, of course, but our kids aren’t going!

As one small step toward fostering a culture of literacy, we want to allow our students to keep at least one of the books they study in their English or reading classes. These may be books they study together as a class, or books they choose and read individually. Our website lists several specific titles of which we would like to build class sets, but we also encourage donation of any individual fiction or nonfiction titles between 2nd and 12th grade reading levels.

Our public outreach begins with our appearance on the KXAN (NBC) weekend news at 7:40am on Saturday, February 5th. Then email and networking campaigns get underway and our roadrunner “float” takes to the streets from 4 to 6pm from February 7th to 17th. We estimate that our efforts will net a few thousand visitors to our website. We’d like to extend that publicity to promote the works of central Texas writers. Please send an email to adrian@roadrunnerreads.org to get in on the fun!

– Margaret and Adrian Eissler

Come Lasso Up Some Publishing Savvy!

The Austin SCBWI has been kind enough to offer their discounted price to our members, so we thought we’d share a little bit about this terrific conference for all you kid-lit fans out there!

– Sara

Join the Austin SCBWI at the Books, Boots, and Buckskin Regional Conference February 18th and 19th being held at the historic St. Edwards University. Enjoy panels and lectures on writing and the publishing; admission to two wine and cheese socials with notable award-winning editors, an agent, and esteemed guests; public readings; portfolio display and contest; and more of the very best in the Kid-Lit business. Registration closes on February 10.

Featured Speakers and Presenters:
Arthur Levine – Editor & Author
David Diaz – Illustrator
Emily Van Beek – Literary Agent
Michelle Poploff – Editor
Stephen Roxburgh – Editor
Carolyn Coman – Author
Gregory Pincus – Social Media Expert
Julian Hector – Illustrator
Elizabeth Law – Editor
WLT members can sign up at the SCBWI member rate of $140. Access the following link to register now: http://www.austinscbwi.com/2011-regional-conference/

Gift Wrap Wrap Up

By Elaine Davenport, BWS Chair

Volunteer gift wrappers broke records in 2010. A record number, 67 (compared to 62 in 2009), spent 350+ hours wrapping books and gifts in December 2010, earning $3,309.05 for the Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund of the Writers’ League of Texas. And a record number of volunteers, 11, wrapped three or more shifts.

Sally Baker and Mary Gordon Spence wrapping at Barnes & Noble Sunset Valley.

Terri Schexnayder coordinated the project, scheduling wrappers who worked at four Austin bookstores: BookPeople and Barnes & Noble at Arboretum, Westlake and Sunset Valley.

2010’s special wrapping elves were Ken Loveless and Camille Nerada, who each did five shifts.

Volunteers who wrapped three shifts or more were:  Sally Baker, Ann Cabot, Elaine Davenport, Nancy Eskridge, Jorjanna Price, Beth Sample, Terri Schexnayder, Donna Snyder, and Susan Violante.

Wrapping in area bookstores, which started in 1994, has been the major fundraiser for the scholarships, along with private donations. The money goes to two $1,500 annual awards—one to an undergraduate communications major at a Texas university, and the other to a Texas college student studying writing who is at least 40 years old. For more scholarship information: http://www.writersleague.org/scholarships/index.html

Fred Meredith wrapping at Barnes & Noble Sunset Valley.

Many hours of visiting with other writers and with bookstore customers inevitably produce stories. Here are several:

1) Ann Cabot brought University of Texas student Gihye Shin with her. From South Korea, Ms. Shin is working on a PhD in Civil Engineering. Says Ann: “She is in my life through a program at UT’s international office, which matches international students with local families.” Says Gihye: “I loved helping out and experiencing a new side of the Christmas celebration.”

2) Emily Carter and Stephanie Barko, who were teamed and discovered they lived relatively close to each other, decided to continue the good times by organizing a WLT Hays County group which will meet informally in Dripping Springs. The first meeting is at 2 p.m. January 29. For more information, contact emilycarter@earthlink.net.

3) Pat Saunders remembers the two young ladies who had several items wrapped for their mother: “When they learned that WLT was the sponsor and about Bess’s scholarship fund, they promised to pass the info along to their mom, an unpublished writer.” Continue reading

The Witliff Collections (Feature Post)

By Justin C. Gordon

Perhaps you are one of those people who can put your leg behind your head or revise a novel without ever becoming despondent or you can even do both, but I’m not. Chiseling out a strong paragraph can feel euphoric, but falling off a story’s arc brings a loathsomeness that even a double-no-whip-hot chocolate can’t quickly diffuse. Writers have to stay inspired. The work of writing, not the thinking about it or the selling of it, but the physical work of writing requires concentration, isolation, and hands on keys—or as Vonnegut put it, a man sitting still for decades. Reading other people’s work helps. It’s the gateway drug for many writers, but how to stay motivated during your transition from user to pusher when the final product (book/download/audio file) seems so polished and my desk (flowcharts/napkin-notes/manuscript) is a sloppy mess?

I suggest looking at the sloppy messes of Cormac McCarthy, Sam Shepard, John Graves, Stephen Harrigan, Beverly Lowry, Larry McMurtry, Katherine Anne Porter, and Rick Riordan archived in the Wittliff Collection at Texas State University. Thirty minutes from Austin and located on the seventh floor of the Alkek Library Continue reading

WLT and The Texas Book Festival

Thanks to everyone who stopped at our booth this weekend during the Texas Book Festival! For all those new faces, it was a pleasure getting to meet you, and for all of our members and friends who came by, it was great seeing you again!

This weekend was a huge success, especially for our author members who signed books at the booth and for our two staff members, Cyndi Hughes and Bethany Hegedus, both of whom participated in some panels! The Bookish Brunch also was a hit! Authors H.W. Brands, S.C. Gwynne, Bethany Hegedus, James McGrath Morris, and René Saldaña, Jr. were wonderfully entertaining and the food provided by Frances Townsend, Ted Gilman, and Kerbey Lane Cafe was delicious. Many thanks to BookPeople for selling books at the event as well.

As promised, here are the best of the writing prompts that we featured at our booth this weekend.

  • She passed over a crumpled page that said, “That’s the beginning of the end of my career as a writer.” – Tom Dalton
  • He stood quietly, as if waiting, and I pondered whether to tell him his fly was down. – Jeanna
  • She passed over a crumpled page that said, “Do not fold, spindle or mutilate.” She laughed.  – Caitlin Kinkade
  • He stood quietly, as if waiting, and I was suddenly aware of my sweaty palms; there was an awkward and tense silence that hung in the air like a blade above a guillotine. – Amellia
  • The craft landed in front of me and Larry, the eerie blue glow of its underside illuminated his face where I saw trepidation and excitement at what awaited us.
  • He stood quietly, as if waiting, and I watched as he began to sweat bullets. He realized I knew who he was and what he’d done.
  • I was aware all along of the menace looming behind me, waiting for me, yet I continued onward out of the cave and toward the daylight, determined and sweat soaked. – Caitlin Conran
  • He stood quietly, as if waiting, and I said, “Last year your mother lost her underwear while we were crossing the Fort Sam Quadrangle, and if you think I’m taking her to another Veteran’s Day parade, you’re crazy.” – Kathy Waller
  • I was aware all along of how unaware I was. – Kari Rosenfeld
  • I was aware all along of the passing absurdity of writing prompts. – Ken Jones

–Ashley

Join WLT and Four Authors Tomorrow for Literary Lone Stars!


Tomorrow, WLT will celebrate Texas’s rich literary heritage at our Literary Lone Stars event! Join us for readings and book signings by authors Doug Dorst, Joe R. Lansdale, John Phillip Santos, and Karen Valby. Music by singer/songwriter Andrew Stone will round out the evening. We will also be announcing the winner of the WLT’s 2010 Mozelle Memoir Contest! Click on the authors’ pictures to find out more about each author.

6:30-9 PM Thursday, September 16
Mercury Hall
615 Cardinal Lane, Austin 78704

$10 WLT Members ($15 nonmembers) in advance
$20 for all at the door

Book sales courtesy of BookPeople.

Purchase tickets online now!
Advance sales will close Thursday at noon.