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CityLit Festival presents ReThinking How We Do Story

March 20, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm


ReThinking How We Do Story: Real Talk About Craft and the Changing/Unchanging Landscape of Writing & Publishing

A 90-minute craft intensive about the changing dynamics of craft as we’ve been taught – from structure to plot to point of view. Learn from authors who dare you to revisit the elements of fiction; to unlearn and relearn how to reimagine the story you mean to tell. What does it mean to boldly examine your own work which may exist outside of the cultural norms, and who does that norm serve anyway? The year 2020 may have further exposed racial inequities and upended our sense of normalcy but it also cast a closer look at who gets to tell and own the story.  Tune in to a conversation that will awaken and challenge you. This session includes the changing/unchanging landscape of the publishing industry, what it means for people not readily represented in the profession, and how to prepare a manuscript so it gets ‘seen’. Panelists include Jennifer Baker, Matthew Salesses, Felicia Rose Chavez, and Courtney Maum with Susan Muaddi Darraj moderating.


This is the only Zoom Webinar link needed to access sessions throughout the Festival day, March 20, 2021, from 10:00 am – 5:30 pm EST.

Please click the link below to join the CityLit Festival webinar:
Passcode: 119011

Or iPhone one-tap :
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Webinar ID: 979 9034 5929
Passcode: 119011
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COURTNEY MAUM is the author of the novels Costalegre (a GOOP book club pick and one of Glamour Magazine’s top books of the decade), I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You and Touch (a New York Times Editor’s Choice and NPR Best Book of the Year selection), the popular guidebook Before and After the Book Deal: A writer’s guide to finishing, publishing, promoting, and surviving your first book, and the forthcoming memoir, The Year of the Horses. A nominee for the Joyce Carol Oates Prize, Courtney’s writing has been widely published in such outlets as the New York Times, and O, the Oprah Magazine, and her short story This is Not Your Fault was turned into an Audible Original at Amazon. Courtney is the founder of the collaborative retreat program, The Cabins and she has a creativity advice newsletter.

JENNIFER BAKER is a publishing professional of almost 20 years, creator/host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, and faculty member of the MFA program in creative nonfiction at Bay Path University. In 2019, she was named Publishers Weekly Superstar for her contributions to inclusion and representation in publishing. Jennifer is also the editor of the BIPOC-short story anthology Everyday People: The Color of Life (Atria Books, 2018) and the author of the forthcoming novel Forgive Me Not (Putnam BFYR, 2022). Her fiction, nonfiction, and criticism has appeared in various print and online publications.

MATTHEW SALESSES is the author of three novels, Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear, The Hundred-Year Flood, and I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying, and a forthcoming essay collection. He was adopted from Korea and currently lives in Iowa.
Twitter: @salesses  |  Instagram: @m.salesses

FELICIA ROSE CHAVEZ is an award-winning educator with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Iowa. She is co-editor of The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT and author of The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom, named a “Best Book for Writers” by Poets & Writers. Felicia’s teaching career began in Chicago, where she served as Program Director to Young Chicago Authors. She went on to teach writing at the University of New Mexico, where she was distinguished as the Most Innovative Instructor of the Year, the University of Iowa, where she was distinguished as the Outstanding Instructor of the Year, and Colorado College, where she received the Theodore Roosevelt Collins Outstanding Faculty Award. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, she currently serves as Creativity and Innovation Scholar-in-Residence at Colorado College.


SUSAN MUADDI DARRAJ’s short story collection, A Curious Land: Stories from Home, was named the winner of the AWP Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction, judged by Jaime Manrique. It also won the 2016 Arab American Book Award, a 2016 American Book Award, and was shortlisted for a Palestine Book Award. Her previous short story collection, The Inheritance of Exile, was published in 2007 by University of Notre Dame Press. In 2018, she was named a Ford Fellow by USA Artists. Susan also is a two-time recipient of an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council. She has also been awarded a Ruby’s Artist Grant from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and a grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation. In 2019, she launched the viral #TweetYourThobe social media campaign to promote Palestinian culture. In January 2020, Capstone Books launched her debut children’s chapter book series, Farah Rocks, about a smart, brave Palestinian American girl named Farah Hajjar.


CityLit in partnership with Enoch Pratt Free Library presents CityLit Festival: Reimagined. This virtual celebration of the arts showcases a bevy of leading poets and writers throughout March, including a special event each week with day-long sessions on March 20th. We’re talking fiction, nonfiction, poetry galore, and ways to up the ante on your craft.

Download the CityLit Festival: Reimagined flyer.


March 20, 2021
11:00 am - 12:30 pm