DePaul MAWP at the AWP Conference

Ten thousand people are registered for the sold-out Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference this weekend right here in Chicago. If you’re lucky enough to count yourself among them, stop by the DePaul Masters in Writing and Publishing Program table at the book fair to say hi! It’ll be located in the lower level of the Chicago Hilton, Southeast Hall, N-19. Current MAWP students will be staffing the table to talk to prospective students and other interested folks about what makes our program so special. Of course, we will be more than happy to chat with current students and alums as well!

Also, be sure to check out these great AWP DePaul Faculty Events happening along with the conference. Don’t worry, plenty of them are free and open to the public even if you aren’t registered for the conference!

Thursday, March 1

12-1:15 pm: Miles Harvey: The Scions of Studs Terkel: Creative Writers as Oral Historians. State Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor

**6-8pm: DePaul Co-Sponsored Party. Roosevelt University’s Auditorium Building. 430 S. Michigan Avenue.

**7pm Hannah Pittard: Reading at Anderson’s Bookstore in Naperville as part of Ecco’s AWP Evening. 7pm.

**7:30-8:30pm: Susan Harris: Words without Borders Presents Bei Dao and Eliot Weinberger. Reading, Q & A, Signing. DePaul Loop Campus Bookstore

** Free and open to the public

Friday, March 2

9:00-10:15am: Amina Gautier: Behind the Book: Debut Authors Reveal the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Continental B, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level.

Susan Harris: Words Without Borders: International Writing in the Workshop. Lake Michigan, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor.

12:00-1:15pm: Miles Harvey: Why We Need a WPA for the 21st Century. Wabash Room, Palmer House Hilton, 3rd Floor.

1:30-2:45pm Michele Morano: Between Song and Story: A Reading from the New Autumn House Nonfiction Anthology. Wabash Room, Palmer House Hilton, 3rd Floor.

Saturday, March 3

10:30-11:45am: Christine Sneed: Preparing Short-Story Manuscripts for Contests and Publication. Continental A, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level.

1:30-2:45pm: Susan Harris: War Is Not Lost in Translation.

4:30-5:45pm: Amina Gautier: Home Sweet Home: Short Story Collections and Small Presses. Lake Erie, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor.

Off-site Events Sponsored by Kathleen Rooney’s Rose Metal Press:

  • Wednesday, February 29. Loren Erdrich and Sierra Nelson reading from Take Back the Sponge Cake and Tiff Holland reading from Betty Superman in an AWP Conference off-site reading at 9:00 pm. With co-readers from Hopewell, Lowbrow, and Paper Darts. Free and open to the public. Weeds Tavern. 1555 N. Dayton St. Chicago, IL
  • Thursday, March 1. John Jodzio and Sean Lovelace reading from They Could No Longer Contain Themselves in an AWP Conference off-site reading at 7:00 pm. With co-readers from Bateau Press, Slope Editions, Interrupture, Versal, and Burnside Review. Free and open to the public. Simone’s Bar (private area called The Lab) 960 W. 18th St. Chicago, IL 60608
  • Saturday, March 3. Loren Erdrich and Sierra Nelson reading from Take Back the Sponge Cake and Adam Golaski reading from Color Plates in an AWP Conference off-site reading at 7:00 pm. With co-readers from Big Lucks, Gigantic Sequins, Knee-Jerk, and Magic Helicopter. Free and open to the public. The Beauty Bar. 1444 W. Chicago Ave Chicago, IL

Call for Papers, Childhood Horror Stories, Almost Alumni Fair, and More

Call for Student Papers- Conference: Popular Uprisings in Times of Crisis

The International Studies Programs at DePaul University & University of Illinois at Chicago invite graduate and undergraduate students to submit a one page research paper proposal for the 2012 annual student conference to be held on April 18th.

The theme of this year’s conference is Popular Movements in Times of Crisis. We live in a time of crisis, whether we look at global and national economies, the environment, increasingly fragile and intolerant political orders, contentious ideologies, or mounting anger at systemic inequalities. This conference aims to reignite debate over the causes of crises (perceived or actual) and popular responses to them.

Areas of Inquiry

  • The kinds of popular mobilizations that occur in response to crises, both historical and contemporary.
  • Alliances that develop between groups in national or international contexts to reconfigure power relations (including reformist, revolutionary, conservative, and counter-revolutionary movements).
  • Imagining different worlds, utopias, and histories of struggles to make possible alternative politics and social arrangements.
  • Debates over forms of governance, the causes and nature of equality and inequality, and questions of citizenship in times of crisis

See guidelines for writing a proposal on the INT website. Applicants selected to present at the April Conference will be notified by March 16th, 2012. Conference presentations will be 20 minute talks based on a developed research paper. The best conference presentations will win cash prizes and receive a certificate of recognition. Email with questions.

Email abstracts to Susan Dirr,, by 5pm on Friday March 9, 2012.


Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honors Society, would like to host a creative writing/English department event during the Spring quarter that they’re calling “Mortified: Horror Stories from Childhood.” The idea of the event is an open mic reading where each participant will get 5-10 minutes to either to read a piece from your childhood diary that is funny/filled with angst/etc. while adding extra narration, or to read an original creative non-fiction piece about your embarrassing childhood moments. The point is to have a little fun and be a little theatrical, giving everyone the opportunity to practice reading their creative pieces in front of a crowd– and for the audience to get a good laugh.

In order to best plan the event, Sigma Tau Delta needs a few more people who are interested in participating to express their interest. To do so, please email Reese Stanford at Reese would also like to hear what evenings most people would be available to participate in an event like this during the Spring quarter.


Grad students, are you graduating in the Spring? If you are applying to graduate this year, especially if you plan to attend your commencement ceremony in June, please plan to attend the 2012 Almost Alumni Fair on March 7th at the  Lincoln Park Campus Student Center Atrium and March 8th at the Loop Campus DePaul Center Concourse from 10am to 6pm both days.

The fair provides information about the upcoming ceremonies and you can order announcements, class rings and gifts. There will be representatives on-hand from area hotels, college offices and others. GradImages will be there and you can dress up in the same regalia you will wear on commencement day and have your picture taken and surprise your family even before the event! They will also take shots of you in business attire if you wish for your resume.

Representatives from many college offices will be there to answer questions, as will Academic Administration, Alumni Relations, Student Affairs and DePaul Central. Other activities include:

  • Get up-to-date info on Commencement Weekend 2012
  • Be photographed in cap and gown or business attire for your resume
  • Order the official DePaul University class ring
  • Shop for graduation announcements and gifts
  • Meet vendor representatives
  • Meet DePaul Alumni Relations staff
  • Financial Awareness/Planning

No registration required. See you there! If you would like a post card with this information as a reminder, they are available in the Student Resource Room on the second floor of Arts & Letters Hall.


Speaking of postcards in the Student Resource Room, there are lots of informational materials available posted on and near the front cork board for both browsing and taking home. If you have not visited the Student Resource Room recently and are interested in teaching English abroad, summer writing programs, MFA and PhD programs, law school, library school, or other summer and post-grad opportunities, stop by to browse flyers and handouts from Bennington College, Writers in the Heartland, Pine Manor College, the New School Summer Writers Colony, Indiana University, Skidmore University, NYU, the Marco Institute, Ciee, and more programs we’re constantly adding. It’s like Ex Libris in paper form!

For more information on the student resource room and how to use or reserve it, check out this post.


And finally, just a reminder that TOMORROW, February 29th, is Dagoberto Gilb’s reading at the DePaul Library at 6p.m. Don’t miss this great reading and reception for Gilb’s latest book.

Dagoberto Gilb at DePaul and More

Acclaimed fiction writer Dagoberto Gilb will be reading at DePaul next WEDNESDAY, February 29th. The event–co-sponsored by the Department of English and the Center for Latino Research–will take place at 6 p.m. in room 115 of the library, a lovely new reading space on the main floor.

Gilb is the author of The Flowers, Gritos, Woodcuts of Women, The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña and The Magic Blood, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award. He wrote his new collection of stories, Before the End, After the Beginning, in the months following a stroke Gilb suffered at his home in Austin, Texas, in 2009. The result is a powerful and triumphant collection that tackles common themes of mortality and identity. A sampling of praise for the book:

“Stark, realistic, and told in mostly gritty matter-of-fact prose . . . Gilb portrays his characters simply and powerfully, without apology; even his unnamed characters represent the plight of not only every working-class Mexicano but Everyman.” —Boston Globe

“Dagoberto Gilb’s mission in Before The End, After the Beginning is not to dazzle and amaze, but to implode myths and misconceptions, to expose us to forgotten and subterranean characters in constant transition and exile; characters inured to injury and pain, heartbreak and woe—yet who never jettison hope for a better life, nor a future uncertain, yet still very much possible. These Chicano dreamers are lovelorn and love-tossed, broken-yet-healing, but most of all, on the road to recovery from an America that shuts its eyes and ears at their very existence. Gilb shows us that every man, woman and child is a citizen of hope, succors the birthright of love and freedom in their hearts, and sin fronteras, can, and will, emerge victorious. Make no mistake about it, by the end of Before The End, After the Beginning, you will be dazzled. And amazed.”—ZZ Packer


Several DePaul English Graduate students have gotten the chance to share their work on the radio via Radio DePaul’s Student Writers Series. If you’ve enjoyed this or any other Radio DePaul program, consider voting for Radio DePaul in the annual MTV Woodie Award for Best College Radio Station. Radio DePaul has already made it into the top 25, so all you have to do is click over to and click one more time to cast your vote! This round of voting ends Monday, February 27th.


The Summer Literary Seminars writing contest has extended its deadline. By popular demand and due to multiple requests from those attending the AWP Conference in Chicago, they have decided to extend the contest deadline to March 6th, 2012. Look for Summer Literary Seminars at their table at the AWP book fair.


And finally, it has just been announced that acclaimed Iraqi author Mahmoud Saeed, a writer in residence at DePaul will be teaching a literature course this Spring quarter. In MOL 309-301: The Novelist’s World, atudents will study his own works, in English. The class will be held at the Lincoln Park Campus T/TH 4:20-5:50pm. If you are interested in obtaining special permission to enroll in this unique class, please see your program director for more information.

One Extended Deadline and Two New Calls for Submissions

The deadline for the Old Dominion University Norton Girault Literary Prize 2012 has been extended to March 9th, 2012!  Complete details and guidelines can be found here:, but the main facts are:

  • This year’s competition is in fiction
  • Send your best story of up to 25 pages
  • Cost is $25 per entry
  • Entries will be judged by author Cristina Garcia
  • Winning entry gets $1000 and will be published in the ODU M.F.A. Creative Writing program literary journal Barely South Review

See guidelines at the link above to submit online or through the mail, or come see ODU and the Barely South Review at AWP in Chicago this year, drop off your entry in person, and chat with staff about the journal and your possible future appearance in it!  You can find them at M19 at the bookfair.


The next round of Glimmer Train‘s SHORT STORY AWARD for NEW WRITERS is accepting submissions now, and the deadline is February 29th, 2012.

Prizes include:

  • 1st place prize has been increased to $1,500 and, of course, includes publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies
  • 2nd-place: $500 and possible publication.
  • 3rd-place: $300 and possible publication.

Other considerations: Open only to writers whose fiction has not appeared in any print publication with a circulation over 5,000. (Entries, of course, must not have appeared in any print publication.)

Word count: Most submissions run 1,500 to 6,000 words, but can go up to 12,000.

Reading fee is $15 per story.

Results post on April 30th. Winning story will be published in Issue 87. Visit for details.


Chicago Theatre Off Book is looking for short submissions from budding playwrights and screenwriters. Off Book is a weekly radio podcast; the show’s format features a review roundup, an interview with a small theatre company and an interview with a large theatre company.  Off Book breaks up the three segments with two one-minute audio plays serving as commercials. This “Got A Minute?” feature is an opportunity for local playwrights to get their work produced. You can listen to a special edition that featured back to back “Got A Minute?” features on their website.

Currently, Off Book is not able to offer financial compensation but they do provide a writer’s credit, and hope that this opportunity to have work produced will entice students to submit potential one minute plays to their show.

Lessons from Chicago Women in Publishing: Guest Post by Rhiannon Falzone

Last week, a few lucky women from the MAWP program got to attend an event offered by Chicago Women in Publishing. Among them was Rhiannon Falzone, who was generous enough to write about what she learned at the event and share it with the rest of us in a very detailed guest post. You can read more of Rhiannon’s writing at any time at her personal blog, Thanks, Rhiannon!


Chicago Women in Publishing (CWIP) is a nonprofit volunteer organization that began in 1972. This organization exists for non-professional editors and writers and individuals currently working in the writing and publishing industries.

On Wednesday, February 15, along with two other students from the MAWP program, I attended an event, The Freelance Edge: The Thrill of the Hunt: Finding and Retaining Great Clients. Over the course of two hours, I heard from experts on freelance writing and editing, business coaching, time management, and pricing management, giving the attendees tips on the best ways to efficiently market themselves.

The keynote speaker was Vickie Austin, a public speaker, business coach, career coach, and writer living in Chicago. There is a reason this woman makes a living from public speaking and coaching people on pursuing their passions; she commanded the room. The first thing she did was physically move the table at the front of the room. “Own the room!” she shouted.

Walking up and down the aisle in a room of forty-fifty people, 99% of them women, she advised all of us to, “Have a plan. You are in business and any good business has a written business plan for 3-5 years in the future.” She spoke of the actual physical endorphin rush one can get when accomplishing tasks on to-do lists; this is something that made me nod and nearly say, “Absolutely!” out loud.

Other tips she shared:

  1. Grow your “Golden Rolodex.” Know how to network for results. Use everyone who knows you by name, which is everyone who is breathing. Begin with who you know and be willing to give referrals as much as you ask for help.
  2. Find a community. I.e. Chicago Women in Publishing, where you can share your values and visions.
  3. Build your “posse.” Surround yourself with your cheerleaders, the people who support your mission.
  4. Figure out your mission. Find out what you love. Make your work something you love and can build and pass on.
  5. Give back. Be a mentor.

After the keynote speaker was finished, I chose to stay for a “Time Management” session with Kellie Christiansen, a freelance writer and editor. There was also the option of moving to adjoining rooms for talks on taxes and contract negotiations and the best ways freelance editors and writers can protect themselves. Kellie spoke about common pitfalls such as over-booking and under-booking ourselves, which are things we can control, and the thing we can’t control: distractions and surprises. She spoke of the four big “Don’ts.”

  1. Don’t let anyone else set your schedule. Be honest with a client about how long you estimate a project may take. The only thing a person has to trade on is their reputation.
  2. Don’t take on too much and don’t be afraid to ask for more time.
  3. Don’t be afraid to turn down projects. There will always be another one, truly.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for more money. Time really is money. You are the one determining how much your work is worth.

From this event I took away the following:

Be organized and more importantly, keep yourself organized. I am in charge of my time and how I choose to spend it/who I give it to. It’s crucial to decide what my daily schedule will look like: how many hours a day do I want to spend writing? How many hours can I spend writing, realistically? How many freelance projects should I take on at one time? When do I do my best work? As I continue the MAWP program and consider doing freelance work, all of these are things I must consider so I’m able to do my best possible work.

The overall theme of the night was making a plan for yourself and how to put it to work. What’s your plan?

More information can be found on the Chicago Women in Publishing website:


Do you have an idea for the next Ex Libris guest post? Email Maria at

Career Advice for English Grad Students

Are you looking for come career advice tailored to English students– or better yet, tailored to you? Check out these two new offerings from the DePaul Career Center:

How to Find a Job (a seminar for English students)
February 23rd, 5:30-6:30 pm
Arts & Letters Hall, Room 109
Emily Kravetz

Career Adviser Emily Kravetz will lead this hour-long seminar on the in’s and out’s of how to look for a job and what is available for English graduates. Watch Ex Libris for an update on the exact location.

Personal Internship/Job Advice
Hilary Longnecker
(Career Center Counselor and DePaul English alum)
February 22nd, 2-4pm & March 1st, 1:00-3:00 pm
Arts & Letters Hall 210-01
(English Dept. inner-conference room)

Hilary is available on these two dates to make a private appointment to speak with you about all things career – from what you can do with your degree, to how to go about a job/internship search, to what types of services/support the Career Center offers. She’s happy to critique resumes, CVs, and personal statements, discuss graduate school options, and help you develop a strategic plan for your career exploration and/or search.

If interested, please an RSVP email to Prof. Chris Green at with ideal time you’d like to meet with her.

Welcome to the World of Publishing: Guest Post by Zhanna Vaynberg

Today we bring you a very special guest post from Zhanna Vaynberg, a second-year M.A.W.P. student. You may recognize Zhanna’s name from several Student News spots on Ex Libris because she’s gotten a few pieces published this past year. Now she’s here to tell us what she’s learned from these first forays into the wide world of publishing. Oh, and she just got another poem published in After Hours journal. Congratulations, Zhanna, and thanks.


During much of January, I spent quite a bit of time moaning to my professors about a short story of mine that was supposed to be published back in October and had not come out yet.

“Welcome to the world of publishing,” they all said, with a smirk. Welcome, indeed. I shouldn’t have really been surprised, considering I work in the publishing industry, but I’d never been on the other side of the chaos.

Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you that the lifetime of a story can be very long.

Professor Christine Sneed told me it took Glimmer Train two years to publish one of her stories, and I’m sure all the other authors on staff at DePaul have similar anecdotes. In the case of my story, “Do Not Leave Chicago,” its pre-published life spanned almost a year, not including the writing part, which was about five months start-to-finish.

In July 2011, the story got accepted for publication by Euphony Journal‘s fall issue. However, the publication date kept getting pushed back every month and it did not actually get released until February (if you are interested, the digital version of it is up on Besides the anxiety of waiting (it was my first publication, so I was a little excited), because it came out in February 2012 and not late 2011, it was not eligible for a collection that the editor wanted to nominate it for (Best New Stories from the Midwest).

What’s the moral of the story? Well, all I can say is this: Start sending out stories right now. I currently have about five different stories in the hands of thirty various publications. Sometimes it takes four to six months to hear back just from one magazine (and most of the time it’s a rejection letter). Many of my fellow students have told me they’ve yet to try getting published, even those at the very end of a MAWP degree. But if not now, then when? We’re not getting any younger.

So, start sending out stories to literary magazines today. Because it may be years before they come out.


Do you have an idea for the next Ex Libris guest post? Or have you gotten something published recently and want to share the news with your fellow English grads? Email Maria at