On How I Got Six Essays Published in MQR: Guest Post by Zhanna Vaynberg

Earlier this week, we received an exciting piece of Alumni News: after a long wait, MAWP graduate Zhanna Vaynberg‘s series of six short essays had finally gotten published in the Michigan Quarterly Review. We asked Zhanna how this unusual publishing contract had come about, and when she sat down to write out an answer, the story turned out to be quite long. We’re posting Zhanna’s story here as a guest post in hopes that it interests those of you looking to publish your writing in literary journals– and we would like to send Zhanna our thanks and congratulations!

On how I got six essays published in MQR’s winter 2013 issue:

Back in December of 2011, I e-mailed Michigan Quarterly Review asking if they’d had a chance to read over a short-short called “Roots” I’d sent them in the mail back in August (I was new to the whole submitting process, or I would’ve known that four months was basically one second in magazine-publishing time). Surprisingly, I got an e-mail the very next day from Jonathan Freedman, the head editor, saying that he’d just read it — I think it had gotten misplaced or they just had forgotten about it or something — and while he’d really enjoyed the essay, they just didn’t publish things that short (it was about a page long). He said, however, that he’d be happy to read something else I’d written. So I sent him two things — one of which was a short fiction piece that Bellevue Literary Review ended up publishing in fall, the other, a piece I’m still working on. His response was basically “I love your writing, but these aren’t stories that I want to publish.” Which I wasn’t offended about at all, because at that point both of them were quite old, and my writing had moved far past it. Then Jonathan presented me with a challenge. He said that the original story, ‘Roots,” which was basically about the ambivalence I’d felt towards my Ukrainian upbringing, had really stuck with him, and what if I wrote 5-6 more short pieces like it — in his words, something “world-weary in the best Russo-Jewish-American-Chicago way” — and he would publish them together?

We then went on to have a very long e-mail exchange that ranged in topics from our mutual hatred of Jerusalem (coincidentally, also a subject of one of the essays) to whatever happened to CBGB’s (it’s now an outlet store) to the best Thai food in Chicago (Thai Avenue on Broadway and Argyle). Then I didn’t really hear from him again until March or April of 2012. Meanwhile, I had just finished up the DePaul MAWP program, and after taking Michele Morano’s Travel Writing course was honestly a bit fed up with writing nonfiction and really didn’t want to do it again; and that is in no way to say I did not like Michele Morano or that class — I loved that class, and I think Michele Morano is one of the best professors out there (in fact, that I write nonfiction at all can be entirely traced back to a summer multi-genre course she taught, and four of the six essays in this bunch were originally written in classes she taught). It’s just that I don’t enjoy writing nonfiction all that much. I’ve always been a fiction person; even though much of it is intertwined with real experiences I’ve had or people I know, I like being able to play around with facts, and to hide behind that curtain of “it’s fiction!” anytime someone asks how much of a story I’d written was true. I wanted to get back to that.

However, it had been a few months already since we’d discussed the possibility of a collection of essays, and Jonathan asked me, in a very friendly way, if I had made any progress on our little project. I’d had some early drafts of two of the essays that would eventually end up in the issue, but I hadn’t really been working on it much. I’d also been published a few times by then, so I wasn’t in a big rush at this point. However, after a few weeks of relishing my post-grad-school freedom, I did slowly begin working on them again because I am an anxious person and don’t like to leave things unfinished. By July I had about half of them done and sent away to Jonathan. He wanted more — I wrote more. Then, just when I thought I had a good batch, five total, and would never have to write nonfiction again, he said “Yes, I’ll take them! But you have to write one more; something more current.” (All of the essays took place circa 2005 – 2010.) Luckily, it was nearly September, and my sister’s wedding was coming up — what better occasion to write about the authentic Russian-Jewish experience? So, even though it was very strange to write something I knew was for sure going to get published, and even though I’d drunk enough vodka to make an elephant pass out, I still managed to remember enough of the event to write a final essay about the experience. It wasn’t intended to tie together all the other essays in a neat bow or anything cheesy like that, but in a subtle way, there was a somewhat final tone to it. A little bit after that, I found a title to encompass all of them — as much as I could, away, considering each one is a separate entity to me. Then it was just a matter of waiting. First, it was supposed to go into the fall issue, but it didn’t fit — then, the winter issue, which was supposed to come out some months ago. Now, two days before May, the issue has finally been released! End of very long-winded story.

I’m actually very appreciative of the whole experience — it definitely helps to have deadlines and someone pushing you along so you don’t get too lazy, especially when you’re just out of school. Now that I’m used to being on my own, I have no problem writing on a pretty regular basis, but who knows if I’d still be at that point without having had that goal to work towards. And of course, the very patient Jonathan Freedman, who really gives magazine editors a good name.

You can order the Winter 2013 issue of Michigan Quarterly Review at michiganquarterlyreview.com/2013/04/winter-2013.

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MAE and MAWP Students Presenting at the Spring English Conference

Twenty-five MAE and MAWP students have been selected to present at the upcoming Fourth Annual Spring English Conference, which will be taking place on Friday, May 3rd, 2013. Organized by Maria Hlohowskyj (MAWP) and Emily Todd (MAE), the conference features fifteen panels of student presenters and a keynote address by MAWP alumnae Rita Leganski. 

In the spirit of academic fellowship, we welcome everyone to attended the event and support the presenters. Panels will run from 1:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. on the fourth floor of Arts & Letters Hall, with refreshments provided. The keynote address will begin at 7 p.m. in Arts & Letters Hall’s first floor auditorium.

A complete schedule of panel presenters will be posted on the conference page soon.

Please join the English Department in congratulating the graduate student presenters, listed below:

  • Jared Gerling MAWP
  • Jillian Merrifield MAWP
  • Amanda Diana MAWP
  • Christine Roche MAE
  • Raul Palma MAWP
  • Sara Patek MAWP
  • Stephanie Sylverne MAWP
  • Katie Hunsberger MAWP
  • Dara Miller MAE
  • Emily Todd MAE
  • Amanda Stewart MAE
  • Carrie Mocarski MAE
  • Maria Hlohowskyj MAWP
  • Vincent Moyet MAE
  • Meredith Boe MAWP
  • Michael Van Kerckhove MAWP
  • Tiffany Scarola MAE
  • Tracey Hulstein MAWP
  • Lisa Applegate MAWP
  • Mame M. Kwajie MAWP
  • Tim Hillegonds MAWP
  • Mirna Velic MAWP
  • Maria Genovese MAWP
  • David Mathews MAWP
  • Alia Neaton MAWP

Keep your eyes and browser windows open for more details. We hope to see you there next week!

Gregory Martin on Campus, Publishing Career Panel, & A Job Posting

Martin VWThe Visiting Writers Program Welcomes author Gregory Martin to DePaul TOMORROW, Thursday, April 25th, at 6:00 p.m. in the Richardson Library room 115.

In his memoir Stories for Boys, Gregory Martin struggles to reconcile the father he thought he knew with a man who has just survived a suicide attempt; a man who had been having anonymous affairs with men throughout his thirty-nine years of marriage; and who now must begin his life as a gay man. At a tipping point in our national conversation about gender and sexuality, rights and acceptance, Stories for Boys is about a father and a son finding a way to build a new relationship with one another after years of suppression and denial are given air and light.

Martin’s memoir is quirky and compelling with its amateur photos and grab-bag social science and literary analyses. Gregory Martin explores the impact his father’s lifelong secrets have upon his life now as a husband and father of two young boys with humor and bracing candor. Stories for Boys is resonant with conflicting emotions and the complexities of family sympathy, and asks the questions: How well do we know the people that we think we know the best? And how much do we have to know in order to keep loving them?

“Stories for Boys is a magnetic meditation on what happens when a decades-long lie is brutally revealed. Moving, brave, and unforgettable, this deeply personal book pushes us all further into the light.”–Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

Gregory Martin’s work has appeared in The Sun, The Kenyon Review Online, Creative Nonfiction, Storyquarterly, The Writer, Witness, and elsewhere. Stories for Boys (Hawthorne Books) was named a Discover Great New Writers selection by Barnes & Noble for Holiday 2012. Martin’s first book, Mountain City, received a Washington State Book Award, was named a New York Times Notable Book. He is an Associate Professor of English at the University of New Mexico and serves as Director of UNM’s Combined BA/MD Degree Program.  He lives in Albuquerque with his wife and two sons.

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HowToBecomePublisher

The next English Department Career Panel is “How to Become a Publisher,” and it’s taking place on Monday, May 13th from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in Arts & Letters Hall room 109. Three Chicago publishers, Albert DeGenova, Wendy McClure, and Doug Siebold, will discuss their careers and their presses. Their presentations will be followed by a 30-minute Q&A.

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to hear from these three great industry professionals right here on campus.

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The literacy department at Open Books is looking for an intelligent, upbeat, and experienced education-aficionado to join their team as the nonprofit’s very first Teen Programs Manager.

Responsibilities include:

  • Overseeing the day-to-day operations of current teen programs
  • Assisting the literacy team in the development and implementation of new teen programs
  • Supervising a rotating group of talent, which may include a part-time Open Books Fellow and multiple Literacy Interns
  • Creating and executing ongoing strategies to recruit new school partners and scale program enrollment
  • Developing and maintaining effective relationships with schools, community groups, and other partners to further the Open Books mission

A complete list of responsibilities and requirements, as well as instructions on how to apply, is available at open-books.org/jobapps/jobapp-teenprogramsmgr.

Please apply as soon as possible and no later than May 15th, 2013.

Student News, Sister Helen Prejean on Campus, and a Job Posting

Today in Student News, we are happy to announce that MAWP student and GA Mark Brand will be heading to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Fall 2013 where he’ll will be working on a PhD in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Mark will be studying with Liam Callanan and Valeria Laken in their fiction-writing faculty and working toward a new novel as a creative dissertation. Congratulations, Mark!

Also in Student News, congratulations to Rhiannon Falzone on her most recent publication in ChicagoSide online magazine. Rhiannon’s article, ‘Girls on the Run’ Gets Chicago Kids Moving In The Right Direction, is part one of a series of two articles on the subject, and Rhiannon is planning the next part for June when she covers the organization’s 5K.

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DePaul is once again bringing award-winning social activist and nonfiction writer Sister Helen Prejean to campus for two events happening next week.

DeadManWalkingPlayPerformance

This Monday, April 22nd, DePaul students, faculty and staff will be performing the one-act play adaptation of Prejean’s Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States, with the author in attendance.

The evening will begin with a reception at 6:00 p.m. and the one-act play performance will begin at 7:00 p.m. The performance will be followed by a panel discussion and book signing with Prejean at 8:00 p.m.

Attendance is free and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

MemoirWritingBreakfast

On Thursday, April 25th at 8:30 a.m., the English Department, the MAWP program, and Sigma Tau Delta are co-sponsoring a “Memoir Writing Breakfast” with Sister Helen Prejean. DePaul Professors Ann Stanford and Michele Morano will lead a discussion with Prejean about memoir writing, her archives, literature as a tool for social change, and her newest memoir, River of Fire. She will be available to autograph books after the event.

A light breakfast will be served. Once again, attendance to this event is free and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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The Chicago Tribune is looking for an Assistant Events Producer to join its newsroom events team in a role that combines storytelling, multimedia production, event planning and stage management. The Tribune’s Trib Nation reader-engagement program produces about 100 events a year – from intimate workshops to high-profile public forums. As an extension of the Tribune’s journalism, most events feature the newspaper’s signature columnists and writers paired with newsmakers and in the past year have included Mayor Rahm Emanuel, David Byrne, Elie Wiesel, Junot Diaz, Sheryl Sandberg, Rick Bayless and many more. The ideal candidate will have at least two years experience in a mix of event planning, journalism, TV/radio production, theater or similar, a passion for storytelling and live events and an interest in working on a tight-knit, ambitious and creative events team.

REQUIREMENTS/QUALIFICATIONS

  • 4-year college degree in journalism, or equivalent studies with focus on marketing, theater, broadcast, events management or similar
  • 2 years experience in a production-focused environment (event production, radio/TV, theater, marketing, etc.)
  • Proficiency in PowerPoint, Excel, Word
  • Familiarity with EventBrite
  • Strong writing and communication skills
  • Creative mind, collaborative spirit and enthusiasm for working with a team
  • Solution-focused approach to challenges
  • Ability to work evenings and unconventional hours
  • Perfectionist’s drive to make events flawless
  • Sense of humor in high-pressure situations

Interested candidates should send a resume and cover letter to Lara Weber, Newsroom Events Editor, Chicago Tribune, at lweber@tribune.com.

Poet Andrea Gibson on Campus & More

Although Ex Libris is the English graduate programs’ blog, we’re happy to share an invitation to support some of DePaul’s undergraduate poets at an upcoming on-campus event. Each April, the English Department and the DePaul University Library sponsor an undergraduate reading in celebration of National Poetry Month.

This year’s reading will take place on April 18th from 6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m. in the Richardson Library room 115. There will be a total of six undergraduate poets reading their work: Marie Conlan, Emma Cushman-Wood, Sergio Garcia, Rachel Harthcock, Al Prexta, and Katie White.

The event will open with brief a musical performance by Cameron Shenassa. Each poet will read for 5 – 7 minutes. This reading is free and open to the public.

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The DePaul Activities Board would like to formally invite the entire DePaul community to their upcoming event with award-winning spoken word artist Andrea Gibson. Gibson will be performing her spoken-word poetry at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17th in Brownstone’s Café in the Student Center.  Gibson’s work covers topics ranging from love and war, to class, sexuality and spirituality.  Her performance will be a must-see for lovers of language, rhyme and rhythm.

AndreaGibson

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In honor of 50th anniversary of The BBC television series Doctor Who and as a way of exploring the longevity of the series, DePaul’s College of Communication and the Media and Cinema Studies program is hosting a day-long colloquium of scholars who will discuss in a public forum the critical, moral and ethical dilemmas depicted by the show. The colloquium, “A Celebration of Doctor Who,” will take place on Saturday, May 4th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Daley Building, Lower Level CMN and CDM Theaters (14 E Jackson Blvd.) in DePaul’s Loop campus.

“A Celebration of Doctor Who” is intended to spark debate and discussion about changing morals and ethics over the half century of the show’s presence on television, in print, on the radio and in films. Topics will include: how does Doctor Who celebrate the minority? In what ways does Doctor Who articulate a notion of a utopian society? How does this mainstream text represent marginalized members of society (including people of different races, sexualities, the disabled, the impoverished, and other minorities in society)? In what ways does the Doctor Who fan audience counter the discourse of the marginalized in our culture?

A series of scholarly roundtables will bring together academics from the area to discuss the cultural context of Doctor Who. These roundtables will offer the audience of students and scholars the chance to engage in a deeply intellectual environment with the themes of the show over its fifty-year history.  This colloquium is intended to spark debate about the nature of contemporary television across borders, times and eras.

You can find out more about “A Celebration of Doctor Who,” including details on the day’s panelists, at the official event page.

Student News, a Student Reading, an Essay Contest, & More

Today in Student News: Congratulations to MAWP student Bethanie Hestermann, who just signed her first book contract with Chicago Review Press! Bethanie will be co-authoring a children’s book (ages 9+) tentatively called Zoology for Kids, along with her husband, Josh Hestermann.  Their book will be part of Chicago Review Press’ fall 2014 list. As Bethanie describes it, “The book will introduce young minds to the basic principles of animal life through hands-on activities, while providing a behind-the-scenes look at zookeeping, veterinary medicine, wildlife research, and conservation efforts.”

If you’d like to receive a heads up when the book is available to order, please email Bethanie at zoologyforkids@gmail.com.

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In Faculty News: Make sure to check out Prof. Kathleen Rooney‘s piece in the New York Times magazine about teaching contemporary poetry and comedian Jack Handley, titled, “And Now, Deep Thoughts about ‘Deep Thoughts.'”

Prof. Rooney will also be reading her poetry at Curbside Splendor Publishing’s “Salon Splendor” event, a night of intimate readings, literary SalonSplendordiscussion, warm music, and world-class tea at Madame ZuZu’s Tea House. The topic of the night is “origins,” and reading along with Rooney will be Okla Elliot and James Tadd Adcox. There will be live music by Good Evening and the event will be hosted by Curbside Splendor’s Senior Editor, Jacob S. Knabb.

The event will take place from 8:00-10:00 p.m. on Friday, April 19th. Space is limited so reservations are strongly recommended. RSVP by email at sarah@madamezuzus.com.

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The University Center for Writing-based Learning would like to invite everyone to their next Aloud! Student Reading this Tuesday, April 16th, from 4:30-6:00 p.m. in the Student Center.

AloudSpring

Featured readers include current MAWP students Maria Hlohowskyj, David Mathews, Jillian Merrifield, and Raul Palma, MAE alum Matthew Fledderjohann, undergraduates Elizabeth Kerper, Richard Rodriguez, Annie Baldwin, and more!

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There’s just a few days left to enter the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Essay Contest sponsored by DePaul’s Department of International Studies, Department of Geography, the African and Black Diaspora Studies Program, and the Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies Program.

MLKEssayContestPoster

In “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence” (1967), Martin Luther King calls for an anti-racist and internationalist response to oppression in its various guises. Taking King’s Vietnam speech as a starting point, this essay contest asks students to consider what such a speech might look like today.

The contest is open to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at DePaul University during the 2012-2013 academic year. Graduate students should submit an essay of 3000-3500 words, and there will be a $500 prize for the best graduate student essay.

See las.depaul.edu/int/Events/StudentEssayContest/index.asp for important submission and formatting guidelines. The deadline for submission is April 15th, 2013.

Job Openings at the UCWbL, Two Upcoming Conferences, & More

The University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL) is now hiring undergraduate and graduate students to work as peer writing tutors during the 2013/2014 academic year. Please visit depaul.edu/writing/who/join_staff to learn all about this unique opportunity for student employment and get the complete application instructions.

In addition, the UCWbL will be hosting two open house events where prospective employees can find out more about working at the UCWbL and meet members of our staff and administration:

  • Loop Campus: Monday, April 15th | 4-5:30pm | 1600 Lewis
  • Lincoln Park Campus: Tuesday, April 16th | 4-5:30pm | 250 McGaw

Applications are due on April 29th, 2013 by noon.

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DePaul’s Office of Adult, Commuter, and Veteran Students Affairs is pleased to announce their upcoming Conference for Students with ASA Conference for Students 0189_8 5 x 11Children. This half-day mini-conference on May 4th will allow students that have children to network with other like students and gain valuable information and resources through keynotes, sessions, and much more.

At the conference families will participate in a number of activities and workshops. Topics will include early childhood education, managing stress, spirituality, long term planning, and pursuing your passion while you parent. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Students are encouraged to bring
their family members. Child friendly activities to be announced, and free child-care will also be available.

The keynote speaker will be Art Munin, author of Color by Number: Understanding Racism though Facts and Stats.

This event is free and open to all students who have a child and their immediate family guests, but registration is required by April 29th.

More information and registration can be found at: studentaffairs.depaul.edu/adultstudentservices/Students_with_Children_Conference

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DePaul University’s Master of Arts in Liberal Studies & Master of Arts and Science in Interdisciplinary Studies programs would like to announce a call for papers and presentations for their 2013 AGLSP Conference in Chicago, Urban Gateways: Immigration and the Global City. The conference will take place from October 10-12th, 2012, in Chicago, and proposals are due on June 1st, 2013.

UrbanGatewaysCall for Papers

Cities have always been gateways to new dreams. For past and present global migrants, ethnic enclaves beckon with foods, houses of worship, and shops that provide the atmosphere of home, and buffer the transition to hybrid identity. But how does the immigration experience differ today from that of the past? What factors drive immigration today, and what new forms of urban culture do they create? How do economic, political and social issues impact the urban immigrant experience?

The 2013 AGLSP Conference in Chicago invites papers that explore immigrant life in cities large and small through history, the social sciences, literature and the arts. Papers may be based in particular disciplines, but special consideration will be given to papers which combine the perspectives of various disciplines, and which engage academic but non-specialist audiences. Proposals that address the integration of this theme into Liberal Studies curricula and classes are
welcome.

Presentations should be 20 minutes long with an additional 5 to 10 minutes for questions. Visual and other media are welcome where appropriate, but prospective presenters are reminded to rely on PowerPoint only when it offers an appropriate enhancement to the material.

Please complete the Presentation Proposal Form found at aglsp.org including a 1-2 page Abstract. Please supply all the required information, save the form to your file and attach it to an email to David Gitomer (dgitomer@depaul.edu), MALS & IDS Director at DePaul University, by June 1st, 2013. Additional information about the conference can be found at aglsp.org.

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fuguecontestFugue Literary Journal is currently accepting submissions for their annual writing contest. Our judges are Claudia Emerson (poetry) and Duff Brenna (prose). First place in each genre will receive $1,000, and all entries are considered for publication.  The deadline for submissions is May 1st, 2013, and more information can be found on their website at www.fuguejournal.org.