A message from your BWW board

 

Dear BWW members,

If you have seen the most recent Opportunities & Announcements or Facebook posts, you know that Peter Biello, founder of the BWW, has resigned from his leadership roles. Speaking for ourselves and for the larger community, we are sad to see him go, and filled with deep gratitude for his passion, vision, and dedicated service to the organization he founded and nurtured these many years. We are glad that he will stay connected as a member. As a board, our ultimate goal is to honor Peter’s legacy, while looking forward to what we can keep building together.

We hope members can be positive and patient and understanding in this transition. Given the strength of what we have built together, current member engagement, and the depth of skill and non-profit leadership experience on the board, we have great cause for optimism about our future as an organization. No doubt Peter’s announcement has raised questions in members’ minds, and we hope through this message to answer these and lay out some next steps.

At Saturday’s board meeting, we will accept Peter’s resignation and elect a new chair, and then take up the business that was already facing the board. The work ahead includes:

  • Fielding the annual member survey next week, with a greater focus on future direction and assessing what is working and what needs adjustment with regard to BWW publications. The survey is an essential cornerstone to beginning a new strategic plan.
  • Preparations for the November 11 annual membership meeting where we hope to have broad input and a free-wheeling, creative session about strengthening what we are today and envisioning what we want to be tomorrow.
  • Scheduling and shaping our strategic planning process.
  • Continuing work begun last weekend with the Mud Season Review staff to ensure that MSR is well positioned to fulfill its ambitious vision, that staff have a rewarding experience, and that we can meet the expectations and needs of our authors and readers.

Last Saturday, five members of the board had a thoughtful and well-informed conversation with the Mud Season Review staff. One of the outcomes of that conversation was that we decided to put the 2018 Vol 4 print issue on hold for now. We want to get the whole staff together for a meeting soon, and during that meeting, we’ll talk more about the print issue and how we want to move forward with it in the future. But we want to allow time to have that discussion and explore our options before jumping into the work of putting the volume together. Lauren Bender is staying on board as we search for our next Editor-in-Chief. Several other staff members have expressed interest in taking on greater roles. So, more to come. If you are not currently involved in MSR, but would like to be, there are roles to fill. The October online issue, which is dedicated to poetry, will be out on the 20th.

With your help, input, and support, we look forward to building on the solid foundation of the BWW and all it has to offer, and to helping it evolve organically to best meet its members’ needs.

If you have questions, concerns, ideas, etc., please contact any member of the Board.

Sincerely,

BWW Board of Directors: Lauren Bender, Partridge Boswell, Terry Cleveland, Deena Frankel, Rebecca Starks, Danielle Thierry

RSVP for the Annual Meeting here

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of October 16, 2017

Thanks to Candelin Wahl, here we have a photo from our recent songwriting workshop. It’s a regular offering at the BWW, one Thursday a month, and proof that the BWW is a big tent, capable of providing space to creative types of all kinds.

If you thought that sentence sounded like the prelude to a pitch, you would be correct. This songwriting workshop–and all of our Burlington workshops–happen around this table, in a space that costs money to rent.

We don’t charge a fee, but the BWW leadership team ask folks like you to chip in a few bucks from time to time to support the mission of the BWW, which is to provide free learning opportunities for writers like you. If you’d like to give a certain amount each month (let’s say $6 or $12) you can become a sustaining member here. 

We hope you will. Automatic gifts like yours provide a stable base of support for the expenses that come with running this nonprofit organization.

We’ve got more opportunities and a big announcement to make, so please do check out this week’s opportunities and announcements.

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Fiction Workshops with Jensen Beach

Author Jensen Beach.

Thanks to a grant from Burlington City Arts, we’re offering three workshops in November with Jensen Beach, award-winning author of the collection of short stories, Swallowed by the Cold.  Sign up for one of these workshops using the links below. They’re all free and open to the public.

(If you’re new to the BWW, please read this helpful guide on how to get started.)

Jensen Beach is the author of two story collections, most recently SWALLOWED BY THE COLD (Graywolf). He holds an MFA in fiction from the Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as an MA and BA in English from Stockholm University. He teaches in the BFA program at Johnson State College, where he is the fiction editor at Green Mountains Review. His writing has appeared recently in A Public Space, the Paris Review, and The New Yorker.

Fiction Writing with Jensen Beach

Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017, 6:30 PM

Burlington Writers Workshop
110 Main Street, Studio 3C Burlington, VT

9 Writers Attending

Please join us for a fiction writing workshop with Jensen Beach, author of Swallowed by the Cold, at our workshop space in Burlington. This workshop was funded in part by a grant from the Burlington City Arts Community Fund.In these sessions (November 1, 8, and 15), we will engage in focused workshop of participant stories (link to reading materi…

Check out this Meetup →

Fiction Writing with Jensen Beach

Wednesday, Nov 8, 2017, 6:30 PM

Burlington Writers Workshop
110 Main Street, Studio 3C Burlington, VT

5 Writers Attending

Please join us for a fiction writing workshop with Jensen Beach, author of Swallowed by the Cold, at our workshop space in Burlington. This workshop was funded in part by a grant from the Burlington City Arts Community Fund.In these sessions (November 1, 8, and 15), we will engage in focused workshop of participant stories (link to reading materi…

Check out this Meetup →

Fiction Writing with Jensen Beach

Wednesday, Nov 15, 2017, 6:30 PM

Burlington Writers Workshop
110 Main Street, Studio 3C Burlington, VT

5 Writers Attending

Please join us for a fiction writing workshop with Jensen Beach, author of Swallowed by the Cold, at our workshop space in Burlington. This workshop was funded in part by a grant from the Burlington City Arts Community Fund.In these sessions (November 1, 8, and 15), we will engage in focused workshop of participant stories (link to reading materi…

Check out this Meetup →

These workshops were made possible in part with support from the Burlington City Arts Community Fund.

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 25, 2017

Three down, one left.

Our free writing retreats have been a success so far this year. On the weekend of September 18th, Vermont poet Baron Wormser led a day-long retreat in Adamant, Vermont. Candelin Wahl, one of the participants, said, “The workshop was great! Engaged participants, very strong leader/teacher in Baron Wormser, amazing location & a restaurant-quality potluck lunch.”

We’ve got one more free writing retreat left. You can learn more about it and put your name in the hat for the lottery here.

There’s more to discover in this week’s opportunities and announcements, so read on!

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 11, 2017

Lauren Bender, editor-in-chief, Mud Season Review

Lauren Bender, editor-in-chief of Mud Season Review, is getting ready to step down from her post. We’re so glad that she was able to spend a year (1) publishing great online and print issues and (2) facilitating the learning experience that MSR provides to Vermont’s aspiring writers. Lauren, we can’t thank you enough for your stellar work!

Lauren’s going to be working with her replacement to ease the transition to new leadership, which should be in place no later than October 31, 2017.

Who’s the new editor-in-chief? We don’t know yet, but we’d like you to apply for the job if you’re interested. Details on this and other opportunities for writers can be found in this week’s opportunities and announcements. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of August 28, 2017

The second Burlington Writers Workshop retreat of the summer took place this past weekend. Fiction writer Robin McLean, author of the short story collection Reptile House, spent the day working with attendees. Here’s what a few folks who attended had to say about the retreat:

“The retreat was better than anything I’d imagined. Certainly the organization was admirable. The setting was amazingly beautiful and inspiring. The folks who attended (including our hosts) added so much to the experience; the generous participation, the bravery, and the food! Our instructor was so much more than that; a mentor, our guru, our spiritual leader; leading us to the hidden wells of  inspiration and creativity tucked away in our unconscious minds; teaching us to banish the gatekeeper/censor and go forth like cowboys exploring deep caverns… wow.”

“I’d like to add my thanks to Riki and Rose for their great hospitality and for providing such a gorgeous setting. Thanks too to Robin for being such an inspiring workshop leader! Thanks finally to all the writers who shared their wonderful writings and commentary. I was so fired up that I rose early on Sunday morning and started working again on my novel.”

“Kudos for that magical day go to Riki and Robert [retreat hosts] for sharing creative space; to Wendy and Karin [retreat committee members] for their behind the scenes work; to everyone who opened their hearts and souls giving all of us the courage to go deeper; and to Robin for her careful and inspiring guidance in allowing us to find ourselves.”

The next BWW retreat will take place on September 16th. All our retreats are filled by lottery. This gives all writers an equal chance to attend. You can learn more and put your name in the hat by checking out this page.

Learn more about what’s happening for writers in Vermont in the coming weeks in these opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of August 14, 2017

At our workshops, we’ll discuss anything. Last week, when I was leading a workshop, we were discussing the trials of entering the dating market when you’re over 60. (Dating, it was noted at the workshop table, is perilous at any age.)

One of our writers had written about a woman entering the dating market after her husband of 30 years passed away. The novel-in-progress generated quite a discussion. Beyond that, I can’t comment about what was said. Like they say about Las Vegas: What happens in workshop, stays in workshop.

But if you’d like to be privy to workshop conversations, there’s one thing you can do: sign up and claim your seat.

Learn more about this week’s opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of July 31, 2017

The BWW held its first retreat of the season on July 15. These folks pictured here attended at the home of BWW Treasurer Terry Cleveland. These retreats are meant to help you get away from whatever happens to be distracting you from your work. If you’re interested in signing up for more of these retreats, please check out this page and see what we have to offer.

We’ve also got workshops aplenty, so sign up for a few when you have a chance. And check out this week’s opportunities and announcements. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of July 17, 2017

A view of downtown Burlington, Vermont on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.

For the first time in two years, I attended a Wednesday night writing workshop in downtown Burlington, Vermont. Wednesday night writing workshops are the longest running tradition at the Burlington Writers Workshop. Part of that tradition involves going out for drinks downtown after the discussion ends. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed the lively Wednesday night conversations and the chance to socialize with BWW members over a beer (or two).

Part of the fun for me, of course, was getting feedback on my latest short story. I was hoping to see this story in a new light and, as always, BWW members delivered. In the next few days, I’m going to get started on revisions. Thanks, fellow workshoppers!

If you’ve got a piece of writing you need to see through someone else’s eyes, we’ve got plenty of opportunities for you. Here are this week’s opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of July 3, 2017

“A Ulysses Summer: Summer Literature Reading Group” is one of our most popular workshops this summer.

Lately a group of BWW members have been reading Ulysses by James Joyce together. Patrick Brownson leads the group, which counts 13 regular attendees plus a waitlist, meaning it’s one of the most popular things we’re offering this summer. As you can see, our workshop space is occupied by quite a few happy readers, one of whom owns a selfie stick.

This reading group is full, but you can still participate in other workshops, if you’d like. We’ve got plenty. We’ve also got four free writing retreats planned this year.

Check out this week’s opportunities and announcements. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of June 19, 2017

The pile of manuscripts on my desk. Providing feedback for these folks makes me a better writer.

I’ve been providing a lot of feedback to writers lately through Mud Season Review. It’s one of the ways we keep the journal funded, but for me, it’s also a writing exercise.

Let me explain. In the past month or so, I’ve read someone’s novel, an essay collection, and four short stories. For each of these I’ve written a 1,500-word analysis, and I’ve made an effort to write a response of some kind on every page of the manuscript. It’s the kind of feedback I hope we’re giving each other in BWW workshops.

Anyway, doing this has really changed how I write. I’m learning how to articulate how I’m feeling as I read, and perhaps more importantly, I’m learning what I don’t want to see in prose. I’m learning what frustrates me as a reader. When I sit down to write my own work, I’m much more conscious now of what pleases me most as a reader, and what would please my ideal reader.

This, I think, is one of the key things about the BWW’s service. We get feedback on our own work, which is helpful, but it’s important to remember that giving feedback is not a purely altruistic act. You get something from it, assuming you put serious thought into it.

This is just to say: We’ve got many opportunities for you to exercise the feedback muscle. Here are the latest opportunities and announcements.

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Want to Edit a Literary Journal?

If you’ve ever submitted your fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or artwork to a literary journal, you may have wondered: What’s it like to receive all these submissions? How do you decide what’s worthy of publication?

If you’d like to gain some experience choosing pieces for publication, we’ve got some opportunities for you on Mud Season Review.

Our volunteer staff members read submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and artwork on a rolling basis using an online system called Submittable. It’s a fun, collaborative effort that results in the publication of eleven online issues and one gorgeous print edition each year.

We need folks who are living in the Burlington area or can easily commute to Burlington. Though most of this work can be done remotely, we do need editors to meet in person at our workshop space in Burlington from time to time to collaboratively make editorial and other decisions.

We have immediate openings for editors and readers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. If you’re interested, tell us by filling out the form below.

Your Full Name : *
Your Email : *
Genre(s) of Interest : *
Why do you want to be an editor? : *
Please briefly describe any editorial experience you may have. If you have none, write "None." : *
Are you a member of the BWW? : *
 

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of June 5, 2017

The May fundraiser has ended successfully. Thanks to everyone who helped us raise $5,157.57 (our goal was $5k). In all, 52 people made a donation. One person gave twice! The average gift was just over $99. Excluding gifts made in exchange for our manuscript review service (which we provide for gifts of $275 or more), the average gift was just over $62.

About that manuscript service: We offer to folks on the Mud Season Review mailing list a chance to have their book-length manuscript reviewed. Someone on the MSR staff reads the manuscript and comments on it, much like we do in our workshops. During this past fundraiser, nine people gave $275 for these manuscript reviews.

If you’re a BWW member and you have a book that needs the eyes of your fellow writers, we do not charge anything to schedule a two- or three-part workshop, to which we’ll invite a group of peers to read your manuscript in big chunks. If you’d like to take advantage of this option, please contact me.

Overall, though, this manuscript review service is a way attract out-of-state money to support what we do in Vermont. We’ve got a dedicated crew of MSR folks who read these books for our donors, and we’re happy to do it.

We’ve got other stuff to talk about this week. So here are the latest opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of May 15, 2017

In less than a week, the Burlington Writers Workshop will turn eight years old. I’ll never lose my sense of amazement that we do, in fact, still exist, and that we’re as strong as we’ve ever been.

We are offering a ton of workshops this spring and summer.  These workshops are designed to motivate you and give you some feedback that (we hope) will inspire you to revise whatever you’re working on. So take a moment to check out these opportunities and announcements and claim your seat at the table. Continue reading