The 2015 Todos Santos Writers Workshop took place Monday, January 26 thru Friday, January 30 . A total of 19 registered participants attended the five-day intensive workshop with daily sessions, 10am-12PM located at the historic Casa Dracula in the Otro Lado neighborhood of Todos Santos.
A welcoming Sunday night cocktail for faculty and special guests was given by our sponsor, the Hotelito.
Monday, January 26
Daily workshops commenced 10-12am.
Instructors for three workshop tracks included:
Everyone received a flyer from our friends at Writer’s Relief, which will be helpful in getting their work published.
Tuesday, January 27, 3:00 – 4:30PM
Vision and Revision: How First Drafts Get to Heaven
So you’ve finished your first draft. Now what? Novelist Jonathan Penner discussed the revision process and how to make the changes that serve your original vision, while improving your manuscript.
Jonathan Penner is the author of two novels, Going Blind and Natural Order, and two story collections, Private Parties and This Is My Voice. His fiction has appeared in Harper’s, Paris Review, and many other magazines. He has held writing fellowships from the Guggenheim and Fulbright Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts, and his many honors include the Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Penner has taught fiction writing at the University of Arizona, the University of Hawaii, and Vanderbilt University, and has given lectures and readings abroad under the auspices of the U. S. State Department.
Wednesday, January 28, 3:00 – 4:30PM
Tricksters, Heroes and Trickster/Heroes
What do you get when you cross Road Warrior and Roadrunner? In this session, Donald Cosentino, professor of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA, explored the persistence of mythic characters in contemporary storytelling, especially Trickster (aka Hipster, Rapster, Prankster, Shit Kicker, Psychopath, Hell’s Angel…) the oldest and most ubiquitous of all protagonists, whose present-day avatars range from Randall Patrick McMurphy to Bugs Bunny.
Cosentino’s fieldwork began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nigeria, and continued as a Fulbright Scholar in Sierra Leone, where he documented oral narrative performances among the Mende people. His later work crosses the Black Atlantic where he now studies mythic expressions of Vodou (aka “Voodoo”) in Haiti, Cuba, New Orleans and down-home in dubious edges of Hollywood. Cosentino has published widely (some might say wantonly), being perhaps the only writer with a book published by Cambridge University Press and a ribald classic by Playboy Magazine. He is proud of both.
Thursday, January 29, 3:00 – 4:30PM
What Your Agent Can (And Can’t) Do For You
It is often said that the author-agent relationship is like a marriage. New York City-based literary agent Meg Thompson, in discussion with TSWW instructor Jeanne McCulloch, talked all about her role in the literary profession—and answered many questions.
Meg Thompson started in publishing in 2002 working for President Bill Clinton in his Harlem office as a researcher and fact checker on his memoirs, My Life. She then went to work for Charlie Rose as a writer and researcher at his legendary PBS show before joining LJK Literary Management, LLC. She worked at LJK for six years before founding her own agency with her partner, Susanna Einstein. Meg is interested in memoir, narrative non-fiction, psychology, health, science, cookbooks, and books on popular culture and humor. Her clients include New York Times bestselling authors Ken Denmead, Kelle Hampton, and Daniel Stashower; Scientific American reporter Katherine Harmon Courage, New Yorker essayist Tim Kreider, New Yorker cartoonist and essayist Emily Flake, New York Times Style reporter Julia Chaplin, journalist Mason Currey, memoirist and novelist Gordon Chaplin, mapmaker and author Becky Cooper, party planner to the stars Mary Giuliani, food bloggers Lisa Leake and Carrie Vitt, and many more.
Later that evening, TSWW 2nd year attendee and Hotelito proprietor Jenny Armit invited all TSWW participants to her home for a splendid pasta dinner.
Friday, January 30, 3:00 – 4:30PM
New Storytelling—the Californias and Beyond
Viviane Mahieux – Moderator
Edmundo Lizardi – Poet and journalist
On a rainy day which packed the Casa Dracula Salon, this discussion focused on recent literary developments in Mexico’s northern and border areas. Edmundo Lizardi read from his road poem BajaTimes (with translation from Viviane Mahieux), and the conversation covered the role of movement, travel and workshops (such as the TSWW) in fomenting a dynamic regional culture. Ways to build connections between Latin American and U.S.-based literary networks were explored and, hopefully, will be continued at future TSWW sessions.
Viviane Mahieux grew up in La Paz and Todos Santos. She has a BA from UC Berkeley and a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University. She is currently Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at UC Irvine. She teaches and writes on contemporary Latin American literature, with a particular focus on Mexico. She has written Urban Chroniclers in Modern Latin America (University of Texas Press, 2011), and published in various academic and cultural journals, including Letras Libres and Nexos in Mexico.
Edmundo Lizardi, based in LaPaz, BCS, is an itinerant poet, editor and journalist. He has taught at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California+Tijuana, published a collection of journalistic pieces, a book of short stories, and four poetry collections, including Preludio de las islas (Tijuana: IMAC, 1999).
Afterwards, as the rain paused, seminar guests enjoyed a delicious mezcal tasting session with our friends from Amor del Diablo.
Later, a special dinner was held in the Salon to honor Lizardi and Mahieux.
Saturday January 31, 1PM
A Tamales & Cocktails session combined with selected readings by TSWW faculty and participants at the home of Emanuela Gardner concluded the 2015 TSWW session. After a week of storms and rain, the sunset from Emanuela’s house was spectacular.