Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Birthday Greetings for Ursula Le Guin

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Ursula, from all of us at Soapstone.

We thank you for all you have given to Soapstone over the past two decades and all you have given to the world of literature.

We wish you many good things in the years ahead.

Judith, Ruth, Brittney, Noel, Kathleen, Nancy, Ann, Maureen, Katy, Liz, Janice and Patricia

Friday, October 16, 2009

Writers at Soapstone: Barbara Sjoholm

Barbara Sjoholm was in residence at Soapstone for a week in the summer of 2001 and a week during the winter of 2003. She wrote about the first week:

“I accomplished far more than I had hoped. I brought a number of memoir/essays to work on and ended up not only writing but being able to see them as a unified whole. I was surprised at how much I was able to get done. I felt intensely focused on the work—the days seemed much longer than at home.

“I was happy to be at Soapstone with a friend. Most nights we took turns reading our work to one another and giving feedback. We worked through the days except for two escapes to the coast on sunny afternoons. Perhaps especially since we are friends, I was glad to have the excellent “rules” and not have to bother to work out any of that ourselves.

“You’ve done an incredible job organizing the process from beginning to end. Every question and/or contingency had an answer in the materials, leaving our brain cells free to create. Thank you!”

Barbara Sjoholm is a novelist, memoirist, translator, and mystery writer. Her books include Blue Windows: A Christian Science Childhood, The Pirate Queen: In Search of Grace O'Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea, Incognito Street: How Travel Made Me a Writer, and The Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in Lapland. Her short pieces have been published in the Harvard Review, The American Scholar, Antioch Review, the New York Times, Slate, and Smithsonian. Barbara has also published several collections of short stories and three novels; she is one of the founders of Seal Press and the nonprofit Women in Translation.

Many readers know her as Barbara Wilson, author of two successful, offbeat mystery series. In 2001, a film of Gaudi Afternoon was released, starring Judy Davis and Marcia Gay Harden. Her awards include a Columbia Translation Prize for Cora Sandel: Selected Short Stories, a British Crime Writers' award, and a Lambda Literary Award.

She is currently working on a translation from the Danish of With the Lapps in the High Mountains, by the painter and ethnologist Emilie Demant Hatt. You can find out more about Barbara on her website.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Writers at Soapstone: Marjorie Sandor

Marjorie Sandor was awarded a week’s residency at Soapstone in August of 2003. She wrote, “I managed to stay at my desk for double my usual time, and was able to do a lot of very difficult ground work for the last quarter of a long novel, The Descent of Luck, set in a Southern California botanical garden with a rich history about to be lost.” A long chapter that she worked on at Soapstone will appear this December in the Winter 2009 issue of The Hopkins Review. “I'm hugely grateful for the concentrated intensely focused time that Soapstone gave me at a crucial juncture in this book.”

Marjorie Sandor is the author of two story collections, Portrait of My Mother, Who Posed Nude in Wartime and A Night of Music; and a memoir, The Night Gardener: A Search For Home. Her short fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize XIII and The Best of Beacon. Her writing has been published in journals such as The Georgia Review, The Southern Review and The New York Times Magazine. Awards include a National Jewish Book Award in Fiction, Rona Jaffe Foundation Award for Fiction, and the Oregon Book Award for literary nonfiction. She is a professor of English and Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Oregon State University.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Writers at Soapstone: Bette Lynch Husted

Bette Lynch Husted was awarded a two-week residency at Soapstone in 2002, during which time she completed her memoir, Above the Clearwater. During a second two-week residency in 2006 she worked on her poetry collection, At This Distance.

She wrote about her time in 2006:

“Something happens, I suppose, in any writing residency simply from having, at last, uninterrupted time. But Soapstone has, for me, a special magic. I feel as if I am inside my self—inside my head and heart, listening to that voice that comes through my fingers—and inside the world at the same time, not separated from the hummingbirds at the feeder or the deer wading up the creek or the thrushes calling from the elderberry bush. Somehow I am able to look more clearly at my writing, to see it from both inside and above, at the same time. As I walk to the Hatchery or on the beach, as I share and revise with the other resident in the evenings, even as we talk over dinner, the writing process goes on uninterrupted.

I’m grateful to have been at Soapstone in two seasons. Memories of fires (even when none are burning; it’s past the summer solstice), of sun and wind and hail, of conversations with other writers and friends, stay at Soapstone almost as physical presences.

I want the words I write to be as close as possible to the presence of what they represent. There is always a gap, I know. At Soapstone, the gap narrows, sometimes feels as if it closes altogether. And I can bring traces of that magic home with me, like the bottle of water I brought home from the McKenzie River after my first week at The Flight of the Mind, shaking my head yet finding myself unable to leave it behind.”

Bette Lynch Husted is the author of Above the Clearwater: Living on Stolen Land (OSU Press, 2004) which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and the WILLA Award in creative nonfiction; and a poetry chapbook, After Fire, published in 2002. Her poetry collection At This Distance will be published in fall 2010 by Wordcraft of Oregon. She received a 2007 Oregon Arts Commission fellowship and was a "Found at Fishtrap" fellow at Fishtrap's 2007 20th anniversary celebration. Her work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Northwest Review, Fourth Genre, Oregon Humanities and other journals.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Residencies Awarded for 2009-2010

We are pleased to announce that the following writers have been awarded residencies at Soapstone for 2009-2010.

Norina Beck
Jennifer Borges Foster
Wendy Breuer
Sharline Chiang
Kerry Cohen
Jenesha De Rivera
Tracy Debrincat
Monica Drake
Anita Feng
Sara Guest
Karen Holmberg
Fowzia Karimi
Jess Lamb
Kate Lebo
Ellen Lewis
Christina Lovin
Margaret Malone
Louanne Moldovan
Ly Nguyen
Pam Ore
Soham Patel
Deborah Poe
Andrea Stolowitz
Cheryl Strayed
Ellen Urbani
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
Ann Whitfield Powers
Kathleen Worley
Bo Yu

We'd like to thank the readers on our selection committee: Anita Bigelow, Ruth Gundle, Kevia Jeffrey-West, Catherine Johnson, Nancy LaPaglia, Ellen Notbohm, Carla Perry, and Katy Riker.

Applications for 2011 will be accepted during the summer of 2010. For more information about our application process, please visit our website.