Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2015 Steel Pen Bookfair Bonanza

Kevin Shelton
Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a bookfair with critically acclaimed author Wang Ping, Indiana native fiction writer, Bryan Furuness, and small presses? Good thing October is coming up then as Indiana Writers’ Consortium’s 2015 Steel Pen Conference will be having a bookfair as part of the conference. If you want a book signed by Wang Ping—or by one of the other talented authors attending the bookfair—here is your chance.
The book fair will be located at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza and will start at 9 AM and last until 6 PM, Saturday, October 10. There will be around 30 small presses, individual authors, and literary arts organizations selling a variety of books, journals, and other materials, so take your time and explore what everyone has out on the tables.  
Sometimes you just need a glass of wine or some gourmet chocolate as you read or write. As a fun twist to the book fair, Indiana Writers’ Consortium will be having a drawing for a complimentary LuxWine Tasting for Four at Cooper’s Hawk, donated by the winery. This tour includes a tasting of their different wines and a gourmet chocolate truffle. To enter the drawing, you sign up at the bookfair.
Included in the bookfair, there will be author signings at the Barnes & Noble table. Below is the schedule:
10:30 AM – P. Ivan Young
P. Ivan Young is a recipient of the 2011 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award and the 2013 winner of the Norton Girault Literary Prize.
11:45 AM – Laura Madeline Wiseman
Laura Madeline Wiseman has published several books that include Drink, Wake, and multiple chapbooks.  
1:00 PM – Sara Henning
Sara Henning is the author of A Sweeter Water, Garden Effigies, and To Speak to Dahlias.
2:00 PM – Ching-In Chen
Ching-In Chen is the author of The Heart’s Traffic and is a genderqueer and multi-genre writer. She has been featured around the country.
2:30 PM - Michael Poore
Michael Poore has written Up Jumps the Devil and is currently working on a new novel.
3:00 PM - Wang Ping
Wang Ping has won multiple awards, which include the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council for the Arts for poetry, the Eugene Kayden Award for the Best Book in Humanities, and more.
3:30 PMKate Collins
Kate Collins is the New York Times bestselling author of the Flower Shop Mystery series and is an Indiana native.
5:00 PM – Bryan Furuness
Bryan Furuness is the author of The Lost Episodes of Revie Bryson and won the Midwest Short Fiction Contest, The Laurel Review, for “The Lost Episodes”
5:30 PM – James Dworkin
James Dworkin is the chancellor of Purdue North Central and is the author of The Dog and the Dolphin.
As an off-site event on Sunday, October 11th, there will be an author fair at Barnes & Noble in Valparaiso. Below is the schedule for the author fair:
10 AM – 12 PM
Wang Ping
Ching-IN Chen
Bryan Furuness
Laura Madeline Wiseman
Sara Henning
Evan Guilford-Blake
Britny Cordera Doane
12:30 PM – 2 PM
Michael Poore
Kate Collins
Carla Susan
James Dworkin
Kathryn Page Camp
Joyce Hicks
Paula Evans
Catherine Lanigan
For more information about the 2015 Steel Pen conference and book fair, please visit

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Milwaukee's Best: A Reading, and the Red Ink Society After Party

Miranda Peterson
The 2015 Steel Pen Creative Writers’ Conference is only weeks away! While considering the various options the conference has to offer, keep in mind the onsite event at 8:30PM, Milwaukee’s Best: A reading, and the evening’s finale, the Red Ink Society After Party at 10 pm. Each will be filled with much excitement and Midwestern love amidst both the Miltown readers and Red Ink Society members!
Milwaukee’s Best: A Reading will galvanize the Miltown essence with readings by six poets linked to the city: Ching-in Chen, Ryder Collins, Freesia McKee, Soham Patel, Ann Stewart McBee, and Dawn Tefft. The poets each have a unique style, which peculiarly unites their commonality: living in Milwaukee.
Ching-in Chen: Most recently, Chen has written and published The Heart's Traffic (Arktoi/Red Hen Press, 2009). Other publications include her blog, Sunslick Starfish, and work in journals: Poemelon, Tea Party, Asian American Poetry, In Our Own Words, Asian American Movement Ezine (article), and Asian American Poetry and Writing (interview). Ching-in Chen’s poem-play "The Geisha Author Interviews," from The Heart's Traffic, was nominated for the John Cauble Short Play Award. Chen has also been awarded various fellowships and residencies at numerous fine and creative arts institutions.
Ryder Collins: Self-named “mama,” Ryder Collins was a Northerner who relocated in the south. Her most recent work is Home Girl (2011), and she also published poetry chapbook Orpheus on Toast. Other pieces have been published in DIAGRAM, >kill author, Fix It Broken, and Juked. She has been a finalist, won contests, received nominations, and more, but as her Honest Publishing Profile states, “mama doesn’t like to brag or kiss and tell.”
Freesia McKee: “Freesia McKee is one of Milwaukee's most distinctive emerging creative voices” according to Art in Milwaukee. Her work has been published in Huffington Post, Gertrude, Verse Wisconsin, Burdock 13, the Outrider Review, Stone Highway Review, The Boiler Journal, and Food Politic, among others. McKee has read alongside numerous Milwaukee poet laureates and also participates in writing and creative arts community organizations. Freesia McKee is a graduate of Warren Wilson College with a degree in Gender & Women's Studies and a minor in Creative Writing.
Soham Patel: Soham Patel's first poetry chapbook and nevermind the storm was published in 2013 by Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs. Her other pieces have appeared in Copper Nickel, The Cortland Review, SHAMPOO, Foursquare, and many others. Patel has taught creative writing, composition, and literature at colleges in the United States and India and is a Kundiman Fellow.  
Ann Stewart McBee: Ann Stewart McBee holds a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is a lecturer in English at UWM and Concordia Wisconsin. She also served as Editor-in-Chief for UMW’s literary journal, cream city review. Her works have appeared in Ellipsis, Untamed Ink, Spittoon, Blue Earth Review, So to Speak, and At Length, among others.
Dawn Tefft: Dawn Tefft is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Ph. D. in creative writing. Her poetry has been published in Fourteen Hills, Sentence, and many other literary journals. Tefft’s chapbook, Field Trip to My Mother and Other Exotic Locations, can be found at Mudlark, an electronic journal of poetry and poetics. Forthcoming is Tefft’s chapbook Fist from Dancing Girl Press.
The Red Ink Society commenced in 2013, when Betty Villareal was a senior at Indiana University Northwest. She revealed, “With encouragement and approval from English professor, Bill Allegrezza, and several students in the Fiction Writing course I was taking at the time, the Red Ink Society was born.” Initially, the creative writing group met at IUN, “with the hope of encouraging creative writers to write more.” Eventually the Red Ink Society integrated the meetings into the local community. The society currently has twenty-five members and averages four writers who meet regularly to critique members’ work. For meeting information, contact the The Red Ink Society After Party will be from 10pm to midnight in the Green Room, following the final event of the conference.
The 2015 Steel Pen Writers’ Conference takes place October 10, 2015. For a full schedule and registration information, please visit

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Darkness in the Body that Redeems: A Reading of Poetry

Kevin Shelton
What better way to greet an old friend than with a welcome back party. Get ready as Laura Madeline Wiseman, Sarah Henning, Cat Dixon, Amy Ash, and Callista Buchen come together to read at the 2015 Steel Pen Welcome Back Event. This will be the second annual conference Indiana Writers’ Consortium is hosting. The off-site event will be on October 9 starting at 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and will be taking place at Purdue University Calumet in the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS). This won’t be a simulation, though, as these exhilarating authors spill forth words into a seamless stream of poetry that will take you on a ride through darkness in the body and how pain can restructure and redeem a woman. Below is what each author is bringing:
Laura Madeline Wiseman has a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln in English and a M.A. from the University of Arizona in women’s studies. She is the author of several books that include Drink (BlazeVOX, 2015), Wake (Aldrich Press, 2015), and The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters: Ten Tales (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2015). She is also the editor of the anthology Women Write Resistance (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). The poems she will be reading from Drink “explore the unmaking of a girl’s body via the pain of spatial destruction.”  
Sara Henning is the author of A Sweeter Water (Lavender Ink, 2013), Garden Effigies (Dancing Girl Press, 2015), and To Speak to Dahlias (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Sara Henning has also appeared in Women Write Resistance with her poem “The Art of Exes.”
Cat Dixon’s full length poetry book Too Heavy to Carry was published in 2014 by Stephen F. Austin University Press. She also has a chapbook called Our End has Brought the Spring (Finishing Line Press, 2015).  Dixon teaches creative writing at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. She will be reading from Too Heavy to Carry and wants “to give hope to others who may be caught in a web of lies and pain” through her poetry.
Amy Ash has a Ph.D from the University of Kansas. She is the author of The Open Mouth of the Vase that won the 2013 Cider Press Review Book Award.  Her individual work can be found in Mid-American Review, Harpur Palate, Cimarron Review, and others. Amy Ash and Callista Buchen will be reading from their collaborative chapbook Echo, Unravel.
Callista Buchen is the author of The Bloody Planet (Black Lawrence Press, October 2015) and Double-Mouthed (Dancing Girl Press, forthcoming winter 2016). She is the winner of DIAGRAM’s essay contest for her prose piece “Belly Sea.”  Her work appears in Harpur Palate, Puerto del Sol, Whiskey Island Review, and others.
Come on by the CIVS room in the Powers building room 123 as the event will start at 5:30 p.m. and end at 7:30 p.m. with a five minute Q&A after each reader. After everyone has read, there will be time left for a book signing. You won’t want to miss these poets reading as “there are few things finer than attending a reading, to spend an hour or more in a room filled with the sounds of words” as Wiseman perfectly describes it, and I can’t agree more.
For more information on the 2015 Steel Pen Conference, please visit:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Literary Equivalent of a High-Speed Alligator Ride: A Fiction Reading by Bryan Furuness and Michael Poore

Miranda Peterson
The 2015 Steel Pen Creative Writers’ Conference is quickly approaching. Along with its speedy arrival is the anticipation of the conference’s Featured Reading from Noon–1:00, with Bryan Furuness and Michal Poore. Each author has an incredibly unique style, destined to have the audience buckling their seatbelts and holding on to their pens at the very start of the session.
Bryan Furuness, the 2015 Steel Pen Creative Writers’ Conference’s keynote speaker, is an instructor at Butler University, a writer, and an editor. He is a northwest Indiana native, which is reflected in his novel The Lost Episodes of Revie Bryson. Bryan Furuness with Michael Martone is co-editor of Winesburg, Indiana. His other creative writing works have been published in various literary magazines.
In regard to the Fiction Reading, Bryan Furuness is strengthening the anticipation of registered conference attendees by giving no word on what pieces he intends to read.  Though readers of Furuness’ work have an idea of his creative style, the reading itself will amplify the overall experience of his creative literary pieces. When it comes to Q&A following the reading, roles may be reversed. Furuness will need to buckle his seatbelt as audience attendees question everything from novel writing to publishing. When asked to reflect on past Q&A experiences, Furuness responded, “The minute I end a Q&A, I am filled with hot regret. I want to revise all my answers, but I've yet to meet the audience that will cooperate with this request.” The 2015 Steel Pen Reading and Q&A will hopefully give Furuness the opportunity to keep the audience intrigued, then to relax, loosen his seatbelt, and give his best response to every question.
Michael Poore, the co-speaker at the midday reading, has similar Midwestern roots, being born and raised in Ohio. After two years of undergraduate school at Ohio University, then numerous interesting jobs, Poore returned to OU and completed his Bachelor’s degree in Education. During his time at OU, Michael Poore published a cartoon strip in the OU Post.  Creative Writing courses at OU were what led him into more serious creative writing. Poore’s “massive upheaval” in life came when he “was working as a substitute teacher, and [he] moved from SE Ohio to Chicagoland.” From that point on, Poore has published numerous pieces in various literary publications. Poore’s more recent writing career includes writing and publishing Up Jumps the Devil, along with six months of radio interviews and book signings to promote the work. Poore revealed, “Now things are quiet again, and I’m working on a new novel.”
The fiction reading by Michael Poore is sure to excite the audience. Poore’s physical voice as an author will reveal the true creative element of his literary work. When asked to reflect on past Q&A experiences, Poore responded, “The thing that stays with me is always the people who came to listen and participate . . .  The audience turns the event from a plan and a schedule into a living thing.” In order to keep pace with the theme of the reading, Poore reiterates, “It’s a two way street, after all.” The author and audience connection and experience for this reading will be positively seat gripping. Poore’s concluding element of a reading is that “[He] feel[s] ten feet tall after a reading.  More importantly, [he] tend[s] to feel that the audience consists of giants, too.” 
The 2015 Steel Pen Writers’ Conference takes place October 10, 2015. For registration information visit

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

2015 Steel Pen Creative Writers' Conference Welcome to Feature Author Wang Ping

Janine Harrison
Wang Ping will read work and install Kinship of Rivers Flags for a temporary exhibit as part of the 2015 Steel Pen Creative Writers’ Conference Welcome.  Indiana Writers’ Consortium has partnered with Indiana University Northwest, who will host the event on October 9th, at 8 PM, in the Gallery of Contemporary Art. 
Wang Ping teaches creative writing at Macalester College, in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Most recently, Wang collaborated with British filmmaker Isaac Julien on Ten Thousand Waves, a film installation that premiered in London, about illegal Chinese immigration. She then published a poetry collection of the same title (Wings Press, 2014).
Wang moved from China to the US in 1986.  She has also published American Visa (short stories, 1994), Foreign Devil (novel, 1996), Of Flesh and Spirit (poetry, 1998), The Magic Whip (poetry, 2003), The Last Communist Virgin (stories, 2007), and All Roads to Joy: Memories along the Yangtze (2012), all from Coffee House Press.  She co-translated and edited the anthology New Generation: Poetry from China Today (Hanging Loose Press, 1999) as well as co-translated the anthology Flash Cards: Poems by Yu Jian, (Zephyr Press, 2010) with Ron Padgett. Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) won the Eugene Kayden Award for the Best Book in Humanities, and in 2002, Random House published the paperback edition.  In addition, The Last Communist Virgin won the 2008 Minnesota Book Award and Asian American Studies Award.  Wang has had two photography and multi-media exhibitions, "Behind the Gate: After the Flooding of the Three Gorges” at the Janet Fine Art Gallery, Macalester College, 2007, and “The Steel Dragon” at the Banfill-Lock Cultural Center, 2008. She has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council of the Arts and the Minnesota State Arts Board and has received the Bush Artist Fellowship, Lannan Foundation Fellowship, and the McKnight Artist Fellowship.
Wang Ping was born at the mouth of the Yangtze River, Shanghai, and raised on an island in the East China Sea that is fed by the Yangtze, which helps to explain why she spearheaded Kinship of Rivers, a five-year interdisciplinary project designed to create kinship among Yangtze and Mississippi communities as well as to foster awareness, via art, literature, music, food, and river-flag installations, of the rivers’ ecosystems.  Thanks to visits by Wang and other artists to river communities and schools, over 2,000 River Flags, inspired by Tibetan prayer flags and made using hand-dyed fabric, have been created by participants along the Yangtze and Mississippi, among other rivers.  Flags carry art, poetry, and riverbank plant prints and travel widely between and within cultures, serving as liaisons of peace, clean water, and harmony.  The goal is for the project to culminate in 2016 with 10,000 flags and a documentary film.  According to Wang Ping, “We are water.  It runs through us like a river, like blood.  It is our blood, our mother.”  Wang will also be leading a flag and poetry workshop at the Steel Pen Creative Writers’ Conference on Saturday, October 10th.
The Steel Pen Welcome, which is free, is open to conference participants and the IUN campus and local community.  Event information is as follows:
October 9, 2015 
8 PM
Gallery of Contemporary Art
Savannah Center
Indiana University Northwest
3400 Broadway Avenue
Gary, IN  46408
(IUN is located approximately one block south of I-80 on the west side of Broadway Ave.  Park in the main lot.)
Light refreshments will be served.
For additional information about Wang Ping and the Kinship of Rivers project, please see: and  For the full conference schedule and registration information, please see: registration will take place until September 20th, after which late registration will be available for an additional fee until the end of the month.  Steel Pen includes a full day of breakout sessions, book fair, cocktail hour, dinner with keynote speaker Bryan Furuness, and other on- and off-site events throughout the weekend.  Please email with any questions.