Writer, Editor, & Teacher
Making Good Time events and exerpts you can access online:
On August 29, 2020, national Independent Bookstore Day, Books and Books hosted a Making Good Time reading and discussion, which I emceed, with contributors Chantel Acevedo, Fabienne Josaphat, Sammy Mack, Thomas Swick, and Ana Veciana Suarez sharing their work.
We talked about aspects of access, limits, boundaries, and the meanings our journeys accrue that are in this book, and also how our current situation has amplified many of the anthology's themes.
You can watch the Crowdcast recording of this event here, via Books and Books.
On the radio! WLRN Public Media's Chris Remington interviewed me for Sundial, talking about MAKING GOOD TIME: True Stories of How We Do, And Don't, Get Around in South Florida, and the funny, sad, frightening, and thrilling stories told by its 32 contributors.
See much more at the Making Good Time page.
Making Good Time was the cover story in the November issue of the Biscayne Times, with an excerpt from my introduction, nonfiction stories by Madeleine Blais, Terence Cantarella, Lauren Doyle Owens, Alex Segura, and a collaborative essay by Denise Duhamel and Julie Marie Wade.
You can check out the Biscayne Times cover feature online. Sneak peek at the feature's first page & start of my introduction is on the Making Good Time page.
Copies are available via the press or Books & Books--which you can call and they will mail one, or visit one of their stores, now reopened with social distancing.
Now in its second printing:
What Editors Want: A Must-Read for Writers Submitting to Literary Magazines covers the steps in the submission process and how to handle them...and stay as sane as a writer can.
Please use this link to order from the publisher Rain Chain Press. and save on shipping. Discounts available for those ordering multiple copies, as many writers' groups have done.
Praise for What Editors Want:
"Chock full of incredible insights. Every writer shold read this to make the most of their lit mag submissions."
—Becky Tuch, Editor, The Review Review
My third short story collection, MAGPIES, published by Carnegie Mellon University Press, received the Gold Medal for General Fiction in the Florida Book Awards.
Selected by the Center for Literature and Writing at Miami Dade College for their Current Voices In Literature Program.
Publishers Weekly says of Magpies: "Barrett portrays adult lives with minimal flourishes and a powerful command of setting. Florida is electric with the tension of "all that can happen"—hurricanes, sinkholes, and a boom-and-bust history. It becomes as eerie as it is richly imagined, whether stories take place in an Art Deco building or a gas station. One of the year's finer university press offerings..."
In The Rumpus, Joseph Olshan writes: "Sentence for sentence, Barrett is a superb writer. Her work brims with original ideas, questions and philosophical musings, the product of a probing intelligence and a highly literate sensibility. But what separates her from many contemporary short fiction writers is her consummate story-telling ability."
To see some of the independent bookstores where readers have found or ordered Magpies, check out the Publications Page.
If you would like a signed copy of Magpies or Making Good Time, they are available from Miami's great independent bookseller Books & Books, 305-442-4408.
Around the web
and around town
I read my poem "Polylingual" at the start of this short slideshow about the WLRN and O Miami Poetry Festival "That's So Miami" project. Just follow this link and scroll down.
To see some of the independent bookstores where readers have found or ordered Magpies, check out the Publications Page.
If you would like a signed copy, they are available from Miami's great independent bookseller Books & Books, 305-442-4408.
Women of Florida Fiction
Women of Florida Fiction, Essays on 12 Sunshine State Writers, edited by Tammy Powley and April Van Camp, is available from McFarland. "Florida as symbol and myth is the subject of this collection of new critical essays exploring fiction written by female Floridian authors."
Scholar Claudia Slate contributes a chapter on the stories in Magpies, and the book’s final section includes interviews with Florida authors Lynne Barrett, Jeannine Capó Cruz, Vicki Hendricks, and Angela Hunt.
At the 2015 Florida College English Association conference in St. Petersburg, Vicki Hendricks and I spoke about what it's like to write in and about Florida at a plenary session and a panel of critics and teachers discussed Magpies. The conference theme was "Turn Back the Page: Discovering Florida's History through Texts"
More journals and anthologies
As editor of Tigertail, A South Florida Annual: Florida Flash, I looked for very short prose works to explore the edges and overlaps between lyrical and narrative approaches. Fifty-four authors with connections to Florida contributed prose poetry, flash fiction, and flash nonfiction of no more than 305 words—a number representing the original South Florida area code.
More about the collection, and the radio contest it inspired, on the Anthologies page.
To learn about more of my work you can find online or in print, please go to the pages for my books, stories, creative nonfiction, poems, and other projects, all under the Publications menu.
For the record: Events that couldn't happen as planned
National Independent Bookstores Day, originally April 27, 2020, was rescheduled for August 29, 2020.
Making Good Time, which had been scheduled to be part of the festivities at Books and Books in Coral Gables, instead became a Books and Books Crowdcast event, with contributors Chantel Acevedo, Fabienne Josaphat, Sammy Mack, Thomas Swick, and Ana Veciana-Suarez reading from and discussing their stories about how we do, and don't, get around in South Florida, in the past, now, and in the future, along with the anthology's editor Lynne Barrett as emcee.
You can now view the event on the Books and Books website.
CANCELLED: April 3-5, 2020, I was looking forward to again being among those presenting at Grub Street's Muse and the Marketplace conference in Boston, MA. The conference has been cancelled for this year.
BUT Grub Street moved as much of its regular teaching offerings as possible online and is now transitioning for Spring 2022 to a mixture of online and in-person. Please check their website for more information.
CANCELLED: March 19, 2020 craft talks and panel (with Lynne Barrett, M.J. Fievre, Louis K. Lowy, Lauren Doyle Owens, Thomas Swick) ---and the whole Coral Springs Festival of the Arts. This event may be rescheduled . . .
July 22-28, 2022, I'll be among those teaching at the International Women's Writing Guild summer conference, "Reconnect and Reimagine" at Endicott College in Beverly, MA. My Advanced Seminar in Fiction Writing is just one of a wide range of offerings. While in-person registration ended in mid-June, there is a virtual option, which you can learn about here.
In April 2022 WLRN-FM -O, Miami Zip Ode competition, I used the FIU BBC zip code (five lines, in this case with word count: 3 3 1 8 1) for my ode. "Here I'm teaching..." was selected in blind judging to be a spotlight poem, published online via Instagram and Facebook, and I was among the spotlight poets who read their (very brief) work and were interviewed in the Zip Ode finale event on Aprl 27, which was hosted on WLRN's Facebook and YouTube. More information and the video recording of the Spotlight readings and interviews are online here.
My short story "Bait & Tackle" has been published Issue 3 of Rivanna Review. What happens when two long estranged friends meet up at their old, now upscaled hangout on Palometa Beach?
Rivanna Review is a print literary magazine that includes stories, essays, poems, art, reviews, news, and more. The single print issue ($8) or a subscription may be ordered by mail: info here.
The Sanibel Island Writers Conference (and I) will be returning to the newly updated and expanded Big Arts arts center, on Sanibel Island, FL, Nov. 3-6, 2022. More details will be on the conference website soon--and if you visit now, you can view the live streamed SIWC panels from the past two (remote) SIWC's, including mine on "Will They Believe You: Speaking the Unspeakable" (2021) and "Plot" (2020), with more info on those below.
On May 13th, I was among the presenters at the third annual Miami Dade College Student Writers Conference. My session, "Branching Paths: Where Writing Can Take You," focused on the connections between skills learned in writing classes (including collaboration, revision, understanding audience, dramatic storytelling vs. exposition, and more) and real world work of many kinds.
I had the pleasure of returning to Florida Gulf Coast University in person, on Nov. 4, 2021, where M.J. Fievre and I taught workshops for FGCU students in the afternoon, and then in the evening we did a public reading together, and answered questions about writing, publishing, and the writing life. This, along with presentations the next day by Denise Duhamel and John Dufresne, was the in-person part one of the FGCU Sanibel Island Writers Conference, followed by the online FGCU conference two days later (see below).
I was among the presenters for Florida Gulf Coast University's Sanibel Island Writers Conference online, on Nov. 6, 2021. All the sessions are still free and open to all to view. Denise Duhamel, Beth Ann Fennelly, and I discussed "Will They Believe You?: Speaking the Unspeakable," and read from our work in the anthology GRABBED: Poets and Writers on Sexual Assault, Empowerment, and Healing. Just go here to view our session.Also, while there you can see the other panels, via that same page. And the full set of presentations from last year is also available there.
My poem, 'Morning Glories in Miami," was SWWIM's Poem of the Day for Oct. 4, 2021. In part it's about how gardening taught me dailyness, and how Florida welcomed my un-green thumb. Read it here.
You can read my (very short) story "Backyard Chair: Miami" in 50-Word Stories.
My short story "The Old Broads of the Mermaid Beach Apartments," published in the Orange Blossom Review, was selected by the magazine to nominate for the Sundress Publications Best of the Net anthology.
I presented "Character in a Flash," an online generative workshop for writers of fiction and nonfiction, hosted by The Cream Literary Alliance, LLC in January. You can see their upcoming online offerings here.
And I also presented about "Character in a Flash" at the Miami Dade College Student Writing Conference on May 21, 2021.
The Sanibel Island Writers Conference took place virtually, via StreamYard, viewable for free on Facebook and YouTube on Oct. 24 & 25, 2020. Joe Clifford, Steve Womack, and I did a lively panel on plot on Sunday, Oct. 25th, and you can still watch it here.
...short stories, essays, & more
I was among the authors interviewed by Nancy Stetson in Florida Weekly about our favorite punctuation marks, for National Punctuation Day, September 24, 2019. Which was mine? Take a look...
2020 & 2021 Events
Oct. 24, 2020, from 1 to 4 PM, I presented an online class for the International Women's Writing Guild: "Haunted: 21st Century Ghosts & the Uses of the Uncanny." This was generative workshop, with lecture, examples from short published work, and prompts. You can learn about other IWWG offerings on their website.
I did a lead-off reading of flash fiction, along with poet Eileen Cleary, as part of the International Women's Writing Guild series of Summer 2020 open mics, on July 30th at 2 PM. This ongoing IWWG series is free but registration is required.
As part of the International Women's Writing Guild's Summer Picnic for Writers, on June 29, 2020 I taught an online workshop on "What Editors Want" in their WRITING AS BUSINESS series.
To learn about 2022 events check here on the IWWG website.
On June 29, 2020, I taught an workshop, "What EditorsWant, " about the ins and outs of the submission process for writers.The Zoom format allowed me to take those who registered on a tour of a variety literary magazine websites to look at how they present themselves, how to find information about their submission process, and more. This class was part of the International Women's Writing Guild's Writing as Business series See the schedule here.
March 1, 2020 at 4 P.M. at Books and Books in the Suniland Shopping Center, Pinecrest, FL, a great crowd came out to hear Madeleine Blais, Richard Blanco, Anjanette Delgado, Les Standiford, and Norma Watkins read from their essays in Making Good Time: True Stories of How We Do, and Don't, Get Around in South Florida, with editor Lynne Barrett on hand as emcee.
The wonderful Books and Books team has since moved to having remote author events, and we now have one scheduled for August 29, 2020.
2019 Event Highlights
On Sunday, Nov. 24, at 11 AM, I had the pleasure of leading a Miami Book Fair session focusing on Making Good Time: True Stories of How We Do, and Don't, Get Around in South Florida, featuring contributors Terence Cantarella, Jennine Capó Crucet, Sammy Mack, and Alex Segura, with other contributors on hand for the conversation and book signing.
Oct. 16: 6 PM: Making Good Time Panel at the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach, 411 Clematis St. Featuring editor Lynne Barrett and contributing authors Lauren Doyle Owens, Thomas Swick, and Monica Uszerowiz, were on hand to read from their work and discuss the issues it raises, with a lively audience. We also distributed information about the Miami Book Fair, including details on getting there by train Palm Beach and Broward Counties.
Making Good Time: True Stories of How We Do, and Don't, Get Around in South Florida launched on Sept. 21, 2019 at Books and Books Coral Gables. 19 of the 32 contributors read from their work for one minute each, so that the large and receptivie audience got a quick tour of the range of voices, places, and experiences in the book. You can order the book via any Books and Books branch. (Follow the link to Books and Books event info here.)
Along with Jan Becker and Louis K. Lowy, I was interviewed about Making Good Time by MDC-TV in a Sept. 2019 feature. The program can be viewed online.
At the International Womens Writing Guild's 42nd annual summer conference, held at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, July 12-19, 2019, I taught an advanced fiction workshop, "A Path Through the Labyrinth," which was limited to ten, and filled with a great group of fiction writers. The overall conference theme was Writing the Body: Voice, Art, and Craft in a Changing World, and it offered workshops, critique sessions, readings by participants, and more. The organization holds some regional one-day workshops in addition to the summer conference, and offers online webinars and other resources to members. More on the IWWG here.
I was part of Miami Book Fair's Noir at the Bar reading on November 15, 2018. Our emcee Alex Segura, Joe Clifford, Mike Creeden, Hector Duarte Jr., Jon McGoran, and Lauren Doyle Owens and I served up slices of crime fictionand Gold Dust Lounge provided live noir lounge music, at MBFI's The Porch at Miami-Dade College's Wolfson Campus in Downtown Miami.
I also ran The Florida Book Review's annual Book Fair blog, which takes you to many of the readings and panels as well as giving a sense of the amazing street fair. Check it out here.
To see other recent events and to get more details about upcoming book group meetings, workshops, and conferences, please go to the Events page.
"Morning Glories" is in Fifteen Views of Miami, a collection of lightly linked stories edited by Jaquira Diaz and published by Burrow Press.
Connie Ogle discusses the collection and interviews the editor and some of the contributors in a great piece in the Miami Herald. And Tina Egnoski reviews it for the Florida Book Review.
Miami New Times has named Fifteen Views of Miami to its list of "The Seven Best Books About Miami."
"The Tree Man" was published in Wraparound South. Read it here.
A brief excerpt from the story was used as the text for a broadsheet Pip Brandt and I did for the Sweat Broadsheet project. You can see the broadsheet on the Stories, Essays, Poems, page
The Editors of Wraparound South nominated "The Tree Man" for Sundress Publications' Best of the Net anthology, the Million Writers Prize, and for a Pushcart Prize.
I teach in the Creative Writing program in FIU's English Dept, and often speak at writers' conferences around the country. I'm immensely proud of my students, and you can read about some of their many achievements on my Teaching Page.
I was honored to be chosen as a Florida International University Top Scholar in 2012, and to be featured in a full-page ad for the university in the Miami Herald.
In 2011 I received an FIU Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentorship, and I previously received the FIU Award for Excellence in Research. In addition, I have received an award for Service from FIU's College of Arts, Sciences, and Education (CASE) and one for Teaching from the Department of English.
With FIU President Mark Rosenberg, 2012 Top Scholars Reception, April 2012.