NWWS 2014

2014 CSWS Northwest Women Writers Symposium “Family, Animal, Story”    May 1 – 3, 2014

The Thursday afternoon panel will be held on the University of Oregon campus (Gerlinger Lounge). Friday evening and Saturday events will be held at Downtown Eugene Public Library (10th& Olive).

WeAreAllCompletely_pb_WEBThe third annual Northwest Women Writers Symposium will be held Thursday May 1, 2014, through Saturday May 3, 2014, and will focus on how we write and think about the dynamics of family, expanding the boundaries of our families, our relationships with animals, and ethics and activism regarding animals. Our keynote writer will be 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award-winner and New York Times–bestselling author Karen Joy Fowler, whose novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves has opened up new ways of talking about family dynamics, animal rights, the ethics of animal research, and activism. The novel is narrated by a young woman who was raised until age five with a chimpanzee as her sister, with both receiving equal treatment. The girl’s father had been a psychology professor at Indiana University carrying out a research project. When the chimpanzee was abruptly removed from the family, the family unraveled. Still coming to terms some 20 years later with what happened to her family, and especially her sister the chimpanzee, the narrator guides the reader through a personal tale of modern humanity’s sad and broken relationships with animals — and with one another. Fowler is also the author of The Jane Austen Book Club, a New York Times bestseller, as well as four short story collections and three other novels.

Sponsored by: UO Center for the Study of Women in Society, Women Writers Project. Cosponsors include: Eugene Public Library; Oregon Humanities Center; the UO School of Journalism and Communication; the UO Department of English; the UO Department of Women’s and Gender Studies; and the UO Libraries.
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Thursday Panel 5 p.m.—“Cheek by Jowl: Re-Writing the Human-Animal Relationship” Location: Gerlinger Lounge, UO campus, 1468 University St.
Karen Joy Fowler / photo by Brett Hall Jones

Karen Joy Fowler / photo by Brett Hall Jones

NWWS 2014 will open with a a conversation about how humans relate to nonhuman beings—whether family members, research subjects, trained workers, zoo dwellers, or free beings—what are their rights, and how do we re-write our relationships?  Karen Joy Fowler will read short sections from her novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, and will be joined at the table by an interdisciplinary panel of scholars. With CSWS director Carol Stabile serving as moderator, the panelists will offer responses from the standpoint of their academic discipline.

Panelists include:
  • Caroline Forell is the Clayton R. Hess Professor of Law at the University of Oregon School of Law. One of the courses she regularly teaches is Animal Law. Among her many publications is: Using “A Jury of Her Peers” to Teach About the Connection Between Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse, 15 Animal Law Review 53 (2008). She is a lover of all sentient beings with a special affection for horses, cats and parrots.
  • Joan Haran specializes in research on science in fiction. Currently a freelance scholar, from April 2004 until October 2013, Joan Haran was a Research Fellow with the ESRC funded Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen) at Cardiff University. While there, she co-authored the research monograph Human Cloning in the Media: From Science Fiction to Science Practice (2008). She is currently completing a sole-authored book entitled Genomic Fictions: Genes, Gender and Genre, and co-editing a bilingual collection of short stories and critical essays on the theme of Gender and Science in Fiction with a Brazilian colleague. She has recently begun a new research project on critical and everyday utopias, with a geographical focus on California and Oregon, and a thematic focus on feminism, science/fiction, sustainability and social justice.
  • Anthropologist Frances White does research with wild bonobos.

    Anthropologist Frances White does research with wild bonobos.

    Louise Westling, professor emerita, English, and core faculty member in the Environmental Studies Program at UO. Louise “Molly” Westling recently published The Logos of the Living World: Merleau-Ponty, Animals, and Language (Fordham University Press, 2014). A related activity is herding sheep with Australian Kelpies, which she describes as “a good way to learn and develop cross-species communication.”

  • Frances White, chair, UO Department of Anthropology; White is a biological anthropologist who specializes in behavioral ecology and whose research focuses on the evolution of non-human primate sociality and social systems. She has active field projects with wild bonobos in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and free-ranging primates in the United States.

  • Moderator: Carol Stabile, director, UO Center for the Study of Women in Society; professor, School of Journalism and Communication, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies
Friday Reading: 6 p.m. Downtown Eugene Public Library at 10th and Olive (100 W. 10th St.)

On Friday evening, Karen Joy Fowler will read from her work at Eugene Downtown Library, which will be open for the first Friday Art Walk.

Saturday Events include two panels and four workshops. Location: Downtown Eugene Public Library at 10th and Olive (100 W. 10th St.)
Saturday Panel 1: “Expanding the Family Story,” 9 a.m – 11 a.m.

On Saturday, the symposium will convene at the Downtown Eugene Library, with a panel of creative writers. The morning panels will include readings and discussion by featured presenters on the theme “Expanding the Family Story,” and in particular how this applies to Northwest communities, women writers and women artists. Our moderator, will guide the four panelists with questions about process and discipline.

Panelists include:

  • Melissa Hart

    Melissa Hart

    Karen Joy Fowler (We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves; The Jane Austen Book Club; Sarah Canary).

  • Melissa Hart (Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood, Seal Press 2009). Hart, who is an adjunct instructor at UO in the School of Journalism and Communication, has a memoir coming out in June from Lyons Press titled Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family.
  • understoryPaulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita. Petersen is the author of six full-length books of poetry, most recently Understory from Lost Horse Press (2013). She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and received the 2006 Holbrook Award from Oregon Literary Arts.
  • Naseem Rakha (The Crying Tree, Broadway Books 2009). A PNBA Award-winning author and journalist, Naseem Rakha spent a month as Artist-in-Residence at Grand Canyon National Park in 2013. See a TED Talk about her experience there. Her stories have been heard on NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition.
  • Moderator: Barbara Corrado Pope (The Blood of Lorraine; Cézanne’s Quarry; The Missing Italian Girl). Pope is professor emerita, UO Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.

Note: The Oregon Poet Laureate is appointed by Governor Kulongoski and renewed by Governor Kitzhaber. The Poet Laureate program is a collaborative project of the state’s five cultural partners: Oregon Arts Commission,  Oregon Humanities, Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Historical Society, and State Historic Preservation Office, with funding from the Oregon Cultural Trust.

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Saturday Panel 2: “The Politics of Publishing the Family Story,” 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Walking_the_Clouds_WEBGrace Dillon is the editor of two science fiction anthologies, Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction (University of Arizona Press, 2012) and Hive of Dreams: Contemporary Science Fiction from the Pacific Northwest (Oregon State University Press, 2003). She is an associate professor of Native American Studies and University Studies, Department of English, Portland State University.
  • Airlie Press, represented by Cecelia Hagen, a working member of this nonprofit publishing collective founded in 2007. Hagen is a former fiction editor of Northwest Review and the author of the full-length poetry collection Entering.
  • Hart_Wild_Within_WEBMelissa Hart (Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood, Seal Press 2009). Hart, who is an adjunct instructor at UO in the School of Journalism and Communication, has a memoir coming out in June from Lyons Press titled Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family.
  • Calyx Press (Corvallis), represented by editorial coordinator Brenna Crotty. She received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Oregon in 2010 and was the recipient of the KIDD Prize for Fiction. Calyx has been an independent publisher of art and literature by women since 1976.
  • Moderator: Mary E. Wood is a professor in the UO Department of English, a member of the CSWS Advisory Board, and a member of the CSWS Women Writers Advisory Group. Her books include Life Writing and Schizophrenia: Encounters at the Edge of Meaning (Rodopi Press, 2013) and The Writing on the Wall: Women’s Autobiography and the Asylum (University of Illinois Press, 1994).
Afternoon Workshops, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. — All Saturday afternoon workshops will be limited to 20 participants. Starting April 12 (NOT BEFORE), pre-register for limited spaces for these workshops at: 541-682-5450 (Press 2).
  • Workshops include:
  • “Planning, Shaping, and Selling Your Memoir,” taught by Melissa Hart (Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Brought One Family Together, Lyons Press 2014; Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood, Seal Press 2009). This lively workshop will guide participants in identifying a compelling life event or era in order to shape a short or book-length memoir. We’ll cover plot and narrative arc, characterization, dialogue, setting, historical details, the importance of research, and the ethics involved in writing memoir that includes family members and friends. The second part of this workshop provides information on how to sell short and book-length memoir to traditional publishers. We’ll talk about how to identify and submit to editors best suited to your work. By the end of the workshop, participants will understand how to plan out and write a memoir, and how to submit the manuscript for publication. A bibliography will offer numerous online and print resources on writing and selling memoir.
  • Paulann Petersen 2010 / photo by Sabina Samiee

    Paulann Petersen 2010 / photo by Sabina Samiee

    “In the Language of Our Animal Soul,” a generative writing workshop with Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita. We humans are one part of the vast animal family, and our connections to other animals are compelling and profound. Join Paulann Petersen for a workshop in which participants will create new writing—poetry or prose—that explores these connections. All levels of experience, including beginners, are welcome. The only requirement is your willingness to spend a couple of hours writing as part of a supportive community of other writers. Paulann’s goal is for each participant to leave the workshop with both new writing and the inspiration to shape that new work into poems or prose. Because she expects each participant to do considerable writing, she urges you to bring a reasonably large notebook or journal. Petersen is the author of six full-length books of poetry, most recently Understory from Lost Horse Press (2013). She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and received the 2006 Holbrook Award from Oregon Literary Arts.

  • Story and Language, with Cecelia Hagen. In this non-genre specific workshop, we’ll work experientially to create new writing, but we’ll also look at short work that you bring along with you. We all know a great deal about storytelling, from books, from movies, from the kitchen tables we’ve sat around every day. But putting it on paper requires a writer’s eye. Using both prompts and discussion, we’ll look at ways to identify and strengthen storylines, and to make your writing stronger and more musical. Workshop leader Cecelia Hagen, Entering (Airlie Press, 2011); Fringe Living (26 Books Press, 1999), is a poet, essayist, editor, and teacher. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Oregon, has taught at Willamette University, and served for many years as fiction editor of Northwest Review. A former magazine editor and editor for the Oregon University System, Hagen currently teaches memoir writing and is a freelance editor. She is a working member of Airlie Press, a nonprofit publishing collective founded in 2007.
  • The workshop “Cut the Crap,” scheduled to be taught by Naseem Rakha has been canceled. Workshop participants will be contacted and places held for them in Cecelia Hagen’s non-genre specific workshop, designed to appeal to a similarly broad group of writers.
  • A workshop listed earlier, and led by Lauren Kessler, has been canceled.