Japan Writers Conference

 

Recent Japan Writers Conference Presentations and Presenters

 

(Please note that while this is a fairly complete and accurate record of past Conference presentations and biographical sketches, a few of the presentations were canceled at the last minute.)

 

2016 Japan Writers Conference Presentations

 

Scroll down to view anyone scheduled to present at the 2016 conference (in alphabetical order of presenter's first name.)

 

Alex Shishin

“A Writer’s Guide to MFA programs in Writing”

 Lecture and Discussion.

 

If you want an MFA (or doctorate) in Writing what is most important to you?  Prestige?  Location?  Cost?  Whom you work with?  These and other questions will be addressed in this presentation. Discussion follows lecture.

 

You may have reasons besides becoming a better writer in going for a graduate program in writing.  What is most important to you?  The fame of the school?  The reputation of the writing program?  To work with a particular writer? Do you prefer a rural, suburban or urban environment? Do you want a short residency program or to study totally online? Would you feel more comfortable taking a regular academic program with a “back door” creative thesis option?  These and other questions will be discussed in this presentation. Discussion follows lecture.

 

Alex Shishin is an award-winning and anthologized fiction and non-fiction writer widely published in print and online.  Shishin’s non-fiction includes the travel memoir “Rossiya: Voices from the Brezhnev Era.” His “Nippon 2357: A Utopian Ecological Tale” and other ebooks are published by Smashwords. He is a university professor in Kansai.

 

Avery Fischer Udagawa

“Growing Our Future Audience: Japan and Young Readers”

Lecture with Q & A plus some short readings

 

Readers' tastes develop early. Do young readers of English read literature from Japan? What titles are available to them? SCBWI International Translator Coordinator Avery Fischer Udagawa will offer booklists and discuss techniques that writers, editors and translators can use to reach the future audience for Japan-related literature.

 

The two most recent winners of the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing ("Little Nobel") hail from Asia, and 2014 laureate Nahoko Uehashi is famous in Japan. But in the US and UK, lack of recognition for international awards—and low demand for world literature—mean young readers may not have access to many stories from or about Japan. This talk will focus on representation of Japan in the English-language young adult book world. Participants will receive booklists, consider marketing strategies, and discuss how writers, editors and translators can nudge more titles into circulation, thereby growing the future audience for Japan-related literature.

 

Avery Fischer Udagawa serves as SCBWI International Translator Coordinator and coordinates the SCBWI Japan Translation Group (http://ihatov.wordpress.com). She translated the historical novel  “J-Boys: Kazuo’s World, Tokyo, 1965” by Shogo Oketani and has contributed to Kyoto Journal, Literary Mama and “Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction—An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories.”

 

Bern Mulvey

"Writing Disaster: How to Balance the Needs of the Poem with the Impulse to Narrate"

 

Lecture and discussion.

 

In one of his last letters, Keats famously advises Shelley to "curb your magnanimity and be more of an artist, and load every rift of your subject with ore." A similar impulse motivates Roethke to respond to students complaining "but that’s the way it really happened" by telling them, "Yeah, but you don't want to say that." Both Keats and Roethke are alluding to the importance of craft--of image, line and sound--in successful poetry, with the how a poem says something at least as important as the what. However, their comments also underline one of the challenges to writing good poems. As poets, we are driven to convey through our art form some vision of what we have witnessed and/or experienced; perhaps accordingly, we also struggle constantly with the temptation simply to narrate--to write prose, in other words. In a sense, the intended message, the reality of "what happened" can become a kind of trap for poets, stifling the creative impulse. Breaking free from this trap often requires that we switch our allegiance from the "triggering subject" (to borrow from Hugo) back to the words themselves.

 

In this workshop, I will address some concerns relevant to poets, including tricks for dealing smoothly with back story and Japanese language usage, as well as pragmatic suggestions (e.g., journal targeting and "proper" submission format) on how to improve your acceptance odds. However, in particular, I want to focus on strategies popularized by Hugo and Nims for avoiding the so-called "meaning trap," to help you (as Hugo writes) "become ruthless enough to create."

 

Bern Mulvey's second book, Deep Snow Country, won the 2013 Field Poetry Prize and was published in 2014 by Oberlin College Press. His first book, The Fat Sheep Everyone Wants, won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize and was published in 2008. Individual poems have appeared, among other places, in Poetry, Agni, Beloit Poetry Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, Field, Cimarron Review, Passages North, The Laurel Review, Snake Nation Review, Poetry East, and 北陸詩人詩集. He also has published two award winning poetry chapbooks: Character Readings (Copperdome/Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2012) and The Window Tribe (White Eagle Coffee Store Press, 2005). His prose—including academic articles and essays—has appeared in Higher Education Policy, Japan Studies Review, Continuing Higher Education Review, American Language Review, JALT Journal, The Language Teacher, Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts, 風谷アイヌ語教室, Times Higher Education Supplement, EL Gazette and the朝日新聞.  He is the former poetry editor of The Missouri Review, and also served as faculty advisor/editor of Black Rock & Sage. He lives in Iwate, Japan.

 

C. E. J. (Christopher) Simons

“Writing (and Selling) a Sonnet in the Twenty-First Century:

writing formalist poetry for the twenty-first century”

 

In the UK, formalism has had (or is always having) something of a Renaissance, with recent successes by British and Irish poets of several generations: Seamus Heaney, Geoffrey Hill, Paul Muldoon, Don Paterson, Jacob Polley, Frances Leviston, etc. My own training and teaching are as a formalist, and I will talk about the possibilities and pitfalls of writing, or starting to write, formal poetry with an overview of journals and newspapers that accept formal poetry, as well as discussion about current editors and presses for full books.

 

C. E. J. (Christopher) Simons is Senior Associate Professor of British Literature at International Christian University, Tokyo. He holds a D.Phil in British Romanticism from Lincoln College, Oxford, and in 2003 he held the Harper-Wood Studentship in Creative Writing at St John’s College Cambridge. He has published on Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Yeats, Emily Dickinson, and Sylvia Plath, most recently contributing a chapter to the Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth (Oxford University Press, 2015). His first full collection of poetry, “One More Civil Gesture,” was published by Isobar Press (Tokyo and London) in 2015. He has previously published two poetry pamphlets with wordwolf press — “Progress Bar” (2010) and  “No Distinguishing Features” (2011). His poems have won prizes in international competitions including the Cardiff International Poetry Competition and the Wigtown Competition. Most recently, he won a commendation in the 2015 Bridport Prize for ‘The Kung Fu Master’s Résumé’. His criticism and poetry have appeared in UK publications including the Independent, Isis,  Magma, Oxford Poetry, PN Review, and The Times Literary Supplement.

 

 

David Gilbey

“Reeling and Writhing 7: A Poetry Editing Workshop – preparing for publication.”

A ‘closed’ workshop, requiring participants to pre-regester and submit (drafts of) poems before the conference as well as be involved in the discussion of the work submitted by others.

 

(Note-Contact the Conference organizers to register for this workshop.)

 

The proposed workshop is based on the familiar and successful structure and strategy as offered by John Gribble at the 2008 JWC and my own over the last six years. It will involve my sending out a ‘brief’ to intending participants requiring submission of drafts of poems, then, before the actual workshop, reading and making comments on each of the participants’ poems and finally, participating in the workshop discussion itself at the conference.

 

This workshop allows writers to work on a poem or two in readiness for publication, recognising that conference delegates are themselves writers, teachers and editors and that there are both personal and professional benefits from a closely-focussed discussion of emerging texts. So the purpose of this workshop is to give a small group of poets the opportunity to meet, read and discuss in depth a sample of each others’ work. The workshop will be open to a limited number of participants but writers of varying degrees of experience will be welcome. The session will be closed and of two hours’ duration. There will be two parts to the workshop: preparation and participation. Preparation also has two parts: submitting and close reading – those who sign up for the session will be contacted before the conference.

 

David Gilbey is Adjunct Senior Lecturer in English LIterature (eg. Australian, Children's) and Creative Writing at Charles Sturt University and the founding President of Wagga Wagga Writers Writers, as well as a poet. His three collection of poems are “Under the Rainbow” (1996), “Death and the Motorway” (2008) and “Pachinko Sunset” (2016). He has taught English at Miyagi Gakuin Women's University in Sendai, Japan 1996, 2000 and 2007.

 

 

Diane Hawley Nagatomo

“Writing for Academic Publication: Practical Tips for Experienced Writers”

Short lecture followed by Q and A

 

Writing for academic publication can be challenging for even the most experienced writer. This presentation will introduce several concrete methods that will enhance your academic writing and improve your chances of being accepted in peer-reviewed publications. Examples of both good and bad academic writing will be presented for analysis.

 

One challenge facing novice academics is developing writing skills for graduate work and/or for journal publication. Many people are good writers, but academic writing provides different sorts of challenges (e.g. Kamler & Thompson, 2014; Wallwork, 2011), and learning how to write coherently and concisely with the right academic tone can be almost as frustrating as learning a new language. It can be demoralizing and demotivating to receive negative feedback on graduate school assignments or on journal submissions. The purpose of this short lecture, therefore, is to raise awareness of what constitutes good and bad academic writing. To do this, we will first focus on the sentence as a unit of analysis. First, we will practice editing some poorly constructed, and yet rather common, example sentences. Then we will examine techniques that “stylish” (Sword, 2012) academic writers use to engage readers.

 

Dr. Diane Hawley Nagatomo, associate professor at Ochanomizu University, has published academic books, academic articles, and EFL textbooks, and self study books. Her most recent academic book “Gender, Identity and Teaching English in Japan” (2016) was published by Multilingual Matters earlier this year.

 

 

Edward Levinson

“Visual Stimulation and the Unthinking Mind”

Craft workshop

 

Visual stimulation is an important part of writing. Participants will write captions, titles, vignettes, or poems inspired by Edward’s photographs, selected photos from other sources, or even the view from the classroom window. Emphasis is on being open, receiving the first “unthinking” impression, and getting that inspiration quickly into words.

 

Being a photographer as well as a writer, visual stimulation comes naturally to me, inspiring me to write. Ideally this happens when seeing something in the real world with the physical eyes. Looking at photographic images can also provide a spark to get the word fire going. An artist or writer may need a poetic title for an exhibition or new book, an entertaining short caption for a magazine story, or a philosophical comment to go with a social media photo post. Normally one writes a piece and then finds an appropriate photo to go with it. By looking at images first – visual stimulation – then sharing our unthinking right brain inspired titles, captions, poems, or vignettes, our diversity of thought, imagination, and creativity emerges as spoken and written words.

 

Edward Levinson has lived in Japan since 1979. His memoir "Whisper of the Land" was published by Fine Line Press (2014). He has published two books in Japanese with Iwanami Shoten and a photo book, “Timescapes Japan”. He lives on the Boso Peninsula, inspired by nature and his garden.

 

 

Elaine Lies

“Food, Glorious Food”

 

That fraught meal when you brought a newly-loved one to meet your family for the first time. A picnic with friends in the early summer, beer and barbequed chicken still delicious despite being half-charred. Strawberries a week after you had surgery. A celestial toasted bagel with cream cheese after a long night of work.

 

Sensory details and emotion are the lifeblood of writing, and what combines both more than food? Memories of meals and foods both old new are highly evocative for many of us. And it might not always be good memories; there could be the mixed terror and tension of the half-raw turkey drumstick falling off in your father's hand as he starts to carve on Thanksgiving, a hilariously hideous (or just hideous) kitchen invention, the time you put salt instead of sugar in a dessert by mistake and how your diners responded.

 

Through two writing exercises during the session, including one that's “hands-on” (or, more accurate, “tongues on,”) we'll examine how food and the memories of meals can be used to both as training to notice sensory details and incorporate them into writing, as well as how the combination of details and emotions can give life to our work.

 

Elaine Lies is originally from the United States and has lived in Japan for almost 30 years. She currently works for Reuters news agency and has had articles published around the world. Her fiction has appeared in Fabula Argentea and received an Honorable Mention winner from the 2015 NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Contest.

 

 

Gareth Morris Jones

“An Everyday Adventure: A Walking (de-)Tour of the Here and Now”

A 50~60 minute walking-lecture bookended with in-class comments, discussion and questions.

 

This double-length session will discuss aspects of writing, place, and everyday experience through the unorthodox means of a guided group-walk in and around the conference venue. This gentle stroll will encourage engagements with the environment through commentary, readings, discussion and light-hearted interaction. Questions and comments will be encouraged.

 

In his “London Adventure” of 1924, Arthur Machen suggests it is easier to find “beauty and mystery and wonder in common things than in noble and storied things”. Recently, many writers are finding value in ‘common things’ and in the overlooked aspects of everyday life. One such overlooked aspect is that of place, and the relationship between where we are and who we are. With these ideas in mind, this presentation will lead participants on an easy-going, (mis-) guided walk around our venue and its surroundings. The aim of this gentle 50-60 minute stroll is to entangle notions of place, self, language and representation through physical and sensual engagement with the immediate environment. The walk will offer opportunities for readings, discussion and light-hearted interaction. Opening with a brief in-class introduction, the presentation will close with a return to the classroom for final questions and comments.

 

Based in Osaka, Gareth Morris Jones is a British artist, writer and educator. He was a regular contributor to The Asahi Weekly newspaper where his column described some of the more colourful experiences of life in Japan. Now studying for a PhD with The University of Dundee, Scotland, Gareth’s research interests centre on Place and Identity, Interdisciplinarity, and Practice-as-Research in the Creative Arts.

 

 

Hans Brinckmann

“Autobiographical fiction: What it is, and how to mould experience with invention”

Lecture illustrated with readings from my collection of short stories, “The Tomb in the Kyoto Hills and other stories,” followed by Q&A.

 

We all have stories to tell from own experience, but to tell them straight could be embarrassing to you or others, or just boring. By using them in writing fiction, you not only avoid such problems, but the story may actually become much more enjoyable to read.

 

Using personal experiences when writing fiction is as old as literature, but if the narrative is too close to what actually happened, it may fail to disguise the truth - if that’s what you want - or not carry enough oomph to please your readers. The trick is to “think fiction” when writing, and use the remembered facts or events as grist for the mill. I’ve done just that in “The Tomb in the Kyoto Hills,” a collection of stories all set in Japan. What also helped was using the third person in some of my autobiographical fiction, including my novel, “In the Eyes of the Son.” It provided the needed distance between myself and the story, and helped me concentrate on the narrative rather than worrying about being untrue to the personal experience. I’ll give examples of the way I moulded each experience to suit the story it inspired.

 

Hans Brinckmann is from the Netherlands. After a career as a "reluctant banker" in five countries including 24 years in Japan and 7 years in the U.S., he quit banking in 1988 and turned to writing fiction, non-fiction and poetry, mostly in English. Three of his six published books have earned Awards at Pacific Rim Book Festivals in 2015 and 2016. His essays, in Hiromi Mizoguchi’s translation, are published regularly in the Tokyo-based literary magazine Atlas.

 

 

Holly Thompson and Mariko Nagai

“Verse Novels Crossing Borders”

Panel Lecture and Discussion with Q&A

 

Verse is a powerful format for transporting readers across borders. With poetry enabling emotional resonance, immediacy and bicultural expressivity, verse becomes a vehicle for conveying readers into cultures, nations, landscapes and languages around the globe. Two verse novelists will explore the medium of narrative poetry for fiction writers today.

 

Poetry is a magic carpet that can transport readers across borders of language, class and culture. What happens when we combine poetry with fiction to create verse novels? What do stories gain with the verse novel format? What challenges do writers encounter? The flexibility and interiority of poetry, combined with white space and musicality makes the verse novel an ideal form for particular types of stories. With poetry enabling emotional resonance and bicultural expressivity, narrative verse can give a novel immediacy. But for all its possibilities, does writing in verse also present limitations for fiction writers? Holly Thompson and Mariko Nagai, authors of intercultural verse novels, will explore the medium of narrative poetry in contemporary fiction. This session will discuss the verse novel form as a means for crossing cultures, and explore what narrative poetry may offer to fiction writers in Asia.

 

Holly Thompson (hatbooks.com) is author of three verse novels— “Falling into the Dragon’s Mouth,” “Orchards,” “The Language Inside;” the novel “Ash;” and picture books “Twilight Chant” and “The Wakame Gatherers.” She writes poetry and fiction for children through adults, is an SCBWI Japan Regional Advisor, and teaches at Yokohama City University.

 

Mariko Nagai is the recipient of fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, UNESCO, Akademie Schloss Solitude and Pushcart Prizes for poetry and fiction, Mariko Nagai is author of “Histories of Bodies: Poems;” “Georgic: Stories;” “Instructions for the Living;” “Dust of Eden;” and “Irradiated Cities.” She is an Associate Professor at Temple University Japan.

 

 

Holly Thompson

“Poems with Plot—A Narrative Poetry Workshop”

Craft workshop

 

In this workshop we will examine sample narrative poems with particular focus on structure, voice, tension and plot arc. Participants will then begin drafting a narrative poem or a scene in verse to be discussed in a supportive workshop.

 

Narrative poetry has a long history, and has been revived and renewed in many guises. This workshop introduces the craft of narrative poetry—poetry that tells a story. We’ll look at structural devices, tension building techniques, voice, passage of time, and plot arcs in sample narrative poems. Then, through some narrative poetry writing prompts, participants will begin drafting a narrative poem or a scene in verse to be shared with the group for brief, supportive workshop feedback.

 

Holly Thompson (hatbooks.com) is author of three verse novels— “Falling into the Dragon’s Mouth,” “Orchards,” “The Language Inside;” the novel “Ash;” and picture books “Twilight Chant” and “The Wakame Gatherers.” She writes poetry and fiction for children through adults, is an SCBWI Japan Regional Advisor, and teaches at Yokohama City University.

 

 

James Crocker

The Font - This Year's Best

Readings with Q&A

 

The Font - A Literary Journal for Language Teachers is an online journal of quality writing on the theme of teaching and learning languages at home and abroad. Authors of some of this year's best publications will read their works and answer questions.

 

The Font – A Literary Journal for Language Teachers is a journal about teaching and  learning languages at home and abroad. It looks at the topic from a more creative, literary, and humanistic perspective than existing academic publications.

The Font publishes quality short stories, articles, essays, anecdotes, poems, interviews, and other forms of creative writing which provide insight, reflection, humour, and inspiration on the theme of teaching and learning languages at home and abroad. It seeks to publish writing by language teachers, learners and translators in all countries, and in doing so become a venue for language teachers and learners of the world to come together and share. It also promotes the idea of creative writing as a form of arts based research, and seeks to create a collection of works which arts based researchers can draw on.

 

Join us, enjoy some quality writing on this theme and learn more about what is going on at The Font.

 

James Crocker has held a variety of positions in the TESOL field, in several different countries, over his 28-year career in education. He has also published English readers with Oxford University Press, National Curriculum textbooks with Macmillan, and a variety of academic papers. He is Editor of The Font Literary Journal.

 

 

James Shea

“Mistranslation as Poetry Exercise”

Short presentation, writing activity, and a Q&A.

 

This session considers unconventional translation practices as generative writing methods. The session explores how poets can generate writing material out of unorthodox translation techniques, such as homophonic translation, logographic translation, and self-translation. Participants will be invited to do one or two writing activities followed by a Q&A.

 

From Louis Zukofsky’s homophonic translations of Catullus to Ezra Pound’s advice for poets to self-translate (“Translation is likewise good training, if you find that your original matter “wobbles” when you try to rewrite it. The meaning of the poem to be translated cannot “wobble.”), poets have often found inspiration in unorthodox translation practices. Pound himself experimented with translation in the form of logographic translations of Chinese characters in “The Cantos.” This workshop explores how unusual approaches to translation can expand our understanding of the term “translate” and can invite new ways of writing a poem. The session includes one or two poetry writing activities and concludes with a Q&A.

 

James Shea is the author of two poetry collections, “The Lost Novel” and “Star in the Eye.” “Star in the Eye” was selected for the Fence Modern Poets Series and included in the Poetry Society of America’s New American Poets series. He currently teaches at Hong Kong Baptist University.

 

John Feist

“Use a Letter in Your Story: A Durable Tool in Telling the Tale.”

Presentation with Examples; Q&A

 

Use letters to solve writing problems, move or pause action, and produce voices from the past or from a distance. Readers listen to passages meant to convey affection or reveal other secrets to someone else. Letters exchange information and more, project attitude and the urgency of a personal intent.

 

Any letter, formal or the most casual, is a work of art. Even a single letter contributes dimension and direction to moving the story along. Or, it can slow things down for a specific purpose, say, exposition or discovery.  Judicious use of letters can solve common writing problems, conveying in intimate terms just the right voice, place, and sense of urgent need.

 

My presentation draws from concrete examples that include England’s first novel—Richardson’s epistolary “Clarissa,” my own “Diamond Mornings,” which intersperses the actual courtship letters exchanged between my grandparents in Kansas in 1896-97 with fictional, narrative scenes, and the unforgettable soldier’s letter in Ken Burns’s “The Civil War,” ending “…if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath.”

 

In such letters we use the voice of someone from another time or far away to show what a narrator would otherwise have to tell.

 

John Feist, business lawyer, has appeared on Washington, D.C. stages and has audio-described theatre and opera performances there. His debut novel, “Diamond Mornings,” eLectio Publications (2016), presents actual courtship letters written near the close of the nineteenth century in Kansas, interspersed with fictional scenes.  Stanford JD; University of Kansas AB.

 

 

Karen McGee

“Inspiring Fiction: Where do you get your ideas?”

 

A panel of published writers takes this dreaded question seriously and discusses sources of inspiration for specific projects. Perhaps you'll come away from the session with an idea or two of your own. Participants include Sara Ellis, Suzanne Kamata, Elaine Lies, Karen McGee, and Wendy Jones Nakanishi.

 

Sara Kate Ellis is a 2011 Lambda Emerging Writers Fellow and a master of seat nabbing during crowded commutes. Her stories have appeared in Ideomancer, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Crossed Genres, and AE-The Canadian Science Fiction Review. Her story "Liarbird" also won the 2015 Defenstrationism short fiction contest. She lives in Tokyo with her cat Tom and likes soba.

 

Suzanne Kamata is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, essayist, and editor, and a resident of Tokushima since 1988. Her most recent novel, Screaming DIvas (Merit Press, 2014) was named to the ALA Rainbow List and featured on MTV.com, and her forthcoming novel The Mermaids of Lake Michigan (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2017) was a finalist for the Helen Sheehan Book Prize. She received a grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation in support of her unpublished mother/daughter travel memoir, Squeaky Wheels, which was recently shortlisted for the Half the World Global Literati Award. She is currently a lecturer at Tokushima University.

 

Elaine Lies is originally from the United States and has lived in Japan for almost 30 years. She currently works for Reuters news agency and has had articles published around the world. Her fiction has appeared in Fabula Argentea and received an Honorable Mention winner from the 2015 NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Contest.

 

Karen McGee grew up in Berkeley, California and has lived in Tokyo for over twenty years. She is a professor at Nihon University College of Art and co-organizer of the Tokyo Writers Workshop. She has an M.A. in Creative Writing and her work has recently been published in “Mystery Weekly,” “The Font,” "Twisted Vine," and "Bete Noire."

 

Wendy Jones Nakanishi, an American by birth, has been resident in Japan, and employed full-time as a university professor, since her arrival in the spring of 1984. In addition to academic monographs and articles and reviews, she writes creative non-fiction pieces about her experiences as the wife of a Japanese farmer and the mother of three sons, employed at a small university in rural Japan. She published her first novel, a murder mystery entitled 'Imperfect Strangers,' under the pen name of Lea O'Harra in September 2015. The sequel, entitled 'Progeny' will be published this September.

 

 

Karen McGee

“Violence in fiction: What works and why?”

What are the purposes for violence in fiction, and how do we depict violence successfully? What are our options as writers? What are some of the pitfalls? We will look at passages from popular works—mostly crime fiction—and discuss why and how the passages work. This presentation focuses on craft, not on broader questions such as the cultural effects or ethics of violence in literature.

 

Karen McGee grew up in Berkeley, California and has lived in Tokyo for over twenty years. She is a professor at Nihon University College of Art and co-organizer of the Tokyo Writers Workshop. She has an M.A. in Creative Writing and recent work has appeared in “Mystery Weekly,” “The Font,” "Twisted Vine," and "Bete Noire."

 

 

Marie Orise

“For Perfectionists: How to Finish Your Project and Be Happy with It”

Short lecture with Q&A

 

This session aims to explore ways to help perfectionist writers to accept who they are, rather than try to resist or cure their perfectionism, and to develop suitable working styles that will lead them to projects not just finished, but executed to their satisfaction.

 

If you are able not only to bear with the weeds in your garden of words but also to make compost of them for the nourishment of your flowers, then this session is not for you. But if your pursuit of perfection is such that it has paralysed your creativity, then please come and join me in a discussion of how to make our perfectionism work for us as writers.

 

In my short talk, I will share some of the tips that have helped me, a long-time perfectionist, complete my first novel. Accept who you are and develop a working style just for you. My tips include: perfect your working environment; don’t write, but doodle and draw your zero draft; Think Small—and Perfect; observe other creative processes and be inspired; go for Flow-Perfect first and invite Fact-Perfect and Word-Perfect in later.

 

Dr Marie Orise, associate professor at Meiji University, was recently an academic visitor to the University of East Anglia, observing and participating in their creative writing programme. Her publications include a short story in a Puffin anthology (*Skin Deep*) and a travel piece which won third prize of the 12th Izu Literary Award.

 

 

Michael Pronko

“Creating Essays and Going Indie”

Short lecture with Q&A

 

This talk will focus on the process of writing creative non-fiction narrative essays, especially on the how-to and the why. The second part of the lecture will focus on how to get that writing published in meaningful formats. The talk will focus on craft and marketing both.

 

This lecture will talk about the process of developing a style of writing by focusing on creative non-fiction narrative essays. The importance of a variety of writing will be discussed along with aspects of essays such as genre, approach, sources, process and helpful how-to books. The talk will examine the good points and bad points of paid traditional media formats and unpaid web formats. Both have an important role in developing content and writing craft. The common point between them—that quality is ultimate—will be discussed in detail. The second part of the talk will examine the next, and deeply related, aspect of writing: publishing/marketing. The talk will look at the difficulties of both traditional publishing and indie publishing. This part of the talk will be both conceptual and practical, with plenty of thoughts on the why-to and the how-to of getting books out to readers.

 

Michael Pronko is the author of “Beauty and Chaos” (2014), “Tokyo’s Mystery Deepens” (2014), and “Motions and Moments” (2015). He has published in Newsweek Japan, The Japan Times, Artscape Japan and appeared on NHK and Nippon Television. He runs www.jazzinjapan.com and teaches American Literature and Culture at Meiji Gakuin University.

 

 

Pasul Rossiter

“The Year’s Work at Isobar”

Reading with Q&A

 

In this presentation Paul Rossiter, Yoko Danno, Philip Rowland and C. E. J. Simons will introduce and read from the 2016 publications from Isobar Press. Yoko Danno will introduce and read from her “Woman in a Blue Robe,” consisting mostly of prose poems; Philip Rowland will introduce and read from his collection of minimal poems, epigrams, imagist snapshots, haiku and tanka, “Something Other Than Other;” and Paul Rossiter will introduce and read from his early poems, collected in “Seeing Sights 1968–1978.” All the readers will collaborate to introduce and read from Masaya Saito’s book of multi-speaker haiku sequences, “Snow Bones,” and – to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first publication of Giuseppe Ungaretti’s haiku-influenced first book, “Il porto sepolto” – from Andrew Fitzsimons’s new translation of this work under the title “The Sunken Keep.”

 

Paul Rossiter has lived in Japan since 1981; he retired from teaching at the University of Tokyo in 2012 and founded Isobar Press, dedicated to publishing English writing from Japan, in 2013. His books of poetry are “In Daylight” (Printed Matter, 1995), “Monumenta Nipponica” (Saru, 1995), “The Painting Stick” (Pine Wave, 2005), “From the Japanese” (Isobar, 2013), “World Without” (Isobar, 2015) and “Seeing Sights” (Isobar, 2016). He is also the author of “First Moves: An Introduction to Academic Writing in English” (University of Tokyo Press, 2004).

 

Yoko Danno is a Japanese poet who writes poetry solely in English. Her recent books of poetry include “Epitaph for Memories” (The Bunny and the Crocodile, 2002), “The Blue Door,” a collaboration with James C. Hopkins (The Word Works, 2006), “a sleeping tiger dreams of manhattan: poetry, photographs and sound,” co-authored with James C. Hopkins and including music by Bernard Stoltz (Ikuta, 2008), “trilogy & Hagoromo: A Celestial Robe” (Ikuta, 2010) and “Aquamarine” (Glass Lyre, 2014). The revised second edition of her translation, “Songs and Stories of the Kojiki,” appeared from Red Moon Press in 2014. She lives in Kobe, where she runs Ikuta Press.

 

Philip Rowland is a long-time resident of Tokyo, where he works as a professor of English. He holds degrees from the universities of Glasgow and London, with a doctorate in American poetic modernism, and has published widely on contemporary short-form poetics. He is the founding editor of NOON: journal of the short poem, and co-editor of the anthology “Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years” (Norton, 2013). His pamphlets and books are “together still” (Hub, 2004), “where rungs were” (Noon, 2007), “someone one once ran away with” (Longhouse, 2009), “before music” (Red Moon, 2012) and “Something Other Than Other” (Isobar, 2016).

 

C. E. J. Simons is from Canada, and is Senior Associate Professor of Literature at International Christian University, Tokyo. He holds degrees from Harvard and Toronto, and a D. Phil in British Romanticism from Lincoln College, Oxford; in 2003 he held the Harper-Wood Studentship in Creative Writing at St John’s College Cambridge. He has published on Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Yeats, Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, most recently contributing a chapter to the “Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth” (Oxford University Press, 2015). His pamphlets and books are “Progress Bar” (wordwolf, 2010), “No Distinguishing Features” (wordwolf, 2011) and “One More Civil Gesture” (Isobar, 2015).

 

 

Peter Mallett

“Misanthropes and Monsters: Writing the Unlikeable”

Short lecture with Q&A.

 

Is it necessary for the main characters in a novel to be likeable? This presentation will examine novels that are successful and popular despite their unlikeable protagonists.

 

A literary agent told me that it was important my narrator should be 'likeable'. Is it?

 

"I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like," wrote Jane Austen of her eponymous protagonist Emma. Literature is populated with narrators and main characters who are not likeable. Humbert Humbert (“Lolita”), Jekyll and Hyde, Stevens (“Remains of the Day”), Ono (“Artist of the Floating World”) and Michael Beard (“Solar”) would have little chance of winning a popularity contest. Looking at these characters and others, including the cast of “The Great Gatsby,” we will examine how the novels in which they appear achieve success and why we care what happens, despite their unlikeable protagonists.

 

Participants are invited to bring their own favourite unlikeable characters to add to the discussion.

 

University professor/ writer Peter Mallett has an MA in Creative Writing (Bath Spa University). He has created a narrator he’s been told is unlikeable in his novel “Appassionata.” Formerly Arts editor of Kansai Time Out and publisher/editor of Artspace, he has written for The Asahi Evening News, Gramophone Japan, Opera News, The New Internationalist etc. His textbook “From Word to Letter” was published in 2007. His short story “The Old Hibachi” appeared in East Lit and he was winner of the 1st Writers in Kyoto Writing Contest this year. His satirical short story Vine and Gall, a parody of Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall, appears in the latest issue of The Font.

 

 

Peter Marsh

“Short Stories: the Art and Science of Plotting”

 

This workshop is for short story writers like me who can’t get started until they know how they will finish. In this workshop we will identify what makes a good plot, and examine various non-formulaic methods for generating one from an initial idea.

 

The presenter will give an entirely personal (i.e. deeply considered, but unresearched) take on the elements of plotting. Examples will be taken largely from his own oeuvre, because he knows how he arrived at those plots. Plot outlines will be presented, together with tips on notating a plot and using it as a skeleton upon which to hang the finished piece. The key elements will be discussed: situation, conflict, character and character growth, logic and surprise. Particular attention will be paid to surprise, as in the presenter’s view, a denouement which is both surprising and inevitable is the key to a satisfactory plot. The relationship between plot and structure will be explored. The presenter’s favoured methods for plot generation will be examined, including the beginning-end-middle and end-beginning-middle procedures. Finally, there will be some exercises involving generating middles, ends or beginnings for otherwise complete plots.

 

Peter Marsh lives in Yokohama, and is a regular member of the Tokyo Writers Workshop. His stories have been published most recently in The Lowestoft Chronicle and Fabula Argentea. When not teaching or writing, Peter can be found pounding the hiking trails around Greater Tokyo, figuring out his next plot.

 

 

Philip Rowland

“The Really Short Poem: Writing and Publishing Possibilities”

Lecture with Q&A

 

The presenter will draw on his experience as a writer, editor and publisher of short poetry, to describe and discuss what makes a really good short poem, as well as some of the potential problems involved. He will also introduce some of the publishing possibilities for such work.

 

If concision ‘burns brightest’ in poetry, the really short poem may be more important than at first appears. The presenter will draw on his experience as a writer, editor and publisher of haiku and other short poetry, to describe and discuss what makes a really good short poem, as well as some of the potential problems involved. He will also suggest ways of presenting such work and introduce some of the publishing opportunities open to those writing really short poems.

 

Philip Rowland is a British poet and professor based in Tokyo. He is founding editor of NOON: journal of the short poem and co-editor of “Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years” (Norton, 2013). The most recent collections of his own poems are “Something Other Than Other” (Isobar Press, 2016) and “before music” (Red Moon Press, 2012).

 

 

Richard Conrad

“Cookbooks: An Editor’s Insights”

Short lecture with Q&A (and/or craft workshop)

 

After more than 30 years as a journalist for newspapers, magazines, radio, government communications and online, I now edit cookbooks. For the benefit of anyone interested in cookbooks, here’s what I’ve learnt so far…

 

 Many journalists – particularly print journalists – became redundant in the last five to 10 years. On a Friday night in mid-2012, in Melbourne, Australia, I was one of 50-plus journalists getting pissed in a pub after taking a voluntary redundancy package from the Herald Sun newspaper. That year I was one of more than 1500 Australian journalists who became redundant. Some, happily. For others, a calamity.

I’d edited a cookbook a couple of years earlier as a side project.

 

After redundancy, I was asked to do another. And another. They’ve kept coming, even after moving to Japan in February 2015. I’ve become quite good at editing cookbooks and similar publications, such as a fat biography of a chef and a glossy food and booze magazine. Using InDesign, Dropbox, email etc, I edit cookbooks with writers, art directors, graphic designers, photographers and publishers around the world.

Here’s what I’ve learnt so far…

 

Richard Conrad was an Australian journalist for more than 35 years, moving in February 2015 to Japan. His career began in 1979 on Queensland’s major newspaper, The Courier-Mail, and led to senior positions for Australia’s highest circulation papers, the Herald Sun in Melbourne and the Sunday Telegraph in Sydney. Richard also worked for regional newspapers, magazines, radio, government communications and online. Job titles have included editor, news reporter, feature writer, bureau manager, sub-editor and production editor. Richard has a BA (English, Journalism) from Queensland University and an MBA (Communications) from RMIT Business (Melbourne). He now edits cookbooks.

Book titles include “Heat & Smoke”, “Heat & Smoke II”, “Yallateef!”, “MELT!”, “Scott Pickett: A Cook’s Story” and the magazine “EATDRINK”.

 

 

Sara Kate Ellis

“As You Were, As They Are: Accessing Memories Through Cinema or That Ad for a Thing That No Longer Exists”

Short lecture with craft workshop and sharing.

 

This presentation focuses on the use of iconic scenes from cinema to draw on memory and description in memoir and fiction.

 

Before the Internet, nostalgia came mostly as an unexpected pang, often too brief to allow for much exploration. Author, Svetlana Boym describes the nostalgic as one who “encountering silence… looks for memorable signs, desperately misreading them.” But easier access to film along with the seemingly endless trove of images on sites like YouTube have provided endless opportunities to confront those misreadings and learn from our distortions. How can writers, then, harness those images to unearth memories and find insights into past and present selves? On a craft level, how can the social context around our lives as spectators be used to explore description and point of view? In this workshop, participants will draw on and describe memories associated with two brief scenes from famous films with the aim of confronting and contrasting the then and the now.

 

Sara Kate Ellis is a 2011 Lambda Emerging Writers Fellow and a master of seat nabbing during crowded commutes.  Her stories have appeared in Ideomancer, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Crossed Genres, and AE-The Canadian Science Fiction Review. Her story "Liarbird" also won the 2015 Defenstrationism short fiction contest. She lives in Tokyo with her cat Tom and is working on her first novel.

 

 

Susan Spann

“Writing a Killer Mystery”

 

Plotting the perfect crime requires a sterling sleuth, well-crafted clues, a cast of (un)usual suspects, and a killer eye for details. Multi-published mystery author Susan Spann will teach you the inside tricks of plotting, planning, and writing complex, compelling standalone and series mysteries.

 

This workshop focuses on the major elements of writing an effective, publishable mystery novel, and will offer attendees an overview of the mystery writing process. Topics include: Unique settings for mystery novels; Creating compelling sleuths – individuals, “buddy teams” and sidekicks; Planning the (fictional) murder, with emphasis on intriguing methods and clues; Writing three-dimensional villains (and suspects) that keep the reader guessing; Effective use of subplots in mystery; Avoiding familiar and over-used tropes; Use of the two-outline structure to keep track of suspects, subplots, and “liars”; Spotting plot holes in the editing process (and how to fix them); and effective use of critique partners to help improve your mystery.

 

“From Coal to Diamonds: How to Edit Your Manuscript From Initial Draft to Final Polish”

 

Knowing what to focus on in each draft of a manuscript makes the editing process simpler and also improves your writing skills. Whether you’re a published pro or working on your first manuscript, this unique approach to editing will make you more confident, skilled, and efficient at editing your work.

 

This workshop offers an in-depth, detailed method for editing fiction from initial draft to polished, publishable manuscript. By teaching attendees to focus on different elements of the manuscript in each draft, the workshop will provide concrete instructions in my proven method of editing fiction for publication; this method has earned my manuscripts praise from agents and editors, and has resulted in several of my novels going directly from submission to copy editing, with no developmental edits required. Draft 2 involves fixing plot and subplot issues; Draft 3 focuses on research, character development, and scene continuity; Draft 4 inserts chapter breaks and focuses on dialogue, descriptions, and scene tension; Draft 5 is the first “read aloud” draft, in which the author looks for “polish issues”—final refinements to grammar, description, and dialogue; Draft 6 provides “final polish.”

 

Susan Spann writes the Hiro Hattori Mysteries. Her 2013 debut, CLAWS OF THE CAT, was Library Journal’s Mystery Debut of the Month & a Silver Falchion finalist. Her fourth novel, THE NINJA’S DAUGHTER, released in August. Susan is the 2015 RMFW Writer of the Year, and a California publishing attorney.

 

 

Todd Jay Leonard

“Helpful Hints on How to Get Published in the EFL Market in Japan:  Making your Proposal Count”

Short lecture with Q & A

 

This presentation will outline the current publishing market in Japan for EFL/ESL textbooks by reviewing the various points of views of the publishing industry.  The presenter, Todd Jay Leonard, has published extensively within the ESL/EFL market in Japan and will offer helpful advice to  budding authors who wish to pursue projects geared to Japan's domestic market.

 

Most likely, every language teacher in Japan has (at some point during his/her tenure) contemplated writing a textbook to fill a void in the market...in that constant search for the perfect, all encompassing textbook.

 

Victoria Vlisides

Bust into the Japan writing scene

Short lecture + Q & A, plus audience participation

 

Whether it’s hard news, travel or human interest pieces, the face of journalism is continually transforming. Coming from a print background, the Web can be our greatest ally or cruelest “frienemy.” For expats, breaking into the writing scene in Japan means first building a new network, which, of course, has its challenges. We will discuss strategies using the Web and social media to break into the writing scene in Japan to achieve writing goals. Jump start your journalism/writing opportunities in Japan via the Web no matter your location or experience level.

 

In discussing obstacles related to your writing career (or hobby) in Japan, the presenter will speak on her experience (after much trial and error) doing writing, photography and social media for JapanTravel.com. By the end, writers should feel empowered and equipped with a fresh perspective.

 

Victoria Vlisides is an American journalist, poet and social media editor. Before moving to Japan in 2014, she worked as a reporter, photographer and page designer in the newspaper industry for 6 years, and has learned a lot from watching the industry struggle while transitioning into online sales and publications. In Japan, she works at JapanTravel.com, as a Tokyo Regional Editor as well as managing their social media platforms comprised of more than 100,000 followers. In future Japan endeavors, she’d love to delve deeper into another passion of hers: slam poetry!

 

 

The 2015 Japan Writers Conference was on October 24 & 25 at Kobe Women's University, Suma Campus.

 

A PDF of the 2015 program is available here.

 

Alex Shishin

 

“The Amazing Publication History of ‘Shades’: A Serendipitous Success Story and Its Lessons.”

 

Reading, short lecture and discussion.

 

The presenter will first read his short story “Shades.”  He will then briefly talk about the story’s serendipitous publishing success story.  Discussion will follow.

 

When the presenter submitted his short story “Shades” to a microcirculation journal he thought its audience would remain forever tiny.  Yet a few years later ii was in a major American anthology (“Broken Bridge,” Stone Bridge Press).  It was subsequently picked up by a mainstream English language journal in Tokyo (The East) and the presenter was paid a tidy sum.  How does serendipity happen?  What must the writer do to make it happen?  What should you do if it doesn’t happen? These and other questions will be discussed after a reading of “Shades” and a very short lecture.

 

Alex Shishin has published widely in the analogue and online press. His short stories “Mr. Eggplant Goes Home” (Honorable Mention, The O. Henry Awards) and “Shades” have been anthologized. Shishin’s novel “Nippon 2357: An Ecological Utopian Romance” and other ebooks are published with Smashwords. Shishin is a professor at a private university.

 

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Baye McNeil

 

“Accidental Activism: Writing on Sensitive Subjects like Race Issues”

 

Lecture/Q&A

 

Since 2008, McNeil has grown from successful blogger to acclaimed author to provocative columnist. The extremely sensitive issues surrounding race relations in Japan have often been the subject of his writings. Drawing from recent events, this session will explore how writing lead to an unexpected turn of accidental activism and an unprecedented change in Japanese media. McNeil will discuss how he successfully petitioned against and forced a major Japanese TV network to reconsider their intent to air racially insensitive programming.

 

The issues surrounding race relations in Japan, particularly those involving people of color, are often the subject of McNeil's writings, subjecting his name to both high praise and some of the harshest diatribe. Such is the life of a writer when your subject matter is of a sensitive nature, particularly when the writing resonates with readers. This presentation will help writers get over the fear of tackling sensitive subjects and advise on how to handle delicate subjects of all types. There will be a Q/A period at the conclusion.

 

Baye McNeil is from Brooklyn, NY, and moved to Japan in 2004. He has written two books, “Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist”, selected as a top 10 book by black authors in 2012, and “Loco in Yokohama”. He is a noted blogger, newspaper columnist, and has lectured on black issues in Japan at Waseda and Hosei University. He currently resides in Yokohama.

 

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David Gilbey

 

“‘Reeling and Writhing’ 6: A Poetry Editing Workshop - preparing for publication.”

 

A 'closed' workshop, requiring participants to submit (drafts of) poems before the conference as well as be involved in the discussion of work submitted by others.

 

The proposed workshop is based on the familiar and successful structure and strategy as offered by John Gribble at the 2008 JWC and my own over the last five years. It will involve my sending out a 'brief' to intending participants requiring submission of drafts of poems, then, before the actual workshop, reading and making comments on each of the participants' poems and finally, participating in the workshop discussion itself at the conference.

 

This workshop allows writers to work on a poem or two in readiness for publication, recognising that conference delegates are themselves writers, teachers and editors and that there are both personal and professional benefits from a closely-focussed discussion of emerging texts. So the purpose of this workshop is to give a small group of poets the opportunity to meet, read and discuss in depth a sample of each others' work. The workshop will be open to a limited number of participants but writers of varying degrees of experience will be welcome. The session will be closed and of two hours' duration. There will be two parts to the workshop: preparation and  participation. Preparation also has two parts, submitting and close reading - those who sign up for the session will be contacted before the conference.

 

To register for the workshop, contact David directly at DGilbey “at” (change “at” to @) csu.edu.au

 

David Gilbey is Adjunct Senior Lecturer in English LIterature (eg. Australian, Children's) and Creative Writing at Charles Sturt University and the founding President of Wagga Wagga Writers Writers, as well as a poet. His first full collection of poems, 'Death and the Motorway' was published in 2008 after having travelled to US, UK, France, Japan and China on Study Leave in 2006. He has taught English at Miyagi Gakuin Women's University in Sendai, Japan 1996, 2000 and 2007.

 

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Eli K.P. William

 

“Leveraging The Present To Build A Future. How Tokyo Shaped My Dystopia”

 

Short lecture with some reading and a Q&A period

 

I will describe how the dystopian concept of my novel “Cash Crash Jubilee” acted as a filter that transformed my experiences of present-day Tokyo into the details of a future Tokyo, illustrating this with readings from select descriptive passages. A Q&A will follow the presentation.

 

When developing a setting, fiction writers often leverage aspects of existing locations (past or present) to add texture and depth to their narrative. This is no less true of stories in the dystopian genre, which depict alternate worlds or societies, usually in the future, where the pursuit of supposedly utopian ideals has paradoxically generated bleak and oppressive political conditions.

 

In this presentation, I will describe how I used present day Tokyo to flesh out the future dystopian world of my debut novel “Cash Crash Jubilee.” Each chapter takes place in a different neighbourhood of Tokyo. By filtering my experiences in these places through the central concept of the novel--namely that all actions are intellectual properties owned by corporations who charge licensing fee--I created new locales that share both the now and our expectations/fears of what is to come. My hope is to help fiction writers in general (not just of SF & F) to think in new ways about setting and its role in storytelling.

 

Eli K. P. William is the author of “Cash Crash Jubilee” (Skyhorse Publishing, May 2015), a cyber-dystopian novel that takes place in Tokyo. Born and raised in Toronto, he currently works in Tokyo as a Japanese-English translator. He has also written book reviews and travel articles for publications such as the Japan Times, Now Magazine and the Pacific Rim Review of Books, and is currently working on the second novel in his Jubilee Cycle trilogy, entitled “The Naked World” (due for release in fall 2017).

 

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Gareth Morris Jones

 

1. “Adventures in Thinking: Disrupting Habits, Enriching Creativity”

 

Short lecture with Discussion/Q&A.

 

This presentation offers the writer new approaches to their writing practice. The presentation will first provide an overview of several models of thought that challenge conventional, linear thinking patterns. It will then discuss ways in which these models might be applied to various stages of the writing process.

 

Creative practitioners, whether they are artists, musicians or writers, build their practices on firm foundations of habit: habits of thinking and habits of doing. While these habits, crafted and refined over careers, are to be celebrated, it is not uncommon for them to sometimes become counter-productive They can blind us to other potentially fruitful avenues of thought and action. With a view to enriching and renewing creativity this presentation will introduce several models of thought aimed at disrupting habits of thinking and opening new channels of creativity. Models such as the rhizome of Deleuze & Guattari and the discourse colony of Michael Hoey promote network-like relationships of ideas that offer exciting challenges to conventional, linear thinking. After first introducing these models the presentation will discuss how they might be employed by the poet, novelist, essayist, short-story writer or other, to generate new ideas, patterns and relationships within their practice.

 

Gareth Morris Jones & James Crocker

 

2. “Knowing through Doing: a Practice-as-research Approach to Creative Writing”

 

Short lecture with Q&A.

 

Paying particular attention to the area of creative writing, this lecture will present a survey of current literature regarding practice-as-research within the creative arts. The lecture will address why creative writing practice might be viewed as research, what form such writing-research might take and how such writing-research might be conducted.

 

The proposition that creative writing (as well as other creative arts) meets recognized definitions of research has been the focus of intense debate within academic institutions in recent years and it continues to be a controversial topic with some in the academic community arguing that such practice is too subjective to be anything other than self-expression. The aim of this lecture is to survey current literature that defines and supports the notion of creative practice-as-research. The lecture will first address why creative writing practice should be viewed as research and which writer-practitioners might benefit from presenting their work in this way. The lecture will then address the forms writing-research might take and how such projects might be conducted. The lecture will conclude with the assertion that, as well as being a vital form of self-expression, creative writing, through its contribution to the stock of human knowledge, meets recognized definitions of research.

 

Based in Osaka, Gareth Morris Jones is a British artist, writer and educator. He was a regular contributor to The Asahi Weekly newspaper where his column described some of the more colourful experiences of life in Japan. Gareth has recently started a PhD with the School of Philosophy at The University of Dundee, Scotland.

 

James Crocker has held a variety of positions in the TESOL field, in several different countries, over his 28-year career in education. He has also published English readers with Oxford University Press, National Curriculum textbooks with Macmillan, and a variety of academic papers. He is Editor of The Font Literary Journal.

 

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Gregory Dunne, Bern Mulvey, Richard Jones

 

 "Longing In Japanese Poetry. Three American Poets in Conversation with Japan”

 

Reading/panel discussion

 

The influence of Japanese poetry has impacted contemporary American poetry in complex and subtle ways. Three American poets, who have had long and sustained exposure to Japanese poetry, will explore and map some of the various ways in which they feel their own poetry has been influenced by Japanese poetry. Each poet will introduce a specific Japanese poem related to the subject of “longing” and briefly comment upon the poem in order to illuminate its theme. The poets will then speak of the poetic qualities of the Japanese poetry that they find most compelling before concluding the panel by reading one of their own poems in homage and response to the Japanese poem.

 

Richard Jones is a poet and the author of many books, including "The Blessing: New and Selected Poems" (Copper Canyon Press). He edits the literary journal Poetry East at DePaul University in Chicago, USA, where he is a professor of English.

 

Bern Mulvey's second book, Deep Snow Country, won the 2013 Field Poetry Prize and was published in 2014 by Oberlin College Press. His first book, "The Fat Sheep Everyone Wants," won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize and was published in 2008. He also has two award winning poetry chapbooks: "Character Readings" (Copperdome/Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2012) and "The Window Tribe" (White Eagle Coffee Store Press, 2005).

 

Gregory Dunne is the author of two books of poetry, "Home Test" (Adastra Press, 2009) and "Fistful of Lotus" (2000), and one book of creative nonfiction: "Quiet Accomplishment, Remembering Cid Corman" (Ekstasis Editions, 2014). He has contributed to Strangest of Theaters: Poets Writing Across Borders (McSweeneys and the Poetry Foundation, 2013). He teaches at Miyazaki International College, Japan.

 

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Hans Brinckmann

 

“Looking for the Maverick in the Crowd – and Writing about them.”

 

Lecture illustrated with readings followed by Q&A

 

Instead of writing a novel, or a biography about one famous person, why not write vignettes of some of the people you’ve met and who impressed you? The world is full of surprises, and so are many people. I’ve found a way to bring them to life.

 

I’ve written over thirty profiles of people I’ve met in my life who left a vivid imprint on my memory. Since 2014, one of these vignettes has been included, in Hiromi Mizoguchi’s translation, in each issue of Atlas, a literary magazine published in Tokyo.

 

Although I spent two-thirds of my adult life in banking, away from work I seldom socialized with colleagues or businessmen. I felt drawn to individuals whose career, views or behavior stood in thrilling contrast with my own life, and by that very contrast reminded me of my own untapped potential.  Several of the tales are about well-known people, but fame was not a requirement for inclusion. Far from it: anyone who impressed me during a single encounter or who lived a life that moved or fascinated me could qualify. Perhaps I was always instinctively looking for the maverick in the crowd.

 

My approach may interest other writers.

 

Hans Brinckmann: Born in The Hague, he grew up under German occupation. Having to suppress, in the bleak post-war years, his hope of becoming a writer he joined an international bank. After a career as a "reluctant banker" in five countries including 24 years in Japan and 7 years in the U.S., he quit banking in 1988 and turned to writing opinion pieces, fiction, non-fiction and poetry, mostly in English. His latest novel, “In the Eyes of the Son,” won an Honorable Mention Award at the Pacific Rim Book Festival in Honolulu in March 2015.

 

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Hillel Wright

 

1. “Renegade’s Return – hitting the ground running as an Ex-pat/Returnee Writer.”

 

 short lecture/reading with Q&A

 

Using two recent Feature articles as examples, I’ll talk about exploiting experiences gained in Japan and extending literary connections made in Japan to the ex-pat writer’s home country.

 

In addition to writing a Japan Times feature on Japanese & Okinawan influences on Hawaiian culture and a Fishing News International feature on Hawaii fisheries as I moved from FNI’s Japan Correspondent to Pacific Rim Correspondent, I also acted as consultant on Japanese tuna fisheries for a British TV Production company’s proposal to Discovery Channel.  And after an 8 year hiatus, I also re-launched (as Editor/Publisher) the Canadian literary magazine MiNUS TiDES! as MiNUS TiDES international which includes several Japan-based writers as well as those from Canada, Philippines and elsewhere. I also began a program on a Canadian community FM radio station which includes music, fiction & poetry readings from Japan & Okinawa. I’ll answer questions as to culture shock, re-establishing literary ties and finding new and keeping old publishing connections.

 

2. “Writing tongue-in-cheek satire in fiction & poetry”

 

short lecture with Q&A

 

I'll give a short explanation of & introduction to tongue-in-cheek satire, quoting both from my own work & the work of others, including Shakespeare, Joseph Heller & Wally Gagne & then take questions and/or examples from the audience.

 

I'll start with a short explanation of tongue-in-cheek satire and put it in the context of the current crisis in political satire, whether in cartooning, film-making or writing. This of course would include the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, the Danish & Dutch Mohammed cartoonists, Seth Rogen's film “The Interview,” Salman Rushdie's “The Satanic Verses,” TV comedy news shows with Bill Maher, John Oliver, Jon Stewart and the like.  Next I'll give a few short examples from “MacBeth,” “Catch 22,” poems by Wally Gagne from various sources (www.counterpunch.com) (www.tokyopoet.com) and excepts from my novel ”Border Town” which satirized, among other aspects of Japanese society, the actions of the right wing in Japan to silence criticism of Emperor Hirohito's role in the so-called "Comfort Women" scandal after WWII. BTW, the Daily Yomiuri actually did, at the very last minute, suppress its book page review of “Border Town.” Finally, I'll share a brief up to the minute tongue-in-cheek story from the June 2015 issue of MiNUS TiDES international magazine. At that point, I'll open the floor for a Q & A/discussion.

 

After 14 years in Japan (12 in Tokyo) and 3 more in Okinawa, mandatory retirement from my position at my university led me to return to the two countries of which I’m a citizen (USA & Canada). During those 17 years I managed to write & see into publication 3 novels and a collection of short stories and to edit or co-edit 4 literary anthologies and 3 books of poetry by other writers. By contrast, up until my move to Japan at age 53, I’d written 2 poetry books and edited one poetry anthology.

 

So my challenge in semi-retirement – I still work as a photojournalist for Fishing News International and The Japan Times – and as a Returnee rather than an ex-patriate, was to make the most of my experiences and literary connections in Asia and to continue to write and publish in at least some of the genres – fiction, poetry & journalism – I worked in while in Okinawa & Japan with a special interest in creating and maintaining international literary associations (this conference being one of them).

 

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Hiromi Mizoguchi

 

“What’s in a name? The importance of choosing the right title for your work”

 

Lecture and Q&A

 

Choosing the right title for a story, essay, novel or any other literary work is an important, even crucial, part of the publication process. I will focus on the issue in relation to translations of foreign works into Japanese, including my translations of Hans Brinckmann’s writings.

 

A clear, effective, or intriguing title for your piece can make or break its success in the marketplace.  I will focus on the issue from my point of view as a translator from English to Japanese.

 

Literal translation of a title is less important than catching the spirit of the original in the choice of Japanese words, in addition to making sense and having it sound right.  “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger has been translated four times since 1952 and each time it was given a different Japanese title, including  one in katakana.  Dostoyevsky’s novel, “Bésy,” has three English translations of the title: “The Possessed,” “The Devils,” and “Demons,” while there is only one Japanese title since the first Japanese translation appeared in 1934.  What makes a title more accurate - or effective?  Does a title have a best-before date? Should a title be short or long?  What is a determining factor to make titles more ‘marketable’?  Sometimes adding a sub-title helps.  I will elaborate on these points with examples, and invite discussion.

 

Hiromi Mizoguchi holds an MA from the Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies, Kyushu University.  She has translated most of Hans Brinckmann’s books, poetry and articles, and co-authors his bilingual website www.habri.jp. Her translations of Brinckmann’s essays are published regularly in the Japanese literary magazine Atlas, based in Kanda, Tokyo.

 

~~~

 

Hugh Ashton

 

“Stepping Out of The Comfort Zone”

 

 Lecture/Q&A

 

A look at some of the issues involved in writing contemporary fiction from outside the society in which the stories are set, as well as the morality or otherwise of producing such material.

 

Hugh Ashton is best known for his Sherlock Holmes novels, in which sex and violence play very minor roles, usually off-stage. Recently, though, his range has expanded to include thrillers, some of which have a very dark side indeed. His forthcoming (at the time of this writing) novel explores some very disturbing aspects of contemporary American society. As a Briton who has never lived in the USA, and who has lived a relatively peaceful life, writing such material presents a number of challenges. Ashton will explore the practical, and to some extent the moral, issues involved in the production of such fiction.

 

Having lived in Japan since 1988, Hugh Ashton is relatively unfamiliar with the modern Western world. However, his escape to the 19th century world of 221B Baker Street has won worldwide acclaim for the recreation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous sleuth.

 

~~~

 

Jared Angel, Susan Laura Sullivan & John Wolfgang Roberts

 

“How to Develop and Maintain a Reading Event or Writers Group”

 

Short Lecture with Q&A

 

John, Susan & Jared will discuss how to start up and maintain an active writers group/event. John & Susan will use their writers group, Toyohashi Writers’ Group, and Jared will use his reading event Authors Live! as examples.

 

Maintaining an active writing community in Japan poses obviously obstacles for us. We would like to share our experiences about how to start up and maintain a group/event for writers and their audiences. Some of the issues we will talk about include how to choose a venue, how often to hold events, what kind of requirements there are for participants, publicity, etc. Specifically, Jared will talk about his reading event “Authors Live!,” at which four authors read from their selected works. Sue and John will discuss how to get a grassroots workshop up and running. Toyohashi Writers' Group celebrated its second year in November 2014. There participants meet once a month to workshop creative contributions.

 

Jared Angel is the author of the novels, "Betraying the God of Light," "Humans Rising," "The First Ending and Dusk." He is the founder of the reading event: Authors Live!

 

Susan Laura Sullivan’s story, Reasons for Song, was shortlisted for the Western Australian T.A.G. Hungerford Award for an unpublished novel in 2012. She is a co-creator of the Toyohashi Writers’ Group and has been published widely.

 

John Wolfgang Roberts has published fiction and poetry. His main interests are in disruptive arts and blurred boundaries. He is the co-creator of the Toyohashi Writers’ Group.

 

~~~

 

Jenny Crocker, Jane St Vincent Welch, Denise Tart, and Jane Richards

 

“How a book club wrote a best-selling novel”

 

Craft workshop/short lecture

 

In 2011, a group of five women from a Sydney book club set out to write a successful genre novel. “The Painted Sky,” published under the pseudonym Alice Campion, was published internationally by Random House in May 2015 and will be published in German by Ullstein in October 2015. Apart from a single avant-garde group of five men in Italy, this may be the only known example of commercially successful collaborative fiction in the world. How did we do it? What are the advantages and disadvantages and how can a group develop a single creative vision? These questions will be answered in the presentation.

 

Jenny Crocker is one-fifth of the group author identity Alice Campion. She runs awareness campaigns on social issues in her native Australia and in the past has been a TV and radio comedy writer.

 

Jane Richards has been a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald for more than 20 years and is now working on a second group novel after the success of "The Painted Sky."

 

Jane St Vincent Welch loves the journey that Alice is taking her on.

When not being an Alice, Jane is a freelance documentary editor.

 

Denise Tart is a marriage celebrant with a business and performance background. Denise is convinced that the success of “The Painted Sky” is thanks to its remarkable group authorship.

 

~~~

 

Jessica M. Sadler

 

"How Short is Short?: Genres of Literary Fiction"

 

Short lecture with brief craft and Q&A session

 

This presentation will explore various genres of literary fiction based on lengths, what’s trending, and how trends have changed in the past decade. Examples of length-based genres to be explored include short stories, flash fiction (sometimes called "short shorts"), micro fiction or postcard fiction, "istories", and even six word stories.

 

Not only are literary fiction genres changing in terms of lengths but also in terms of the platforms used to publish these pieces. “istories”, for instance, is a submission category for Narrative Magazine in which the submission should be the size of a smartphone screen, and six word stories are being published on Twitter. At the end of this presentation will be a Q&A and time for participants to craft their own six word stories.

 

Jessica Sadler is a fiction writer from Baltimore City currently teaching EFL at Tokyo International University after having received an MA in TESOL.  Her short story “Junk Junkie Needs a Place to Sleep,” published in Bartleby in 2013,  won UMBC’s annual “Fiction Award".

 

~~~

 

John Spiri

 

“The Observations of a Two-bit Non-fiction Freelance Writer”

 

short lecture with Q & A

 

With 30 years of experience scratching out articles for magazines and newspapers, the presenter often jokes that he’s a “two-bit freelance writer.” Throughout that time he has enjoyed writing as an avocation and an excuse to learn something.

 

The presenter will share his experience writing for a number of different publications—many but not all of which are “two-bit.” After considering some general writing tendencies and rules, he will discuss proposing and crafting articles for a newspaper such as the Japan Times.

 

This presentation will explore the crafting of non-fiction articles. Believing there is no “right way” to approach a piece, the writer will share what he does and why he does it, along with some of his perceived successes and failures as a writer. He will describe the process from pitching an idea to an editor to putting the final touches on an article that is to be published. This presentation will provide insights, inspiration, (and alliteration) on nonfiction writing for aspiring and accomplished writers.

 

John Spiri has been freelance writing for 30 years with 100+ articles appearing in publications he affectionately calls “two-bit.” In recent years he has had the good fortune to appear in bigger-time publications such as The Japan Times. John has self-published the Asians at Work series and several textbooks.

 

~~~

 

 

Karen McGee (moderator), Sara Kate Ellis, Suzanne Kanata, Wendy Jones Nakamishi, Ann Tashi Slater

 

“Getting Published: A Panel Discussion”

 

Trying to get your writing published can be complicated and overwhelming. What tools are helpful? How do you find the right markets for your work? Do you submit to markets that don’t accept simultaneous submissions? What about contests that charge fees? When do you need an agent? How long do you keep submitting a piece that is rejected? Which genres are the hardest and which the easiest to break into? How important are query materials?

 

Please bring all your questions and hear what the following published writers have to say:

 

Sara Kate Ellis lives in Tokyo. She is a 2011 Lambda Emerging Writers Fellow and a martial artist in seat nabbing during crowded commutes. Her essays and stories have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, AllyMcBeal.com, Bete Noire, Ideomancer, and most recently, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. She also writes about comic books for Sequart.

 

Suzanne Kamata is the award-winning author and/or editor of eight traditionally published books and over 100 short pieces. She currently serves as Fiction Editor for Kyoto Journal and is an instructor at Tokushima University.

 

Wendy Jones Nakanishi, an American, has been resident in Japan since the spring of 1984. She has published widely on her academic field of 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st-century English and Japanese literature and, in the past ten years, begun writing 'creative non-fiction' pieces describing her life as an academic, the wife of a Japanese farmer and the mother of three sons. Her first novel, a crime fiction story entitled "Imperfect Strangers," will be issued by Endeavour Press (UK) in the autumn.

 

Ann Tashi Slater has been published by The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Huffington Post, as well as New World Writing, Shenandoah, Kyoto Journal, and Asia Literary Review, among others. Her work appears in "Women in Clothes" (Penguin) and the YA anthologies “American Dragons” (HarperCollins) and “Tomo” (Stone Bridge). Her translation of a novella by Reinaldo Arenas was published in “Old Rosa” (Grove). A longtime resident of Tokyo, she teaches at a Japanese university.

 

Karen McGee (moderator) has published poetry and short fiction. She has lived in Japan for 20 years and currently writes mystery novels. She is co-organizer of the Tokyo Writers Workshop

 

~~~

 

Linden Thorp

 

“FACING YOUR FOLLOWERS: Authors galvanizing their voice by talking about their writing – the power of interviews, face-to-face communication with readers, and author websites. Reaching out to readers in an culturally appropriate style”

 

Presentation – Q&A

 

We can no longer sit in our ivory towers and ‘just write’ because readers no longer ‘just read’ – they demand visibility and validity. If you do not have a profile and a presence online, you will be passed by. This is a golden opportunity to talk about what you write so you embrace it more fully in the eyes of the global community.

 

Writing and ensuring what we write is logical, accountable and correct is no longer enough. We need to make a more concrete relationship with our readers/followers by being visible in author-talks, interviews and creating trailers for our books.  It is also expected that we engage with our followers as Websiteists (Bloggers). This presentation hopes to show that such a responsibility can become a driving force in writing more regularly, more dynamically, and with more humility due to direct feedback. The motivation to read has changed, and with it the length of focus of the reader. Therefore, images harvested from the internet or photo collections can be used to ease the reading load. This is so easily accomplished with access to the internet or working with artists.

 

Linden Thorp, born in Britain of Spanish lace-maker/Irish-Welsh/Norwegian extract, is a writer (non-fiction and fiction) with so much to write about! Her rich and adventurous life - ranging from working with Australian native peoples returning to traditional life, to getting under the skin of Japanese culture, to living in the territory of Cathars and Troubadours in the French Pyrenees, to travelling round India on a train for 3 months - is begging to be written, and some has been. But there are so many more books to write. A Cathar mystery will be finished this year as an ebook, reflecting that period. She is also a poet and addicted websiteist (sounds more attractive than 'blogger'). Spirituality and non-duality fuel her writing, which is a reflection of her continued aspiration for oneness with the universe and all beings, and inhabiting the field of the greater awareness. Writing is her raison d'etre nowadays: everything else has to be fitted around it.

 

~~~

 

Marianne Kimura

 

"Making Effective Use of the Festive and the Mythic in your Fiction"

 

Short lecture with Q & A

 

Your fiction can tap into the power of ancient techniques. In this presentation, I will introduce concepts from older forms of fiction, such as the Mummer's Play, myth, and Greek Comedy. There are repeating features, such as "cures", hieros gamos, and fool and trickster figures, all of which are worth our study as fiction writers.

 

For example, the Mummer's Play has a basic "cure" occurring in it. I will discuss how and why to re-think the advice writers are given to focus on or find "conflict." Instead, I’ll show how focusing on a "cure" can be a spur to new ways of giving your characters a "problem" to deal with. I will demonstrate with an example from Jane Austen's “Pride and Prejudice.”

 

Other examples I will examine include Hieros Gamos, the ancient Greek sacred marriage rite made famous in “The DaVinci Code,” the fool chosen to lead May Day parades and processions, and the trickster. Examples of these will be taken from various sources, including Sherlock Holmes stories and my own work.

 

Marianne Kimura has published 2 novels under the pen name Gemma Nishiyama, “Juliet is the Sun” and “The Hamlet Paradigm.” She is a full-time professor at Kyoto Joshi Dai (Kyoto Women's University). Most of her published academic research is about Shakespeare and solar energy. She has a B.A. from

Harvard and an M.A. from the University of Chicago, both in English

Literature, and has lived in Japan for 19 years.

 

~~~

 

Paul Rossiter, Jessica Goodfellow, Eric Selland, C. E. J. Simons

 

“The Weather in Tokyo: The Year’s Work at Isobar”

 

Poetry reading with short Q&A

 

Isobar Press, which is based in Tokyo and London, specialises in English-language poetry from Japan. In this session, Isobar authors will introduce and read from their latest books: C. E. J. Simons will read from “One More Civil Gesture,” and Eric Selland will read from “Beethoven’s Dream,” while Jessica Goodfellow will read from “Dreaming of Zeus” by Lesley Hardy, and publisher Paul Rossiter will talk briefly about the press and its aims. He will also read from “Whispers, Sympathies, & Apparitions” by David Silverstein.

 

Jessica Goodfellow teaches at a university in Kobe. Her books are A Pilgrim’s Guide to Chaos in the Heartland (Concrete Wolf, 2006), The Insomniac’s Weather Report (Isobar, 2014), Mendeleev’s Mandala (Mayapple, 2015); her work has won several prizes, including the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize from the Beloit Poetry Journal.

 

Paul Rossiter founded Isobar Press when he retired from the University of Tokyo in 2012. He has published four books of poetry: In Daylight (Printed Matter, 1995), Monumenta Nipponica (Saru, 1995), The Painting Stick (Pine Wave, 2005), and From the Japanese (Isobar, 2013).

 

Eric Selland’s translations of Japanese poets have appeared widely. He is the author of The Condition of Music (Sink Press, 2000), Still Lifes (Hank’s Original Loose Gravel Press, 2012), and Arc Tangent (Isobar, 2014). His translation of The Guest Cat, a novel by Takashi Hiraide, is available from New Directions.

 

C. E. J. (Christopher) Simons teaches at International Christian University, Tokyo. He has previously published two poetry pamphlets: Progress Bar (2010) and No Distinguishing Features (2011), both from wordwolf press. His criticism and poetry have appeared in the Independent, Isis, Magma, Oxford Poetry, PN Review, and The Times Literary Supplement.

 

~~~

 

Percival Constantine

 

“Introduction to Scrivener”

 

Lecture-demonstration with Q&A

 

Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents.

 

A live demonstration, this session will be a basic introduction to what Scrivener is and a brief tour around the program and its features as a word processor program. I will show the basic screen layout, the binder, inspector, word count targets, the automatic back-ups, the corkboard, and the compile screen. Among the topics I’ll cover are outlining, using references, writing, editing, and compiling.

 

Anyone who attends the presentation will also receive a discount code for the Scrivener software.

 

Percival Constantine is an independent action fiction author of series such as The Myth Hunter, Vanguard, and more. He also does cover design, book formatting, editing, and has worked as a comic book writer and letterer

 

~~~

 

Philip Rowland

 

“The Really Short Poem: Writing and Publishing Possibilities”

 

Short Lecture with Q & A

 

The presenter will draw on his experience in writing, editing and publishing to suggest ways of approaching and more fully appreciating short poems as essential, rather than marginal to poetry more generally.

 

There is a general tendency in literary culture to marginalise very short poems, or to consider them merely as light verse. Even haiku, currently perhaps the most popular form of short poem, has evolved as a literary genre in a community of which other poets and critics have been largely unaware. But if concision lies at the heart of poetry, the very short poem may be more significant than at first appears. In this session the presenter will draw on his experience in writing, anthology and journal editing, and publishing to suggest ways of approaching and more fully appreciating the short poem as essential, rather than marginal to poetry more generally.

 

Philip Rowland is a British poet and professor based in Tokyo. He is founding editor and publisher of NOON: journal of the short poem (2004-present), coeditor of Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (W.W. Norton, 2013), and author of Before Music (Red Moon Press, 2012).

 

~~~

 

Robert Tobin

 

1. What Running An Art Gallery Taught Me About Writing

 

Running an art gallery may seem very different than being a author. But, running the Tobin Ohashi Gallery helped in learning about craft, about people, about courage, about dealing with criticism, marketing, and about connections.

 

I’ll talk about how running the gallery with my husband, Hitoshi Ohashi, helped me become a better writer and helped me get a book published in the U.S.  You’ll also have a chance to think about something you do besides your writing that will help you become a better writer. This session is designed to assist you in connecting and integrating what look like disparate parts of your life into your writing.

 

2. Build The Life You Want As A Writer

 

A funny thing happened on my way to self-publishing: I found a publisher. It wasn’t as hard as I thought.

 

I’ll tell my own story and you’ll have a chance to tell your own. In this  workshop session we’ll explore the kind of life you want as a writer, what you can do to get there, and how you can get out of your own way.

 

You'll learn and talk with other writers about what you want, finding the best people, letting go of fear and getting unstuck.

 

This session will help you identify the kind of life you want as a writer, and start on path to getting there.

 

Bob Tobin is the author of "What Do You Want To Create Today?": [BenBella Books, 2014] and author of “Starting Your Beautiful Life” coming soon from Discover 21 in Japan, and co-author of a series of career development books.

 

Bob also is a consultant and TeX speaker and the co-owner of the Tobin Ohashi Gallery. He taught about creativity, courage and change at the Faculty of Business and Commerce at Keio University where he is now Professor Emeritus.

 

~~~

 

Simon Bibby and Wendy Jones Nakanishi

 

“‘Real Reads’ and real persistence: A literature textbook and the road to its publication”

 

Short lecture with Q and A

 

Wendy Jones Nakanishi and Simon Bibby will discus the creation of a literature-themed textbook for language learners, aimed primarily at the Japan domestic market. The presenters explain the creation process of the text, dealings with publishers up to eventual successful publication in 2014, and then discuss the content of the textbook “Real Reads: An Introduction to Literature” and its use in class.

 

Perhaps you have a literature-themed class to teach - an English Literature 101 type course at your university. Or possibly you are just looking to include some authentic literary texts in your language classes, as a break from the textbook, but you are unsure how to judge what might ’work’, and which texts to choose. The presenters discuss the creation and content of an introductory literature text for language learners, “Real Reads,” which is of sufficient general interest to be used in regular language classes, while also containing sufficient number and range of texts for effective use in more literature-themed courses. The presenters discuss not just the textbook, but also the process of creating a textbook from start to finish, including managing workflow, dealing with various publishing houses, and, once a deal was eventually struck, the final publication process itself.

 

Wendy Jones Nakanishi, an American, has been resident in Japan for 30 years. She has been employed full-time since her arrival as a professor working at private Japanese universities. She has published widely on 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st-century English and Japanese literature in such publications as 'English Studies' and 'The Scriblerian' and 'ejcjs' ('Electronic Journal for Contemporary Japanese Studies) and, in recent years, has begun publishing short stories and memoirs in, for example, 'The Kyoto Journal'.

 

Simon Bibby, hailing from England originally, has been in Japan for 15 years. He is a member of faculty at Kobe Shoin Women’s University in Kobe. He started up the Literature in Language Teaching SIG in JALT, and remains Co-Coordinator of this national group. He has published a number of articles regarding the use of literary texts in language classes in the last 2-3 years. Outside work and literature, he is currently working on his doctorate, and still finds time to play chess sometimes.

 

~~~

 

Susan Laura Sullivan

 

“Reconfiguring the Bicycle--Confidence and Creativity”

 

Short Lecture–Q & A

 

We've all lost our confidence in our own creativity at some time. Hoping to draw on her own and audience experience, Susan Laura Sullivan will discuss approaching creative material again when a sustained break from writing has been encountered.

 

After taking a tumble, you get back on the bike, but your shins are all scraped up. Rejection looms. Life happens. You don’t get back on. You take a break. Such hiatuses can result in loss of momentum, but also changes of direction. How is the bicycle reconfigured?

 

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Wayne Gretzky. Some folks create all the time for all of their time. Others take breaks. Some quit for good only to find their resolve was temporary. Powering off or putting down the pen can leave fellow practitioners wondering why you turned your back on your calling. But is it a calling? Reasons behind these intermissions are many. One is urged to clamber back onto the bike after taking a tumble. But should the advice be to refashion the penny-farthing into a gyrocopter? This interactive session will explore reasons why we may create and stop creating, and how we can approach creativity and productivity after our writing mojo has atrophied.

 

Sue’s novel “Reasons for Song” was shortlisted for the 2012 Western Australian T.A.G. Hungerford Award for an unpublished novel. She co-founded the Toyohashi Writers’ Group and has been published widely. She currently teaches at Tokai University.

 

~~~

 

Percival Constantine, Sean Michael Wilson, Graeme McNee, Adam Pasion

 

“WRITING COMICS”

 

Panel discussion/Q&A

 

Comics are a hybrid medium, combining the visual and the verbal. They are sometimes described as “sequential art,” which emphasizes the visual side, while longer works can be called “graphic novels,” which emphasizes the writing. But what is a writer’s role in this medium?

 

How is writing for comics like (or unlike) writing stories in solid prose? How is it like (or unlike) writing a movie script? How does the adage “show, don’t tell” apply when things can literally be shown? What is it like for a writer to collaborate with an artist? And how does one break into the field?

 

Such questions will be discussed by a panel of the following comics writers:

 

Percival Constantine, whose work has appeared in Kagemono, Femforce and All-Star Pulp.

 

Sean Michael Wilson, whose works include “Cold Mountain,” “Musashi” and “Buskers.”

 

Graeme McNee, whose works include “An Afternoon in Ueno” and “A Shioya Story.”

 

Adam Pasion, whose work includes “Sundogs,” “Crawdads” and “Aftershocks.”

 

The panel will allow time for a few audience questions at the end.

 

~~~

 

Tracy Slater & Jessica Goodfellow

 

“Bringing Out Your Book: From Small Presses to the Big Five”

 

Panel Discussion

 

The panelists, one a memoirist with a Big Five US publishing contract and one a poet working with small presses, will discuss what they’ve learned from their recent book publication journeys, covering ways of making necessary industry contacts (including agents and publishers), ways to connect with potential readers, types of publishing models prevalent in their genres, etc. Followed by a Q&A.

 

Navigating the journey from manuscript to published book can be complicated, with different challenges depending on genre and intended audience. Tracy Slater, a memoirist whose first book is being published by Penguin Random House’s Putnam imprint, will share the ins-and-outs of traditional Big Five New York publishing, including issues such as getting agents, attracting publishers, negotiating contracts, and the advent of auctions. Jessica Goodfellow, multiple prize-winning poet, will explain the prevalent models in small press publishing, including the contest and the open reading models. With up-to-date experience from having books come out in 2015, the panelists will take your questions and share the details of their particular (and somewhat representative) experiences.

 

Tracy Slater is the founder of the award-winning global literary series Four Stories. Her first book, “The Good Shufu: Finding Love, Self & Home on the Far Side of the World,” was published in hardcover in June 2015 by Penguin Random House’s Putnam imprint, and is forthcoming this winter in paperback from Penguin Random House’s Berkeley press. Her essay publications include pieces in The New York Times online, CNNGo, Best Women’s Travel Writing 2008, Boston Magazine, the Boston Globe, Post Road, the Chronicle Review, and more. Tracy earned her PhD in English and American Literature from Brandeis University and was the recipient of the PEN New England 2008 "Friend of Writers" award.

 

Jessica Goodfellow’s books are “Mendeleev’s Mandala” (Mayapple Press, 2015), “The Insomniac’s Weather Report” (Isobar Press, 2014), and “A Pilgrim’s Guide to Chaos in the Heartland” (Concrete Wolf, 2006).  She’s had work in Best New Poets, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and received the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize (Beloit Poetry Journal). Her work was made into a short film by Motionpoems that has been screened at an international film festival and at writers’ conferences.

 

~~~

 

Wendy Jones Nakanishi

 

"The Ex-pat Writer in Japan: Making a Virtue of Necessity"

 

Short Lecture with Q & A

 

The ex-pat writer in Japan is curiously circumstanced. Anyone who is not obviously Japanese is automatically relegated to "outsider" status. But the writer

typically tends to rely upon being an invisible observer and describer of his world. This presentation gives advice on how "gaijin" writers resident in Japan can turn what may seem a disadvantage into an opportunity.

 

This presentation will draw upon personal experience to explain ways in which the ex-pat writer in Japan can utilize material drawn from day-to-day life for his work.

 

The western writer resident in Japan may find it a handicap that he is so conspicuous. He cannot, as he might wish, simply blend into the background to observe life and later retail his observations and reflections in his stories. Also, unless he is fluent in Japanese and has an intimate knowledge of the intricacies of Japanese thought, behavior and culture, he may find the world in which he is placed a kind of puzzle.

 

The author got her doctorate in 18th-century English literature in Scotland and, on arriving in Japan and beginning a new life here, despaired of being able to continue doing serious literary research. She began to study and write about Japanese literature (in English translation) and also to embark on writing creative non-fiction pieces detailing her life as an American woman employed full-time as an academic, married to a Japanese farmer and the mother of three sons.

 

Wendy Jones Nakanishi (Ph.D. Edinburgh University) has been employed full-time at a private university in Japan since the spring of 1984.  Her short stories appear in such magazines as Kyoto Journal, ExPatLit, Outside Culture, The Mom Egg, and Tales from a Small Planet. She issued a textbook, "Real Reads: An Introduction to Literature." She has just completed her first novel, "Imperfect Strangers," a murder mystery set on a Japanese university campus, that will be issued soon in digital form by Endeavour Press (UK).

 

2014, Morioka, Iwate National University, October 25 & 26  Presentations (listed alphabetically by given name)

 

Bern Mulvey

 

“Nuts and Bolts: How to “Write” Japan in Verse...and Find Publishers for that Verse”

 

Lecture with Q&A.

 

Are you a poet struggling to get your work published, particularly in the major (including paying) venues?  Finding yourself increasingly frustrated by the process? This presentation discusses manuscript evaluation from an editor's perspective, focusing particularly on the often minor adjustments that can help your poems beat the odds into print.

 

The presentation title is taken from a chapter in Richard Hugo’s The Triggering Town, with a similar intent. I.e., I also will outline the “nuts and bolts” of revising and submitting poetry—including poetry book manuscripts—for publication, focusing necessarily (to use Hugo’s words) on editorial and organizational strategies that “have helped, or once helped, or still do help” me. This includes pragmatic suggestions on how to improve your acceptance odds, from journal targeting and "proper" submission format (including poem order and the use/omission of cover letters) to self-editing strategies that anticipate the difficult decisions editors must make. However, I will particularly address some of the concerns most relevant to poets living in Japan, including tricks for dealing smoothly with back story, Japanese language usage, etc.

 

Finally, like many writers residing in the impacted areas, I experienced both the Tohoku earthquake and its aftermath, not to mention continue to contribute to the rebuilding process. As a poet, I am driven as well to convey through my art form some of what I’ve witnessed and/or experienced, though struggle constantly with the desire simply to narrate—to write prose, in other words. Accordingly, the editorial strategies I will introduce include techniques popularized by Hugo (and John Nims) for avoiding the so-called “meaning trap,” to help you (as Hugo writes) “become ruthless enough to create.”

 

Bern Mulvey's second book, Deep Snow Country, won the 2013 Field Poetry Prize and was published this year by Oberlin College Press. His first book, The Fat Sheep Everyone Wants, won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize and was published in 2008. Individual poems have appeared, among other places, in Poetry, Agni, Beloit Poetry Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, Field, Cimarron Review, Passages North, The Laurel Review, Snake Nation Review, Poetry East, and 北陸詩人詩集. He also has two award winning poetry chapbooks: Character Readings (Copperdome/Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2012) and The Window Tribe (White Eagle Coffee Store Press, 2005). His prose—including academic articles and essays—has appeared in Higher Education Policy, Japan Studies Review, American Language Review, Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts, 風谷アイヌ語教室, JALT Journal, The Language Teacher, Times Higher Education Supplement, EL Gazette, ELT News and朝日新聞.  He is the former poetry editor of The Missouri Review, and also served as faculty advisor/editor of Black Rock & Sage. He lives in Iwate, Japan.

 

*****************************************************

 

Bob Tobin

 

(1.) “Developing The Courage To Write”

 

Workshop and discussion

 

It takes courage to write and put your work out there.  This session is for writers who want to develop more of the confidence and courage needed to publish.

 

More workshop and discussion than lecture, you'll learn how to increase your confidence and be more courageous in your writing, how to summon up your courage at every stage of your writing career, and  how to deal with criticism and feedback.

 

You'll learn and talk with other writers about:

 

How to move from caution to courage

How to recognize the many faces of fear

How To develop a supportive network of other writers

How humor and anger can help and hurt

How to communicate what you do as a writer

Dealing with feedback and criticism

 

Phases Pre-and Post Publication where Courage is Needed

 

This session is designed  to assist you in being more courageous in your writing. You'll learn how to communicate what you do as a writer, how to handle fear and how to accept feedback and criticism.

 

 

(2.) “Dreams and Demons”

 

It's your dreams that will propel you to write. It's the demons [real and imagined], such as procrastination, changes in the publishing business, scheduling and more that can get in the way.

 

In this workshop style session, after a brief intro, you'll talk with other writers about your dreams,  what to do about the demons that get in the way, and how to recognize and avoid the devils .

 

The focus will be on dreaming, moving forward to reach your dreams and creative ways to deal with the demons we all encounter when we write.

 

You'll learn and talk with other writers about:

 

How dreams and visual imagery can help us write

How To develop a supportive network of other writers

Ways to put the fun back in your writing

How to identify the demons and what to do about them

How to get un-stuck

 

This session will help you create and realize your dreams as a writer, and deal with the demons you may encounter.

 

Bob Tobin is a consultant, writer, and speaker who helps people work with power, purpose and power.  He is the author of "What Do You Want To Create Today?": Build The Life You Want At Work", BenBella Books, 2014 and co-author of a series of career development textbooks published long ago.  He taught courses in communication, leadership and business strategy at universities in the US and Japan, and is now Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Business and Commerce at Keio University.

 

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Charles Whipple

 

“Why Write Short Stories?”

 

Lecture/Q & A/Discussion

 

Actually, the short story market has shown a bit of resurgence in recent years. I will talk about that.

 

Let’s take a look at writing the short story, including why do it and a little of how I do it.

 

Then let’s discuss the short story, opening it up to members of the audience, entertaining questions, which may be answered by me or by other members of the discussion.

 

I will hand out a few pages of comments and advice from my U.S. and Non-U.S. author friends

 

Charles T. Whipple is a native of Arizona who resides in Chiba, Japan. Whipple writes fiction and nonfiction. His articles have appeared in many magazines, including Time, Newsweek, Honolulu magazine, Tokyo Journal, Cruising World, Boating New Zealand, Sport Diver, and more. His nonfiction books include Seeing Japan, Inspired Shapes, and several in Japanese. He writes western novels under the pen name of Chuck Tyrell for Robert Hale Ltd.'s Black Horse Westerns line, Western Trail Blazer, and Piccadilly Publishing, contributed short stories to the Express Western anthologies Where Legends Ride and A Fistful of Legends, which is also co-edited with Nik Morton, and Western Fictioneer anthologies. He is part of the Ford Fargo persona that writes the Wolf Creek series from Western Fictioneers. He has won prizes for both advertising and journalism, and received the Agave Award in the Oaxaca International Literature Competition in 2010. His novel, The Snake Den, won the 2011 Global eBook Award in the western fiction category. Whipple was a lifetime member of the now-defunct National Association for Outlaw and Lawman History. He is a current member of Arizona Authors Association, Western Writers of America, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Tauranga Writers Inc., and, of course, Western Fictioneers. Whipple is married, has one wife, two sons, four daughters, 19 grandchildren, and one dog. He is fluent in spoken and written Japanese, and understands many forms of English. His Tokyo-based company prepares English-language corporate literature for clients in Japan.

 

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Claire Dawn-Marie Gittens

 

“Voice-Training: Making your Words Sing”

 

Craft workshop— 2 hours

 

Filled-in plot holes. 3D characters. Realistic settings... But something's missing. That je-ne-sais-quoi that has puzzled aspiring and accomplished writers alike. Voice. In this workshop, we will examine different voices, define voice in our own words, and hear the thoughts of the experts. Then we will attempt to make our own voices sing.

 

Before defining voice, we will listen to a few extracts from different types of voices in different genres. We will discuss the feelings and thoughts these voices invoke. Then, with these voices in mind, we will attempt to define voice. After listening to definitions from our colleagues, we will hear the thoughts of authors of books on writing craft. Finally, we will do a few short writing segments, aiming to embody different voices using the same character, plot, and setting.

 

Claire Dawn was such an avid reader as a child that she literally would not put down her book. Her piece 'Ichinichi on the Yamanote' can be found in TOMO: Friendship through Fiction. Her work has also appeared in magazines, anthologies, and newspapers, including Japan Times Shukan ST. Born in Barbados, her heart also belongs to Ichinohe, Iwate.

 

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David Gilbey

 

“‘Reeling and Writhing’ 5: A Poetry Editing Workshop – preparing for publication”

 

A ‘closed’ workshop, requiring participants to submit (drafts of) poems before the conference as well as be involved in the discussion of work submitted by others.

 

The proposed workshop is based on the familiar and successful structure and strategy as offered by John Gribble at the 2008 JWC and my own over the last three years. It will involve my sending out a ‘brief’ to intending participants requiring submission of drafts of poems, then, before the actual workshop, reading and making comments on each of the participants’ poems and finally, participating in the workshop discussion itself at the conference.

 

This workshop allows writers to work on a poem or two in readiness for publication, recognising that conference delegates are themselves writers, teachers and editors and that there are both personal and professional benefits from a closely-focussed discussion of emerging texts. So the purpose of this workshop is to give a small group of poets the opportunity to meet, read and discuss in depth a sample of each others’ work. The workshop will be open to a limited number of participants but writers of varying degrees of experience will be welcome. The session will be closed and of two hours’ duration. There will be two parts to the workshop: preparation and  participation. Preparation also has two parts, submitting and close reading – those who sign up for the session will be contacted before the conference.

 

David Gilbey is Adjunct Senior Lecturer in English (eg. Australian, Children's) and Creative Writing at Charles Sturt University and the founding President of Wagga Wagga Writers Writers, as well as a poet. His first full collection of poems, Death and the Motorway was published in 2008 after having travelled to US, UK, France, Japan and China on Study Leave in 2006. He has taught English at Miyagi Gakuin Women's University in Sendai, Japan 1996, 2000 and 2007.

 

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Edward Levinson

 

“Writing Organically with Inspiration as the Seed”

 

Short lecture with Q&A, plus sample readings

 

I will share with the participants my writing process and how it moves from inspiration, to journal, to essay, to book or other publication. A core part of this process is preparing one’s inner space for inspiration to come in and get things started.

 

My writing is mostly experiential, non-fiction first person essays, often accented with haiku and poems. Elements of nature play a major role and since I am also a photographer, it is very visual. The influence of Japanese culture plays a big part in my writings as does spirituality and the way of the heart. Though I am sometimes forced to write something to meet a deadline, I prefer the organic process of using an inspiration. These “aha” moments usually come to me while drinking tea under the cherry tree, working in the garden, or soaking in a sunset, but they can also come on the subway, coffee shop, or a museum in Tokyo. For me, it is this seed of inspiration that makes the writing real. I will present examples of how I journey from inspiration to finished pieces, moving from scribbled notes to journaling software, to polished Word documents.

 

Edward Levinson has lived in Japan since 1979. He has published two books in Japanese both by Iwanami Publishing and a photo book, “Timescapes Japan”. Publication of his memoir is planned for Fall 2014. He lives in the countryside on the Boso Peninsula inspired by nature and his garden.

 

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Gareth Morris Jones

 

(1.) “A Field Guide to Psychogeography”

 

Short lecture with Discussion/ Q&A.

 

This presentation will introduce psychogeography. It will define psychogeography, look at some examples of work by writers whose work fits within its traditions and discuss how psychogeography might offer us as writers interesting and novel ways to think and write about places, cities and our experiences within them.

 

Psychogeography is an irreverent and ironic term coined in the 1960s by a gang of absinthe-drinking Parisian radicals seeking to describe the volatile city in which they lived. Although the term might be unfamiliar to some, as writer-residents of cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, it is likely we’ve all done a bit of psychogeography at one time or another. Psychogeography encourages us to explore the city through intuition, to turn left when we're expected to turn right, and to seek out experience, adventure, and a rollicking good story. I believe psychogeography has applications for all kinds of writers perhaps but particularly those who are interested in the description of place, the city and urban experiences within their writing. This presentation will introduce some examples of psychogeography from the work of Daniel Defoe to Will Self before discussing how we as writers might exploit these ideas in our own writing.

 

 

(2.) “Fictocriticism: When Two Worlds Collide”

 

Short lecture with Q&A.

 

This presentation will provide an overview of the relatively young genre of Fictocriticism. The presentation will define fictocriticism and outline its development, paying attention to its fusing of critical and creative writing. It will then discuss the aims and benefits such an approach can bring to our writing before concluding with some readings.

 

Fictocriticism, despite its rather lofty name is in fact a simple and interesting way of assembling and juxtaposing ideas, voices and styles within our writing. The term fictocriticism was coined in university writing programs where candidates began to fuse their creative writing with their academic writing. The resulting works often had the best of both worlds; the personal poetics of the creative and the logical argument of the academic. I believe fictocriticism offers exciting approaches for writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry to create rich and novel imagery or to discover and develop unexpected themes and ideas within their work. It may simply be a creative way to ward off writer’s block! This presentation aims to define fictocriticism before discussing the benefits that can come from a fictocritical approach to writing. The lecture will conclude with some short readings representative of the genre as an assertion of fictocriticism’s vibrancy, variety and viability.

 

Based in Osaka, Gareth Morris Jones is a British artist, writer and educator. He was a regular contributor to The Asahi Weekly newspaper where his column described some of the more colourful experiences of life in Japan. His current research interests centre on Interdisciplinarity and Practice-as-research in the Creative Arts.

 

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Hans Brinckmann

 

“A Long Gestation—Harmful or Helpful to a Novel?”

 

Lecture with readings from the novel In the Eyes of the Son, followed by Q&A.

 

My novel In the Eyes of the Son took me over fifteen years to write. Not continuously, of course, but all told. There were problems with character development, sequence of events, point of view, and form. Has the delay helped the end-product?

 

I began writing the novel in 1997, in Sydney, using a small rented apartment away from home, for better concentration. I finished it in a year and contacted agents and publishers, all in vain. I presented the MS to a professional literary advisor, and for a fee she pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of story and structure. I spent another year revising, and then tried again. No luck. The years passed. I turned to writing other books: an autobiography, collections of stories and poetry and a history of post-war Japan, all of which were published. Finally, in 2012, I went back to the novel, and with the acquired experience repaired many of its flaws. I found a publisher through the online Publishers’ Desk website, and their editor got to work on it. My translator, Hiromi, also offered valuable advice. Did all the effort and the waiting benefit the result?

 

Hans Brinckmann: Born in The Hague, he grew up under German occupation. Having to suppress, in the bleak post-war years, his hope of becoming a writer he joined an international bank. After a career as a "reluctant banker" in five countries including 24 years in Japan and 7 years in the U.S., he quit banking in 1988 and turned to writing opinion pieces, fiction, non-fiction and poetry, all in English. Published six books so far and is active as a lecturer.  URL: www.habri.jp and www.habri.co.uk

 

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Hiromi Mizoguchi

 

“Literary Magazines in Japan – How to approach them to propose the publication of a translation of an unpublished essay in English.”

 

Lecture with Q & A.

 

After a brief introduction by author Hans Brinckmann Hiromi Mizoguchi will talk about the process of the publication of her Japanese translation of Hans’ unpublished essay, ‘Tapestries for the Empress.’ Hiromi will offer first-hand advice on how to approach Japanese literary magazines.

 

There are many literary magazines in Japan and while they are always looking for new stories and essays, they are very selective. There are protocols to observe and hurdles to tackle to get your pieces published, and the editors generally show little interest in translations of work not previously published in the original language.

 

Hiromi managed to get her translation of one of Hans’ unpublished essays accepted by a Japanese magazine.  Hans will give a brief background of the essay – one of a series on encounters with well-known people and Hiromi will explain how she achieved a fruitful result: the publication of his essay  "Tapestries for the Empress" in a literary magazine.

 

Hiromi Mizoguchi: Holds an MA from the Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies, Kyushu University.  She has translated most of Brinckmann’s books and co-authors his bilingual website. URL: www.habri.jp

 

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Hugh Ashton

 

“Getting Down and Dirty - The Mind of the Villain”

 

Talk with Q&A and some exercises for the audience

 

The presentation will deal with character development - concentratingon villains in genre fiction using examples from the presenter's own work,as well as those from other writers. To include examination of motives,background, character development, and ways of presenting these to the reader.

 

Writing about heroes is easy - we simply have to look upward and

outward. But how do we create a villain who is suitably nefarious, and at

the same time realistic and entertaining? Do we look inside the dark side

of our own souls, observe others' doings and reproduce their failings, or

work from our own imagination alone? Hugh Ashton, who has created more

(fictional) villains in his Sherlock Holmes and other stories than is

healthy, will attempt to help you answer these questions, and we will try

to create our own villains within the session.

 

Hugh Ashton is the author of many collections of best-selling Sherlock

Holmes adventures, approved by the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd., as well as

alternate history novels and a thriller. When he is not writing fiction,

he writes advertorial copy, speeches, and other writing assignments for a

variety of clients.

 

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James Crocker

 

(1.) “Why do you write? New reasons, new readers, new publishing options”

 

Every writer has their own personal reasons for wanting to put something on paper and share it with an audience. This presentation introduces a new reason to write and a new kind of venue for your writing. Thankfully, this does not necessarily involve changing your creative process or the kind of writing you produce.

 

There has been a broadening of the ways in which creative writing is being regarded, used and appreciated. The Arts-Based Research movement is allowing us to reevaluate the traditional boundaries between academic and creative writing. It encourages writing about topics of professional interest - using our creative talents. Along with this has come increased publication options. There are now publications that are challenging the old distinctions and providing venues for writing as Arts-Based Research. These can be both an alternative and supplement to traditional, statistics focussed academic journals.

 

As Cook, Brown, and Adamson put it in a recent article, “...throughout academic publishing there is a growing respect for alternative voices and alternative means of expression including ... prose... This is giving more and more freedom to scholars to publish their work in their own voice. Our field (language teaching), and in fact all of academia, is in a state of flux as cracks develop in the old guard system and new, possibly more vibrant, ways of sharing knowledge evolve.”

 

We have always known that creative writing can allow us to examine the deepest and most profound aspects of our professional lives; how it can reach us in a way that academic writing doesn’t, describe phenomena that academic writing does not deal with, and leave a more lasting impression. This presentation discusses what the Arts-Based Research movement is all about. It also gives some delightful examples of creative writing as a valid contribution to the collective understanding of topics which have previously only really been dealt with using traditional academic research methods and academic writing. Finally, you will find out how you can contribute as a writer.

 

(2.) “The Font - This Year's Best”

 

Readings with Q&A

 

The Font - A Literary Journal for Language Teachers is an online journal of quality writing on the theme of teaching and learning languages at home and abroad. Authors of some of this year's best publications will read their works and answer questions. They will include Paul Rossiter, Kelly Quinn, Sue Sullivan, and Jessica Goodfellow.

 

The Font looks at teaching and learning languages from a more creative, literary, and humanistic perspective than existing academic publications. The Font publishes quality short stories, articles, essays, anecdotes, poems, interviews, and other forms of creative writing which provide insight, reflection, humour, and inspiration on the theme of teaching and learning languages at home and abroad.

 

It seeks to publish writing by language teachers, learners and translators in all countries, and in doing so become a venue for language teachers and learners of the world to come together and share. It also promotes the idea of creative writing as a form of arts based research, and seeks to create a collection of works which arts based researchers can draw on.

 

Join us, enjoy some quality writing on this theme and learn more about what is going on at The Font.

 

James Crocker has held a variety of positions in the TESOL field, in several different countries, over his 28-year career in education. He has also published English readers with Oxford University Press, National Curriculum textbooks with Macmillan, and a variety of academic papers. He is Editor of The Font Literary Journal.

 

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Jessica Goodfellow & Peter Mallett

 

“The Writer’s Notebook: Strategies for Creativity”

 

Short presentation with Q&A, audience participation

 

Writers are always searching for ways to encourage creativity, and active use of a notebook is one good strategy. From choice of notebook (including digital options) to techniques requiring conscious concentration on content generation, including some suggested by well-known authors and poets, we’ll explore how to make your notebook(s) work for you to generate ideas for dialog, plot, character development and description.

 

From Kay Ryan’s declaration that “I do not carry a notebook in my pocket. That would be the ruination of me because it would make my two worlds connect. I can’t say it strongly enough,” to Will Self’s exhortation to "Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea forever," writers have strong opinions on notebooks. In this presentation, we’ll discuss ways to actively use a notebook (or multiple notebooks—how to divide them up?) based on suggestions from writers Joan Didion, Carolyn Forché, Robert Hass, Brian Turner, and others, and we’ll adapt ideas from sketchbook use by visual artists. Paper (including the legendary moleskins) versus digital notekeeping will also be discussed. Share your own notebooks and strategies for actively using them to generate creativity.

 

Jessica Goodfellow’s  books are Mendeleev’s Mandala (finalist for the Anthony Hecht Prize, forthcoming from Mayapple Press in 2015), The Insomniac’s Weather Report (new edition from Isobar Press, 2014) and A Pilgrim’s Guide to Chaos in the Heartland (Concrete Wolf, 2006). Her work has been featured in Best New Poets, Verse Daily, and Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, and she has received the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize from the Beloit Poetry Journal.

 

Peter Mallett, university professor/ writer, has an MA in Creative Writing (Bath Spa University). Former Arts editor of Kansai Time Out and publisher/editor of Artspace, he has written for The Asahi Evening News, Gramophone Japan, Opera News, The New Internationalist etc. His textbook From Word to Letter was published in 2007. He has twice been featured at the Osaka literary evening Four Stories reading from his novel Appassionata and is currently working on a historical novel.

 

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John Gribble

 

(1) “How To Be A Monolingual Translator, or, ‘There Ain’t No Ducks In That Poem!’”

 

A short talk with discussion and Q & A.

 

Even if your second-language skills are grim to non-existent, you still might have a role in moving a piece of writing from one language to another. In this session I will talk about my experiences in translation collaboration, focusing especially on a project with Masaya Saito, translating the haiku of Hashi Kanseki.

 

My Japanese is awful. In the store I can ask where the eggs are, but unless the answer comes with a lot of non-verbal cues (finger-pointing, arm-waving, being led by the hand), there’s a good chance I won’t understand the answer. Yet my translations, some credited, some not, have made it into print, have made me some money, and even include the renaming of a university. How is this possible?

 

Well, my English is really good. And I have found ways to work well with Japanese collaborators to create accurate and, we hope, artful translations. I will give some of the strategies and mindsets we use to create good English texts. And I hope attendees will share their experiences—the good, the bad, and the....

 

(2) “Writers’ Workshops: What, Why, and How”

 

There is probably some truth to the stereotype of the starving artist/poet/novelist laboring isolated in a garret and doing brilliant work. But the fact is many writers in all genres have writing colleagues or attentive readers who regularly read and offer comments on work in progress. Writers’ workshops, long an important part of MFA programs and other forms of writing instruction, have proven themselves useful to all sorts of creatives both in and outside academic settings for a number of reasons. This session will describe typical workshop formats, how to be a member of such a group, how you can expect to benefit, and some ideas on how to start and cultivate a successful workshop.

 

John Gribble’s poetry and other work has appeared in many publications in the US, UK, Australia, and Japan. A native Southern Californian, he has resided in Tokyo since 1993. He is one of the organizers of the Japan Writers Conference and the Tokyo Writers Workshop.

 

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Juliet Winters Carpenter

 

"Translating Racially Sensitive Passages, and Other Minefields"

 

Short Lecture and Reading with Q&A

 

I recently translated a short excerpt from a longer novel (Shishosetsu from left to right, by Minae Mizumura) dealing with a Japanese teenage girl's blind date. The girl was living in the US and delighted to have her high school friends arrange a blind date for her, but then shocked-- and humiliated-- when her date turned out to be Korean. The excerpt, told through the eyes of a younger sister, looks at issues of ethnicity and race in a thoughtful way, but translating it posed various problems. Even a nuanced discussion of race in Japanese can require rethinking and recasting when brought into English; the issues are still smoldering and require care in handling. I will discuss the passage and the kinds of adjustments that Mizumura and I worked out together to clarify her thinking and present the impact of the incident  in an even-handed, comprehensible, and illuminating way. With some humor thrown in for good measure.

 

Other issues that may come up: how to work with an author who knows English, how to write about details of Japanese culture, how to maintain a character's voice ...

 

Juliet Winters Carpenter has translated dozens of books, fiction and nonfiction, from the Japanese, and as yet shows no sign of stopping. Most recently she has collaborated with Minae Mizumura on A True Novel (Other Press, 2013) and with translators Paul McCarthy and Andrew Cobbing on Shiba Ryotaro's Clouds above the Hill (Routledge, 2013). When not translating she likes watching NCIS, playing with her granddaughters, and singing alto in the Kyoto City Philharmonic Chorus.

 

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Karen McGee

 

“A Writer's Bookshelf”

 

Brief lecture and discussion

 

Most of us have a collection of books on writing. We can list our favorites and point out the disappointments and the ones that made us break out into hives. I'll briefly discuss my own collection and then invite others to discuss theirs. You should come away from this workshop with a short list of books on writing (for the next time you need an excuse to procrastinate) as well as a list of books to skip.

 

Karen McGee has published poetry and short fiction. She holds an MFA in Creating Writing, has lived in Japan for 20 years and currently writes mystery novels. She is one of the organizers of the Tokyo Writers Workshop.

 

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Peter Mallett--See Jessica Goodfellow & Peter Mallett

 

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Paul Rossiter

 

“Starting a Small Press in Tokyo“

 

Short talk, reading, Q&A.

 

A talk about the philosophy behind, the financial realities of, and the books published by Isobar, a new small poetry press using POD technology founded in Tokyo in 2013, together with a description of the skills needed to achieve this, and brief readings from the books published by the press.

 

After I retired from university teaching in 2012, I started Isobar Press, a press specialising in English writing (especially poetry) from Japan. There are – and have been – many fine writers here, working in various styles ranging from relatively traditional to modernist to experimental; the aim of the press is to make this English-language writing from Japan more widely available. Print-on-demand technology and internet selling together mean that it is more feasible to establish and maintain a press than it used to be as long as one relies on selling online and at readings rather than depending on traditional distribution channels. In this talk I will discuss the philosophy behind, the financial realities of, and the books published by Isobar, describe the skills I needed to learn to set up the press, and conclude with brief readings from the books published by the press, followed by a question-and-answer session.

 

Paul Rossiter retired from the University of Tokyo in 2012. He has published four books of poetry, including From the Japanese, which is published by Isobar, a press he founded in 2013. The press also publishes books by Denis Doyle, Andrew Fitzsimons, Jessica Goodfellow, Eric Selland, and Royall Tyler (http://isobarpress.com).

 

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Rebecca Kool

 

“Kamishibai 4 Kids: A Modern Story with a Traditional Twist”

 

A Kamishibai (“Paper Drama”) performance of Fly Catcher Boy, a bilingual book for kids.  Includes personal backstory, publishing challenges, Q&A.

 

Rebecca Kool attended Boise State University in the mid-60s, studying Business Administration before relocating in Canada.  Her professional life has been centered around management of volunteers in a hospital setting as well as managing a senior's retirement hotel.  She created several home-based businesses over the years. In 1994 at the age of 50, she ran away from home seeking adventure and new experiences. The last three of her six years in Japan were spent at Shukutoku High School in Nagoya.  The idea for her bilingual (English/Japanese) picture book was hatched during her stay in Japan.  She and her Japanese husband retired in central Mexico in 2000.  They returned to western Canada in 2004 and she is now really retired, working on several more bilingual stories as well as an adult piece

 

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Suzanne Kamata

 

The Who, What, Where, Why and How of  YA Fiction

 

Short lecture with Q & A

 

Kamata will give an overview of the YA market, characteristics of YA literature, tips on how and where to publish YA fiction, and introduce recent notable YA titles from writers in Japan and elsewhere.

 

Although news from the publishing world has been bleak of late, the market for YA fiction continues to thrive. New imprints are popping up every year, as are journals and magazines devoted to YA lit. And many of them pay money! So how does one write for the YA market? Is it okay to include sex and swearing? What kind of books are popular? And does anyone abroad still care about Japan? I will answer these questions and others, with a little help from fellow Japan-based YA writers.

 

Suzanne Kamata is the author of the YA novels Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (GemmaMedia, 2014) which was awarded the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Honor Award for YA fiction, Grand Prize in the Paris Book Festival Award, and was named a Skipping Stones Honor Book, and  Screaming Divas, which was acquired by NY Times best-selling author/editor Jacquelyn Mitchard for Merit Books. Her short fiction for young adults has appeared in Cicada, Sucker Literary Magazine, Hunger Mountain, and the anthology Tomo: Friendship Through Ficiton. She received a Multicultural Work-in-Progress grant from SCBWI for a sequel to Gadget Girl. She currently serves as SCBWI-Japan Publicity Assistant, and is a lecturer at Tokushima University.

 

 

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Thomas Hardy

 

“Collaborating on Articles for an Edited Book: Issues and Responses”

 

Short lecture with Q&A

 

Writers working collaboratively for an edited volume face expected and unexpected demands and rewards. The demands can include writing to deadline, working constructively with other writers, and incorporating these results in their own evolving work. Rewards can include a more satisfying and better than expected final product.

 

Writing an article in an edited volume in which the collaborative process is highly valued is a fraught process. I report and reflect on the experience and lessons learned, as a contributing member of a research and writing team.

 

Once the research was finished, team leaders moved on to the thankless task putting together a volume of papers by team members. The initial challenge was finding a publisher. Other difficulties included getting writers to write, to read the work of other members and comment constructively on it, to incorporate the results of other team members in their own papers, and to complete rewrites and revisions on time.

 

Writing collaboratively for an edited volume required patience. It also resulted in a volume that satisfied all members of the team and a final product that was better than expected. The effort paid off in the end.

 

Thomas Hardy teaches at Keio University. He has lived and worked in Japan for going on 30 years. He has published textbooks (New Crown, Exceed), various academic papers (for example, International education: the beginnings. In The impact of internationalization on Japanese higher education [forthcoming]), and provided a range of editorial services to academic writers.

 

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Tom Baker

 

“Brevity”

 

Short lecture followed by writing exercise

 

I will briefly present a number of nuts-and-bolts techniques for making text shorter without losing content.

 

Writing concisely creates content-rich text that zaps images to the reader’s brain. Moreover, if you have a lot to say, brevity lets you say more. Consider these sentences:

A. My goldfish was eaten by a cat. (7 words)

B. A cat ate my goldfish. (5 words)

C. My brother’s cat ate my rare goldfish. (7 words)

Shrinking A to B describes the same incident in fewer words. That’s good. Expanding B to C tells a richer story in the same number of words that A used.

That’s better.

In this case, the shortening technique was “using active voice.” Other techniques will include “compressing noun/verb combinations,” “eliminating redundancy,” and “shunning prepositions.”

 

I’ll finish by handing out a short text. Pairs of participants will first condense the text and then restore it to its original length in richer detail.

 

Newspaper stories are often cut off at the bottom to fit space on a page. In 13 years of copyediting for The Daily Yomiuri and The Japan News, Tom Baker has found many ways to condense text so the interesting facts near the bottom reach readers.

 

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Trevor Kew

 

"Why is it so hard to write about Japan? -- ethical, stylistic and practical considerations"

 

Short lecture with Q/A-discussion.

 

Writing about Japan or including Japan in one's writing involves a host of difficult decisions, some ethical (should I avoid stereotypes?), some stylistic (which words do I translate?), some practical (where is my audience?). This presentation will outline some of the main issues and provide opportunities for discussion, as no doubt there is plenty of collective wisdom and experience to draw from out there in the writing community.

 

Trevor Kew is a Canadian writer and teacher who is the author of five children’s novels and a range of short stories, magazine articles and serial fiction.  He has lived in Tokyo since 2008.

 

 

 

 

2013 Nishihara City, Okinawa Christian University, November 2nd and 3rd.

 

Alex Shishin

 

1.“Reading ‘The Eggplant Legacy’:  A Short Story with a Japanese Narrator”

 

This reading is a continuation of last year’s presentation on creating believable Japanese characters in non-Japanese fiction.  “The Eggplant Legacy,” originally published in Prairie Schooner, is told from the viewpoint of an aging rice farmer in a remote mountain village in Okayama.  It is part of a cycle of stories. “The Eggplant Legacy” should take around half an hour to read, leaving considerable time for discussion.

 

2.“Words of Love and Aesthetic Validity in This Almost Liberated Age”

 

Short lecture with reading and  Q&A.

 

Until comparatively recently the artist lived under a threat of social and legal taboos when dealing with the physical expression of love.  This was true even in supposedly liberal democracies.  Writers were obligated to not depict sexual intercourse and to avoid colloquial words associated with it.  After many battles against censorship and moralistic prejudices that once made “love, sweet love” a crime (William Blake) secular democracies have become possibly the most erotically accepting societies ever. This liberation has led to another kind of pressure on fiction writers:  to include obligatory sex scenes in their works.  This presentation will discuss the ramifications of this and how the literary artist, if choosing to, can write about sex, even explicitly, and still maintain aesthetic validity by avoiding inadvertent pornographic writing.  How the topic relates to the presenter’s current novel-in-progress will be discussed.

 

Alex Shishin is an award-winning and anthologized fiction and non-fiction writer widely published in print and on the Internet.  His non-fiction includes the travel memoir Rossiya: Voices from the Brezhnev Era. His Nippon 2357: A Utopian Ecological Tale and other ebooks are published online by Smashwords. He lives in Kansai.

 

 

Alison Jean Lester

 

“Make Them Squirm: Writing from Discomfort”

 

Craft workshop, with a little reading and a lot of writing

 

Some of the most helpful feedback I've been given has come from people who've told me that I haven't gone far enough with the really uncomfortable bits of my stories. This workshop is an exercise in getting people to tap their discomfort and make it a source for an interesting and meaningful connection with their reader, as well as a hook with which to catch a publisher.

 

The presentation will start with a question about why someone would choose to write from a place of extreme discomfort. I will then read a couple of excerpts - one of my own, one from ancient Greek theater - to get a response from the participants regarding the use of discomfort and the reaction to it. We will then take out paper and pen - or electronic device - and the participants will spend 20 minutes writing about the most uncomfortable event in their life. We will then talk about how it could be used - would it be a helpful magazine article? would it make a powerful short story? could it open a novel? - and what would need to happen to get it into the right shape.

 

Alison Jean Lester was born and educated in the United States, and has lived in the UK, Italy, China, Taiwan, Japan and now Singapore. In spite of her Master's degree in Chinese studies, she works as a corporate communication skills coach and writer. She is the author of the short story collection Locked Out: Stories far From Home, and the essay collection Restroom Reflections: How Communication Changes Everything, and is currently at work on a novel (or two). Her father, mother and brother are all published authors, and her great-great-great grandfather was one of the principal illustrators for Charles Dickens. She has two teenaged children and a schnauzer.

 

 

Ann Tashi Slater

 

“The Heart of Things: Writing the Short Personal Essay”

 

Reading and Talk with Q & A

 

How can you write short personal essays that get to the heart of what you want to say? Ann Tashi Slater will read from her Huff Post blog and discuss how to write essays of 800-1000 words, an increasingly popular length because of the explosion of online publishing venues. Areas covered will include coming up with topics, the importance of (the right kind of) detail, and knowing where to start and finish. Prompts and exercises will also be discussed.

 

Ann Tashi Slater's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Kyoto Journal, Big Bridge, Shenandoah, Gulf Coast, and failbetter, as well as American Dragons (HarperCollins) and Tomo (Stone Bridge). Her translation of a novella by Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas was published in Old Rosa (Grove). She holds a BA in Comparative Literature from Princeton and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. A longtime resident of Tokyo, she is an Associate Professor of American Literature at Japan Women’s University. Visit her website (www.anntashislater.com) and Huff Post blog (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ann-tashi-slater/).

 

 

Autumn Widdoes

 

“Performative Words:  Writing for and Making Performance”

 

Performance Lecture with Q&A, workshop-style

 

 How do you enter into a new language with only the performative words that you know?  This performace lecture will discuss how to create work for performance in Japan (performance art, poetic narratives for movement theater, and plays), how to find both non-Japanese and Japanese collaborators/actors/performers to stage the work, and how to cultivate an audience, with a particular focus on doing this outside of the major cities and without networks.  Additionally, we’ll discuss how to incorporate and enfold personal experience, the writing and unwriting of oneself into the texts, working with translations (and “anti-translations”), and engaging with new language(s) and their complexities in one’s work without using it/them as simplistic ornamentation.

 

Autumn Widdoes is a writer and performance artist and teaches ESL through the JET program in Okinawa.   She has shown work in NYC at Dixon Place, the Brick Theater, Grace Exhibition Space, Bowery Poetry Club, Galapagos, Movement Research Festival, &Now Festival (Buffalo, NY), Poetry Cafe (London, UK), Subterranean Arthouse (San Francisco, CA), and will perform new work at ARCADE in Okinawa City this summer.  She received her Masters at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  HYPERLINK "http://www.autumnwiddoes.wordpress.com"

 

 

Benjamin Martin

 

“Getting Published When You Live On An Island”

 

 Short Lecture with Q&A

 

This will be an overview of my experience getting published while living on an island with a total population of 550 people, and what I learned along the way that will help perspective authors and those still finding their way while living in Japan.

 

I will outline my journey into the publishing world while living on Kitadaito and Kumejima Islands in Okinawa, including the successes and pitfalls I found along the way.  I will talk about the processes I used to write, the friends and resources that helped me refine my work, and things I wish I had known back then. I will touch on the predatory tactics of companies and resources for avoiding them, and also on the benefits of contests such as the ABNA.  I will delve into my experience working without an agent, the pros and cons, and the opportunity I found with Tuttle Publishing, the benefits and trials of working with a smaller press.  Finally, I’ll cover marketing from Japan, with ways I found to connect with the writing community. I will end with time for questions and/or discussion.

 

Benjamin Martin came to Japan with the JET Programme in 2008 and still lives and works on small islands in Okinawa Prefecture.  His first novel, Samurai Awakening, won the 2012 SCBWI Crystal Kite for the Asia/Middle East/India Region.  The sequel, Revenge of the Akuma Clan, is set for October 2013.

 

 

Bern Mulvey

 

“From Deep Snow Country”

 

Reading

 

Bern Mulvey’s second book, Deep Snow Country, won the 2013 Field Poetry Prize and will be published in early 2014. His poems have appeared, among other places, in Poetry, Agni, Field, Beloit Poetry Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, Cimarron Review, Passages North, The Laurel Review, Slant, Spillway, Snake Nation Review, Runes and Poetry East. His articles and essays have appeared in Higher Education Policy, Japan Studies Review, American Language Review, Continuing Higher Education Review, JALT Journal, Nibutani Ainugo Kyoushitsu, Times Higher Education Supplement, The Language Teacher, EL Gazette, ELT News, Asahi Shinbun, etc. His first book, The Fat Sheep Everyone Wants, won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize and was published in 2008. He also has had two award-winning poetry chapbooks published: Character Readings (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2012) and The Window Tribe (White Eagle Coffee Store Press, 2005). He lives in Iwate, Japan.

 

 

Carol Begg, Jo Mynard and Tim Murphey

 

“Facilitating communities of practice through online journals”

 

Short lecture with Q&A

 

Drawing on their experience with publishing journals, blogs and ebooks, the presenters address both the practical and philosophical aspects of offering an online publication. They share tips for establishing and managing an online journal and also showcase ways in which a Community of Practice (Wenger, 1998) can be fostered through publishing.

 

From a practical viewpoint, it is now easier than ever to publish work in electronic format, but there are some basic tips that can make the process easier and more efficient. Drawing on their experience with publishing online journals, blogs and e-books, the presenters share some tips for managing, editing, publishing and marketing online journals.  From a philosophical perspective, the presenters look at how a publication can foster collaboration, inclusion and promote a Community of Practice (Wenger, 1998) as the ways in which a publication is managed can also be designed to engage others in a sense of shared community.

 

Carol Begg is a lecturer and departmental coordinator at Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan. Aside from editing for PeerSpectives and the Japan Association of Language Teachers, as the editor for Conference Preview, Conference Handbook, and Associate Editor for The Language Teacher, Carol has also worked on the new language-learning card game: Question Quest.

 

Jo Mynard is an Associate Professor at Kanda University of International Studies / Director of the Self-Access Learning Centre. She is the editor of SiSAL Journal, co-founder of Candlin & Mynard ePublishing, co-editor of three books, and author / co-author of a number of academic articles on learner autonomy, advising and CALL.

 

Tim Murphey (PhD in applied linguistics, University of Neuchatel, Switzerland) is a Professor at Kanda University of International Studies. He is series editor of TESOL’s Professional Development in Language Education series, co-author with Zoltan Dornyei of Group Dynamics in the Language Classroom, author of Language Hungry!, Teaching One to One, Music and Song, The Tale that Wags, In Pursuit of Wow!, and  most recently co-edited Meaningful Action: the Influence of Earl Stevick on Language Teaching.

 

 

David Gilbey

 

“Reeling and Writhing’ 4: A Poetry Editing Workshop – preparing for publication.”

 

A ‘closed’ workshop, requiring participants to submit (drafts of) poems before the conference as well as be involved in the discussion of work submitted by others.

 

The proposed workshop is based on the familiar and successful structure and strategy as offered by John Gribble at the 2008 JWC and my own over the last three years. It will involve my sending out a ‘brief’ to intending participants requiring submission of drafts of poems, then, before the actual workshop, reading and making comments on each of the participants’ poems and finally, participating in the workshop discussion itself at the conference.

 

This workshop allows writers to work on a poem or two in readiness for publication, recognising that conference delegates are themselves writers, teachers and editors and that there are both personal and professional benefits from a closely-focussed discussion of emerging texts. So the purpose of this workshop is to give a small group of poets the opportunity to meet, read and discuss in depth a sample of each others’ work. The workshop will be open to a limited number of participants but writers of varying degrees of experience will be welcome. The session will be closed and of two hours’ duration. There will be two parts to the workshop: preparation and  participation. Preparation also has two parts, submitting and close reading – those who sign up for the session will be contacted before the conference.

 

Please Note: This is a closed workshop. If you wish to participate, contact David directly as soon as possible at DGilbey@csu.edu.au. Those who come to the workshop without joining in advance will politely but firmly be asked to leave.

 

David Gilbey is Adjunct Senior Lecturer in English (eg. Australian, Children's) and Creative Writing at Charles Sturt University and the founding President of Wagga Wagga Writers Writers, as well as a poet. His first full collection of poems, Death and the Motorway was published in 2008 after he travelled to US, UK, France, Japan and China on Study Leave in 2006. He has taught English at Miyagi Gakuin Women's University in Sendai, Japan 1996, 2000 and 2007.

 

 

David Gregory

 

“Get it Together! Organizing Your Writing Work Before, During, and After”

 

 Short lecture and group discussions and sharing.

 

How do you capture and process ideas and keep creative and follow-up tasks moving? David will review his tools and techniques, we will break into groups to explore how you deal with these challenges, and our groups will share their discoveries.

 

“Stop…when you know what will happen next,” Hemingway wrote. “Start when you know what you will do,” David says. Those answer the “when”s of writing. How about the “what”s? We will explore tools and techniques for capturing and organizing ideas, work processes, finished products, and follow-up tasks, and for pushing progress to get results. David will review his methods, touching on:

 - paper vs. PC.

 - note systems.

 - tracking creations from ideas to submissions to income tax reporting.

 

To best learn from each other, we then will break into groups to discuss questions from David, challenges you face, and your solutions. Finally, David will lead the groups in sharing their discoveries. Writers of any level will benefit from this session. You can help it succeed by showing examples of your methods. You will leave with more confidence about controlling chaos and improving your writing productivity.

 

David Gregory is from Chicago, IL, USA. He has been in Japan since 1990 and is an engineer and businessman who operates an importing business and enjoys doing sports, cycling, painting, and writing. He contributes essays to Tokyo Notice Board magazine and NHK Radio Japan.

 

 

Eugene Tarshis

 

“The Prose Poem a la Ponge as Writing Tool and Door of Perception”

 

Craft talk/workshop

 

In this craft talk and workshop we will investigate the prose poems of Francis Ponge, his object poems, to consider what he does with the form and to what end, and make use of the method and content choice of these compositions as a tool for writing.

 

Direct immersion in this mode has distinct advantages for writers, regardless of literary creed or genre. Departure from usual strategies is a middling sort of advantage found in any exercise, say, practicing sestinas, but the prose poem offers a unique challenge, with its double helix of prose and poetry.

 

At its most effective, this type of prose poem can realign our angle of vision. To compose in the mode of the Pongean object prose poem is to experience and present it as a door of perception.

 

In the first segment, shop talk, we must take up the question of personification: Potent or paltry? This rhetorical figure, frowned upon in writing guides, occurs throughout Ponge and contemporary object prose poems. Let’s have fun debating and later, in the workshop, possibly employing it, and in the wrap-up discuss, among other topics, whether Ponge and we can get away with this soi-disant misdemeanor of committing a tired trope to paper.

 

Eugene Tarshis is the editor of Wingspan magazine, was a contributing founder of Another Chicago Magazine, and was the founding editor/editor-in-chief of Kansai Scene. His poems have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, Banyan Press Anthology 2, and Sunstone Review (New Mexico), and his nonfiction writing on art, books, Japanese culture, and travel in

Kyoto Journal, Kansai Time Out, Kansai Scene, and Wingspan. He organized/emceed a SWET-sponsored poetry reading by Cid Corman, held at C.C.‘s cafe in Kyoto (11/17/2002).

 

 

Gregory J. Dunne

 

“What in the World Got Into Cid Corman: Translation and the Controversy of Appropriation”

 

Short Lecture with Q/A

 

This presentation explores Cid Corman’s use of un-attributed translations in his magnum opus, of. The presentation asks whether this act is one of appropriation or something other, something quite distinct: one that challenges our accepted views and understandings of "ownership" and copyright in poetry?

 

Cid Corman passed away in Kyoto in 2004 at the age of 79.  He had lived quietly in Japan for over forty years. During his time in Kyoto he wrote poetry and translated poetry and prose. He also managed to continue to publish his magazine Origin. Corman’s magnum opus, of, which contains five volumes, each volume 750 pages in length, contains translations from many different languages that are drawn from many different time periods. Corman did not attribute the translations to the original authors. This practice has been criticized as an unjustifiable form of appropriation. This presentation looks into Cormans use of translations in his book and asks whether his act is one of appropriation or something other, something quite distinct, and one that challenge us to rethink accepted views and understandings of "ownership" and copyright in poetry?

 

Gregory Dunne is the author of two books of poetry Home Test (Adastra Press, 2009) and Fistful of Lotus (2000). His nonfiction book on the poet Cid Corman is due out with Ekstasis Press this year.  He teaches at Miyazaki International College in Miyazaki, Japan.

 

 

Hans Brinckmann

 

1. With translator Hiromi Mizoguchi, “The delights and pains of translating poetry – from English to Japanese.”

 

Short lectures with readings, Q & A.

 

Among Hans' published work – fiction, non-fiction and autobiography – is The Undying Day, a selection of poems written over the past half-century, shown side by side with Hiromi's Japanese translations. Unrestrained by locale, subject matter or conventional styles, Hans' lines illuminate the marvel of love and ponder life's irretrievable losses. He is no stranger to whimsy either, nor to the search for life's ultimate meaning.

 

For Hiromi the challenge was how to render these diverse sentiments and changing poetic forms into literary Japanese without losing the flavor of the originals. She opted for creating her versions rather than literal translations, a solution that has met with critical acclaim. Hans will give a short introduction to his work, and Hiromi will explain how she went about creating her versions. They will each read examples of the poems from the book.

 

2. “First Person or Third? Why making the right choice – deliberately or accidentally – matters in writing fiction. An author's perspective.”

 

Lecture and Q&A

 

 For writers of fiction, the narrator's voice is the medium for telling the tale. But should it be the author's own voice, speaking in the first person, suggesting that the story might reveal (parts of) the author's own life, thinly veiled? Or is it better to use the third person, the know-it-all observer who is privy to what goes on in others' lives? The first person is more intimate and to some readers more convincing, but limits the teller's perspective. The third person provides wider scope for telling the story from different points of view and even at a distance in time and place, but it may come at the cost of sacrificing the expression of credible personal emotions. Hans has written fiction in both formats, and will share his experience, using examples.

 

Hans Brinckmann was  born in The Hague and grew up under German occupation. Having to suppress, in the bleak postwar years, his hope of becoming a writer he joined an international bank. After a career as a "reluctant banker" in five countries including 24 years in Japan and 7 years in the U.S., he quit banking in 1988 and turned to writing opinion pieces, fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Published five books so far and is active as a lecturer.  URL: www.habri.jp

 

Hiromi Mizoguchi holds an MA from the Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies, Kyshu University. She has translated most of Brinckmann's books and co-authors his bilingual website. URL: www.habri.jp

 

 

Hillel Wright

 

"Freelancing to Periodicals - Networking"

 

Short lecture with Q & A

 

Some tips on how Freelancing to Periodicals - even for no or little pay - can expand your network and lead to well-paid writing opportunities.

 

Now, with the advent of online social networking sites such as Face Book, LinkedIn, etc., building up a resume of publications in periodicals - many of which now have online versions which greatly expands readership - can lead to well-paid writing and/or related opportunities. This presentation will offer examples of just such a pattern in my own writing career. The presentation will touch on developing good relationships with editors, sharing info with other writers, and expanding into writing-related endeavors such as editing, teaching, re-writing, and publishing.

 

 Hillel Wright is author of 3 novels, a short story collection, a poetry collection & a poetry chapbook, editor of 5 literary anthologies; regular contributor as fiction writer, book & film reviewer and/or photojournalist to periodicals in Canada, Japan and the U.K., guest reader at several major literary event series including Four Stories (Osaka & Tokyo), the FisherPoets Gathering (Astoria, Oregon - winner of 2012 on-site poetry contest) and Bolts of Fiction (Vancouver, Canada),twice nominated for Journey Prize (Best Canadian Stories) and once for the Pushcart Prize (Best American Stories).

 

 

Hugh Ashton

 

“What Sherlock Holmes can teach writers”

 

The last Sherlock Holmes story was published nearly 80 years ago. The world's most famous detective still has power to sell books and fill cinema seats. As well as setting an example for police forces, Sherlock Holmes can also act as an inspiration for writers.

 

Dr. Watson's adventures of Sherlock Holmes still have the power to excite the imagination and stir the blood, and Conan Doyle's prose continues to exert its charm. "You know my methods," Holmes said to Watson, but writers, whether of fiction or non-fiction, are often still ignorant of Holmes' aids to efficient and imaginative writing. The talk will examine these aspects of the famous sleuth's' character and working practices and apply them to the writer's trade. In addition, the ways in which a Holmes story can be planned and researched also have lessons for writers of all kinds of material, not just those who create historical fiction.

 

Lived in Japan for quarter of a century. Author of many best-selling books of Sherlock Holmes pastiche short stories, novellas and novels, published by California-based Inknbeans Press, which are rapidly taking over from journalist, copywriter and editor as the "day job" .

 

 

James Crocker, Kelly Quinn, and Steve Redford

 

“Introducing The Font Literary Journal - a publication about teaching and learning languages in Japan and other countries”

 

Information session with readings and Q&A

 

The Font is a quality literary journal in which writers who are teaching or learning a language, at home or abroad, reflect creatively on their experiences. Join us to find out more about this opportunity to share and publish. Be inspired by some of our talented authors who will be reading their recently published works.

 

This presentation will provide information for those interested in submitting to The Font or supporting it in other ways. It will provide background information of the evolution ofThe Font, how it differs from other journals, it's aims, what kinds of writing it publishes, it's Editorial Committee, and its website; www.thefontjournal.com

 

Writers can find out more about The Font's submission process, and get tips on how to promote their chances of being accepted. They will also learn about upcoming events including planned writing workshops.

 

The presentation will also briefly summarize some of the important contributions that creative writing can make to academic research and publishing.

 

Following this introduction, some of The Font's talented Japan-based authors will read extracts from their recently published works. Q&A will follow.

 

James Crocker has held a variety of positions in the TESOL field, in several different countries, over his 28-year career in education. He has also published English readers with Oxford University Press, National Curriculum textbooks with Macmillan, and a variety of academic papers. He is Editor of The Font Literary Journal.

 

Kelly Quinn was born in Agana, Guam and went to high school and university in Michigan, in the United States. He teaches English at Nagoya Institute of Technology. He is the author, most recently, of JAPANESE HISTORY YOU SHOULD KNOW, published by IBC Publishing. He has worked as a screenplay developer for Nameless Films Productions and has written several mediocre academic articles. In his free time, he writes humorous fiction.

 

Steve Redford grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and has now lived in Japan for more than twenty years. He has published a number of ESL textbooks, including A World of Difference and Shizuoka Dreaming, and has published short stories in such places as Kyoto Journal in Japan, and Habersham Review in the U.S. He currently teaches American literature at Shizuoka University and has recently published a novel set in Japan, Along the Same Street. (homepage: persimmon-dreams.com)

 

 

Jared Angel

 

“13 Drafts of a Novel, 6 Years Later – Publisher Found”

 

Short lecture with Q&A

 

After completing the second draft of my novel, I contacted every publisher and agent I could find in The Writer’s Market. I received zero positive responses. I then revised the book 11 more times. Six years later, a publisher finally accepted it.

 

When my novel was initially rejected by every agent and publisher I contacted, rather than giving up on the book or trying to self publish, I first mapped out all of the possible reasons why no one was interested. Second, I wrote two more drafts of the book. Third, I started contacting only three agents/publishers at the same time. I waited for their responses before contacting anyone else. When I received the next group of rejections, I revised the novel again and started the process over. I started receiving reasons behind the rejections rather than form letters. I was then able to focus subsequent revisions on particular points made by agents and publishers. When I felt I had addressed their concerns, I re-submitted the manuscript to them. This worked. One of the publishers, Silver Leaf Books, finally accepted my manuscript after I submitted it to them for the third time.

 

Jared Angel is the author of the novels Betraying the God of Light, and Humans Rising. He has been teaching EFL and culture in Japan for 14 years and is currently working part-time at four universities in Kobe.

 

 

John Wolfgang Roberts

 

“Metafiction: Stories about Stories”

 

Short Lecture with Q and A.

 

You are reading my proposal on metafiction, the self-reflective genre. As you continue reading, you will come to understand that this presentation will explore some of metafiction’s basic elements. That is, how fiction, which is consciously aware of itself as a work of fiction, breaks down barriers between the author and reader, and fiction and reality, revealing its story-truth in the process. We will cover some metafictive plots, common devices employed for metafictive effects, and give examples that demonstrate the playfulness of these breathing texts.

 

John Wolfgang Roberts, a native of Los Angeles, holds an M.F.A. in fiction and has published fiction and poetry in The GNU, Post Poetry Magazine, and Bellow Literary Journal. He is co-facilitator of the Toyohashi Writers' Group and currently teaches English language at Aichi University. He has recently completed his first novel, the metafictional Ashes & Exits, which is currently being pedaled, and has recently begun his Ph.D. in literature.

 

 

Kathleen Morikawa

 

“Self Publish With Kindle: Doing It Yourself Has Never Been Easier”

 

Short lecture with Q&A.

 

The presentation will be a concrete, step-by-step introduction to how to publish and market a book in Amazon’s Kindle (e-book) store.  It will take one through the process of how to set up a KDP (Kindle Self Publishing) account, find an e-book converter to do the technical stuff for you and then how to upload the book and cover to the account. Tips for how to market the book in the Kindle store and navigate the Amazon site will also be discussed.

 

Amazon now sells more e-books than paper books. There’s no denying the e-book is the wave of the future and authors need to get out their surfboards and hop on. The good news is that e-books are also an easy, economical, energy-saving way for authors not only to get their work published but to publish it the way they want. The author sets the price, makes marketing decisions and can alter, republish or unpublish at will. It may look daunting at first but having started out by taking the traditional route to self-publishing (finding book designer, printer, ISBN, bar codes, distribution channels, etc.), I can attest to the fact Kindle self-publishing is the easy and exciting alternative that can give your book worldwide distribution. I’m eager to help other authors give it a try. (This presentation will only deal with publishing to Amazon’s Kindle store (not Smashwords or Apple Store). Kindle has the lion’s share of the market and offers programs where the author is paid up to 70 percent of the sale price.)

 

Kathleen Morikawa has spent four decades in Japan, most of them writing and watching TV. A longtime columnist for both the Daily Yomiuri and Asahi Evening News, she established <http://www.forestriverpress.com> in 2003 and since has published three paperbacks and three e-books: Who Changed the Channel? Sixty Years of Japanese TV, Thursdays in Yokohama and Hana the Bilingual Beagle.

 

 

Peter Mallett

 

“Are Writers Born or Created? A look at Writing Programs

 

Short lecture with Q&A and workshop

 

Are creative writing courses beneficial? What should you look for in choosing one? What are alternative ways to improve your writing?

 

Since the 1990s, there has been a global boom in Creative Writing courses - both in academic institutions and community groups. Can such courses really help develop a writer? What should you look for in choosing one? The presenter will draw on his own experience taking a one-year MA course at Bath Spa University to evaluate the benefits and problems of such a course.

Many writers have neither time nor money to enroll on courses and there are fewer opportunities for those living in Japan. We will also look at alternative ways to develop writing skills.

 

Peter Mallett, university professor/ writer, has an MA in Creative Writing (Bath Spa University). Former Arts editor of Kansai Time Out and publisher/editor of Artspace, he has written for The Asahi Evening News, Gramophone Japan, Opera News, The New Internationalist etc. His textbook From Word to Letter was published in 2007. He is currently seeking publication of his first novel, Appassionata, and working on a second, The Wind of God.

 

 

Percival Constantine

 

“Self-Publishing: The Pros and Cons of Bypassing Traditional Publishing”

 

Short Lecture with Q&A

 

With the advent of new technology such as print-on-demand services and ebooks, the market has opened for authors who wish to go it alone and publish their books without the use of an agent or publisher. There are both positives and negatives to this approach.

 

In the past, if one wished to publish a book, it required finding an agent and the agent locating a publisher for the product. Thanks to print-on-demand and ebook publishing, self-publishing has become easier than ever for aspiring authors. There are both positive and negative aspects to this. On the plus side, there is no need to write a number of query letters and send out submissions to agents or for the long wait before a book ends up on the market, as well as an increased share of the royalties. On the downside, the self-published author is responsible for all aspects of the production process, from editing the manuscript, laying out the book, creating a cover, and promotion. And though there is a larger share of royalties, the amount of copies sold can be far fewer. This presentation will examine the pros and cons of self-publishing.

 

Hailing from Chicago, Percival Constantine is a writer for GaijinPot and the Pulp Ark Award-nominated author of several New Pulp novellas, including The Myth Hunter and Love & Bullets. He is also an editor at Pro Se Productions and resides in Kagoshima.

 

 

Robert Tobin

 

1.“How To Give A Talk They'll Remember:  Tips for Writers”

 

This session is for writers who want to be better presenters. You'll learn an approach to giving a presentation thatkeeps you relaxed and connected to your audience, even if you are someone who hates to present.

 

Writers who speak sell more books, but speaking requires a different skill set than writing.

 

You'll also have a chance to try out some of your new skills.

 

You'll learn:

 

How to organize your talk

How To Connect with The Group and get people involved.

How To Make Presenting Easier for Yourself

How to make your message clearer and clearer

How to choose the content [less is best]

What To Do About Your Fear or Nervousness

How To Communicate Visually

 

2. “ Book Marketing For Writers Who Hate Marketing”

 

This session is for authors who want to take a relaxed, wholistic  yet effective approach to marketing their writing. The approach is based more on being than doing, more on zen and tao principles than Madison Avenue, more on connecting than selling.

 

You'll learn an approach that is less about hype and numbers and more about integrity, dreaming and focusing attention.

 

In this session, we'll discuss:

 

How To Craft A Strategy That Suits You and Your Book:  One Size Does Not Fit All

Developing A Platform For Your Book

Making It Easy For People To Understand Your Book

Overcoming Technophobia, Marketing Phobia and Social Media Phobia:  It's Just Writing

Writing for Social Media-Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, Good Reads, Twitter

Selling Without Selling

Face To Face Meetings.

 Your Pitch Doesn't Have To Be A Pitch

 Give More Than You Take

Free Books, Free Talks,

Networking Without Being A Jerk

 

Bob Tobin writes about changing the way people work.  He has published articles in the Organizational Development Practitioner, and The Journals of the American Chamber of Commerce of Japan and Thailand.  He is a co-author of a series of career development textbooks published by the U.S. Office of Education and the author of the forthcoming book, "What Do I Want To Create Today":  How To Have The Life You Want At Work.

 

Bob is also a consultant who has worked with UBS, Disney, ANA Hotels, and IBM.  He taught leadership and business strategy at Keio University and is now Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Business and Commerce

 

Sean Lotman

 

 "Picturing Haiku: the Pairing of Images and Poems in Pursuit of a More Thorough Sensibility)"

 

Short lecture and craft workshop.

 

I will describe the process of this long-term project, read some haiku poems, and then conduct a workshop in which participants exchange one photo with another person for the purpose of embellishing it with a haiku or senryu poem.

 

There will be a brief presentation of work with slideshow photos in accompaniment. Then for the craft workshop, participants will exchange photos  Participants will spend five to ten minutes composing haiku for their fellow participants' images. Following that, we will share the results.

 

Please Note: Participants are urged to bring photos they would like to share, at least 5 x 7, so the others may view the images clearly.

 

A native of Los Angeles living in Kyoto, Japan, Sean Lotman's writing and photography have variously appeared in The Adirondack Review, The Dirty Napkin, The Rumpus, Fogged Clarity, Reunion: The Dallas Journal, among others. His photography can be viewed at www.seanlotman.com and his photo-haiku project at www.idohaikuyou.com.

 

 

Simon Bibby, Tara MclIloy, and Gavin Brooks

 

“A ‘how-to guide’ to starting up, editing, publishing a new academic journal: the Journal of Literature in Language Teaching”

 

Short lecture with Q and A

 

Presenters McIlroy, Brooks and Bibby will discuss the process involved in publishing the Journal of Literature in Language Teaching. This will included a discussion of aspects of the publishing process such as attracting submissions, submission guidelines, the peer review and editing processes, InDesign and publishing options, and generating publicity.

 

The now biannual Journal of Literature in Language Teaching was founded to provide members of the newly-minted Literature in Language Teaching SIG a quality periodical in which to publish their experiences and views on using literature in the language classroom. Gavin Brooks, Tara McIlroy and Simon Bibby will share with the audience their experiences thus far and the knowledge they have gained through their involvement in the publishing process. Among the topics discussed will be the creation of submission guidelines; attracting submissions; setting up and maintaining a tight double-blind peer review process; how to go about the editing process; ways of providing feedback to the authors during the editing and vetting process; how to choose the appropriate desktop publishing software; issues related to formatting both the journal and the individual articles; publishing options (online open source over hard copy; choosing between html, pdf, doc); and publicity outreach.

 

Simon Bibby is a PhD Applied Linguistics candidate, and teaches at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan. He has a Masters degree in Educational Technology and TESOL. He set up the Literature in Language Teaching SIG within JALT in 2011 to encourage and promote the use of literature in language classrooms.

 

Gavin Brooks received his Masters of Applied Linguistics from the University of New England. He has been teaching English for 15 years and has worked in Japan, Indonesia, Colombia and Ecuador.  He is currently working as an Associate Lecturer of English at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan.

 

Tara McIlroy holds an MA in Applied Linguistics from Victoria University in Wellington, NZ and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Birmingham, UK. She is interested in literature in language teaching, particularly poetry, creative writing and world literature. She lives and works in Chiba, Japan.

 

 

Todd Jay Leonard

 

"Traditional vs. Print-on-Demand Publishing: The 'Pros and Cons' and the 'Ins and Outs' of Doing it Successfully"

 

Short lecture with Q & A

 

In today's competitive publishing world, a transformation is occuring which is allowing authors opportunities to put into print their creative work that traditional publishers have been either unwilling or hesitant to pursue in the past. Doing away with the "middleman" (literary agent), offering deadline flexibility, along with a wide range of editorial services, the "print-on-demand" publisher is turning the entire industry on its ear.

 

Todd Jay Leonard has been actively involved in book publishing as an author for over twenty years and has published sixteen books with traditional publishing companies, as well as four titles with print-on-demand companies. This experience has given him a unique perspective in comparing the two types of publishing industries.

 

 This presentation focuses on comparing the "pros and cons" and "ins and outs" of publishing with a mainstream, traditional publisher as opposed to going with a POD publisher. In addition, Professor Leonard explains the differences between the two publishing classifications and addresses some common myths associated with both types of publsihing.

 

Todd Jay Leonard lives, writes, and teaches in Kyushu, Japan where he is a university professor. He has published extensively in academic journals, magazines and newspapers on cross-cultural, spiritual, historical, and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) themes. He is the author of 20 books.

 

 

Yumiko Hoshiba, with interpretation by Lena Burghardt

 

“Japanese Publishing Now: An Insider’s Look”

 

Lecture with Q&A session

 

An insider’s introduction to the Japanese publishing industry as told by Yumiko Hoshiba the founder of Discover 21, Inc., a young publishing house known for its innovative titles and high percentage of books which become bestsellers. Recent hits include the 1.1 million copy bestseller Nietzsche’s Words by Haruhiko Shiratori.

 

Learn about what’s going on in the Japanese publishing world right now from the president of one of the country’s most innovative publishers, Discover 21, Inc. What are people reading? How is a bestseller born? What’s to come from e-books? How are Japanese publishers approaching expansion into foreign markets? This 30 minute lecture will be followed by a Q&A session.

 

Yumiko Hoshiba founded Discover 21, Inc. in 1984 and has acted as its founding president since. She lives with her husband and son in Tokyo. Her favorite quote is Scarlett O’Hara’s classic "Tomorrow is another day.”Å@

 

 

Yuri Kageyama

 

“The Yuricane”

 

Reading performance with music.

 

Readings of my poetry have always involved other artists, such as musicians, filmmakers and dancers. They are not structured theater but tell a story by juxtaposition of art forms to create a new experience, and to show people can work together, crossing boundaries. Some clips of my readings can be seen at http://yurikageyama.com/youtube/

 

Yuri Kageyama is a bicultural poet, writer and journalist, who was born in Japan and grew up in Maryland, Tokyo and Alabama. Her latest book is "The New and Selected Yuri: Writing From Peeling Till Now," 2011: Ishmael Reed Publishing Co.Her short story was published in a recent anthology, " “Pow-Wow: Charting the Fault Lines in the American Experience _ Short Fiction from Then to Now,” 2009: Da Capo Press.  The 2010 film "Talking Taiko," directed by Yoshiaki Tago, documents her readings and thoughts on art, family and life. Other information, including reviews, can be found on the web site http://yurikageyama.com

 

 

 

2012  Kyoto, Doshisha Women’s College, November 10th and 11th

 

Kathleen Ahrens Literature for the Very Young: Creating Picture Book Classics

 

Literature for children is considered by many to differ in degree, but not in kind, from literature written for adults. Yet this hypothesis is pushed to its limit when considering texts written for the very youngest children. If literature is considered to simultaneously reflect our universal humanity and our individual idiosyncrasies, is it possible to convey such complexities in a 8-page, 16-page, or 32-page illustrated book format, one often devoid of words or containing very few?

 

What three elements do all best-selling narrative picture books for very young children entail? In this talk, I will present three criteria from which to evaluate one's own picture book texts based on an analysis of classic picture books for the very young found in the US market in the past fifty years. Participants should bring one or two picture book narratives of their own to the talk as exercises and small group discussions will be run so that participants can evaluate their own work against these proposed criteria. By the end of the talk, participants should know the three proposed criteria, know examples of which best-selling pictures books fit the criteria, and know how to judge if their own picture book texts fit the criteria or not. In this way, participants will gain additional tools to analyze and revise their own picture book narratives for young children.

 

 

Kathleen Ahrens is Professor and Head of the Language Center at Hong Kong Baptist University and the Director for the International Writer's Workshop. She received her Ph.D. in linguistics from UC San Diego and has published extensively in academic journals on issues surrounding meaning and metaphor. She is also a writer and translator of children's books. She serves on the board of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators as the International Regional Advisor Chairperson. She has been invited to talk in Taiwan, Italy, Singapore and Hong Kong on topics relating to language in children's picture books, picture book evaluation, and writing for children.

 

 

Hugh Ashton, “How I learned to stop worrying and love Facebook:  Social media as a route to publishing success”

 

Lecture with Q&A

 

The presentation will describe the presenter's experiences in using social media (chiefly Facebook and Twitter) as publicity vehicles to drive the sales of self-published and independently published fiction.

 

Hugh Ashton had previously published three novels independently, but at the start of this year, Facebook put him in contact with a commercial publisher in Los Angeles who expressed interest in some short stories about Japan that he had written. However, as a result of the Facebook friendship, three volumes of Sherlock Holmes stories, in addition to the Japanese short stories, have been published by Inknbeans Press within six months. Social media has been the primary method of publicising the books, and this presentation describes the techniques used to boost these books to the top slots in their Amazon categories.

 

Hugh Ashton is a freelance writer and journalist who has lived in Japan for over 24 years. His latest books, published through Inknbeans Press, are three volumes of Sherlock Holmes pastiches, and a collection of short stories set in Japan.

 

Juliet Winters Carpenter, Translating Poetry Within Prose Works

 

Some people deliberately set out to translate poetry, and others do it as part of translating something else-a work of fiction, religion, or history, often.

Recent translation projects that I have worked on have included many different kinds of verse, everything from children's ball-bouncing songs to haiku and waka to

war poems, doggerel, and classical Chinese verse. I will talk about some of the

challenges of translating these different forms of poetry that slip into prose works--

including making a haiku that the author disapproves of, for example, sound

appropriately trashy, while hopefully not getting in the way of a true masterpiece.

Poems from Shiba Ryotaro's Clouds above the Hill, Mizumura Minae's Taro: A True Novel, Takamori Kentetsu's Buddhist writings, and other works will be considered.

 

 

Juliet Winters Carpenter is a Midwesterner. After beginning her study of Japanese at age sixteen, she went to the University of Michigan (1965-69) and studied under Edward Seidensticker, Robert Brower, and William F. Sibley. Since 1979 she has translated over fifty works in various genres. Her latest is Unlocking Tannisho: Shinran's Words on the Pure Land Path (Ichimannendo, 2011).

 

 

James Crocker, “Publish your work in The JALT Literary Review”

 

short lecture with Q&A

 

The JALT Literary Review is now accepting submissions from writers who teach languages. Find out more about it at this informative session.

 

The JALT Literary Review is a new Special Interest Group within JALT, which produces a different kind of journal on teaching languages in Japan. This journal looks at the topic from a more creative or literary perspective. This is a departure from the current peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings and SIG journals, which report theories and practical teaching ideas in this profession, based on research and empirical evidence. The JALT Literary review is a more humanistic response to what it is that we do.

 

The JALT Literary Review journal publishes short stories, articles, essays, anecdotes, poems, cartoons and other forms of creative writing which provide insight, reflection, humour, and inspiration on the theme of teaching here in Japan.

 

The journal will be published twice yearly and some articles will be available online.

Submissions are reviewed by an editorial committee.  Contributions with the most literary merit are selected for publication. Find out more at this informative session.

 

James Crocker has over 25 years experience in education, in Australia, China, Brunei, the USA, the Czech Republic, Korea and now Japan, where he teaches at Kobe Women's University. He has presented at a number of international TESOL conferences and his publications include journal articles and ESL textbooks for Southeast Asian schools. He is Coordinator and Publications Chair of the JALT Literary Review. (james@suma.kobe-wu.ac.jp)

 

 

Gregory Dunne,  ”What in the World Got Into Cid Corman: Translation and the Controversy of Appropriation”

 

 Short Lecture with Q/A

 

This presentation explores Cid Corman’s use of unattributed translations in his magnum           opus of. Where some critics have dismissed this practice as a merely a case of shocking appropriation,  I argue for a deeper examination of the practice that takes into full account Corman's poetics.

 

Cid Corman passed away in Kyoto in 2004 at the age of 79.  He had lived quietly  in Japan for over forty years. During his time in Kyoto he wrote poetry and translated poetry and prose. He also managed to continue to publish the seminal American literary magazine that he founded in Boston in 1954, Origin. Corman’s magnum opus, of, which contains five volumes, each volume 750 pages in length, contains translations from many different languages and time periods. Corman did not attribute the translations to the original authors. This practice has been severely criticized by some as a form of shameless appropriation. Is there another way to understand Corman’s act that would see it as a moral and deliberate act deeply consonant with his poetics? If so, how does Corman’s act challenge our accepted ideas of "ownership" in the world of language and poetry? The presentation raises question of "ownership" in language and in poetry, and the responsibility poets bear in translation, both to their sources and their poetics.

 

Gregory Dunne is the author of two books of poetry Home Test (Adastra Press, 2009) and Fistful of Lotus (2000). He was the recipient of a 2011 Pushcart Prize nomination in poetry. His nonfiction book on the poet Cid Corman is due out with Ekstasis Press in 2012. His poetry, essays, interviews, and translations have appeared in magazines in both the United States and Japan,  including The American Poetry Review, Poetry East, Manoa, Prairie Schooner,             Third Coast, Another Chicago Magazine, Kyoto Journal, Mainichi Shinbun,  Sakura, and Willow Springs. He teaches at Miyazaki International College in Miyazaki, Japan.

 

 

David Gilbey, ‘”Reeling and Writhing’ 3: A Poetry Editing Workshop – preparing for publication.”

 

A ‘closed’ workshop, requiring participants to submit (drafts of) poems before the conference as well as be involved in the discussion of work submitted by others.

 

The proposed workshop is based on the familiar and successful structure and strategy as offered by John Gribble at the 2008 JWC and my own over the last two years. It will involve my sending out a ‘brief’ to intending participants requiring submission of drafts of poems, then, before the actual workshop, reading and making comments on each of the participants’ poems and finally, participating in the workshop discussion itself at the conference.

 

This workshop allows writers to work on a poem or two in readiness for publication, recognising that conference delegates are themselves writers, teachers and editors and that there are both personal and professional benefits from a closely-focussed discussion of emerging texts. So the purpose of this workshop is to give a small group of poets the opportunity to meet, read and discuss in depth a sample of each others’ work. The workshop will be open to a limited number of participants but writers of varying degrees of experience will be welcome. The session will be closed and of two hours duration. There will be two parts to the workshop: preparation and  participation. Preparation also has two parts, submitting and close reading – those who sign up for the session will be contacted before the conference. To be included in the workshop contact me at dgilbey”at” (insert “@”)csu.edu.au

 

 

David Gilbey is Adjunct Senior Lecturer in English (eg. Australian, Children's) and Creative Writing at Charles Sturt University and the founding President of Wagga Wagga Writers Writers, as well as a poet. His first full collection of poems, Death and the Motorway was published in 2008 after having travelled to US, UK, France, Japan and China on Study Leave in 2006. He has taught English at Miyagi Gakuin Women's University in Sendai, Japan 1996, 2000 and 2007.

 

 

David Gregory, “EARN CASH FOR WORDS! Writing for Tokyo Notice Board”

 

Short lecture with question and answer period.

 

We will discuss taking advantage of the opportunity free weekly magazine Tokyo Notice Board offers to monetize Japan experiences and observations in print. Attendees will leave ready to draft submissions.

 

You have a Japan story. Write it. Send it to Tokyo Notice Board magazine. They publish it and pay you.  Free weekly Tokyo Notice Board (TNB) offers this unique, convenient way to earn quick cash from your Japan “slice-of-life” experiences and observations in prose or poetry. TNB has published more than 30 such pieces by David Gregory since 2003. They want submissions from people like you who attend the JWC. To help you get started, David will discuss:

·       What is TNB?

·       What does TNB want?

·       What are his experiences with TNB?

·       What can you do for TNB, and how?

·       What can TNB do for you?

Writers of any level will benefit from this presentation, but those without much public exposure yet have the most to gain. You might be crafting submission ideas before you leave the room.

 

David Gregory is from Chicago, IL, USA; in Japan since 1990; engineer, businessman; operates importing business; enjoys doing sports, painting, writing. Publicized works: short stories and essays in Tokyo Notice Board magazine, on NHK Radio Japan; research published by Decision Sciences Institute.

 

 

Thomas Hardy, “Editing under fire: notes from the trenches”

 

Short lecture with Q&A

 

Native English speakers are often asked to edit non-native colleagues work, an important, if unspoken, part of the workplace contract. For such ad hoc editors, the following notes can make the whole process a lot less burdensome and save you, and the writer, a lot of work.

 

(1) Know your role and place in the editing process. (2) Know what is wanted

and how far to correct and comment (you are editing, not rewriting). (3) Know the audience and style requirements. (4) Control the situation – have deadlines and keep to them. (5) Be respectful – offer suggestions and know when to back off. (6) Be firm – this is, or should be, a one-off deal, so be ready with alternative editing services. Working through notes like these can make the whole process a lot less burdensome and save you, the dragooned editor, and the writer, a lot of work and misunderstandings that may impact your workplace environment.

 

Thomas Hardy teaches at Keio University. He has lived and worked in Japan for going on 30 years. He has published textbooks (New Crown, Exceed), various academic papers (for example, Constructing identities in a language textbook in Japan. Obirin Synergy), and provided a range of editorial services to academic writers.

 

 

Sally Ito, “Reading and Writing Japan: A Canadian Perspective”

 

Short lecture

 

Reading and Writing Japan: A Canadian Perspective will be an overview of what has been recently written in Canada in English (and possibly French) about Japan or from a Japanese perspective by Canadian authors in various genres.  I will also talk about funding resources for Canadian writers such as the Canada Council and provincial art councils, and will also talk briefly about the Japan Canada Prize.  My presentation will be informational rather than scholarly.

 

Sally Ito is a writer currently living in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  She has published three books of poetry – Alert to Glory (Turnstone Press 2011), Season of Mercy (Nightwood Editions 1999), Frogs in the Rain Barrel (Nightwood Editions1995) and acollection of short stories Floating Shore (Mercury Press1998).  She has been a former judge for the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, a blog contributor to the multicultural children’s literature blog, PaperTigers, and a juror for the Canada Japan prize.  She graduated with a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, with an M.A. in English from the University of Alberta, and was a former Mombusho research scholar at Waseda University in Tokyo.

 

 

Jane Joritz-Nakagawa,  “Locating Ecopoetry”

 

Discussion / workshop

 

Participants will look very briefly at definitions of ecopoetics and numerous examples of what could be called ecopoetry from Japan and other countries, with the goal of discovering ideas for their own writing practices. Some of the presenter's own writing will be included.

 

The term "ecopoetics" is variously defined and something of a neologism.  Recent major anthologies devoted to ecopoetry and ecopoetics include "The Ground Aslant" (2011, ed. Harriet Tarlo, pub. Shearsman, UK) and )((ECO(LANG)(UAGE(READER)) ed. Brenda Iijima, (pub. Portable Press & Nightboat Books, USA, 2010) and "Entanglements: an Anthology of Ecopoetry" ( 2012, Two Ravens Press, UK).

 

Examples of works which fit a definition of ecopoetry/ecopoetics include many contemporary poems written here in Japan in Japanese, and in numerous countries, and include not only recent poems but poetry from earlier eras of domestic and foreign literary history.

 

In this workshop/discussion we will look at numerous examples of poems in English and English translation representing ecopoetics, offered both as discussion material and as prompts for participant writing activities.

 

Jane Joritz-Nakagawa has lived in Japan since 1989.  Hundreds of her poems, as well as her essays, interviews and hybrid works, have been published in literary journals and anthologies in Japan, the U.S., Australia, the U.K., and Canada. Major recent poetry publications include:

 

 Skin Museum, Avant Books, Tokyo, 2006.

 Aquiline, Printed Matter Press, Tokyo, 2007.

 EXHIBIT C, Ahadada Books, Toronto/Tokyo, 2008.

 The Meditations, Otoliths, Rockhampton, Australia, 2009.

 incidental music, BlazeVOX, Buffalo, NY, 2010.

 notational, Otoliths, Rockhampton, Australia, 2011.

 blank notes (poetry broadside), Country Valley Press, (USA), 2012.

 Invisible City, White Sky Ebooks, USA, 2012

 flux of measure and season of flux (poetry chapbooks), quarter after     press, USA,  2012

 

Jane currently lives in both Nagano and Shizuoka prefectures. Email is welcome at janenakagawa at yahoo dot com

 

 

Trevor Kew,  ”Hat Tricks and Corner Kicks: Writing Action and Sports for Young Readers”

 

Lecture/reading with Q&A

 

Have you ever heard kids complain that a book contains too much action?  Probably not.  Too much dialogue, maybe.  Too much description, definitely.

 

All three elements are undoubtedly important to the success of any novel.  But how do we achieve the right balance that works for our audience?  How do we paint a picture without boring them with excessive details?  How do we ensure that dialogue doesn’t overwhelm the story?  And how do we create action that seems meaningful and authentic?

 

Drawing on his experience writing novels based on sport, Trevor Kew will discuss some of his own conclusions on the use of action in children's writing, along with sharing tips and advice about planning, writing and editing children's novels.

 

Trevor Kew is a Canadian writer who lives in Tokyo.  He is the author of the children's soccer novels Trading Goals, Sidelined, Breakaway and Playing Favourites, and a contributor to the anthology Tomo.  Previously speaking engagements include TEDxTokyoTeachers, SCBWI Japan Writers' Night and the Asian Festival of Children's Content in Singapore. http://trevorkew.com

 

 

Suzanne Kamata, “Tweet, Tweet, Buzz, Buzz: Getting People to Talk About You and Your Writing”

 

Short lecture with Q & A

 

Although it's easier to publish than ever before, it's also harder to attract attention to one's writing. Hint: it takes more than a few tweets on Twitter. Suzanne Kamata will suggest ways for writers to build a platform for themselves and their work.

 

By developing a niche through teaching, writing, and public speaking, a writer can set him/herself apart. Suzanne Kamata will explain how she established herself as an "expert" in the special needs and multicultural parenting/writing communities, and suggest ways that writers can make themselves stand out.

 

Author and editor Suzanne Kamata is the author of the novel Losing Kei (Leapfrog Press) and editor of The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan. She serves as fiction editor for Kyoto Journal and Literary Mama (literarymama.com), and her short stories for young adults have appeared in Cicada, and Hunger Mountain. Some of those stories  appear in her  collection The Beautiful One Has Come (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing). She is the 2009 recipient of the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for Fiction.

 

She has been quoted and/or her work has been cited in many publications, such as The Independent (UK), Mei-Ling Hopgood's How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm (and other Adventures in Parenting), and Kate Hopper's Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers.

 

 

Kris Kosaka, ”Crafting Creative Feature Articles ”

 

Craft Workshop

 

This will be a short presentation on Features Writing, discussing various elements of style and craft.  We will then work with several different Features articles, rewriting the lead paragraphs and practicing the elements of creative writing within non-fiction.

 

I will also touch on working with editors and other elements requiring creativity in writing for publication.

 

Increasingly, journalism entertains -- 'just the facts, ma'am' no longer satisfies, and as hard news quickly softens with the frisson of mere hours, features stories abound with creative spin on the facts.

 

This workshop will review the basics of creative non-fiction --from crafting creative ledes to unifying verb choice to reflect theme, to the ending punch of a provoking conclusion.  In addition, I will discuss the increasingly frenetic pace of the news, and how to take advantage of technological savvy to jump ahead with a features pitch.

 

Kris Kosaka, a 16 year resident of Japan, contributes regularly for Japan Times.  Currently teaching at an international school in Hokkaido, she is also working on her MFA in Creative Writing from UBC in Canada.

 

 

Todd Jay Leonard,  ”The Myths and Realities of EFL Publishing in Japan -- Four Points of View to Consider when Writing a Proposal”

 

Short lecture with Q & A

 

This presentation will outline the current publishing market in Japan for EFL/ESL textbooks by reviewing the various points of views of the publishing industry.  The presenter, Todd Jay Leonard, has published extensively within the ESL/EFL market in Japan and will offer helpful advice to  budding authors who wish to pursue projects geared to Japan's domestic market.

 

Most likely, every language teacher in Japan has (at some point during his/her tenure) contemplated writing a textbook to fill a void in the market...in that constant search for the perfect, all encompassing textbook.

 

In today's competitive publishing world, getting the proverbial "foot in the door" can seem daunting and nearly impossible.  What are publishers looking for in the current market?  What appeals to editors who ultimately decide which titles go to production and which ones do not?  What are the salespeople on the front lines hearing from their market base?  What must an author do in order to get his/her book published?

 

This presentation focuses on these very questions, offering inside insights from all the various points of view that must be considered when writing a proposal to publish a textbook--the publisher, the editor, the salesperson, and the author. Professor Leonard explains the realities within the publishing industry and addresses some common myths associated with EFL publishing.

 

Todd Jay Leonard has been actively involved in book publishing for  twenty years and has published twenty books.  He has published books with a number of different Japanese publishing companies and this experience has given him a unique perspective in offering advice to potential authors on what the market is looking for currently and what the publishing industry is searching for in new titles.

 

Todd Jay Leonard lives, writes, and teaches on the southern island of Kyushu,  where he is a university professor at Fukuoka University of Education.  He has published extensively in academic journals, magazines and newspapers on cross-cultural, historical, and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) themes. He is the author of 20 books.

 

 

Dwayne Lively, “The Military: What Writers Get Wrong”

 

A short lecture with Q&A.

 

The lecture explores typical mistakes writers and directors make when depicting the military. The focus is not on outing small mistakes, such as wrong uniforms or weapons, but on helping writers expand their creative possibilities by focusing on the military as a living organism that acts and feeds in natural ways.

 

The introduction offers an absurd image of English teaching in Japan that pretends to be realistic. This is compared to the reaction many military members had to the film “Hurt Locker”. The lecture then explores issues writers might consider when writing about different

eras. For past armies, terrain and climate are important. Tolkien and the ancient Mongols are explored as good models. For the modern military, emphasis will be on how service people and the different branches interact with each other and the public they are paid to serve. The lecture then follows modern traditions into the future and explains how the Star Trek television series got the military wrong; how Babylon 5 and the modern Battlestar Galactica almost got the

military right; and why the Na'vi have only 12 years to live. Finally, the lecture defends artistic license but offers suggestions to help writers world-build their own militaries..

 

 

Dwayne Lively has been a writer, teacher and editor for over 20 years and has worked and taught in Japan, the USA and Albania. His fiction has appeared in Twister, Kansas Quarterly, and The MacGuffin. His non-fiction and reviews have appeared in Transitions Abroad, Literary Magazine Review and online at Notebookism.com.In his dwindling free time he’s been finishing up a couple books and, on occasion, writing the online journal The Crazy Japan Times (http://www.crazyjapan.com).

 

 

Leza Lowitz, “Option, Option: Selling Your Novel for Feature Film Production”

 

Lecture with Q & A

 

What does it mean to buy or sell a film option? How does one go about getting one? Just as there are many successful scenarios for book publication, there are also a myriad of successful scenarios for film options on works of fiction. The pros and cons of various scenarios will be discussed in this presentation by Leza Lowitz, who will talk generally about options, and also personally about her experience optioning her novel Jet Black and the Ninja Wind for feature film production.

 

Most writers dream of seeing their work on the big screen. So when a feature film director or producer approaches you about optioning your work for film, it’s tempting to sign on the dotted line. But is this a wise decision?

 

What does it mean to buy or sell a film option? How does one go about getting one? What does a film option contract look like? Just as there are many successful scenarios for book publication, there are also a myriad of successful scenarios for film options on works of fiction. The pros and cons of various scenarios will be discussed in this presentation by Leza Lowitz, who will talk generally about options, and also personally about her experience optioning her novel Jet Black and the Ninja Wind for feature film production. She will also discuss prior scriptwriting experiences and offer some powerful secret tips from Tibetan Buddhism on how to fulfill your wildest (writing) dreams.

 

Leza Lowitz is an award-winning writer, editor, screenwriter and co-translator. A graduate of UC Berkeley’s English department, she spent her first two years a NYU’s School of Dramatic Writing in the inaugural class of the program. She has lived in Tokyo since 2003.

 

Lowitz’s work has appeared inThe Huffington Post, Shambhala Sun, and the Best Buddhist Writing of 2011 and hundreds of magazines, anthologies and literary journals internationally. She has published over 17 books, many with Stone Bridge Press, including Yoga Poems: Lines to Unfold By (Stone Bridge), which was a #1 seller on Amazon’s Religious and Inspirational book list, and most recentlyYoga Heart: Lines on the Six Perfections (Stone Bridge). Lowitz’s awards include the PEN Josephine Miles Award, a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, grants from the NEA and NEH, and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Award for the translation of Japanese literature from Columbia University. Her newest novel is Jet Black and the Ninja Wind, co-written with Shogo Oketani for the young adult audience.  Jet Black and the Ninja Wind  is their first novel. Excerpts have appeared in Wingspan (All Nippon Airlines in-flight magazine), Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction--An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories, and My Postwar Life (Chicago Quarterly Review). This novel received the Dickens Award in Fiction from Copperfield’s Books, and a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation.

 

Lowitz is also a long-term practitioner of yoga and Tibetan Buddhism, who teaches yoga internationally and at her Tokyo yoga studio, Sun and Moon Yoga.  She can be reached at www.lezalowitz.com.

 

 

Peter J. Mallett, “Telling it as it isn't: the unreliable narrator in the modern novel”

 

Short lecture with Q&A

 

This presentation will focus on the use of unreliable narrators, and techniques in creating them in contemporary novels by Kazuo Ishiguro, Mohsin Hamid, Julian Barnes and others.

 

The term 'unreliable narrator' is attributed to W. C. Booth in 'The Rhetoric of Fiction' (1961) but narrators who twist the story they are telling to suit their purposes have been around at least since The Wife of Bath in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Why do authors use a narrator who conceals the truth or deliberately falsifies the facts of the story being told and how do they make the readers realize that they are being misled?

This presentation will discuss the different use of unreliable narrators in contemporary novels and authors' techniques to establish their unreliability. We will look at Kazuo Ishiguro's narrators Ono, in An Artist of the Floating World, and Stevens, in The Remains of the Day, Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Samantha Harvey's The Wilderness, and Julian Barnes' 2011 Man Booker Prize Winner The Sense of an Ending. I will conclude by explaining my own reasons for using an unreliable narrator in Appassionata.

 

Peter Mallett, university professor/ writer, has an MA in Creative Writing (Bath Spa University). Former Arts editor of Kansai Time Out and publisher/editor of Artspace, he has written for The Asahi Evening News, Gramophone Japan, Opera News, The New Internationalist etc. His textbook From Word to Letter was published in 2007. He is currently seeking publication of his first novel, Appassionata, and working on a second, The Wind of God.

 

 

Peter Marsh, “Taking pain playfully' or How to enrich your prose with humour”

 

Lecture with exercises.

 

Humour at its best elicits smiles or laughter without being funny. Engage your readers’ sense of humour, and you engage their sympathy. Humour can be drawn from anything, given the right view of it and the right choice of words.

 

This presentation is based on introspection, not research. It is not a digest of received teachings.

 

Topics and questions: What is humour? How is humorous writing different from humorous speech? Engaging your reader – “Laugh and the world laughs with you…” applied to writing. The reader must be somehow aware that he is laughing at himself, and comfortable with it.

The many types of written humour. Examples of them. What does all (written) humour have in common? Call for (short) jokes. Search for what they all have in common. The ubiquitous role of frame-breaking (or constructive incongruity), including absurdity. The role of exaggeration. The role of the sympathetic yet unreliable narrator. Being humorous in the first person, and in the third – two different arts. Micro-humour [my term]– in the moment - or “wit”. Macro-humour [my term too]– cumulative - or “comedy”. The importance of voice, word choice and timing (brevity!) in creating micro-humour. The importance of unobtrusive plotting and appropriate characterisation in creating macro-humour.

 

Peter Marsh has lived in the UK, Grenada, Tanzania, Germany and Japan. His first published short story, set on a fictitious Caribbean island, appeared in The Caribbean Writer. His second, a satirical fairy tale, was published in The Tokyo Advocate. Peter tries to write a short story every month.

 

 

Bern Mulvey, “Nuts and Bolts: How to ‘Write’ Japan in Verse...and Find Publishers for that Verse”

 

Lecture with Q&A.

 

Are you a poet struggling to get your work published, particularly in the major (including paying) venues?  Finding yourself increasingly frustrated by the process? This presentation discusses manuscript evaluation from an editor's perspective, focusing particularly on the often minor adjustments that can help your poems beat the odds into print.

 

The presentation title is taken from a chapter in Richard Hugo’s The Triggering Town, with a similar intent. I.e., I also will outline the “nuts and bolts” of revising and submitting poetry—including poetry book manuscripts—for publication, focusing necessarily (to use Hugo’s words) on editorial and organizational strategies that “have helped, or once helped, or still do help” me. This includes pragmatic suggestions on how to improve your acceptance odds, from journal targeting and "proper" submission format (including poem order and the use/omission of cover letters) to self-editing strategies that anticipate the difficult decisions editors must make. However, I will particularly address some of the concerns most relevant to poets living in Japan, including tricks for dealing smoothly with back story, Japanese language usage, etc.

 

Finally, like many writers residing in the impacted areas, I experienced both the Tohoku earthquake and its aftermath, not to mention continue to contribute to the rebuilding process. As a poet, I am driven as well to convey through my art form some of what I’ve witnessed and/or experienced, though struggle constantly with the desire simply to narrate—to write prose, in other words. Accordingly, the editorial strategies I will introduce include techniques popularized by Hugo (and John Nims) for avoiding the so-called “meaning trap,” to help you (as Hugo writes) “become ruthless enough to create.”

 

Bern Mulvey has one poetry book and two poetry chapbooks published—Character Readings (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2012), The Fat Sheep Everyone Wants (Cleveland State University Press, 2008) and The Window Tribe (White Eagle Coffee Store Press, 2005). Individual poems have appeared, among other places, in Poetry, Agni, Field, Beloit Poetry Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, River City, Poetry East, The Laurel Review, Passages North and ñkó§éçêléçèW. Academic articles have been published, among other places, in Higher Education Policy, Japan Studies Review, American Language Review, Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts, ïóíJÉAÉCÉkåÍã≥é∫, JALT Journal and The Language Teacher. Essays/newspaper articles have appeared in the Times Higher Education Supplement, EL Gazette, ELT News andí©ì˙êVï∑. He is the former poetry editor of The Missouri Review, and also served as faculty advisor/editor of Black Rock & Sage. He lives in Iwate, Japan.

 

 

Kiyoko Ogawa,  "On Jisei (Swan Songs): A General Idea and Individual Composition"

 

Short lecture with writing exercise

 

In Japan we have a long tradition of leaving a “swan song” poem called “jisei.”  Several examples will be introduced with my own interpretations. Finally I will try to conclude if there's any essential difference between older and contemporay jisei.

 

As an introduction I'll point out an assumed differance of nuance between Jisei and a swan song.  Because of the much shorter average lifetime, our ancestors seemed more conscious of and sensitive to their final moment. What has preserved this literary tradition is, I think, the rigid form of waka poem. The waka poets I intend to mention are: Kino Tsurayuki,  Fujiwara Teishi,  Fujiwara no Narihira,  Toba-in, and Hosokawa Gratia, among others.

 

As for haikists, I'll introduce Masaoka Shiki's (1867-1902) famous 'Final Three Haiku.'

 

In the third section I'll discuss Kawano Yuko's tanka, collected in her final book Sensei (The Voice of Cicadas) which she wrote shortly before her death in 2010.

 

I plan to talk about 25 minutes, then give participants 15 minutes to ponder and create their own jisei. The remaining 10 minutes will be for presenting their own poems.

 

Kiyok Ogawa was born in 1952 in Kyoto, Japan.  After she finished her doctoral course specializing in English literature at Hiroshima University, she taught English at 8 universities for 20 years.  She started writing poems when her family was  in Germany in 1982/1983. Today, besides being a housewife, she is a poet, translator and essayist, writing monthly essays on world literature for "Saku."

 

Her English books of poetry include No Sound,  Broken Taboo,  Weed Paradise,  and Second Violin , her Japanese books of poetry areÅwâflǨãéÇ¡ÇΩíJÅxÅ@ÅwÇ≠ÇÆÇËåÀÇÃâúÇ©ÇÁÅxÅ@ÅwÇ≥ǗǵǢìáÅx. She has written on T. S. Eliot ÅwìÒè\ê¢ãIÇÃêÙóÁé“T. S. Eliot--éçÇ∆évëzÇÃënë¢ìIï™êÕÇÃééÇ›Åxand has had work included in anthologies & magazines--other side river,  Sunrise from Blue Thunder,  and Prairie Schooner.

 

 

Marie Orise (aka Li Jiang, Chu-Ching Chen), “Writer's Block Begone: Release Your Inhibitions and Start Creating Again”

 

Short lecture with Q&A / discussion

 

This short lecture will examine the causes of writer's block and explore

possible cures. Participants will be invited toward the end of the session

to talk about their own experiences of writer's block.

 

We all want to write, and yet we all procrastinate. I believe there are four

major causes of writer's block:

 

1. Perfectionism, or 'What's the point of writing at all if I don't write

like Shakespeare?'

2. Lack of interest in the work in progress, or 'I couldn't care less but

this is what sells.'

3. Emotional hindrance, or 'My boss wants this report tonight and my cat

just died.'

4. Fantasy of fame and fortune without effort, or 'Royalties, media

coverage, yum! Let someone else do the writing!'

 

If any of these sounds familiar, welcome to this session. Drawing on quotes

from various writers and my own experiences, I will examine these road

blocks to creativity and suggest ways to remove them. You will also be

invited to share your own stories of writer's block as well as give advice

to and receive advice from fellow participants.

 

Marie Orise hold a PhD degree in English literature and is currently an associate

professor of English at Meiji University. Her major publications include a

short story, 'The Returnee', published in a Puffin anthology, and a travel

piece, 'Tonneru wo Nukete', which won third prize of the 12th Izu Literary

Award.

 

 

Philip Rowland, “Haiku in English: What are the Possibilities?”

 

Talk/Powerpoint Presentation

 

With haiku in English nearing its centenary, it seems timely to reflect on the possibilities for writing and publishing in the genre. Which forms have worked best? How wide a range of subject matter has been embraced? How successfully has English-language haiku emerged as a literary genre in its own right—one worthy of serious critical consideration? How various are the publishing venues? The presenter will draw on his experience as co-editor of a major, forthcoming anthology to suggest answers to these questions. It is hoped that the presentation will promote a broader, more informed view of haiku in English, so stimulating creative and critical interest in the genre.

 

This presentation will summarise and assess the possibilities for writing and publishing haiku in English, drawing on some of the best writing in the history of the genre. It aims to promote a broader, more informed view and to stimulate creative and literary-critical interest in the genre.

 

Philip Rowland is an associate professor in the College of Humanities at Tamagawa University in Tokyo. Founding editor and publisher of Noon: Journal of the Short Poem (2004-9), he is currently co-editing an anthology of haiku ranging from Pound to the present day. His poems have appeared most recently in Roadrunner, Pinstripe Fedora, Big Bridge (online), Presence (UK), Haiku 21: An Anthology of Contemporary Haiku in English (Modern Haiku Press, US), and the booklet someone one once ran away with (Longhouse, US).

 

 

Alex Shishin, ”The Non-Japanese Fiction Writer’s Guide to Creating Believable Japanese Characters, Situations and Settings.”

 

Short Lecture with Q and A.

 

This presentation offers practical advice to the non-Japanese fiction writer about establishing verisimilitude in his or her fiction about Japanese and Japan.  The presenter will share tips and experiences and then turn to questions from the audience.

 

You are a non-Japanese fiction writer who lives in Japan.  You interact with Japanese people daily. You feel you have an intimate understanding of your Japanese environment.  Yet you hesitate to write about what you know because you are afraid of creating stereotypical characters and stock situations.   The presenter, with numerous books and short stories that feature Japanese characters hopes to inspire you.  His guide will not be like an operation manual but more of a song of experience based on over thirty years of continuous living in Japan.  Matters of personal experience and research will be discussed.  Emphasis will be put on establishing character. Writers who have written about Japan will be touched on.  The presenter’s works emphasized will be the anthologized short stories “Shades” and “Mr. Eggplant Goes Home” and his utopian novel Nippon 2357:  A Utopian Ecological Tale.

 

Alex Shishin, a Kansai professor, has authored and co-authored eight books, including Nippon 257: A Utopian Ecological Tale. Published in Japan and internationally, his awards include an O. Henry Award Honorable Mention for “Mr. Eggplant Goes Home” and a Million Writers Award for outstanding Internet short fiction for “Bulldozer.”

 

Ann Slater, Flash Fiction

 

Michael Stetson, “The Silent Dance —between Words & Images (Part 2)”

 

Short lecture/demonstration with Q&A

 

The presentation is the second segment of a series that explores the symbiotic aspects of words and images as they interact to create a coherency that exceeds the sum of their parts. This segment will continue to demonstrate how the narrative for each medium can exist independently, yet when conjoined, form a para-narrative that extends context and meaning.

 

Although the digital revolution has begun, it is still in its infancy with regard to how it is used for presenting documentary (still) photography and journalistic narratives. Writers and photographers share their work on the Internet, in digital formats, but they continue to show these narratives in traditional linear contexts. However, the “world-wide-web” and the hyper-technology that accompanies it, promise much more. Their world-view is non-linear and enables presentations that can link to a myriad of contexts, following paths that are not necessarily chronological, but rather cyclical, and controlled by the audience.

 

The presentation will begin with a brief recap of the traditional uses of each narrative (Part 1), then continue the demonstration begun in Part 1, introducing methods of using written narratives with visual narratives to establish contexts that more comprehensively describe or re-create experience. Writers who participate will learn multiple approaches for combining the two narratives, creating synergies between them that extend context and meaning, and develop dynamic dialogues that supersede the traditional, synchronic presentation.

 

Michael Stetson is an assistant professor at Miyazaki International College in Japan. He has extensive experience as an instructor of several arts and cultural studies, including drama, photography and film studies. His current research interests include a documentation of the Silk Roads, its material culture and the remnants of cultural/ethnic diversity that it once engendered.

 

 

Leah Ann Sullivan, Are we having fun, yet? A Japan-based expatriate's journey in English-language haiku.

 

There will be two brief pecha-kucha style lectures- one a timeline of her own haiku apprenticeship, another on haiku poetics encountered over the period of 2006-1012 - followed by a participatory workshop on haiku poetics.

 

Via pecha-kucha style keynote projected slides accompanied by a talk, the presenter will offer a glimpse into the worldwide practice of English language haiku. Highlights will include perceptual shifts in her own assumptions of what makes a haiku, beginning mastery of traditional rules of the form, and cultural knowledge assimilated in Japan. She will discuss influential experiments in shifting away from and back to the form based on her work in performance with improvising musicians.Each lecture will be approximately seven minutes long, (20-seconds for each slide, changed in steady increments) leaving ample time for a group discussion and workshop. Participants will be asked to bring a favorite haiku for discussion

 

Leah Ann Sullivan, former columnist for the Artswatch column of the Advocate Newspapers,  Amherst and Springfield, Ma, has made her home in Japan for twenty years. Her freelance

articles have appeared in The Japan Times, Animation Magazine, and Being-a-Broad magazine.  Her haiku have appeared in the International Herald Tribune's  Haikuist Column,  and her work was included in the Pirene’s Fountain Japan anthology, Sunrise from Blue Thunder.

 

 

Holly Thompson, “Poetry Serving Story Serving Teens: Verse Novels for Young Adults”

 

craft workshop

 

Holly Thompson will discuss the craft of narrative verse and use of poetic elements to drive stories that impact the lives of young adults. Reasons for writing in verse; characterization, dialogue and plotting challenges; plus structural approaches will be shared. Participants will then tackle writing a scene in verse.

 

Novels in verse have been increasingly infiltrating classrooms and directly influencing teens, particularly in the last ten years. Holly Thompson, author of two young adult novels in verse, and a frequent presenter at middle and high schools, will discuss the craft of narrative verse and the compelling use of poetic elements to drive stories that can deeply impact the lives of young adults. The presentation will elaborate on particular challenges of characterization, dialogue, and plotting within verse; the wide range of forms and structural approaches employed today; and the effects and appeal of distilling complex stories for teens into verse. Participants will then be offered some guidelines for brainstorming young adult subject matter, and then will tackle writing an original fiction scene in verse.

 

Holly Thompson (www.hatbooks.com) is the author of two verse novels--Orchards and The Language Inside; the adult novel Ash; and the picture book The Wakame Gatherers. Editor of Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction—An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories and SCBWI Tokyo regional advisor, she teaches writing at Yokohama City University.

 

 

Hillel Wright, “How I Write Novels”

 

Lecture with Q & A

 

The lecture on How I Write Novels will describe my earliest attempt to write a novel to be called “Different Drum” (unfinished), my offer from a literary journal publisher (and novelist) to serialize a novella – which grew into my first novel – in the journal and finally settling on a method for my last 2 novels.

 

Writing a novel is a daunting challenge to most aspiring writers, as it was to me for many years. I’ll talk about what went wrong in my earliest attempt, what I learned from switching from poetry to short fiction after publishing a poetry chapbook & a “slim volume of verse”, what I learned from serializing my first novel in a literary journal published by a prolific Canadian novelist, what I learned from a plot idea developed by my wife & Muse (Shiori Tsuchiya), herself a poet with 2 chapbooks to her credit (in English) and how I put all this together to write River Road. I’ll also talk a bit about how parts of River Road were published as shorter versions of the novel chapters in The Japan Times, and touch on how I organized 38 short stories into Rotary Sushi.

 

(River Road will be for sale at 1500 Yen. Border Town & River Road will be available together for 2000 Yen. The author suggests that having read the novels would greatly enhance one's ability to profit from attending the presentation.  Border Town is available on Amazon and both are available from Printed Matter Press (www.printedmatterpress.com).)

 

Hillel Wright was born & raised in the USA, moved to the West Coast of Canada while in his 20s where he spent 25 years as a commercial fisherman before moving to Japan in 1997. He is author of 3 novels, a short story collection, a poetry chapbook and a “slim volume of verse”. He is also editor of 4 literary anthologies, a Travel & Special Features writer for The Japan Times and Japan Correspondent for Fishing News International.

 

 

Xu Xi, “Writing Asia in an Asian Literary Space”

 

Talk/lecture with interactive workshop exercise followed by discussion/Q&A

 

In 2010, the English Department at City University of Hong Kong launched the world’s first low-residency MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) in Creative Writing to focus on Asia. There will be a brief presentation on MFA’s, and the CityU one in particular, in order to discuss this question: Can we “write Asia” and how do we do this in the academy in Asia?

 

Is there really a literary space, given the global reach of English, to be an English language creative writer in Asia? Or is the literary center immovably anchored in the West? This presentation discusses a shifting of that center, with a specific focus on creative writing programs in the academy.

 

In 2010, the English Department at City University of Hong Kong launched the first low-residency MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) in Creative Writing to focus on Asia (see www.english.cityu.edu.hk/mfa/). Its stated mission:  to train the best creative writers in English “writing of, from and about Asia.” The program continues to attract an international mix of students and some have already demonstrated early successes.

 

This presentation examines how we “write Asia” and what the MFA can offer, with specific information about the program at City U. There will be a brief interactive workshop exercise and a discussion/Q&A follows.

 

Xu Xi (www.xuxiwriter.com) is author of nine books of fiction & essays, most recently Access Thirteen Tales (2011) and the novel Habit of a Foreign Sky (2010), shortlisted for the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize. She is currently writer-in-residence, City University of Hong Kong English Department, and directs the MFA in creative writing.

 

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