DON’T MISS: John Fowles Center Reading w/ Bosnian Writer Ismet Prcic, Monday @7pm

Ismet Prcic as a young man, via BOMB Magazine // Click to image to read the entire BOMB interview with Prcic from 2007.

Bosnian novelist, playwright, and screenwriter Ismet Prcic (otherwise referred to ‘Izzy‘) will visit The John Fowles Center for Creative Writing Monday, March 2 at 7pm. This is an event not to be missed, so remember to stay after workshop this week!

Author Bio (via ismetprcic.com)

Ismet Prcic (ISS-met PER-sick) was born in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1977 and immigrated to America in 1996. He holds an MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and was the recipient of a 2010 NEA Award for fiction. He is also a 2011 Sundance Screenwriting Lab fellow. He now lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife.


From the 2011 New York Times book review of Shards:

“‘Shards,’ the impressive first novel by Ismet Prcic, finds inventive ways to interrogate the anguish of enduring and then escaping Bosnia during the war of the 1990s.

The novel is constructed of fragments — shards — seemingly written by its main character, Ismet Prcic. Ismet grows up in Tuzla and manages to flee shortly before his induction into the “meat grinder” of the Bosnian infantry. He has survived and made his way to America, but is fractured by what he left behind. The novel comprises mostly segments from his therapist-­ordered memoir (or memoirs) and excerpts from his diary. These shards employ several narrative strategies. There are asterisked footnotes, italicized interruptions and self-reflexive comments about unreliability. There are first-, second- and third-person narrations, sometimes switching back and forth within a paragraph. This is a novel about struggling to find form for a chaotic experience. It pushes against convention, logic, chronology. But its disruptions are necessary. How do you write about war and the complications of memory? How do you write about dislocation, profound loneliness, terror? How does a human persevere?

 

For more information on Ismet Prcic, refer to his website, check out the entire interview with BOMB Magazine, or head over to his NEA Writer’s Corner.

Friday Free Write: Three Prompts from ‘Poets & Writers”

Via Poets & Writers:

FICTION:

“So many great films have been released over the past year, many of which have been adapted for the screen from works of fiction and creative nonfiction. This week, think of a movie you love that isn’t based on a book and try to write a short story version of it. Examine the types of shots used, the lighting, how scenes are staged, and try to translate these visuals into the structure of your story. For inspiration, read this article in Electric Literature.”

POETRY:

“…write a poem about your name. When you were born, you were given a name before beginning to develop a sense of self. Have you grown into your name, or have you always resisted it? Knowing who you are today, where you’ve come from, and where you see yourself going, would you choose a different name for yourself?”

CREATIVE NONFICTION:

“The interplanetary travel nonprofit Mars One is holding a competition for those eager to be the first humans to live on Mars. One of the finalists has said, “If I die on Mars, that would be an accomplishment.” Would you ever volunteer for such a mission? Do you have what it takes to survive on a desolate, desert planet? Write about how you’d feel if you got the opportunity to leave Earth. What would you miss, and what would you be glad to leave behind?”

What is Literature for? via The School of Life

via The School of Life:

“Literature is the greatest ‘reality simulator,’ a machine that puts you through infinitely more situations than you could ever directly witness… It lets you speed up time, in order to see the arc of a life from childhood to old age…Literature cures you of provincialism and, at almost no cost, turns us into citizens of the world…”

Do you agree? What do you think literature is for? Write it out! 

Link: The Atlantic’s ‘By Heart’ Series

“By Heart” asks authors share and discuss their all-time favorite passages in literature.

“Reading Lolita in Tehran author Azar Nafisi says the best books are ‘republics of imagination’ erasing national and historic boundaries.” via The Atlantic, By Heart

Follow the link for ‘Writing to Transcend Time and Space,’ Azar Nafisi’s full post on the importance of art.

And be sure to check out the full By Heart series, which includes passages/selections from Gruff Rhys, Jonathan Franzen, Mark Ronson, Amy Tan, Khaled Hosseini, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, and more.

Thinking Outside the Book with Brian Dettmer

Brian Dettmer

Brian Dettmer

Otherwise known as the Book Surgeon, Brian Dettmer carves old books new again, using knives, scalpels and other surgical tools to completely transform them into sculptures.

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Brian Dettmer

 

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Brian Dettmer

 

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Brian Dettmer

 

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Brian Dettmer

 

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Brian Dettmer

Dettmer says of his art, “My work is a collaboration with the existing material and its past creators and the completed pieces expose new relationships of the book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception.” — via BoredPanda.com

For more info and photos of Dettmer’s art, head to Bored Panda or the artist’s website at briandettmer.com.

Be sure to also check out this excellent video, in which Dettmer explains his process and approach.

FRIDAY FREE-WRITE: Writing the Unseen…

J.J. Abrams says his unopened mystery box from childhood represents “infinite possibility,” the sense of potential that hangs in balance with the unseen.

Grab your notebook! Trap your characters inside of a mystery box–a car, a freight container on a moving train, a basement, a kleenex box on a desk–any space, at any scale. Describe the setting and tension as accurately as possible without ever finally revealing exactly where they are.

Not feeling it? Revisit a piece of your writing and think about the unseen or off-screen details that haven’t been exploited. Exploit them.