The 2014 Sirenland Fellow is….


2014 Sirenland Fellow, Scott Cheshire

Scott Cheshire has been named the  Sirenland Literary Affairs Fellow for 2014.  He earned his MFA from Hunter College. He is the interview editor at the Tottenville Review and teaches writing at the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop. His work has been published in Slice, AGNI, Guernica, and the Picador anthology, The Book of Men.  His first novel, High as the Horses’ Bridles is forthcoming from Henry Holt.  He lives in New York City.

The 2014 Sirenland Fellowship is sponsored by Literary Affairs. It provides travel, room and board and expenses for attending the Sirenland Writers Conference.  It is given to a writer who is in the process of completing a project, but has not yet published a book before March, 2014.  Candidates are nominated by a panel of publishing professionals.

Literary Affairs‘ mission is to promote great literature and foster a community of book lovers.  The brainchild of lifelong bibliophile and entrepreneur Julie Robinson, Literary Affairs is unique in its commitment to offering a full range of services tailored to the literary lifestyle, including book clubs, conversations with acclaimed authors in intimate locales, literary travel adventures and an annual Fall book festival.

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Images from Sirenland 2012

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Sirenland Covered in the Financial Times

If you’ve been to Sirenland or are thinking of applying, you’ll want to read this article in The Financial Times.  It speaks for itself.


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Susan Orlean to Teach at Sirenland 2012

The faculty roster for Sirenland 2012 is now set.  Dani Shapiro will be teaching for the sixth year, while Jim Shepard will be returning for the fourth time. They will be joined by Susan Orlean, who will be teaching a workshop in creative non-fiction.

Susan is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of The Orchid Thief,  Saturday Night, and other books. Her newest book, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, will be published in September.

Applications for Sirenland 2012 will be accepted from September 15, until October 30, 2011.

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Sirenland 2011 (the video)

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The Sirenland Mug(s)

The Sirenland Mug: Available in Positano

This is the official Sirenland coffee mug; it’s handmade in Positano, and every one of them is unique. (I know, because I compared them all.) The design is based on the original drawing by world famous and highly controversial illustrator (he of the famous New Yorker ‘Obama fist-bump cover,’ etal.) Barry Blitt. We asked Barry if he’d be willing to go to Italy and personally redraw the illustration on each of 200 coffee mugs, and he said, “sure, for like a thousand dollars apiece.”  So we said to hell with that and we rounded up some Italian children to copy the image at a fraction of the price and we passed out the cups as party favors to the 30 lucky writers who attended Sirenland this year.

Many Sirenlanders from previous years have complained that they didn’t get mugs, only the “lousy T-shirts” we used to give out. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Belfer. And you’ve asked how you could get the mugs. Well, we’ve still got more than 100 mugs sitting in a box in Positano (and for sale at Emporio Le Sirenuse). But if we shipped them all over here, repacked them and shipped them back out to you it would have been cheaper to send Barry Blitt to your house with a sharpie to draw pictures on your existing chinaware. So, if you want to get one of those mugs here’s what you have to do:

1.) Reapply to Sirenland for next year.

2.) Get accepted back.

3.) Come back to Italy and pick one up.

Can’t wait?  Here’s the alternative.  We do have mugs for sale with the ORIGINAL Barry Blitt (signed!) drawing on them. I’m told that each one was meticulously copied by a robot. Though I may have misunderstood that part.

Proceeds from the sale of these mugs will be used to make more mugs. It’s a beautiful system. Until then, I’ll be drinking my morning coffee from my Italian Sirenland mug.


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Sirenland 2011 Slideshow

This slideshow is a work in progress.  We’ll be adding new photos every day. Double click the image viewer to get to larger images.



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Sirenland in Poets & Writers

In the new issue of Poets & Writers, which includes a guide to Writing Vacations, Sirenland is ranked #1 on their “International Itinerary”! Huzzah!

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The Age of Miracles

2011 Sirenland Fellow, Karen Thompson Walker

Karen Thompson Walker was chosen as the 2011 Sirenland Fellow on the strengh of her unpublished manuscript, The Age of Miracles. Apparently we’re not the only ones who were blown away by her writing.  Several weeks after being named as Sirenland Fellow, Random House snapped up her book. Executive Editorial Director, Kate Medina said, “We fell in love with this stunningly original and beautifully written book, and with the author, Karen Thompson Walker.”

Karen is a graduate of UCLA and the Columbia MFA program. She is also an editor at Simon & Schuster, where she edits both fiction and nonfiction. She was born and raised in San Diego and now lives in Brooklyn.

She wrote The Age of Miracles over the past three years, writing for an hour each morning before heading out to her day job.  The novel centers on an eleven-year-old girl and her family who wake one morning in their modest suburban home in California, to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. Set against this mysterious looming global disaster, The Age of Miracles unfolds a suspenseful family drama, a moving story of the lows and highs of a girl’s adolescence, and a poignant story of first love, beautifully mapping the effects of catastrophes big and small on the lives of ordinary people. The book will be published in 2012.

Karen joins a distinguished list of Sirenland Fellows: Dalia Sofer, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, Robin Black, and Bruce Machart.

Congratulations, Karen.

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Andrew Sean Greer Coming to Sirenland

Sirenland is delighted to announce that this year’s visiting writer is Andrew Sean Greer. He is the bestselling author of The Story of a Marriage, which The New York Times has called an “inspired, lyrical novel,” and The Confessions of Max Tivoli, which was named a best book of 2004 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune. His stories have appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and other national publications, and have been anthologized most recently in The Book of Other People and Best American Nonrequired Reading. He is the recipient of the PEN/O’Henry Prize for Short Fiction, the Northern California Book Award, the California Book Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Public Library.

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