The Sirenland Writers Conference, along with Literary Affairs, is pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 Sirenland Literary Affairs Fellowship: Mia Alvar.
Mia was born in Manila and grew up in Bahrain and New York City. Her work has appeared in One Story, The Missouri Review, FiveChapters, The Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Yaddo, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. A graduate of Harvard College and the School of the Arts at Columbia University, she lives in New York City. Her first book, In the Country, will be published by Knopf in June 2015.
The Sirenland Literary Affairs Fellowship provides the opportunity for the winner to attend the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. It is given to a writer who is in the process of completing a project, but has not published a book before March, 2015. Candidates are nominated by a panel of publishing professionals. All entries are read blind and the winner is chosen by Dani Shapiro. Past winners of the Fellowship include Scott Cheshire (High as the Horses’ Bridles), Karen Thompson Walker (The Age of Miracles), Bruce Machart (The Wake of Forgiveness), Robin Black (If I Loved You I Would Tell You this) Sai?d Sayrafiezadeh (When Skateboards Will Be Free) and Dalia Sofer (The Septembers of Shiraz). The 2015 fellowship is sponsored by Literary Affairs.
Founded in 2007 by Antonio Sersale, Michael Maren, Dani Shapiro and Hannah Tinti, the Sirenland Writers Conference takes place each spring at Le Sirenuse Hotel, in Positano, Italy. Each day begins with an intensive advanced writing workshop. Afternoons feature one-on-one conferences, private writing time, lectures and talks about living the writer’s life. Evenings include student and instructor readings, distinguished visiting authors, and fantastic meals overlooking the Tirreno Sea. This year’s teachers include Anthony Doerr, Jim Shepard and Dani Shapiro. For more information, visit: www.sirenland.net.
In business for twenty years, 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 in Beverly Hills, California. As facilitators of over 40 book clubs per month, Literary Affairs believes that reading books enriches our lives, makes us more human and helps us better understand and have compassion for the world we live in.
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.
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.
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.
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.