Emerging Writers

Recipients of the Emerging Writers Fellowship - Christopher Goodrich, Ellis Avery, and Angela Woodward

The lyricism of the written word sprang to life on Friday night at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Christopher Goodrich, Ellis Avery, and Angela Woodward were all celebrated as this year’s recipients of the Emerging Writers Fellowship held in conjunction with the 2011 Fall for the Book.

Angela and I met in Nebraska as fellows at the Kimmel Harding Nelson (KHN) Center for the Arts in Nebraska City, a small town that hosts an annual Applejack Festival and sports more museums than imaginable. Breaks from writing consisted of exploring the local offerings including a Meriweather Lewis and William Clark Visitor Center along the banks of the Missouri River where the two camped on July 18, 1804 as they were beginning their exploration west.

Our adventures at KHN were more sedentary as we primarily fed our respective art forms. One night the five artists in residence; including a photographer, a painter, a composer, and two writers (Angela and I) hosted an open house for each other. It is then that I heard Angela read passages that became her latest book, End of the Fire Cult, in which she transforms the reader to two imaginary worlds as the main characters part ways in divorce, but represented through the rival countries of The Free Republic of Marmoral and Belgrave. Hearing an author read from their own work adds another dimension and interpretation to their words that I’m not sure is duly recognized. But all three authors added such flair to their works by reading them aloud it was hard not to be transported to their imaginary and real worlds.

Poet Christopher Goodrich shared a sampling of his poetry demonstrating the human condition; joy, sorrow, and every day interactions. From a Frisbee accidentally hitting a passerby to the birth of his daughter, Goodrich’s poems captured the full range of emotion from the trivial to the triumphant. His most recent book Nevertheless, Hello is where you can read more of his poetic jewels.

Capping off the evening was Ellis Avery, a professor at Columbia University who was dubbed by New York Press as, “The best writer you’ve never heard of, but should go read right now.” On Friday night the audience understood why as she captivated us with a selection from her novel The Teahouse Fire and teased us with tales from her next novel, The Last Nude, being released in January.

Christopher, Ellis, Angela, and Sandra

One of the hosts of the evening was Writer Center Board Member, poet, and memoirist, Sandra Beasley whose memoir Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life debuted this summer to rave reviews with People calling it, “A sufferer’s witty, sobering account of living with life-threatening food allergies” and Publisher’s Weekly deeming it “Intelligent and witty…enthralling…thoughtful and well-written.”

Needless to say it was an inspiring evening celebrating those who artfully craft the written word into magically prose.

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