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The tradition continues as the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library hosts four WordShops for Writers on Friday, Oct. 26, the day before the Louisiana Book Festival. Wordshops will take place in downtown Baton Rouge at the State Library and the Capitol Park Museum. This year’s four WordShops will focus on the fiction writing process, writing for young adults, writing about Louisiana and the process of getting published or self-publishing.

The all-day WordShop will feature Robert Olen Butler who will present “After Craft: The Process of Writing Fiction.” It starts at 9 a.m. at the Capitol Park Museum. Butler is the author of Pulitzer Prize-winning A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain.

Three half-day WordShops are also scheduled, one morning session and two afternoon sessions. From 9 a.m. to noon, The New York Times bestselling young adult author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Walter Dean Myers will teach “Just Write: Here's How!  A Workshop for Writing Young Adult Novels” in the Seminar Center of the State Library. From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Capitol View Room of the State Library, authors Cheré Dastugue Coen and Ronald M. Gauthier will present “So You Want to Be Published?” This WordShop takes a look at the challenges and rewards of getting work published.

Also from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., author Ken Wells will present “Selling Louisiana: Think Locally, Publish Nationally” in the Seminar Center of the State Library.

To register for WordShops call Michelle Hobkirk at 225-342-4931 or download the registration form from the “Exhibits & Workshops” section of www.LouisianaBookFestival.org. Registration and payment are due by Oct. 23, $40 for  half-day WordShops and $75 for the full day. Free parking is available.

More about the programs and faculty:

After Craft: The Process of Writing Fiction presented by Robert Olen Butler

This workshop will focus on the fundamentals of the creative process for fiction writers who aspire to create enduring literature.  It will address such issues as what is art; what is distinctive about the way the artist addresses the world, the inner self, and the objects to be created; and what are the essential characteristics of fiction as an art form.  It will also deal with more practical matters including how to pre-plan a novel without sacrificing its spontaneity; how to make use of the intimate relationship between fiction techniques and film techniques; and how to edit and revise without losing touch with the creative unconscious.  Depending on the size of the workshop and the preferences of the workshoppers, there may be a chance to do an in-class coached writing exercise.

Robert Olen Butler, who won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 1993 for his short story collection, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, has begun a novel series for Otto Penzler and The Mysterious Press. The first “Christopher Marlowe Cobb Thriller” is The Hot Country.  The second, The Star of Istanbul, will be published in the fall of 2013.  Butler has written twelve other novels, six collections of stories, and a book on writing fiction.  He teaches creative writing at Florida State University.  He taught for 15 years at McNeese State University in Lake Charles and still thinks of himself as a wandering Louisianan.

Just Write: Here's How!  A Workshop for Writing Young Adult Novels presented by Walter Dean Myers

National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Walter Dean Myers presents a program for writers who wish to create works for young adults.  According to Myers, the hardest part of writing is finishing the manuscript you know is going to shake the market and win the awards. This workshop, by a writer who has finished over a hundred and ten books, will tell you exactly how to finish that novel that's been in the drawer, in your closet, or even in the back of your mind!

Walter Dean Myers is a critically acclaimed author of books for young people. His award-winning body of work includes Sunrise Over Fallujah, Fallen Angels, Monster, Somewhere in the Darkness and Harlem. Myers has received two Newbery Honor Awards and five Coretta Scott King Awards. He is the winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award (for excellence in young adult literature, given by the American Library Association) as well as the first recipient of Kent State University's Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2008, he won the May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture Award. He is considered one of the preeminent writers for young people.

So You Want to Be Published? presented by Cheré Dastugue Coen and Ronald M. Gauthier

What does it take to create a successful, publishable book? Writing the book is only half the journey. This workshop will discuss compiling a book proposal that will make agents and editors notice, the pros and cons of self-publishing, the process of e-publishing and creating books such as cookbooks and historical texts to raise money for organizations. We’ll also discuss social media tactics, effective publicity, dealing with unsavory agents or editors and the economic realities of publishing. Attendees will go home with everything they need to know about having their work published.

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Ronald M. Gauthier was a library branch manager in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina forced him to relocate to Atlanta.  In addition to working in the library, he has served as an adult literacy instructor for the prison system in Louisiana and a social services counselor.   He is currently a manager in Gwinnett County Library System in Georgia, a suburban community 25 miles outside of Atlanta.  Mr. Gauthier co-authored Killing Time: an 18-Year Odyssey from Death row to Freedom, a nonfiction title chronicling the odyssey of John Thompson, a man wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to death in Louisiana. His book won the Innocence Project Media Award, the Indie Award for Best Fiction, and it was selected by the Chicago Sun Times as one of the best books of 2010.

Mr. Gauthier has short fiction and nonfiction published in the Write Room Literary Journal, Cigale Literary Journal, the Times-Picayune, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Atlanta Voice, Library Journal, the BCALA Journal, and was a finalist in a literary contest at Glimmer Train.  His short story, Modern Black Boy will be published in the March, 2013 issue of the Long Story, and short nonfiction, Appalling Silence, in Witness in the fall of 2012.

Selling Louisiana: Think Locally, Publish Nationally presented by Ken Wells

Ken Wells, a native of Houma but a citizen of the world, has done as well as any Louisiana-born contemporary writer using his home state as a canvas to publish fiction and non-fiction books with national publishing houses including Random House, Knopf Young Adult, Simon & Schuster and Yale University Press. Part One of his presentation is the Louisiana Advantage--how the state's unique place in American history and lore, its cultural traditions, its world renowned food, music and landscapes make it an attractive canvas for publishers seeking authentic voices, characters and stories. He will discuss how to harness these advantages by providing insights into his own publishing breakthroughs. In Part Two, Wells, who for three years served as editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal's book-publishing program, will get into the concrete details of how you pitch and sell your work to national publishers. While the session will primarily focus on the art of writing successful non-fiction book proposals, Wells will also deal with issues of significance to would-be novelists, including the art of networking and finding an agent.

Ken Wells is a Pulitzer Prize Finalist and the author of the critically acclaimed Catahoula Bayou Trilogy--Meely LaBauve, Junior's Leg, Logan's Storm--published by Random House. Tom Wolfe praised his fourth novel, a gumbo western called Crawfish Mountain, and his fifth, a young adult novel called Rascal: a Dog and His Boy, was named one of the best books of the year by the Center for Children's Books. All are set in Louisiana. Wells' second non-fiction effort, The Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous, is a Katrina action adventure story chronicling the real-life heroics of a band of St. Bernard Parish shrimpers who rode out the storm on their boats and saved hundreds of people from Katrina's surges. It won the prestigious 2009 Harry Chapin Book Award. Wells began his writing career on the Houma Courier newspaper and has since worked for The Miami Herald, The Wall Street Journal and Conde Nast Portfolio magazine. He lives in New York City and is a now senior writer for Bloomberg News/Bloomberg Businessweek magazine. He is hard at work finishing up his sixth novel, also set in Louisiana.

All faculty for the WordShops will also be participating in the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, October 27th. 



Oct 8 2012

Paulita Chartier
State Library of Louisiana
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Jacques Berry
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
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