FRONTMATTER

Caitlin Leffel (heart emojis) New York

It may be safe to say that writer and editor Caitlin Leffel has a thing for New York City: she grew up in Manhattan, works as an editor with Rizzoli Press in the Flatiron District, and wrote a book about falling in love in New York. She is also a VCFA alumnus. A few weeks ago, she made the five-hour journey north—or 45 minutes from LaGuardia—back to Montpelier to discuss with our class her fascinating career in publishing. Rizzoli Press specializes in illustrated books, aka “coffee table…

Three New Books From Our Faculty That You Must Read Before You Die

Three of our faculty have either recently introduced books or are releasing them soon. They include a novel about returning home, a heartbreaking memoir of overcoming illness, and a collection of groundbreaking poetry. Why not collect them all? Robin MacArthur, Visiting Faculty in Fiction, introduced her short story collection, Half Wild, in 2016. In January 2018, she released her first novel: Heart Spring Mountain, from which she read just a few weeks ago. Published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins, Heart…

The Unbearable Lightness of AWP

Earlier this month, the Association of Writers and Publishers hosted its annual conference in Tampa, Florida. For over 15,000 attendees, the AWP Conference & Bookfair is the literary event in America: four straight days of books, book deals, interacting with editors from Big 5 publishing houses and tiny literary magazines alike, networking, lectures, readings, and parties. For the Vermont College of Fine Arts, it was the ideal place to launch Everyday Chimeras, the latest issue of Hunger…

A Visit to May Day Press, Your Friendly Neighborhood Letterpress Studio

Kelly McMahon first fell in love with the fine art of letterpress when she was in San Francisco attending the California College of the Arts for Creative Writing. She had set out to work on her poetry, but this centuries-old craft—once a necessity for the printed word, now an art form—called to her. "I was lucky enough to choose an art school that had an established printmaking program,” she said. “The grad programs were all interdisciplinary. I took a seminar on book arts and loved printing.…

A Stolen Violin And a Missing Person In a Lake

Our second reading featured author James Scott and faculty members Julia Shipley and Jericho Parms, a triumvirate hereby known forever as “The Three Js.” First: James Scott, whose debut novel The Kept is an unyieldingly bleak tale of revenge set in the cold of western New York in the late 1800s. Featuring a mother with a mysterious secret and a boy too young to exact vengeance, Scott told us the story took him eight years to write. He then read from his second novel, as yet unreleased,…

Second-Year Students Reflect On Their Thesis Projects Before Their Ever-Looming Graduation

Over the past year, the second-year students in VCFA's MFA in Writing & Publishing program have been diligently, quietly plugging away at their thesis projects. This is their last semester to complete them. For such a close community of writers, this looming graduation date brings equal parts panic, relief, and sadness. Right now, they’ll be in the thick of crunch time. Soon, they’ll finish something they’ve dreamed of. They will graduate. And eventually, they will miss this place. Jennifer…

Two of our own Professors for our First Reading Of 2018

It was a crowded evening for the first reading of 2018. Local bookstore Bear Pond Books was onsite hawking our readers’ works, and we had two wonderful faculty members sharing from their books: Miciah Bay Gault and Robin MacArthur. We in VCFA’s Writing and Publishing program know Miciah Bay Gault as the Program Director, professor in our Publishing and Fieldwork program, editor of Hunger Mountain, the leader of our cohorts, a fellowship director, a devoted mother, and a kindred spirit.…

What We Talk About When We Talk About Genre-Mashing Buddy-Cop Films

It's a new semester, and we're kicking things off with a bang, or at the very least, a screenwriting class. In Julianna Baggott's Stage & Screen course, we analyzed Hot Fuzz, the 2007 British action-comedy film with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and a lot of guns and explosions. Any movie, no matter how brilliantly genre-defying it is (91% on Rotten Tomatoes!) can be divided into acts, tropes, and story elements. (Alexandra Sokoloff talks about this, clearly and concisely.) Analyzing Hot…

Welcome Back, College

Aaaaand we're back! After our first semester of intense writing, workshops, readings, and getting to know each other, we deserved a good break. And we got one: most of us went home (to points everywhere), while some of us stayed in town, soaking up the experience of a frigid and beautiful Vermont winter. To get a sense of how we experienced this lovely break, your humble chronicler asked fellow students of VCFA's Writing and Publishing program exactly what they did, what they read, and what they…

Porochista Khakpour and Alexander Chee Star at our Last Reading of the Year

Porochista Khakpour and Alexander Chee, two very distinguished novelists, both with two books previously published, came to Café Anna for our fifth and last reading. Khakpour, Faculty in Fiction, Novel, Memoir, and teaching a module in longform prose, went first. She read her essay "How to Write Iranian-America, or The Last Essay," originally published in Catapult. In the 4,000-word essay, she dissects what it means to be pigeonholed as an Iranian-American writer while operating in the American…