Major Film Producer Susan Cartsonis Joins Creative Writing Advisory Board |
Lenore Hart's The Raven's Bride is Released to Positive Reviews |
Creative Writing Director Bonnie Culver Elected to AWP Board of Directors |
Faculty/Staff Notes | Student/Alumni Notes
Major Film Producer Susan Cartisonis Joins Creative Writing Advisory Board
Cartsonis is a producer and also serves as President of Storefront Pictures. She is known for producing such blockbusters as What Women Want (starring Mel Gibson) and Where the Heart is (starring Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, and Sally Field). Cartsonis served as an executive for Twentieth Century Fox for nearly a decade before leaving to build two successful film companies. During her tenure at Fox, she helped develop and supervise Nell, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and many others, including a film adaptation of Wilkes faculty member Beverly Donofrio’s Riding in Cars with Boys.
Prior to her career at Fox, Cartsonis was an instructor for New York University's
Dramatic Writing Program. She received her M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from N.Y.U.
and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from U.C.L.A. Cartsonis credits her degree as instrumental
in her development as a producer, “When you work with writers, it's invaluable to
be able to speak to them as someone who has written screenplays and plays and respects
the creative process, struggle, and sheer challenge of creating something and seeing
it through to completion.” Throughout her career, Cartsonis has always stayed connected
to teaching, serving as a speaker and graduate critique professional at UCLA, USC,
and SCAD. With such strong professional and academic records, she is a welcome addition
to our Creative Writing Community. “Mentoring is part of being a producer—with writers
young and old,” says Cartsonis, “Creative writing programs are so important in generating
the next batch of talented film makers, novelists, and story tellers.”
Cartsonis's latest project, Beastly, is in theaters now.
Author and Creative Writing Faculty Member, Lenore Hart, has released her much-anticipated new novel, The Raven's Bride. The book chronicles the courtship and eventual marriage of Edgar Allen Poe and his thirteen-year-old cousin, Virginia Clem. The book has been called "an impressive, original work that illuminates its subject," by Publisher's Weekly.
Hart is no stranger to success, her break out novel, Becky, chronicling the life of Mark Twain's heroine Becky Thatcher, was also very well-received by the literary community. When asked what draws her to stories in which she gives voice to women who are largely considered supporting figures, Hart said "I like the challenge of rendering what it must’ve been like to be a woman living in a different era (probably a lot more than I’d actually enjoy the reality of it!) It’s fascinating to immerse oneself in the food, clothes, manners, and customs of different eras and places."
The Raven's Bride was a labor of love for Hart, requiring much research that meant spending two and a half years (figuratively) in Poe's 19th century world. One of Hart's biggest challenges was keeping up with the Poes. "They moved all the time! I had to leave out some of their abodes or it would have been incredibly confusing. They were in Baltimore, Richmond, Philadelphia, and New York City (twice)". Look for The Raven's Bride, published by St. Martin's Press, online or at an independent bookseller near you.
Bonnie Culver was elected to the board of directors for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. Culver is only the second low-residency director to hold such an honor. The program was founded in 1967 as the Associated Writing Programs. Created to support the growing presence of literary writers in higher education, the mission of AWP is to promote literary talent and achievement, to advance the art of writing as necessary for quality education, and to serve the makers, teachers, students, and readers of contemporary writing.
Culver looks forward to the possibilities her AWP position may provide for the Wilkes Creative Writing Program. "Our inclusion means that the issues, concerns of low-residency programs are being heard directly by AWP and its membership. Grants, awards for emerging writers, arts support such as NEA (and its future), setting standards of assessment and quality of all successful programs are part and parcel of what is addressed by the Board and the AWP membership. Wilkes is now there at the table, being a part of that national conversation."
Culver's appointment allowed her a unique perspective at this year's AWP conference, held in Washington, D.C. She arrived two days earlier than attendees for board meetings, and things only got busier once the crowds started filing in. "Board members are expected to attend sessions, meet and greet and thank sponsors, go to receptions, special dinners, host writer guests at dinners, and even introduce writers at open sessions." But, the busy week paid off, says Culver, "Because Wilkes was a major sponsor of the conference, I had the honor of introducing Mary Gaitskill this year; Jim [Warner, Assistant Director,] introduced poet/memoirist Sapphire!"
David Poyer’s latest novel Ghosting, a story of a dysfunctional family threatened on a weeklong sailing excursion, was published by St. Martin’s Press in November, 2010.
Faculty members Tony Morris, Beverly Donofrio, and Lenore Hart, were among the visiting writers included in the first Ossabaw Island Writer's Retreat, organized by Morris himself. Ossabaw Island is a secluded retreat just off of Savannah Georgia. “Participants were strongly affected by the beauty and serenity of the island,” says Morris. “They commented on the spirit, tone and mood of the retreat—particularly the near-magical presence and sense of natural and human history locked into a place ‘that time forgot.’”
Jim Warner, Nancy McKinley, Alum Joseph Nalbone and Alum Starr Troup presented a panel session "Virtual Mentoring Made Real: The Evolving Tech of a Low-Residency Program" at the AWP Conference, 2011.
Bonnie Culver, Jean Klein, and Ross Klavan presented a panel session “Playwriting and Screenwriting: Our Business in the Academy” at the AWP Conference, 2011.
M.F.A. studentAmye Archer, has placed an excerpt from her memoir, Fat Girl Skinny, with PANK Magazine, as part of their This Modern Writer Series.
M.F.A. Alum Joseph Giomboni's screenplay, Ripple, was a quarterfinalist in the Scriptapalooza 2010 International Screenwriting Competition. The script made the cut of 377 from more than 3500 entries.
M.F.A. student William Prystauk's screenplay, Risen, has won first place in the Horror Screenplay Contest, and was a semi-finalist in Shriekfest. His screenplay, The Darwin Witch, was selected as a top-ten finalist in Shiver’s First Short Horror Screenplay Competition. In addition, Prystauk's short screenplay, Catalyst, has also placed second at WILDsounds, and was recently picked up by an up and coming production company, and expanded to a ten-minute film.
M.A. studentAnastasia Savage's YA novel, Any Witch Way, is being published by JournalStone Publications. The novel is available for presale on Barnes&Noble.com.
M.F.A. Alum Starr Troup was named Managing Editor of Etruscan Press, following a successful internship with the press, which is housed at Wilkes University.