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Jack Straw Cultural Center is now accepting applications for the 27th year of the Jack Straw Writers Program. To date, the program has included more than 300 writers from the Pacific Northwest and beyond who represent a diverse range of literary genres. Each year, an invited curator selects 12 participants.
The purpose of the Jack Straw Writers Program is to introduce writers to the medium of recorded audio; to develop their presentation skills for both live and recorded readings; to encourage the creation of new literary work; to present the writers and their work in live readings, in an anthology, on the web, and on the radio; and to build community among writers.
Participating writers are presented in live readings, in the printed Jack Straw Writers Anthology; and on the web and radio. Each year an invited curator selects the participating writers from a large pool of applicants based foremost on artistic excellence. Among past curators are program co-founder Rebecca Brown, Anastacia- Renée, Matt Briggs, Stephanie Kallos, Jourdan Imani Keith, E.J. Koh, Donna Miscolta, and Shawn Wong. Writers receive training in vocal presentation, performance, and microphone technique to prepare them for public readings, interviews, and studio recording. Their recorded readings and interviews with the curator are then used to produce programs for SoundPages, our literary podcast, and for selected radio broadcast.
The Writers Program requires participants to be on-site at Jack Straw Cultural Center for a number of small-group activities, such as an introductory orientation, workshops for microphone/voice technique and live performance, in-studio interview session with the program curator, and live readings - pending any necessary adjustments due to COVID-19 or other emergencies. Most of these activities take place between January and June. Additional Writers Program readings will take place around the community throughout the year, including a final reading with all of the writers in November. Work appearing in the Jack Straw Writers Anthology may not be previously published material, and any subsequent publication of this work must acknowledge the Jack Straw Writers Program.
Writers Program applications are evaluated and awarded by an invited curator. The curators change each year. All applicants will be notified of the results in writing. Please allow at least eight weeks after deadline dates for the review and notification process to be completed. The first Writers Program mandatory meeting will take place in January 2023.
The 2023 Writers Program Curator is Priscilla Long. Priscilla is a Seattle-based writer of poetry, creative nonfiction, science, history, and fiction, and a long-time independent teacher of writing. Her seventh book is Dancing with the Muse in Old Age (Coffeetown, 2022). Her two poetry books are Holy Magic (MoonPath Press) and Crossing Over: Poems (University of New Mexico Press). A 2009 Jack Straw Writers Program Fellow, her awards include a National Magazine Award for a science-based feature. Her how-to-write book is The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writer’s Life (University of New Mexico Press). Other books are a collection of memoirist essays, Fire and Stone: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (University of Georgia Press) and Minding the Muse: A Handbook for Painters, Composers, Writers, and Other Creators (Coffeetown). Her first book was Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America’s Bloody Coal Industry. She grew up on a dairy farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
The Writers Program receives more than a hundred applicants, from which 12 writers are selected. Curator selections will be based primarily upon the excellence of the work represented in the support materials provided by the applicant, with the goal of curating a demographically and stylistically diverse group of writers who will work together well as a group.
We may need to adapt the 2023 Writers Program to fit the safety requirements of the current situation, as we have been doing since 2020, with minimal adjustments to the 2022 year. Some elements – such as workshops, readings, and meetings – may be converted to hybrid or online formats, and some may need to be adjusted to minimize the number of people sharing space.
It is impossible to know exactly what the situation will look like in January, when this program is set to begin, so we are requesting your patience, flexibility, and adaptability in advance. Know that we will do whatever we can to help you get the most out of this program and find community with your cohort and curator.
QUESTIONS? Please carefully read the Frequently Asked Questions on our website.