Community of Writers at Squaw Valley

May 10, 2016: Question: How many authors can you fit on a stage?

Answer: Five, but just barely.

It was also difficult to contain the enthusiasm these Community of Writers at Squaw Valley alums put forth for us this month. Pictured during the Q&A from left: Lisa Kristel (host), Matthew Thomas, Matt Sumell, Frederick Reiken, Julie Chibbaro, & Mark Wisniewski

YeahYouWrite and Community of Writers
  • Julie Chibbaro Author Reading
  • Julie Chibbaro Author Speaking

Julie Chibbaro

Julie shared unpublished work with us—we love when that happens. Her three novels are YA. This was an excerpt from a sci-fi, "sort of gothic" novel for adults. Below she tastes her #LiteraryCocktail: (Almost) Dangerous, a non-alcoholic riff on a mojito with fresh cilantro, mint, and strawberries. Full on danger was available by adding a shot.

  • Matt Sumell Author Reading
  • Matt Sumell Making Nice

Matt Sumell reads from his collection of stories, Making Nice.

In this selection, anti-hero Alby, kind of a Holden Caulfield with way more expletives, more fighting, more alcohol, plus drugs, rescues and raises a fledgling bird fallen from its nest. Despite his persistent raunchy irreverence, Alby reveals his vulnerability as he tries to cope with his mother's death. He manages to be hilarious, outrageous, and heart-wrenching, all at once.

Behind him images from our CWSV slide show roll across the screen. Below, Annie Lamott pictured at right.

His drink was called F.I.A.F.S.T. or Alby's Choice. Matt chose them all.

Frederick Reiken Author Reading

Frederick Reiken savors a sip of his #LiteraryCocktail

He requested a "magically realistic" margarita, one that perhaps came with a cloud of yellow butterflies that would follow him around all evening, just as they do Mauricio Babilonio in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Well, the drink was yellow, and it came with a yellow butterfly on the stirrer (alas, just one!), and the taste was magical. Name? Pretty Fly for a Write Guy.

He read two excerpts from his most recent novel, Day for Night. In one,Marine biology and young love floated throughout—an interesting point of departure for a novel concerning the Holocaust. Fittingly, the interconnectedness of seemingly disparate characters is what drives the story.

Mark Wisniewski Author Reading

Mark Wisniewski

Mark read from the short story that inspired his most recent novel, Watch Me Go. He followed up with a piece featuring life as a horse race and the narrator as its announcer. As the horses neared the finish line, Mark had us leaning forward in our seats as if we'd placed bets, and laughing out loud, to boot.

Pete the bartender managed to make Mark's #LiteraryCocktail–the Watch Me Drink This–reflect his preference for cabernet sauvignon, though it didn't contain a drop of wine. A popular favorite.

  • Matthew Thomas Author Reading
  • Matthew Thomas Author Speaking

Matthew Thomas

Matthew read from his novel, We Are Not Ourselves. A few days after arriving home late one Saturday night, passed out in the arms of her date, the then teen-aged central character Eileen Tumulty gets a lesson in drinking alcohol from her no nonsense father. Her relationship with and assessment of him help shape her into the woman she grows up to be: ambitious, with aspirations of wealth and success and domestic harmony. She'll learn these may be elusive, though one can depend on the persistence of love.

Pete couldn't just hand over a scotch and soda—Matthew's Tumultuous American Dream featured scotch with a secret ingredient, which added a subtle nuance to the drink.

Guests enjoying the event

NYC Author and Drinks Event
NYC Author Dinner
NYC AUthor Readings
Manhattan Author Events

#YeahYouWrite Photos by Robin Martin

                                                                                 AUTHOR BIOS

  • Author Julie Chibbaro
  • Into The Dangerous World Julie Chibbaro

Julie Chibbaro

Julie is the award-winning author of three books: Into the Dangerous World, a novel about a girl artist on the NY streets in 1984, Deadly, a medical mystery about the hunt for Typhoid Mary in 1906, and Redemption, a historical novel about a girl's unintended trip to the New World in 1524. All three novels received stellar reviews. Into the Dangerous World is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Deadly won the 2011 National Jewish Book Award, and was Top 10 on the American Library Association's Amelia Bloomer Project list. It was named a Bank Street Best Book, and an Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers Association and is now part of many schools’ curriculum. Redemption, an epic tale of love, kidnapping, and white Indians, won the 2005 American Book Award. Julie is a mentor for the PEN Prison Writing Program.

  • Author Frederick Reiken
  • Day For Night Frederick Reiken

Frederick Reiken

Frederick is the author of three novels, most recentlyDay For Night, which was published to great acclaim in the USA, UK, and Australia. Translations have been published in Dutch, French, Spanish, and Hebrew.

Day for Night was a finalist for the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in fiction and was cited as one of the best books of 2010 by the Washington Post and the Kansas City Star. London’s Daily Telegraph listed Reiken as one of the “10 rising literary stars of 2010.”

His debut novel, The Odd Sea, won the Hackney Literary Award for a first novel and was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize. It was cited as one of the best first novels of the year by Library Journal and Booklist.

His follow-up, The Lost Legends of New Jersey, was a national bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book, and a Best Book of the Year for both the Los Angeles Times and the Christian Science Monitor.

His short stories have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, Glimmer Train, Gulf Coast, and the Western Humanities Review, and his essays have appeared in The Writer’s Chronicle.

Formerly a news reporter, columnist, and nature writer, he is a professor in the Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College. He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and daughters.

  • Author Matt Sumell
  • Making Nice by Matt Sumell

Matt Sumell

Matt is a graduate of UC Irvine’s MFA Program in Writing, and his short fiction has since appeared in the Paris Review, Esquire, Electric Literature, Noon, McSweeney’s, One Story and elsewhere. He is the author of Making Nice (2015).

The Wall Street Journal calls Making Nice "cringe-inducingly funny." The Guardian writes: "boisterous, brutish and brilliantly funny … Making Nice achieves the remarkable feat of making it feel better to travel hopelessly than to arrive." According to the BBC, "Making Nice introduces a writer who can be both tough and heartbreakingly tender."

  • Author Matthew Thomas
  • We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

Matthew Thomas

Matthew's New York Times-bestselling novel, We Are Not Ourselves, was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and the John Gardner Fiction Book Award; longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and the Folio Prize; named a Notable Book of the year by the New York Times; named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Apple, and others; and named one of Janet Maslin’s ten favorite books of the year in the New York Times. We Are Not Ourselves is being translated into nineteen languages. Matthew has a BA from the University of Chicago, an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine.

  • Author Mark Wisniewski
  • Watch Me Go by Mark Wisniewski

Mark Wisniewski

Mark's most recent novel, Watch Me Go, has earned a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, made the Most Anticipated Books List for 2015 by The Millions, and received advance praise from Salman Rushdie, Daniel Woodrell, Ben Fountain, Rebecca Makkai, Dan Chaon, Christine Sneed, Tim Johnston, and Ru Freeman.

His second novel, Show Up, Look Good, was praised by Jonathan Lethem, Molly Giles, Kelly Cherry, DeWitt Henry, T.R. Hummer, Richard Burgin, and Diana Spechler.

Wisniewski is also the author of the novelConfessions of a Polish Used Car Salesman, the collection of short stories All Weekend with the Lights On, and the book of narrative poems One of Us One Night.

His short fiction has received a Pushcart Prize and appeared in Best American Short Stories, The Southern Review, Antioch Review, New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Yale Review, TriQuarterly,The Missouri Review, The Sun, and The Georgia Review.

His narrative poems have appeared in such venues as Poetry, The Iowa Review, Ecotone, Prairie Schooner, New York Quarterly, Post Road, and Poetry International.

He’s been awarded two University of California Regents’ Fellowships in Fiction, an Isherwood Fellowship in Fiction, and first place in competitions for the Kay Cattarula Award for Best Short Story, the Gival Press Short Story Award, and the Tobias Wolff Award.