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Hot Topics in Creative Nonfiction: Don't Give Up: How to Write Your Book a Little at a Time

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Don't Give Up: How to Write Your Book a Little at a Time with Leanna James Blackwell, director of the MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Bay Path University, and Lisa Romeo, memoirist, essayist, and MFA faculty member

In 2007, writer Lisa Romeo began to write and publish personal essays about the experience of her father’s death and what unfolded next for her. For years, she managed to fit in her own writing on weekend days, late nights, and early mornings while she worked as an editor, writing teacher, and freelance writer. Those years of writing a little at a time eventually added up to an essay collection, which she rewrote in 2016 as a memoir, Starting with Goodbye, A Daughter’s Memoir of Love after Loss, coming May 1 from the University of Nevada Press. In this intimate talk with Leanna James Blackwell, Romeo will discuss her creative process, offer tips about how to keep a writing practice alive in the middle of a busy life, and share what inspired her to keep going. Q & A to follow. 
About Leanna James Blackwell 
Leanna James Blackwell is director of the Bay Path University MFA in Creative Nonfiction and assistant professor of creative writing. An award-winning essayist and documentary playwright, she is a member of the Northampton Playwrights Lab, former artistic director and playwright-in-residence of TKO Theatre and the Inner Stage in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the co-founder and director of The Place for Writers at Mills College in Oakland, California. Her most recent play, Grimm Women, a feminist reimagining of traditional fairy tales, premiered during the 2016 Play by Play Festival at the A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton, Mass and was funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council grant. A frequent contributor to arts, academic, and parenting journals, Leanna’s essays have been widely published, anthol0gized, and adapted for the stage. Leanna graduated from the MFA program in creative writing at Mills College in California. A 20-year practitioner of meditation and mindfulness, Leanna is known for a teaching style that helps writers tap into their deepest creative potential. She is currently at work on a collection of essays and a new play examining race and adoption.

About Lisa Romeo
Lisa Romeo is the author of the memoir, Starting with Goodbye, A Daughter’s Memoir of Love after Loss, and a faculty member at Bay Path University’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Lisa's work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best American Essays, and appears regularly in mainstream and literary media, including The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; Brain, Child; Hippocampus; Under the Sun; Full Grown People; The Manifest Station; Literary Mama; Mediabistro; Babble; dozens of domestic and international equestrian publications, and elsewhere. Her work has also appeared in the anthologies Why We Ride; Women Writing on Family; O’s Big Book of HappinessFeed Me!, and others.

Lisa is the creative nonfiction editor of the journal Compose. She has taught at Rutgers University, Montclair State University, and The Writers Circle, and is the recipient of a scholarship from ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors), and a grant from the Vermont Studio Center. She edits manuscripts, and works with writers on querying and the submission process. Lisa holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast program and a BS in journalism from Syracuse University's Newhouse School. Her blog, Lisa Romeo Writes, offers advice and resources for writers.