Writers' League of Texas: How to Turn A Mess of Pages Into A Book

Friday, October 6, 2017 - 7:00pm
2421 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005

First drafts of novels and memoirs can begin with a spark of an idea and a rush of enthusiasm. But after 70-100 pages, that initial clarity often vanishes, along with any sense of the way forward into the book. Or perhaps you're researching for a nonfiction project, but you feel lost at the thought of organizing your notes into a coherent narrative. This panel will discuss strategies for shaping early drafts of book-length projects and giving them direction—a must-attend event for anyone who has recently thrown themselves into a new project or wants to return to a memoir or nonfiction draft that they've put aside.

Chris Cander is the author of four acclaimed novels: Whisper Hollow (Other Press, 2015), 11 Stories (2013), One Last Time Forever, and the forthcoming The Weight of a Piano. Her children’s book The Word Burglar received the silver 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards for Reading Skills & Literacy. She has been a writer-in-residence for Houston-based Writers in the Schools (WITS) for the past six years, serves on the Inprint advisory board, and stewards several Little Free Libraries in her community. Chris well knows that the pen is mightier than the sword, but she’s willing to wield one of those, too. A former competitive fitness athlete, she currently holds a 3rd dan in taekwondo and is a certified Women’s Defensive Tactics Instructor. Chris is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Author’s Guild, the Writers’ League of Texas, PEN, and MENSA.

Allegra Hyde is the author of the story collection, Of This New World, which won the 2016 John Simmons Short Fiction Award. Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, The Threepenny Review, New England Review, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, as well as fellowships and grants from The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, The Virginia G. Piper Center, and the U.S. Fulbright Commission. For more about Allegra, visit: www.allegrahyde.com.

Michael Hurd is a historian, author, and freelance writer who was born in Texarkana, Texas and grew up in Houston. He is the director for the Texas Institute for the Preservation of History and Culture at Prairie View A&M University, a historically black college northwest of Houston. The institute focuses on documenting the almost 500-year history of African American presence in Texas. He is a graduate in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and has worked as a sports writer at the Houston Post, the Austin American-Statesman, USA Today, and Yahoo Sports. He has authored two books, including Black College Football, 1892-1992, the only book that comprehensively documents the legacies of football programs at historically Black colleges. For more than a decade, he served as a member of the National Football Foundation’s Honors Court for Divisional Players, the group that selects small college players to the College Football Hall of Fame, and he currently serves on the selection committee for the Black College Football Hall of Fame. His book Thursday Night Lights, the history of football programs at black high schools in Texas before integration, is soon to be released by UT Press. Michael is a board member of the Writers' League of Texas.

Alex Parsons is the author of the novel Leaving Disneyland (St. Martin’s Press) which won the Associated Writing Programs Award Series for the Novel, The Writers’ League of Texas Violet Crown Award, and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Awards. His second novel, In the Shadows of the Sun (Nan Talese Books/Anchor) was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. He is a recipient of a Texas Literary Fellowship, a Chesterfield Screenwriting Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship. He earned degrees from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and New Mexico State University, taught at the University of New Hampshire and the Warren Wilson Program for Writers, and now directs the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program.