For me, the Future of Publishing Think Tank was an action tank. Writers at Work convened a smart group of local publishers, booksellers, writers and literary advocates, and together we sought to find a way forward for literature in the internet age. It was 2007 and the industry was being turned upside down by blogs and online shopping. Twitter and Facebook were still in their infancy, and the first smart phone hadn’t even been released. Encouraged by the Think Tank to experiment, I developed a series of workshops about social media and podcasting that I taught at Writers at Work. Later I modified them and took them on the road for other audiences. I was also inspired to create GuerrillaReads, the online video literary magazine that is still going strong, having featured more than a hundred writers in its nine-year history. Tuesday nights in One Page At a Time is where I honed my craft. The Future of Publishing Think Tank is where I carved a larger place for myself in the vibrant world of literary Los Angeles.
Each day for the 15 days leading up to the WAW Open House (October 7, 2012, 2-5 p.m.), we’re going to feature a current or former participant who’s completed a major project (book, film, album, academic credential). We’ll find out what they learned that helped them with their work.
Bronwyn Mauldin, One Page At a Time
Project: THE STREETWISE CYCLE, a collection of linked short stories
Experiment. Try something new. Do the unexpected. Write something dangerous. Don’t have a character do the first thing you think of – have her do the second or third thing that comes to mind. Better yet, have her do the least expected thing. Terry has taught me how to take those kinds of intelligent, creative risks with my writing and with the business side of being a writer.
Saman by Ayu Utami
translated by Pamela Allen
recommended by Bronwyn Mauldin
Saman is the story of how a Catholic priest in the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia, becomes a human rights activist called “Saman.” Author, journalist Ayu Utami, turns the familiar tale of the crusader for justice on its head by folding Saman’s story into that of a group of young women who knew him when they were school girls and he a newly-ordained priest.
Laila is the good girl who always falls for men she cannot have. Shakuntala the dancer who breaks her name in two for an American grant. Cok the bad girl exiled by her family. Yasmin the serious attorney trapped in a dull marriage. As these girls grow up and explore their sexual identities, the priest comes into his own, and with their help, is reborn.
The story unfolds in layers, spanning the globe from one former Dutch colony (Indonesia) to another (New York), in only 180 pages. We read the story through several points of view, and through narrative, letters and emails. Watch for small details casually dropped along the way, as they add up to a powerful tale that is as much about the diversity of modern Indonesia as it is about any one person’s search for justice and freedom.
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