Charlotte Wyatt

About Charlotte Wyatt

Charlotte is an MFA student in fiction at the University of Houston. She is the Fiction Director for the Napa Valley Writer's Conference, and serves as a Fiction Editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and the Arts. She is at work on a novel.

Nicole Krauss & Nathan Englander call attention to the radical resilience of cities in post Harvey Houston reading

September 25, 2017, by

small Nicole Krauss RM3_0950Last Monday’s sudden storms brought uncomfortable reminders of the recent devastation in and around Houston, echoed now in Puerto Rico, and Florida, and other parts of the Caribbean and the Gulf. Those of us who made it to this season’s first installment of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series were soggy and a little anxious to come in from the rain. We crowded the orchestra section of Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall, borrowed in the wake of Harvey’s damage to the Wortham Center’s performance spaces.

But rather than distract us, both Nicole Krauss and Nathan Englander called attention to the radical resilience of cities, and how storytelling can serve that resilience. Their readings addressed the dedication and distress so many of us have recently witnessed and felt.

The excerpts Krauss chose from her new novel Forest Dark explored the threshold of self-knowledge and knowledge of others, and of how we probe and expand the rifts in our personal realities. She spoke of the ways in which writing can invent identity, that writing is often an act of self-invention instead of self-expression: “Each time you tell another story,” she said, “you amplify what it is to be yourself.” Continue reading

Seven Reasons to See Catastrophic Theatre’s Snow White

April 24, 2017, by

Photo credit: Anthony Rathbun

Photo credit: Anthony Rathbun

If you haven’t seen it yet, Catastrophic Theater’s production of Donald Barthelme’s Snow White only runs for two more weekends – April 27th – 29th, and May 4th – 6th! (Get your tickets here.)

  1. Snow White by Donald Barthelme – this staging is the world premiere of any fully staged adaptation of Barthelme’s take on the classic fairy tale. Barthelme had begun to write an adaptation himself, which was shelved (okay, put in a drawer) before it could be finished.
  1. The performances – as director Greg Dean put it, he “needed actors with a facility for language, that could ‘switch styles’ easily, and locate the feelings and the jokes that often lie just below the surface of the prose.” His cast delivers, making effortless shifts in tone and energy to match the acrobatic language of the script. Check out the Houston Chronicle and HoustonPress reviews for more.

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A poetic night with Ada Limón and Gregory Pardlo

April 13, 2017, by

RM3_7535Last Monday, the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series welcomed poets Ada Limón and Gregory Pardlo. The poets, former classmates at NYU, have both recently been recognized: Limón’s Bright Dead Things was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. Pardlo won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for his collection Digest, and as of Thursday, a Guggenheim Fellowship. Poet Kevin Prufer, who also serves as a professor at the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program, moderated a discussion with both after the reading.

Limón opened with “How to Triumph Like a Girl,” in which she imagines the power of a race- winning filly’s 8-pound heart: “Don’t you want to tug my shirt and see / the huge beating genius machine / that thinks, no, it knows, / it’s going to come in first.” When Prufer asked after Limón’s performance of the piece, she referred to Frederico García Lorca’s duende, and the heightened expression embodiment can bring to the work. Many of Limón’s poems showcased the same, with lines like, “You wake some days / full of crow and shine,” and “[…] then there’s the silence that comes back, a million times bigger than me, sneaks into my bones and wails and wails and wails […]” Continue reading

George Saunders in the Forest At Night

March 14, 2017, by

rmfoto.com-79On March 6th, George Saunders made his third appearance with the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, in order to celebrate a first—his only novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, just debuted #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.

To tour the book, Saunders has partnered with local actors in different cities to stage readings of the text. He borrowed performers from Houston’s own Alley Theatre—an experience he compared to driving a Lamborghini—for a scene in a graveyard haunted by two of his characters. Appropriately enough, the reading shared the stage with an eerie woodland set for the theater’s current production, Let the Right One In.

rmfoto.com-121Novelist  and Director of the University of Houston Creative Writing Program Alex Parsons interviewed Saunders, whose humane wit set the tone for the evening. “We’re just a couple of guys in the forest at night,” he said, settling into a chair wedged between the scenery. Continue reading

Get away this summer to write

March 6, 2017, by

At the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ annual conference last month, I was amazed by how many summer intensives and workshops for writers were represented on the conference floor. I’ve been lucky to attend a couple in the past, and not only were they transformative to my writing, but each was a great experience overall. (And now that I’m a Houstonian, I realize a summer workshop might also offer a break from the heat…) Since late winter and early spring are when most application deadlines roll around, Inprint suggested I gather the postcards and flyers I collected and share what I found:

napawriters_headerimageNapa Valley Writer’s Conference in St. Helena, CA – July 23rd to July 28th

I have to start here because, full disclosure, I work for this one. I was a participant more than once before they took me on, and each time was not only great for my writing, but the highlight of my summer. You can apply until March 31st for a spot in fiction or poetry, and financial aid is available. Who doesn’t want to write in gorgeous California wine country? Learn more about the faculty, applications process, and deadlines here.

The Breadloaf Writer’s Conference in Ripton, VT

Middlebury College in Vermont has hosted the renowned Breadloaf Writer’s Workshop since 1926. Unfortunately, their application deadline was February 15th  (maybe next year!). Breadloaf now offers an Environmental Writing Workshop (in conjunction with the magazine Orion) and a Translator’s Conference that takes applications until March 1st. They also have a workshop in Sicily that offers rolling admissions til mid-April. You can learn about the individual conferences and their deadlines, faculties, and admissions processes here. Continue reading

Six Tips On Writing From Annie Proulx’s Talk on Craft

February 6, 2017, by

RM3_4143Houston readers and writers alike crowded the Cullen Theater last month to see Annie Proulx read as part of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. She shared an excerpt from her latest book, the award-winning novel Barkskins and gave a brief interview after the reading.

Earlier that same day, as part of an Inprint Craft Talk/Q&A, Proulx generously offered students at the University of Houston a rare opportunity to hear her thoughts on literary craft. Though quick to point out she has never taught creative writing, she answered questions and shared advice culled from her own process. We’ve excerpted a few points from her talk to share with Inprint’s audience:

  • Get involved with words. “[…] the words of your background, the words of your place, the words of your parents.” Proulx emphasized the value of enlarging your vocabulary, especially with rare or unusual language that has fallen out of use: “[…] words that used to be so meaningful about how things were made and cared for.”

Continue reading

Rabih Alameddine & Juan Gabriel Vásquez talk about fiction teaching empathy and guarding our memories

December 6, 2016, by

Rabih at podiumOn November 21st, the Alley Theatre was already decked for the holidays. A grove of themed trees in the lobby welcomed the Inprint Margaret Root Brown Reading Series for the final performance of the year. Inside, Rabih Alameddine and Juan Gabriel Vásquez read from their novels on the dormant set of A Christmas Carol, and artificial flurries escaped from their rigging throughout.

Though the theater looked towards Christmas, both Alameddine and Vásquez spoke towards the gratitude and displacement so many of us experience on the Thanksgiving weekend, whether or not we return home or reconnect with loved ones. Their words were melancholy and reflective. Alameddine’s The Angel of History spoke of loneliness and makeshift family; the narrator tells his lost love, “you left me roofless in a downpour.” Vásquez prefaced his reading by explaining the words he would read were not his own, and while he thanked his translator, compared the experience to reading someone else’s work. Continue reading

Donald Barthelme’s Snow White comes to the stage

November 8, 2016, by

Snow White for eblast image004While most of us will focus on electoral theatrics until late Tuesday, The Catastrophic Theatre, Inprint, and Brazos Bookstore will be there to raise the curtains, come what may, on Wednesday night.

In partnership with Inprint and Brazos Bookstore, Catastrophic Theatre will give a staged reading of Donald Barthelme’s novel Snow White this Wednesday, November 9th at 7:00 pm. The performance will take place at Brazos Bookstore, and is free and open to the public. Join us if you can, and stay tuned—this is only a preview of the complete adaptation set to run next year!

The full production will open in early April to honor Donald Barthelme, who played a key role in establishing Houston as a vital center for the literary arts. Inprint Executive Director Rich Levy recalled the piece as read by the Alley Theatre actors, which he described as “brilliant and funny and irreverent [..].” He felt a full adaptation would be an ideal way to bring the author’s fans together, and “Luckily,” he told us, “Katharine Barthelme [Barthelme’s daughter] and Greg Dean (of Catastrophic) were equally thrilled!” Continue reading

Lauren Groff & Ann Patchett charm audiences at Inprint reading

October 21, 2016, by

RM3_3546Last Monday night, the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series brought award-winning writers Lauren Groff and Ann Patchett to the Alley Theatre. Trying to find a seat in the sold-out crowd, I ran into a friend from my graduate program. We fell into a sudden and deep discussion about marriage, and what it means when only one rather than both members of a couple are able to pursue the career of their choice. How can you decide whose vocation will shape a family’s life?

RM3_3593Both of the featured novels that night, Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, concern the consequences of marriage, either maintained or dissolved, and the discussion that followed revealed the depth with which both writers have entertained questions similar to our own.

Groff introduced her reading by describing the composition of Fates and Furies, which examines a marriage from husband Lotto’s perspective before we hear from his wife Mathilde. As moments and phrases leapt to mind, Groff says she darted from her desk to record them on butcher paper hung from the wall, one for each character. Her startling language and sharp sense of the absurd was a perfect complement to Ann Patchett’s reading, which featured a large cast of Benadryl-tripping, gin-stealing, gun-toting kids whose families have been recombined by their parents’ changed relationships. In her selected passage, they mistake their longing to spend summer at a nearby lake as the source of their dislocation and sorrow. Continue reading

Houston writer Jennifer Staff Johnson gives first public reading

October 12, 2016, by

Jennifer Staff Johnson.689f418bce3e5f33635012ea502526aa21The Gulf Coast Journal’s Reading Series presents writers from the University of Houston’s nationally acclaimed Creative Writing Program, as well as renowned writers whose work has appeared in the magazine. This Friday, the Series presents Lisa Olstein, Henk Rossouw, Corey Campbell, and Jennifer Staff Johnson at Rudyard’s Pub in Montrose. Reading starts at 7 pm.

This week marks the very first public reading for Jennifer, who is a first-year MFA candidate in fiction at UH. She sat down with Inprint blogger Charlotte Wyatt to discuss her work and how Houston has shaped her writing.

CHARLOTTE: This is your first — okay, alright, second reading ever, but your first reading was Wednesday night as part of the Poetry & Prose series through UH. How did you choose what pieces to read this week? How did you prepare? Continue reading