Tag Archive | "Susan Scarf Merrell"

Deadline for Florence Writers Conference Looms

Tags: , , , , ,


View on Florence Duomo and city from Campanile tower.

Always wanted to live the life of a writer in Florence, sipping wine at the Café Giubbe Rosse or walking in the footsteps of Dante Alighieri? The Stony Brook Southampton MFA Program in Creative Writing offers just that kind of experience, January 13 through January 24, during its Florence Writers Workshop featuring a fiction workshop with Sag Harbor resident Susan Scarf Merrell, author of “Shirley: A Novel” and fiction editor of “TSR: The Southampton Review.”

The program also includes an evening at the opera, a walking tour of Florence, a faculty-guided trip to the Bargello museum and an excursion to the Italian countryside, as well as an elective in contemporary Italian fiction, Michelangelo and the Medici family, Italian style and design or Italian cooking.

The deadline to apply for the workshop is October 2. For more information, visit stonybrook.edu/mfa/winter.

The Southampton Review has also announced The Robert Reeves $1,000 Prize in Comic Fiction, judged by distinguished author and editor Daniel Menaker. The entry fee is $15 per submission (no more than 5,000 words), and entries are due by October 31, Winners will be notified on January 15 and honored at the Manhattan launch of TSR: The Southampton Review’s Spring 2015 issue. Finalists will be considered for publication in TSR Online. For more information, visit thesouthamptonreview.com.

 

Female Friendship, Literature and Obsession in “Shirley”

Tags: , , , , , ,


By Tessa Raebeck

Author Susan Scarf Merrell will read from "Shirley" June 21 at BookHampton in Southampton.

Author Susan Scarf Merrell will read from “Shirley” June 21 at BookHampton in Southampton.

While writing “Shirley,” Susan Scarf Merrell worried for her protagonist, Rose. Rose is caught between the world in her own head and the real one outside of it in the novel, which examines themes of obsession, creativity and womanhood in the 1960s.

Shirley,” which Ms. Merrell will read from at BookHampton in Southampton Saturday, centers on the relationships that evolve when pregnant Rose and her husband Fred move in with celebrated writer Shirley Jackson and her husband, the literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman. With dark twists and multilayered characters, the historical fiction novel celebrates literature while delving into its underbelly.

“Reading both Shirley and Stanley’s letters, journal entries, essays and books, I began to hear the voice of Rose developing in my mind,” Ms. Scarf Merrell said in a press release. “The shift from researching a non-fiction work to beginning a novel was quite abrupt.”

“One sudden moment of realization (I was out in the woods walking my dog, and started taking notes using the voice recorder on my cell phone), and the project took on an entirely different form. But I think one of Shirley Jackson’s many gifts was an ability to massage real life events into fiction; in some ways, this was an inevitable turn of events for me,” she added.

“Jackson has always been one of the more intriguing and misunderstood writers of her generation, a woman writer at the cusp of feminism’s second wave who nevertheless was erroneously dismissed for writing mere ‘domestic fiction,’” Booklist said in a review of “Shirley.” “Merrell brings this complicated and compelling woman to life through the kind of taut and intimate thriller Jackson herself would have been proud to call her own.”

Susan Scarf Merrell will read from “Shirley” Saturday, June 21, at 5 p.m. at BookHampton, located at 16 Hampton Road in Southampton. For more information, call (631) 283-0270.