Writing is life


The 13th annual annual Eckerd College Writers in Paradise conference took place January 14 to 24, 2017. This was my third year attending as a workshop participant, and my first time studying with Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog (Oprah Book Club pick and National Book Award Finalist). Over the past three years, Andre, Ann Hood, and Les Standiford have become my mentors, and this conference in particular was a huge stepping stone in my career as a writer.

Guests and speakers at the conference (providing both craft lectures and readings) included Richard Blanco (President Obama’s inaugural poet), Peter Meinke (Florida’s poet laureate), Fabienne Josaphat, Lan Samantha Chang, and Denise Duhamel. Les Standiford, Laura Lippman, Ann Hood, Sterling Watson, and Andre Dubus III make up the conference’s regular faculty, who come back each year to teach and inspire.

In every reading and lecture, participants learn a lot about what it takes to become a successful author. The number one takeaway from each conference, every year: Study your craft, read quality writing, and don’t think about publishing … yet. Too many people get carried away and publish prematurely, before their work is ready, according to Andre Dubus III.

Participants also came away with a long list of fantastic recommended reading. I’ll share some of them here.


Recommended by the Writers in Paradise Faculty

Read works by William Stafford

Read essays by Flannery O’Connor

The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams

“The Fat Girl,” a short story by Andre Dubus (award-winning author of short stories, father of Andre Dubus III)

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

In The Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley

The Dead by James Joyce

My Favorites by the Faculty

Townie by Andre Dubus III

The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

Last Train to Paradise by Les Standiford

Suitcase City by Sterling Watson

Wish You Were Here by Stewart O’Nan

Best Quote of the Week

During the week, Andre Dubus III said something which touched me deeply as a writer, and as someone who’s been through a lot in my short life. That being said, I’ll end with Andre’s words:

“Life is suffering with great moments of joy. And you can’t have one without the other.”

2 responses to “Writing is life

  1. Beautiful post Rose and thank you! I now have some items added to my future required reading. Wishing you nothing but the best always, Benny 🙂

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