A green light to greatness.®

Word limits

mayborn

“I believe we live in the midst of A Great Mystery.” He says this the way someone might about an obvious secret, a paradox in plain sight. I am writing a story about this man — a dreamer who looks at the stars and wonders. You’d think, with the 300 published interviews and his mighty collection of short stories, novels, screenplays, essays and illustrations, that there is little left of Charles Johnson to explore.

Just Jia

mayborn

Jia Tolentino blows into a Fort Greene wine bar the night before Nor’easter Stella was expected to blast New York City with over 12 inches of snow. The storm was a bust but the conversation was not — Jia describes her dog as a “hybrid f------ vigor.” Friendly and a bit hyped, she settles into the stool in a cramped bar facing Myrtle Street. She has just wrapped an interview with an artist for a profile piece she is writing for The New Yorker.

Good night at the Lost Horse Saloon

mayborn

The Texas border town sits 30.3095 degrees north and 104.0206 degrees west. It’s like most small Texas towns: country bars, a main street, an isolated stop light that dictates the proclivities of the lawman. Except this one is different Marfa is an artistic alternative for well-intentioned travelers and scene-stealing outsiders. It’s also home to freelance writer Rachel Monroe.

Lost and found in translation

mayborn

She’ll never admit it, but Brooke Jarvis is like Indiana Jones — assuming Indy turns in his bullwhip for a ballpoint pen. Jarvis, a Seattle resident by way of Tennessee, has traveled to every corner of the world to tell stories of people and groups on the margins. In the last few years, her work has been published in the likes of GQ, Rolling Stone, Harper’s and Pacific Standard. These stories often shine a light on the earth’s mysteries ... .

Misfit

mayborn

“I want to be in the middle of the newsroom,” he wrote. “I want to see everything, I want to hear everything, I want to remember everything. I want to absorb the laughter and the shouting and the tears. Because when I’m old and decrepit and they have to drag me out of the newsroom, I’ll at least know one thing: This is what I loved.”

Agents of change

mayborn

The literary agent is the unsung hero. He envisions the big picture while simultaneously navigating publishers, deadlines, edits and the market. The agent is the middleman that perceives potential and helps the right writer connect with the right house at the right time. Still, many find themselves in a fog when it comes to understanding the role of the literary agent in the publishing world.

Wish you were here

mayborn

My eyes were drawn to a reconstituted card catalogue crammed full of colorful postcards from all over the world – souvenirs of another place, another time. The musty smell of old papers hung in the air as I sorted through the postcards: brightly colored images of well-manicured topiaries, animals, beaches, caverns, cathedrals, restaurants and motels. My enchantment with postcards grew out of my yen for travel. I’m not a travel junkie (can’t afford the habit), not yet anyway. But I wouldn’t mind becoming one.

Cheers to you, George

mayborn

Past students, colleagues and family share their thoughts about George Getschow, and how he’s inspired them through the years.

Clean on the other side

mayborn

Boo's first book, 2012’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, won the National Book Award for nonfiction. The book also won nonfiction prizes from PEN, the Los Angeles Times Book Awards, the New York Public Library and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Self control

mayborn

While she imagined Blackout to be read by women in their 30s and 40s, she’s received a lot of feedback from young women in their 20s as well. Another surprising audience has been young men, as well as those in their 30s and 40s who have had their lives slowly destroyed by alcohol. Another project she’s working on will be an extension of Blackout, focusing on the concept of binging, especially regarding drinking on college campuses.

Coming home

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Journalist and author of five critically-acclaimed books, he has enjoyed a 20-year career as a writer with steady work, an accomplishment in itself. Winner of an Emmy and a Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for his haunting accounts of military life in the Korengal Valley, Junger is a respected documentary filmmaker.

Infield: The enduring frisson of Michael Graff

mayborn

Keeping his eyes on the road, Michael breaks the silence, “Look, I’m gonna show you who I am. And you write whatever you want. Don’t hold back. This is my life, this is who I am.” I nod, he nods. There are long stretches when neither of us is talking, when we just sit there like two old men watching baseball on TV. No chatter, no nerves as he guides his truck along.

Making the cut

mayborn

I catch my breath and orient myself on the bustling street in Little Havana, spotting Ball & Chain’s sign. I stroll inside, lively Latin music greeting my ears. It looks like something out of a 1930’s movie set, with black and white photographs lining the dark green painted walls, the whole place under an amber glow. And there, inside this iconic bar, sits ESPN senior writer and Mississippi native Wright Thompson, daiquiri in hand.

It’s not easy to say goodbye

mayborn

But Venezuela can’t live much longer with so much pain; it doesn’t want to cry anymore, it doesn’t want to miss anymore. My land just wants reconciliation. Almost five years ago I decided to leave – to leave everything that made me who I am, to leave everything I knew – for an uncertain future. It is not easy to say goodbye. It is not easy to stay either. It is not easy to be absent. It is not easy, neither in Venezuela nor abroad.

Jason Fagone’s suspicious hour

mayborn

I’d been ordering food and drink for an hour just to keep him at the table, and there was nothing left. But I had seen it coming. After landing in Philly, I texted him, told him I’d like to get as much time as possible for the profile. Let’s get some lunch, he replied. Get the leg in the door — the whole damn leg in the door. It was Monday, and my next flight wasn’t until Friday morning, so I had three full days to travel around Maryland.

What are the most powerful words ever written?

mayborn

Ask a writer to tell a story, and they won’t shut up. Ask a writer to identify the most powerful words ever written, and you get crickets. “You want me to do what?” was the general sentiment received when I innocently posed the question to some of the nation’s most prolific literary professionals — all Mayborn conference alumni — it should be noted.

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