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Nimrod Awards Dinner and Conference for Readers and Writers 2015
October 16-17th, 2015
The University of Tulsa
Friday, October 16th: 37th Annual Nimrod Awards Dinner
6:30 p.m.
The Lorton Performance Center
The University of Tulsa
550 S. Gary Pl.
Join Nimrod in a celebration of this year’s Literary Award Winners and Judges. The Awards Dinner features a keynote Address by Pulitzer Prize-nominee Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!, and readings by the 2015 Nimrod Literary Award winners Heather Altfeld, Leila Chatti, J. D. Wiley, and Emily Wortman-Wunder.
Single Ticket for the Awards Dinner only: $65
Sponsored Half Table: $500
(Sponsored Half Tables include preferred seating for 4 guests or preferred seating for 3 guests and one of our special Conference guest authors.)
Sponsored Full Table: $1,000
(Sponsored Full Tables include preferred seating for 8 guests or preferred seating for 7 guests and one of our special Conference guest authors.)
Two-Day Pass: $100
(Two-Day Passes include a single ticket to the Friday Awards Dinner and a single registration for the Saturday Conference for Readers and Writers.)
Purchase Tickets to the Dinner
Tickets to the Dinner may be purchased online here. (A small administrative fee is charged for online ticket sales.)
Tickets may also be purchased by printing the Registration Form and mailing it with payment to Nimrod, The University of Tulsa, 800 S. Tucker Dr., Tulsa, OK 74104.
Reservations and payment for the Two-Day Pass or Awards Dinner alone must be received by October 9th. Registrants for the Conference alone may register up to Late Registration on the 17th.
For more information about the Dinner, as well as information on sponsoring a full or half table, which includes seating with a featured guest, call 918-631-3080 or email
Saturday, October 17th: Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Allen Chapman Student Union
The University of Tulsa
440 S. Gary Ave.
Schedule of Events:
9:30-10:00 a.m.: Late Registration
10:00-10:40 a.m.: PANEL DISCUSSIONS (Concurrent Sessions)*
On “Writing What You Know” . . . Or Not
Molly Antopol, Tina Chang, Leila Chatti, Jennifer Latham, Francine Ringold, Héctor Tobar, Emily Wortman-Wunder
Editing and Publishing: Q&A
Megan Abbott, Heather Altfeld, Sarah Cross, Benjamin Myers, Eilis O’Neal, Karen Russell, A. J. Tierney, J. Duncan Wiley
10:45 a.m.- 12:00 noon: Morning Masterclasses (Concurrent Sessions)*
Hands-on One-on-One Editing Workshops I*
Meet one on one with a Nimrod editor who will help you revise your work.  Submit 2-3 pages of poetry or 4-5 pages of fiction.  Materials must be received by October 10th.  Each one-on-one editing session is 15 minutes long.
The Solid to the Void: The Ghost in Contemporary Fiction — Karen Russell
When ghosts appear in fiction, there is usually a balance to be righted, the haunting serving as an appeal for action. Explore what the figure of the ghost reveals to us about secret appetites, existential uncertainties, and the collision of the past and the present, as well as what ghosts might kindle in your own stories and novels.
The Long and the Short of It: Focus on the Short — A. J. Tierney
Breaking into the publishing world can be tough, but short stories, novellas, flash fiction, and novelettes can be a great way to get your foot in the door. We’ll talk about how to develop the short form—and how it can begin to build your readership, get the attention of literary agents, and jumpstart your writing career.
A Very Close Haircut: Immediacy in Poetry — Benjamin Myers
Emily Dickinson said, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” How do we pack that sort of immediacy into poetry? We’ll dig into poetic line, diction, imagery, rhythm, and sound as ways to connect more urgently and immediately with the reader.
All in the Family: Writing About Family in Poetry — Heather Altfeld, Leila Chatti
A common adage is, “Write what you know.” Our earliest, fundamental knowledge comes from our families, so it’s no surprise that poets often write about them, in ways that range from the celebratory to the critical. We’ll discuss ways to illuminate the rich and complex relationships we have with the people closest to us, with a focus on balancing personal detail with general human truth.
Diversified: Incorporating Real-World Diversity into Young Adult Fiction — Jennifer Latham
Across the young adult field, editors are actively starting to seek out and promote diversity in depictions of race, sexuality, and more. Learn about the shifting landscape of inclusiveness in YA publishing, as well as strategies for creating memorable characters who reflect the diversity of the world around us.
Write About a Box: Taking the Fear out of Writing Your Memoir — Francine Ringold
We each have a unique story to share, but sometimes we don’t know how to begin and fear that we will not follow through to completion. This class will focus on playful designs to help you find your voice, begin and continue to write your memoir, and make discoveries along the way.
12:00-1:30 p.m.: Lunch and Readings by the Judges: Tina Chang and Karen Russell
1:35-2:50 p.m.: Afternoon Masterclasses (Concurrent Sessions)*
What We Talk About When We Talk About Dialogue — Molly Antopol
Dialogue is among the most important tools a fiction writer has—it gives life to your story and reveals who your characters are. But realistic, meaningful dialogue can be tricky. Get your characters to cut the chit-chat and start saying what they really mean, or, as is often the case in fiction, what they don’t mean.
In Conclusion . . . : Bringing Your Story to a Close — J. Duncan Wiley and Emily Wortman-Wunder
Bringing a story to a close is one of the hardest and most important aspects of creating a compelling work of fiction. We’ll analyze what makes a good ending, discuss ways to create one, and play with some techniques for finding an ending that will reverberate long after the story is finished.
Speaker Box: Persona Poetry — Tina Chang
How do we find our own voices? Would we know them if we heard them? Can voice be developed, or is it innate, a cadence that lives in us? Explore these questions and more as we discuss identity, personae, and dramatic dialogue as ways to unveil and develop the voice in your poems. 
Down a Dark Alley: Atmosphere in Crime Fiction — Megan Abbott
While crime fiction may seem to rely heavily on plot, on the resolution of a mystery, is that really why we read it? This workshop will explore mood, atmosphere, and style in crime fiction—and how they can be used to heighten emotion, create suspense, and draw the reader into the story’s snares.
The Fantasy Writer’s Cupboard: Fairy Tales, Folklore, and Myth — Sarah Cross
Fairy tales, folklore, and myth are the roots of fantasy, but modern readers often want new takes on these beloved stories. Discover ways to put new twists on old tales, weave legendary elements into your original creations, and add freshness and richness to your work by incorporating elements that have enchanted audiences for centuries.
Writing with Questions: Empathy, Intimacy, and Interviewing in Nonfiction — Héctor Tobar
The best nonfiction takes advantage of the techniques of the best fiction—imagination, precision, and vivid language. We’ll uncover ways to use the techniques of fiction writing when writing about real people, and learn how interviewing is really just writing with questions.
Megan Abbott, Molly Antopol, Sarah Cross, Jennifer Latham, Benjamin Myers, Héctor Tobar
Hands-on One-on-One Editing Workshops II*
Meet one on one with a Nimrod editor who will help you revise your work.  Submit 2-3 pages of poetry or 4-5 pages of fiction.  Materials must be received by October 10th.  Each one-on-one editing session is 15 minutes long.
4:00-4:30 p.m.: BOOK SIGNING
*Registrants may attend one morning panel discussion, one morning masterclass and one afternoon masterclass, as well as the entire reading from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. 
Afternoon one-on-one editing participants may move to and from their sessions to the Invitational Readings as time permits.
Master Teachers
Megan Abbott is the Edgar-winning author of seven mystery novels including Queenpin, Dare Me, and The Fever, which was chosen as one of the Best Books of the Summer by The New York Times, People Magazine, NPR, and Entertainment Weekly. She has been nominated for three Edgar Awards, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the Folio Prize. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She has taught at New York University, the State University of New York, and the New School University, and has served as the John Grisham Writer in Residence at Ole Miss.
Molly Antopol’s debut story collection, The UnAmericans, won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award and was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. The book was longlisted for the National Book Award and a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and the California Book Award, among others. She’s the recipient of a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard and a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford, where she currently teaches.
Heather Altfeld, First Prize winner of this year’s Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, is the author of The Disappearing Theatre, which won the 2015 Poets at Work Prize. Her recent poems can be found in Narrative Magazine, Poetry Northwest, Pleiades, The Literary Review, and elsewhere. She is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and has been a resident at the Vermont Studio Center.
Tina Chang, judge for this year’s Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, is a poet, teacher, and editor. Born in Oklahoma to Chinese immigrants, she was the first woman to be named Poet Laureate of Brooklyn. She is the author of two poetry collections, Of Gods and Strangers and Half-Lit Houses, which was a finalist for the 2005 Asian American Literary Award. She has received awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Academy of American Poets, and Poets & Writers. In 2011, she received The Women of Excellence Award for her outreach and literary impact on the Brooklyn community. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Ploughshares, and Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation.
Sarah Cross is the author of several works for young adults, including the fantasy novels Kill Me Softly and Tear You Apart, the superhero novel Dull Boy, and the Wolverine comic story “The Adamantium Diaries.” Kill Me Softly was a 2013 YALSA Teen’s Top Ten and YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection. Her nonfiction has appeared in Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader.
Leila Chatti, Second Prize winner of this year’s Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, is a Tunisian-American poet and former special education teacher.  She received her M.F.A. in poetry from North Carolina State University and is a winner of an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her work appears in journals such as Rattle, Linebreak, and decomP, and she currently serves on the poetry staff at The Adroit Journal.
Jennifer Latham is the author of the young adult mystery novel Scarlett Undercover.  She has worked as a school psychologist, middle school teacher, yoga instructor, and autopsy assistant. Her new YA novel, Dreamland Burning, which is forthcoming from Little, Brown and Company in 2017, is narrated by a modern-day teen girl and a 1920s-era teen boy and centers on the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. She was born in New York City and now lives in Tulsa.
Benjamin Myers is Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and the author of two books of poetry, Lapse Americana and Elegy for Trains, for which he won the 2011 Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Nimrod, The Iron Horse Literary Review, The New York Quarterly, Christianity and Literature, and Measure. He also reviews poetry for several publications, including World Literature Today. He teaches literature at Oklahoma Baptist University.
Eilis O’Neal, Nimrod’s Editor-in-Chief, is the author of the young adult fantasy novel The False Princess, which was honored as a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, as well as an ABC New Voices selection and an ABC Best Book for Children selection. Her short fantasy has appeared in Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and other magazines.
Francine Ringold, Nimrod’s Senior Advisory Editor and Editor-in-Chief for over 40 years, completed two terms as Oklahoma’s Poet Laureate (2003-2005, 2005-2007). Her books of poems, The Trouble with Voices: Poetry and Still Dancing, won the Oklahoma Book Award in 1996 and 2005, respectively.  Her books include Every Other One, with Manly Johnson; Making Your Own Mark: Writing and Drawing for Senior Citizens; and Dog Days: A Way of Speaking. Her newest book is entitled From Birth to Birth: My Memoir—and a Guide for Yours, 2015.
Karen Russell, judge for this year’s Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction, is the author of Swamplandia!, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, and Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories. She was a 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Swamplandia!, and she won the 2012 National Magazine Award for fiction. Russell is a former Fellow of the American Academy of Berlin, and she has taught at Columbia University, Bard College, and the University of Rutgers, Camden, among other universities. She was a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, and her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope, and Oxford American.
A. J. Tierney obtained an M.F.A. in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and then joined the Fine Print Literary Agency in New York City, where she worked as an agent under the legendary Peter Rubie.  She is the founder of Tierney Literary Services, which provides editorial, coaching, and critique services for writers at all levels. Her work has appeared in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Foliate Oak, Narrative Magazine, and River Lit.
Héctor Tobar is the author of two novels and two nonfiction works, including the New York Times bestseller Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Set Them Free, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The son of Guatemalan immigrants, he worked as National and Foreign Correspondent for the Los Angeles Times for ten years. In 2006, Tobar was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States by Hispanic Business magazine. He currently teaches at the University of Oregon’s school of journalism and communication.
J. Duncan Wiley, First Prize winner of this year’s Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction, has published fiction in Best Small Fictions 2015, Pleiades, Cream City Review, and South Dakota Review. He cut his editorial teeth as an assistant at the Beloit Fiction Journal, and later served terms as fiction editor of Willow Springs and of Prairie Schooner.
Emily Wortman-Wunder, Second Prize winner of this year’s Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction, has published fiction and nonfiction in Seed Magazine, High Country News, Terrain, and West Branch, among others, and has a story in the July 2015 issue of The Masters Review. She lives in south suburban Denver, where she explores the meaning of place in a world that often tries to ignore it. 
A supplement to the biographical notes will be available at the conference and will introduce additional one-on-one editors.
The full Saturday conference package ($60) includes workshops, panel discussions, readings, lunch, and one-on-one editing sessions. The lunch menu includes vegetarian options.
Full and partial scholarships are available, particularly for students. Scholarship recipients are asked to send in their registration fee ($10) with their registration form, and all scholarship recipients must pay this registration fee. For scholarship information, call 918-631-3080 or email
Professional development credit is available for Tulsa Public Schools teachers.
Please note that some classes will take place in an adjacent building. If you require special assistance to reach classes outside the main building, please contact Nimrod prior to the conference to make arrangements. If you require assistance and are registering late, please speak to a staff member at the time of your registration.
The University of Tulsa is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.  For EEO/AA information, contact the Office of Legal Compliance at (918) 631-2423; for disability accommodations, contact Tawny Taylor at (918) 631-2334.
Call: (918) 631-3080
Register for the Conference
Conference Registrations may be purchased online here. (A small administrative fee is charged for registrations purchased online.)
You may also register by printing the Registration Form and mailing it to Nimrod, The University of Tulsa, 800 S. Tucker Dr., Tulsa, OK 74104.
Hotel Information
The official conference hotel is the Hyatt Regency, located at 100 E. 2nd St. in downtown Tulsa, and they are offering a special conference rate of $89.00 a night. The Hyatt is a five-minute drive from TU’s campus (though it is not suitable for walking to campus).
To receive the conference rate, please make your reservations using this link. Or make your reservations by phone by calling 888-421-1442 and asking for the Nimrod Journal/University of Tulsa conference rate.
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