LIFTING UP YOUR READER’S HEART
with Brock Clarke

ClarkeEven the greatest fiction writers sometimes have trouble reaching their readers. The fiction writer Flannery O’Connor admitted as much in her essay “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”: “I once received a letter from an old lady in California who informed me that when the tired reader comes home at night, he wishes to read something that will lift up his heart. And it seems her heart had not been lifted up by anything of mine she had read. I think that if her heart had been in the right place, it would have been lifted up.’’

This is a most wanted writerly medical procedure: to move someone else’s heart to the place where a writer can then lift it up.

In this workshop, attendees will read each other’s stories or novel excerpts with an eye toward perfecting exactly this kind of surgery. Participants will also talk about how to get their work out in the world, into the hands of agents, editors, and readers.

+ SUBMIT After registering, participants in the fiction workshop are asked to submit a manuscript of up to 5,000-words by no later than 9:00 a.m. on April 23. Manuscripts may be complete short stories or excerpts from novels. Please email the manuscripts as attachments to director@mainewriters.org with the subject line: “CLARKE BLACK FLY MSS.”  *Word files are preferred, but you may also send a PDF. Please note: there is no printing available at the retreat location.


Brock Clarke is the author of seven books of fiction, most recently the collection The Price of the Haircut (published March 2018) and the novels The Happiest People in the World (which was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Pick, an Indie Next Pick, and an Amazon Book of the Month choice), Exley (which was a Kirkus Book of the Year, a finalist for the Maine Book Award, and a longlist finalist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award) and An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England (which was a national bestseller, and American Library Associate Notable Book of the Year, a #1 Book Sense Pick, a Borders Original Voices in Fiction selection, and a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice pick). His books have been reprinted in a dozen international editions, and have been awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize for Fiction, the Prairie Schooner Book Series Prize, a National Endowment for Arts Fellowship, and an Ohio Council for the Arts Fellowship, among others.

Clarke’s individual stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Boston Globe, Virginia Quarterly Review, One Story, The Believer, Georgia Review, New England Review, and Southern Review and have appeared in the annual Pushcart Prize and New Stories from the South anthologies and on NPR’s Selected Shorts. Algonquin Books will publish his eighth book—the novel I Am Calvin Bledsoe—in 2019. He lives in Portland, Maine, and teaches creative writing at Bowdoin College.

VISIT brockclarke.com