Putney Writing in Ireland

Putney Writing in Ireland

Just us writers and some animals on the island of Inishboffen, and a few days in Galway and Dublin.

Blind Masseuse Paperback Tour

Blind Masseuse Paperback Tour

The University of Wisconsin Press teamed me up with the amazing Andrew Evans for the paperback launch of The Blind Masseuse and the hardcover launch of Andrew’s memoir, The Black Penguin. We read at BGSQD in New York, and shortly after at the Harvard Book Store. Here are some shots of Andrew and me at BGSQD having so much fun talking travel memoir, queer experience, drinking coca tea in Bolivia, and what kind of childhood makes a traveler.

Emerson Authors

Emerson Authors Event

I’m excited to read with a few of my favorite writer-teachers next week. We may even raffle off some books.

Cuba Writers Program 2017: Applications Open!

Applications are open for the second Cuba Writers Program, this April 27-May 5!

Click here for more information about the Cuba Writers Program

The Cuba Writers Program offers a writers writing in English an 8-day journey to Cuba in the spring of 2017. The program combines writing workshops with ethical travel, conversations with Cuban writers, lectures on the history of Cuba and elements of its literary history, and visits to art collections, paladares, Hemingway’s home, and sites of political, aesthetic, and historical interest.
The Cuba Writers Program was founded by Tim Weed and Alden Jones, two writers who first worked together teaching creative writing and directing a program for American students in Cuba in 2001. Both Tim and Alden have have continued to travel to Cuba and to direct programs in Cuba over the past sixteen years. They are excited to share some of their contacts, out-of-the-ordinary knowledge, and travel experience with an intimate group of writers and travelers.

“Seeing Cuba through the lens of the Cuba Writers Program was nothing short of a revelation. The itinerary was incredibly well plotted, starting on the first full day with an overview of Old Havana’s cobbled streets, then dipping into the political, cultural and literary with the lectures, workshops, and visits to artists’ studios, art and music schools, and so much more. It was a wonderful balance of a wide view and close up, and I left feeling like I started to get to know Cuba in a way I never would have without such careful plotting. Thank you Tim and Alden for so generously providing your knowledge and spirit over an incredibly rich and inspiring 8 days!” Jean Victor, California

Inagural Boston Lit Crawl

Inagural Boston Lit Crawl
Eve Bridburg of Grub Street MC’d a raucous event last night for Boston’s first Lit Crawl, a series of events spanning up and down Newbury Street. Grub folks Eson Kim, Jonathan Escoffery, me, and Ron MacLean wrote and performed an Exquisite Corpse with a spooky Halloween theme, finished off by volunteers from the audience. Blood moons! Hunters! Student Loan Officers! Slugs and worms!

Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel
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Here is an excerpt from an essay I wrote for the debut issue of Panorama.
Read the entire piece here.

Cheri Laverne Dalton is wanted for her alleged involvement in the Brinks Armoured Car robbery which occurred on October 21, 1981, in Nanuet, New York. The robbery resulted in the loss of $1.6 million. Two police officers and one security guard were killed, and one police officer and two guards were wounded. On November 17, 1982, a federal grand jury operating in the Southern District of New York returned a superseding indictment charging Dalton with Violations of RICO Statute; Interference with Interstate Commerce by Robbery; Obstruction of Justice; Armed Bank Robbery; Bank Robbery Killings; and Aiding and Abetting.

It’s hard for me to square the FBI narrative with the woman sitting next to me at the bar, in her cute black kicks and jeans with rhinestone pockets, calling me “babygirl” and sipping white rum. It is now May 2016, my sixth trip to Cuba. I am back in Havana to run a new programme, the Cuba Writers Program, which I have launched with my friend Tim. I’d contacted Nehanda to see if she would meet us and share her story. “Done deal,” she wrote back. “I just need one dollar for transport.”

I’ve been thinking about Nehanda a lot this year. The recent loosening of restrictions on US-Cuban relations raises the question of her extradition. Would the US government, in exchange for new policies that benefitted the Cuban people, start applying pressure on the Cuban government to return Nehanda, and other political exiles, to the States? I don’t think Cuba would do that, but no one ever knows what Cuba will do until Cuba does it. (Just ask a Cuban.) But certainly, the media in the US and Cuba has thrown it out there. How far would Cuba go to protect those it had granted political asylum as La Revolución makes way for more permissive capitalism, and reopens a relationship with Fidel’s arch enemy, the United States? [Read on].

Cuba Writers Program at the Cornelia Street Cafe

The Cuba Writers Program at the Cornelia Street Cafe

Standing room only at the Cornelia Street Cafe, with six readers from the 2016 Cuba Writers Program. Halfway through, my friend Lisa turned to me and said incredulously, “These are all students from the Cuba program? But they are all professional writers!” Indeed, we had an amazing group of writers this year, and it was amazing to hear some of the work they produced in and about Cuba. Dates for the 2017 program announced in September!


New York Appearances

New York Appearances

I have a couple of upcoming appearances in New York. I’ll be reading at the Cornelia Street Cafe on August 22 and on a panel at the Center for Fiction on December 1. I always love a reason to jump on Amtrak and head south.

Jones’s Story Collection Continues to Win Awards

Jones’s Story Collection Continues to Win Awards

Thank you, Emerson, for this article on the Emerson College homepage today!
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Alden Jones, senior affiliated faculty in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing, was awarded the Lascaux Book Prize for her short story collection, Unaccompanied Minors, the third prize the book has won.

“The stories in Unaccompanied Minors are my ‘babies’—the stories I wrote over the course of over almost fifteen years that I consider my personal favorites,” Jones said. “It’s thrilling to win an award that celebrates these stories.”

The Lascaux Book Prize, which comes with $1,000 and a bronze medallion, is awarded by The Lascaux Review, which “provides a showcase for emerging and established writers and artists,” according to its website.

Since its publication two years ago, Unaccompanied Minors has won a New American Fiction Prize and an Independent Publisher Book Award, and was a finalist for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and a Lambda Literary Award.

“The lifecycle of a book is usually very short,” Jones said. “You expect a burst of attention and sales right around the time of the publication date. For Unaccompanied Minors to receive public recognition…two years after its publication is unexpected and exciting.”

Unaccompanied Minors is Jones’s second book. The Blind Masseuse: A Traveler’s Memoir from Costa Rica to Cambodia, published in 2013, won the Independent Publisher Book Award in Travel Essays, an IndieFab Award in Travel Essays, and was named a Publisher’s Weekly Top 10 Travel Book and a Huffington Post Best Book of the Year. It also was a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay.

Earlier this year, Jones was awarded the Alan L. Stanzler Award for Excellence in Teaching from Emerson College.