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.

Come to Harvard Book Store, March 2

Come to Harvard Book Store, March 2

I’ll be in conversation with Garth Greenwell and Idra Novey tonight at the Harvard Book Store. We’ll be talking about their two brilliant novels, What Belongs to You and Ways to Disappear. We promise to entertain.
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Unaccompanied Minors on Story366

Unaccompanied Minors on Story366
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Heartfelt thanks to Michael Czyzniejewski for posting these thoughts on “Shelter” and Unaccompanied Minors on Story366:

Today’s story, “Shelter,” comes from Jones’ debut collection, Unaccompanied Minors, from New American Press and the incredible duo of Okla Elliott and Dave Bowen…Alden Jones is one of the talented authors published by New American Press, her stories fast-paced, human, and a reminder of why minors are designated as such, in the eyes of the law, but emotionally, too. Jones is able to depict not only the mistakes that result from youth and inexperience, but how these characters arrive at these mistakes. It’s not as easy of an answer as we’d like to imagine. If we all think back to being that age, weren’t we just a bad break, or a bad choice or two, or one time getting caught, away from some serious shit?

Complete review at Story366

Noir at the Bar

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I suppose you could call elements of Unaccompanied Minors “noir.” In any case, the best thing about reading at a noir-themed event was that the audience was prepared for a night of murder, mayhem, and seedy darkness. So I got to read from “Sin Alley,” the Costa Rica house of prostitution story. “Sin Alley” even seemed sweet in the context of the event! I mean, there is crime and bad behavior…but there is also love.

While listening to the other readers, I got to share a table with this fab posse of Emerson creative writing students.IMG_1566
(Did I mention I love my job?)