Noepe brings acclaimed writers to the Island this month


Noepe Center for the Arts, which recently reopened at Featherstone, brings two internationally acclaimed and awardwinning writers to the Island this summer to teach workshops.

The first will be Naomi Jackson, who will join Noepe to teach “This Summer, You Write Your Novel,” a workshop where students will make significant progress toward their goal of finishing a complete first draft of their novels by the end of the summer. Jackson, as well as some of the students in her class, will give a reading at Featherstone on Thursday, July 11, at 5:30 pm in the Francine Kelly Gallery.

Jackson’s novel “The Star Side of Bird Hill” was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and longlisted for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize, the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and the International Dublin Literary Award. “Star Side” won the Late Night Library’s 2016 Debut-litzer Prize. First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray selected the novel for the city’s 2016 Gracie Book Club.

Jackson studied fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received an M.A. in creative writing from the University of Cape Town. According to a press release from Noepe, Jackson is a graduate of Williams College, and her work has appeared in literary journals and magazines in the U.S. and abroad. She is the recipient of residencies and fellowships from Bread Loaf, MacDowell Colony, Djerassi, the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writers House, Hedgebrook, and the Camargo Foundation.

Following Jackson’s visit, Bret Anthony Johnston will teach “Deconstructing the Short Story,” where students will review peers’ short stories and explore the conventions of narrative, focus on elements such as point of view, plot, narrative structure, and characterization, and deepen and enhance the reading experience. The release says that students will come away with new tools and strategies to make stories the best versions of themselves. Johnston and students will read on Thursday, July 18, at 5:30 pm at Featherstone in the Francine Kelly Gallery.

Johnston is the author of the internationally bestselling novel “Remember Me Like This,” which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and the winner of the 2015 McLaughlin-Esstman-Stearns Prize. Johnston is also the author of the awardwinning “Corpus Christi: Stories,” which was named a Best Book of the Year by the Independent (London) and the Irish Times.

In 2017, Johnston won the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. Other awards include the Pushcart Prize, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, the Stephen Turner Award, the Cohen Prize, a James Michener Fellowship, the Kay Cattarulla Prize for short fiction, and many more. His nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Tin House, the Best American Sports Writing, and on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the press release states that he’s the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, and a 5 Under 35 honor from the National Book Foundation. He wrote the documentary film “Waiting for Lightning,” which was released in theaters around the world by Samuel Goldwyn Films.