ENTERPRISE — Seattle author Liza Birnbaum is the fall writer-in-residence at Fishtrap. In addition to gathering inspiration for her own writing, she will be teaching creative writing in local schools and lead a workshop titled “Self-Portraits and Landscapes: Bringing the Personal into Nature Writing.”
“Fishtrap’s Writer-in-Residence program gives us a chance to bring professional, experienced writers to this special place and let it inspire them in their creative work,” said Shannon McNerney, Fishtrap executive director. “Then, we ask them to share some of that experience and inspiration with our local community — in local classrooms and special events. For our young students, it may be the first time they’ve gotten to interact with a real professional writer or creative person. Everyone comes out with new perspectives.”
About Liza Birnbaum
Birnbaum’s writing has appeared in Web Conjunctions, jubilat, Tammy, Open Letters Monthly and other publications. She lives in Seattle, where she runs a yearlong workshop for prose writers and teaches at Hugo House, Bard College’s Language & Thinking Program, and the Washington Corrections Center for Women through the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound.
She holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a BA in written arts from Bard College. In 2022, she’ll be an artist-in-residence at Fishtrap and at Pine Meadow Ranch Center for Arts and Agriculture. During her time at Fishtrap, she will work on the first draft of a novel, tentatively titled “The Public Road.”
“The book follows the route taken by Jo and Mari, two friends who embark on a monthlong bike trip after Jo, who has inherited significant wealth from her grandfather’s oil and gas conglomerate, gives away her entire trust fund,” Birnbaum said. “When Mari has to return home to care for her ill mother, Jo continues alone and alters her route to trace a wide circle through much of the western U.S. As she travels, her own story collides with the lives of those she encounters and with the effects of human presence on the landscapes she moves through, particularly in terms of ecological destruction and the long history of settler colonialism in the American West.”
Birnbaum will lead an in-person workshop on nature writing Thursday, Nov. 3, 6-8 p.m. at Fishtrap, 107 W. Main St.
Cost is “pay what you can.” Register online at fishtrap.org.
In this class, participants will try “writing prose that brings the relationship between the self and the nonhuman world into sharp focus.”
“We’ll look at examples by Annie Dillard, Robin Wall Kimmerer and others, focusing on the craft choices they use to paint dual portraits of themselves and their surroundings. You’ll leave with new writing and inspiration for moving forward,” Birnbaum said.
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