Packet 1: How to Start

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“My advice for new writers is to know that you’re doing it because, despite how hard and thankless it is, it somehow feeds you. You sit down and you write and suddenly three or four hours have gone by and you don’t feel time passing. You’re doing it because it enriches your life, and because it’s important—regardless of all the ways it doesn’t make it sense, and it’s not practical and it’s not predictable and you can’t explain it to anyone. The reasons we do this work are sometimes hard to articulate, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t real.

— Nicole Hardy

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Nicole Hardy's memoir, Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin,  was a finalist for the 2014 Washington State Book Award. Her other books include the poetry collections This Blonde and Mud Flap Girl’s XX Guide to Facial Profiling–a chapbook of pop-culture inspired sonnets. 

Her work has appeared in literary journals and newspapers including The New York Times, and has been adapted for radio and stage. Her essay "Single, Female, Mormon, Alone" was noted in 2012’s “Best American Essays." She earned her MFA at the Bennington College Writing Seminars. 

When I would tell people that I was a writer and I never use air quotes on writer. Even before I was published, never. You have to own it. I’m a writer. Take your air quotes and just stuff ‘em because you either are or you aren’t. And you just own it. If you’re doing your writing and you’re doing your practice, then you’re a writer.
— Sunil Yapa
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Sunil Yapa’s first novel Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist is a Time Magazine Best Books of the Year, so far, and an Amazon Best Books of the year, so far, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, and an Indies Next Pick. The New Yorker writes, “Fast-paced and unflinching…Yapa vividly evokes rage and compassion.” The Seattle Times writes, “Yapa’s melding of fact and fiction, human frailty and geopolitics, is a genuine tour-de-force.” The winner of the 2010 Asian American short story award, Yapa’s work has appeared in Guernica, American Short Fiction, The Margins, Hyphen, LitHub and others. The biracial son of a Sri Lankan father and a mother from Montana, Yapa has lived around the world, including The Netherlands, Thailand, Greece, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, China, and India, as well as, London, Montreal, and New York City. He lives in upstate New York.