Oct 4

Posted by Tom Baker

JET alum Todd Jay Leonard will lead a poetry workshop at the Oct. 15-17 Japan Writers Conference, a free event that is happening online. The official description of his talk appears below.

Todd Jay Leonard
So you want to publish a book? 10 Basic Points to Keep in Mind!
Short Lecture with Q&A


Professor Leonard has published extensively over the past 30 years and is willing to share his experiences of both Japanese traditional publishing houses and POD formats to assist budding authors in their quests to get published.
This lecture will cover ten primary points that “potential” authors need to keep in mind when submitting a proposal to a publishing company or when self-publishing a book. He will outline the basic process from the book’s initial concept to getting the book into print to marketing it. His extensive experience in publishing as an author in Japan will serve to assist budding authors with the basics in the overall process that need to be considered when pursuing a publishing contract or when self-publishing. This is a short lecture with a Q & A format.
Todd Jay Leonard lives, writes, and teaches on the southern island of Kyushu, where he is a university professor at the University of Teacher Education Fukuoka. He has published extensively in academic journals, magazines, and newspapers on cross-cultural, historical, and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) themes. He is the author of 25 books.


Oct 4

Posted by Tom Baker
JET alum Joy Jarman-Walsh will give a presentation on how to conduct an interview at the Japan Writers Conference, a free event that is happening online this year. The official description of her talk appears below.

Joy Jarman-Walsh
Live + Engaging Networking via Interviews with Japan Insiders
Short Lecture with Q&A


Moving beyond words on a page by live broadcasting interviews to a worldwide audience in real time – it seems daunting but is transparent and engaging, reaching new audiences tired of traditional media. If you are researching an article, you are actually prepared to livestream- let me explain how to do it, and why it’ll make your content better.
I’ve been on a crazy and unexpected journey researching and hosting daily interviews with various experts and insiders in Japan, or abroad who are focused on Japan, to dive into what it means to seek sustainability. A big part of seeking sustainability is transparency, which I think is also critical for good writing, which can be achieved by engaging with your audience as you create the content. I believe that one of the best ways to do this is by livestreaming content to engage with a wider audience. As of the end of May, I’ve done over 250 live interviews and the comments and questions of live viewers has been an important aspect of the finished product. I think this concept can inform and improve almost any type of writing project. There are key strategies to prepping for interviews as well as running live talkshows which engage with a live audience. There is also post-production work that needs to be done, including getting the interview onto a podcast platform. I will lay out not only the why’s but also the how-to’s of the process.
Joy Jarman-Walsh (jjwalsh) runs a daily livestream talkshow called #SeekingSustainabilityLive which had it’s 250th episode in May 2021. Joy co-founded GetHiroshima in 1999, worked as an Assistant Professor teaching Tourism and Business for more than 21 years, then started her own sustainability-focused travel consulting business, InboundAmbassador, in 2019. Joy has written for academic journals as well as travel copy and destination articles. Joy has an MA in Sustainable Tourism from ASU (USA).


Sep 30

Tom Baker shares tips on writing a pub quiz at Japan Writers Conference

Posted by Tom Baker

JET alum and Jeopardy champion Tom Baker will lead offer tips on how to write trivia questions at the Oct. 15-17 Japan Writers Conference, a free event that is happening online. The official description of his talk appears below.

Tom Baker
Trivia Tips: How to Write a Pub Quiz
Short Lecture with Q&A


“I once attended a pub quiz in Bristol where a dispute over an answer resulted in a wild west-style brawl and the police had to be called,” a woman told the BBC in 2005. “Arrests were made, including the quizmaster.”
Quizzes should be fun. If you wish to host one that doesn’t end in tears – or behind bars – well-written questions are essential.
Drawing on my experience as both a contestant and a quizmaster, I will offer tips on how to write questions that are clear, entertaining, and minimally disputable.
Using examples from quizzes seen on TV and at pubs around Tokyo, I will discuss a variety of question formats, writing with brevity and clarity, ways of organizing categories, anticipating hecklers and nit-pickers, making obscure questions guessable, and the importance of flattering your audience by writing easy questions that sound hard.
Tom Baker appeared on four regular-season episodes of the U.S. quiz show “Jeopardy!” in 2004, before returning for the season-ending Tournament of Champions. He first guest-hosted a round of a Tokyo pub quiz in 2019, and has written and presented more than 20 rounds since then. Topics have included “The FBI 10 Most Wanted List,” “Pigs and Rats,” “Literary Works,” “Officeholders,” “Prime Numbers,” “Traveling Around Japan,” “Body Parts” and “Motorcycle Gangs and Clubs.”

For details, visit http://japanwritersconference.org/


Sep 28

Michael Frazier to lead poetry workshop at Japan Writers Conference

Posted by Tom Baker


JET poet Michael Frazier will lead a poetry workshop at the Oct. 15-17 Japan Writers Conference, a free event that is happening online. The official description of his talk appears below.

Michael Frazier
A Poem is a Thing that Moves: Contemporary Lyric Poems
Craft Workshop
Poetry

A lyric poem is a thing that moves, through time, one’s mind, and, in turn, moves the hearts of readers. We will read and analyze lyric poems that move towards unanswerable questions, via associative jumps, by Leila Chatti, Li-Young Lee, and Aracelis Girmay. We will write our own lyric poems!
Scan through most recently released poetry collections and you are bound to find poems marked not by chronological narratives, but by incongruent images, ideas, and questions seemingly held together by only a distinct first-person voice and the magic of poetry. In this workshop we want to dispel the illusion of the non-linear lyric poem. We will read a handful of lyric poems that rely on associative jumps by Leila Chatti, L-Young Lee, Terrance Hayes, and Aracelis Girmay. We will analyze how these writers navigate through a poem (motifs, music, etc.), and pursue a question to arrive at a new revelation (the turn). As a result, we will understand how their poems are maps for how their actual minds move and perceive the world. A poem is a thing that moves, through time, one’s mind, and, in turn, moves the hearts of readers. Under scaffolded prompting, we will write our own lyric poems that prioritize the patterns of our psyche.
Michael Frazier is a poet & HS Teacher living in Kanazawa, Japan. Pushcart Prize & Best New Poets nominated, his poems appear in Poetry Daily, The Offing, RHINO, Tinderbox, Tokyo Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Currently, he’s facilitating a biweekly zoom poetry book club open to the public. Message @fraziermichael to join!


Sep 26

Author Suzanne Kamata to host panel discussion on identity at Japan Writers Conference

Posted by Tom Baker

JET alum Suzanne Kamata will lead a panel discussion on “Writing Identity” at the Oct. 15-17 Japan Writers Conference, a free event that is happening online. Suzanne is the author of multiple novels and nonfiction books, which you can read about at www.suzannekamata.com. The official descriptions of her talk appears below.

Suzanne Kamata
with Clara Kiyoko Kumagain, Kristin Osani, Clarissa Goenawan, Sara Fujimura
Writing Identity, From Inside and Outside
Panel Discussion
Fiction


Identity politics play a large part in determining which stories are published and how they are currently received in the English-speaking market. Generation Z readers — the audience for YA and New Adult titles — are especially aware of issues surrounding diversity, appropriation, and ownership. In this session, to be moderated by Suzanne Kamata, four authors of different backgrounds, writing about Japan from inside and out of their lanes, will discuss diversity, identity, inclusivity, and their own experiences and approaches to writing these in their own work.
In this era of #ownvoices and a heightened awareness of identity politics, what stories should be told, who should be allowed to write them, and how they should be presented are often contentious issues. In this moderated session, five authors of different backgrounds, writing inside and out of their lanes, will discuss diversity, identity, inclusivity, and their own experiences and approaches to writing these in their own work.
Award-winning author Suzanne Kamata was born and raised in the United States, but has lived in Japan for more than half of her life. She is the author or editor of 15 published books including, most recently, The Baseball Widow (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2021) and Pop Flies, Robo-pets and Other Disasters (One Elm Books, 2020).
Clara Kiyoko Kumagai is from Canada, Japan and Ireland. She writes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults, and has had work published in Banshee, Room, Event, and Cicada. She currently lives in Tokyo.
Kristin Osani @KristinOsani is a freelance Japanese to English translator, writer, and editor
Her previous projects include Left Alive, Oninaki, Code Shifter, Dragalia Lost, and many more. Her short fiction is forthcoming in Flash Point SF.
Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. Her award-winning short fiction has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in Singapore, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, the UK, and the US. Rainbirds, her first novel, has been published in eleven different languages.
Sara Fujimura @SaraFujimura is an award-winning young adult author and creative writing teacher. She is the American half of her Japanese-American family, and has written about Japanese culture and raising bicultural children for such magazines as Appleseeds, Learning Through History, East West, and Mothering, as well as travel-related articles for To Japan With Love. Her young adult novels include Tanabata Wish, Breathe, Every Reason We Shouldn’t (Tor Teen, 2020) and Faking Reality (Tor Teen, 2021). She lives in Phoenix with her husband and children.


Sep 14

Posted by Tom Baker

In non-pandemic years, the Japan Writers Conference is held on an autumn weekend at a university somewhere in Japan. This year it is being held online (Oct. 15-17), which means you can participate no matter where in the world you are.

At least nine JETs (including classic-edition MEFs) will be among the published writers giving presentations on how to write well – and how to sell your work. These include memoirist Joe Palermo, poet Michael Frazier, poet and picture book author Holly Thompson, textbook author Todd Jay Leonard, and travel consultant Joy Jarman-Walsh. More JET alums are mentioned in the (slightly JET-edited) official press release below:

Published writers to share how they did it

TOKYO (Sept. 14, 2021) – The Japan Writers Conference has announced a lineup of more than 30 presentations by published writers in a variety of fields, from food writing to screenwriting and from to novels to haiku, for its 15th annual event on Oct. 15-17.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s conference will be held online, with Zoom details to be made available at http://japanwritersconference.org/email-updates/. As always, it will be a free, interactive event open to all who are interested in the art, craft and business of writing.

Poetry, memoir, fiction and publishing will be major themes. Tokyo Poetry Journal associate editor Zoria Petkoska will discuss how technology enables “cyber poetry,” while noted haikuist Michael Dylan Welch will look into the past to examine the use of place names. Karen Hill Anton and Lianne Wakabayashi will discuss crafting their Japan-related memoirs. Novelist and JET Joanne Anderton will explore mixing autobiography into speculative fiction, while novelists Charles Kowalski (another JET) and Michael Pronko will speak about creating characters. Multiple writers will share tips on both traditional publishing and self-publishing.

Astrophysicist and author Elizabeth Tasker will participate in a panel discussion on “Social Media for Writers,” while young adult novelist Sara Fujimura will join a panel on “Writing Identity.” Prominent multi-genre author – and JET – Suzanne Kamata will be part of both panels.

For more variety, journalist Melinda Joe will serve up the basics of food writing, photographer Edward Levinson will discuss finding inspiration in nature, filmmaker Yuri Kageyama will premiere a work on the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and “Jeopardy!” quiz show champion Tom Baker, still another JET, will describe how to write trivia questions. And that’s far from all.

Details on this year’s event can be found at http://www.japanwritersconference.org
Inquiries should be directed to japanwritersconference@gmail.com.


Mar 7

Posted by Tom Baker (Chiba 1989-91)

The 15th annual Japan Writers Conference will be held in October this year. The organizers are now looking for writers, editors and publishers to give presentations on the art, craft and business of writing. If you are a writer, now is a good time to think about taking part.

The conference is a free event, held in English. It covers publishable writing of all types: poetry, fiction, journalism, memoir, translation and more.

Past presenters have included best-selling thriller author Barry Eisler, Edgar-winning mystery novelist Naomi Hirahara and “Slumdog Millionaire” creator Vikas Swarup. There have also been presentations by many JET writers over the years, including poets Warren Decker and Michael Frazier, novelists Percival Constantine and Benjamin Martin, journalists Elaine Lies and Tom Baker, textbook author Todd Jay Leonard, and writing renaissance woman Suzanne Kamata. This year’s event will be cohosted by JET alum and novelist Charles Kowalski, together with nonfiction writer Joan Bailey.

Here are the official details:

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

The 2021 Japan Writers Conference will be at Tokai University, Shonan Campus in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, on Saturday, October 16th and Sunday, October 17th, 2020. Hiratsuka is on Sagami Bay, not far from Odawara. As in the past, the conference will be free and open to all who wish to attend. Please mark your calendars and plan to join in. As the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, there is a possibility we’ll have to move online again this year, or it may be a hybrid, with some sessions held live, some online.

All published writers, translators, editors, agents and publishers are welcome to submit presentation proposals for the 2021 Japan Writers Conference. The deadline for your proposal is Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

Please send your proposals via this page on the JWC website: http://japanwritersconference.org/submit-proposal/

We especially encourage proposals from new submitters. One of our strengths has been variety, and the best way to foster variety is to have new presenters each year.

When planning your JWC proposal, keep your audience in mind. Your listeners will be writers and others (translators, editors, publishers, and agents) concerned with creating publishable writing. While teaching, literary studies and private self-expression are all worthy activities, they are not the focus of this conference.

Standard conference sessions are fifty minutes long, but if you have something longer in mind, please let us know and we will accommodate if possible.

To submit a proposal for a conference presentation, send the following information, using the form here to submit: http://japanwritersconference.org/submit-proposal/

1. Your name (or names)
2. Title of presentation (20 words or less)
3. Type of presentation (short lecture with Q&A, craft workshop, panel discussion, reading with Q&A, etc.)
4. Genre (Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, Translation, Instructional, Career)
5. Short summary (50 words or less)
6. Abstract (150 words or less)
7. Personal and professional biography (50 words or less. Mention your publications, as this will be part of the Conference program)
8. Your publications (Need not be complete, but give names of journals and genre for short pieces; title, publisher and date for books; venues and dates for plays, and so on)
9. Are you available on both days?
10. Any special needs?
11. Contact information (email address, telephone number) These remain confidential. Please include everyone who will be part of the presentation.

If you are unable to use the website form, or
have questions concerning your idea or the conference in general, you may use this email address: japanwritersconference@gmail.com

Novelist and JET alum Charles Kowalski will be one of the hosts of the 2021 Japan Writers Conference.


Sep 13

Posted by Tom Baker

Warren Decker and Michael Frazier are two JET poets living in Japan who will each be hosting a workshop at the Oct. 10-11 Japan Writers Conference. This year’s conference is being held online, so you don’t need to be in Japan to attend. For details, see http://japanwritersconference.org. Official descriptions of the workshops appear below.

Warren Decker

Pterodactylic Pentagrameter: Working with Rhyme and Meter

Craft Workshop

Poetry

In this workshop we will focus on poetry that incorporates rhyme and meter. As a participant, please bring 2-10 lines of rhymed and metered poetry for us to discuss. Please also be ready to share your unique techniques for finding the right meter and rhymes for your poetic lines.

Paradoxically, the confines of rhyme and meter can often serve to open unexpected creative doors. One who sets out to write about “fractals” may find “pterodactyls” swooping into their poem. Maintaining a regular pattern of stressed and unstressed beats might lead a poet—after many hours at the keyboard—feeling as though a supernatural rhythmic force is guiding them to choose the perfect words and in the perfect order. 

In this workshop, while looking at specific examples of rhyme and meter as exhibited in the participants’ samples, we will collectively attempt to recall the wonderful technical terminology describing syllabic meter (for example: “iambic pentameter,” and “dactylic tetrameter”), but also consider looser and more intuitive accentual poetic rhythms. 

Furthermore, we will discuss the incredible variation contained within the seemingly simple concept of “rhyme,” focusing on concrete examples to understand how and why certain rhymes work.

Warren Decker has published poetry, fiction and non-fiction in The Best American Poetry 2018, NOON, The Font, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Acorn, The New Ohio Review, THINK, Sou’wester, Fifth Wednesday, and several other online and print journals. He also performs his poetry online and in front of live audiences in Osaka.

Michael Frazier
I AM MY FAMILY (a persona workshop)
Craft Workshop
Poetry

This is a poetry workshop (open to writers of all genres) who are interested in writing about and through their family. We will use the persona form—writing in the voice of family members—to interrogate ourselves. Some poets we’ll look at include Natalie Diaz, Paul Tran, and Julian Randall.

No one can move forward without looking back at where they’ve come from. This is the principle that guides this workshop. Persona poetry is poetry in the voice of someone, or thing, other than ourselves: shiba inu, wild iris, Sailor Moon, Kanye West, or even your bed. We will use the persona to focus on and interrogate our own families and make meaning out of the relationships that have formed us. In order to embody the voices of our family (biological or chosen) we must practice radical empathy. While a persona is in the voice of someone else, my hope is that in the poems we will write, we will turn inwards and learn something new about ourselves. We will look at writers who wield the persona and voices of their family with urgency like Paul Tran, Yalie Kamara, Hiwot Adilow, K-Ming Chang, Natalie Diaz, and Eduardo C. Corral.

Michael Frazier is a poet in Kanazawa. He graduated from NYU, where he was the 2017 poet commencement speaker & co-champion of CUPSI. He’s performed at venues including Nuyorican Poets Café & Lincoln Center. On staff at The Adroit Journal, his poems appear in COUNTERCLOCK, Construction, Visible Poetry Project, among others.


Sep 6

Japan Writers Conference: Todd Jay Leonard discusses the EFL textbook market

Posted by Tom Baker

Textbook author Todd Jay is one of the JET alumni writers who will be giving presentations at the 2020 Japan Writers Conference. Due to the coronavirus, this year’s event is being held online, so you can Zoom in from wherever you are. For details, see http://japanwritersconference.org. Here’s the official description of his presentation:

Todd Jay Leonard
Publishing in the EFL Market in Japan: Four Perspectives on How to Make your Proposal Count
Short lecture with Q & A
Career

This presentation will outline the current publishing market in Japan for EFL/ESL textbooks by reviewing the various points of views of the publishing industry. The presenter has published extensively within the ESL/EFL market in Japan and will offer helpful advice to budding authors who wish to pursue projects geared to Japan’s domestic market.

Most likely, every language teacher in Japan has (at some point during his/her tenure) contemplated writing a textbook to fill a void in the market…in that constant search for the perfect, all encompassing textbook.

In today’s competitive publishing world, getting the proverbial “foot in the door” can seem daunting and nearly impossible. What are publishers looking for in the current market? What appeals to editors who ultimately decide which titles go to production and which ones do not? What are the salespeople on the front lines hearing from their market base? What must an author do in order to get his/her book published?

This presentation focuses on these very questions, offering inside insights from all the various points of view that must be considered when writing a proposal to publish a textbook–the publisher, the editor, the salesperson, and the author. Professor Leonard explains the realities within the publishing industry and addresses some common myths associated with EFL publishing.

Todd Jay Leonard has been actively involved in book publishing for thirty years. He is the author of 22 books. He has published books with a number of different Japanese publishing companies. He lives, writes, and teaches on the southern island of Kyushu, where he is a university professor at University of Teacher Education Fukuoka. He has also published extensively in academic journals, magazines, and newspapers on cross-cultural, historical, and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) themes.


Sep 6

Japan Writers Conference: Suzanne Kamata speaks on writing about characters with disabilities

Posted by Tom Baker

Prolific author Suzanne Kamata is one of several JET alumni writers who will be giving presentations at the 2020 Japan Writers Conference. Due to the coronavirus, this year’s event is being held online, so you can Zoom in from wherever you are. For details, see http://japanwritersconference.org. Here’s the official description of Suzanne’s presentation:

Suzanne Kamata
Wheelchair User or Wheelchair-bound?: Writing About Disability
Short Lecture with Q&A
Fiction, Nonfiction

In this session, I will discuss positive and problematic representations of persons with disabilities in literature, including my own work, with a view to developing better awareness.

With the approach of the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics (hopefully), people with disabilities in Japan have been given more attention than perhaps ever before. English textbooks for Japanese children now frequently include stories about or representations of people with disabilities. Worldwide, initiatives such as #weneeddiversebooks and the call for #ownvoices have led to an increase of  books featuring characters with disabilities. That said, some of these representations, and the way that they are discussed remain problematic. When do stories about disability become “inspiration porn”? What kind of language should we use when discussing disability? Who has the right to tell these stories? In this session, I will address these questions, using examples from recently published Japanese textbooks and literature featuring children in Japan and other countries, including my own work.

Suzanne Kamata is the award-winning author or editor of twelve published books including Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs (Beacon Press, 2008), Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (GemmaMedia, 2013), A Girls’ Guide to the Islands (Gemma Open Door, 2017), Squeaky Wheels: Travels with My Daughter by Train, Plane, Metro, Tuk-tuk and Wheelchair (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2019), and Indigo Girl (GemmaMedia, 2019). She is an Associate Professor at Naruto University of Education.


Sep 6

Charles Kowalski to dissect villains at Japan Writers Conference

Posted by Tom Baker

Many JETs are writers before coming to Japan, while others find that Japan give them something to write about. And many JET writers get involved in the Japan Writers Conference, which this year is being held online, Oct. 10-11.

One of this year’s featured writers is novelist and JET alum Charles Kowalski, who will describe how to give your story a compelling villain.

Here’s the official description of Charles’ presentation:



Masterminds, Minions, and Monsters: Creating 3D Villains
(Craft Workshop)

Create compelling villains that readers will love to hate! This workshop will introduce three main villain motivations (the “3 D’s”) and show how these form seven archetypes, plus six effective recruiting tools for henchmen (FLAMES), the top five justifications for villainy, and how to defeat the villain for a satisfying ending.

“A story is only as good as the villain.” – Clive Barker

Bad guys make good stories, and this workshop will focus on creating compelling villains that readers will love to hate.

Here are the questions to be asked and answered in this workshop.

What makes a compelling villain? How can the BOOM technique help create a villain with a believable backstory?

How do the three main motivations of villains intersect to form seven villain archetypes? What are the common personality characteristics of each?

What are the six tools used by master villains to recruit followers? What are the top five justifications for villainy?

What are the five main patterns of villain defeat and their common variations?

Come find out!

Charles Kowalski is the award-winning author of contemporary thrillers MIND VIRUS and THE DEVIL’S SON, and the Japan-themed historical fantasy SIMON GREY AND THE MARCH OF A HUNDRED GHOSTS. When not writing, he teaches at Tokai University.


Aug 24

Panel discussion on MFAs at 2020 Japan Writers Conference

Posted by Tom Baker

Many JETs are writers before coming to Japan, while others find that Japan give them something to write about. If you’re thinking about furthering your writing career by getting an MFA, then you might want to listen to what JET alums Percival Constantine and Warren Decker have to say about.

The two will be part of a panel discussion at the 14th annual Japan Writers Conference, titled “The MFA: The Good, The Bad, and The Expensive.”

Due to the pandemic, this year’s Japan Writers Conference is being held online, meaning there is no travel involved. Here’s the official description of Percy and Warren’s event:

The MFA: The Good, The Bad, and The Expensive

John Gribble, Kristina Butke, Percival Constantine, Alec McAulay, Warren Decker
Panel Discussion

Should I get an MFA or other graduate-level degree in writing?
Aren’t they expensive? Are they difficult? Are they any good? What sort of program should I look at? What kind of benefits should I expect to receive? These questions and others will be addressed in this session.
Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and other advanced degrees with a writing emphasis have become a viable option for those seeking to improve their writing skills and advance themselves professionally. Some programs are full- or part-time on a university campus, some are on-line, some are hybrids, blending elements of both. The panelists, all with advanced writing degrees, will each talk about the programs they attended, their own experiences and answer your questions.


John Gribble is a noted gasbag. He rarely knows what he is talking about, but he states his ignorant opinions with great vigor. He has spent far too much of his life in school and other institutions. He is also a poet, co-organizer of the Japan Writers Conference and the Tokyo Writers Workshop, and earned his MFA at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.


Kristina Elyse Butke is an American writer, editor, and teacher who indulges in cosplay, art, and all things otaku. She has a BA in English Literature from Capital University and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. A former college English teacher, playwright, and composer, she now writes fantasy and horror. Her work has been published by ExFic, First Class Literary, and Synaeresis Magazine, among others. She’s also worked the convention circuit, presenting panels on writing fanfiction and genre fiction at events such as Ohayocon, Matsuricon, and Colossalcon. In terms of editing, one of her latest projects included subtitle edits for Pied Piper Inc.’s release of the anime Skip Beat!, and she currently edits and contributes to Speculative Chic.


Kristina lives in Kumamoto prefecture in Japan, where she works in multiple high schools as an assistant language teacher. When she isn’t working on all the things, she travels to shrines, hunts for Kumamon, and spends more money than she should at the JUMP shop.


Raised on a consistent diet of superhero comics, action movies, and video games, Percival Constantine wanted to grow up and write the type of fiction he consumed. Now as a prolific author of pulp fiction, he’s written around thirty books across various genres. He’s also the host two podcasts—Japan On Film and Superhero Cinephiles. When he’s not working on projects, he somehow finds time to teach classes in literature, film, and English. Born and raised in Chicago, he’s now based in Kagoshima, Japan.


Alec McAulay is an award-winning writer and director. Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, he has lived in Japan since 1989. He teaches Creative Writing at Yokohama National University. Alec has an MA Screenwriting (Distinction), and a PhD (Screenwriting) from the Faculty of Media & Communication, Bournemouth University. His children’s novel Robot Santa (unpublished) is about a ‘hafu’ Scottish-Japanese girl who builds a robot Santa to save Christmas.


Warren Decker is a teacher and writer based in Izumi, Japan. He has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in The Best American Poetry 2018, The New Ohio Review, Modern Haiku, Sou’wester, and other journals. His first book of poetry The Long Side of the Midnight Sun is available from Isobar Press. He has an MFA in creative writing from the online program at the University of Texas, El Paso.


Sep 24

 

 

Posted by Tom Baker

Novelist and former Aomori Prefecture JET Charles Kowalski, the author of the thrillers “Mind Virus” and “The Devil’s Son,” as well as the new middle-grade novel, “Simon Grey and the March of a Hundred Ghosts,” will present a workshop on giving names to fictional characters at this year’s Japan Writers Conference, happening in Tokyo on Oct. 12-13. Here’s a description of his presentation:

What’s In A Name? Tips and traps in character naming
Craft workshop

Remember the journey into Mordor by the heroic Bingo Baggins? (Of course not, and aren’t you glad?) The naming of characters is a difficult matter, but we will discuss the three main considerations (sound, meaning, and associations) and their applications to genres ranging from contemporary fiction to SF and fantasy, along with pitfalls to avoid.

Charles Kowalski’s debut thriller, MIND VIRUS, won the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Award, and was a finalist for the Killer Nashville Claymore Award and the Adventure Writers’ Grandmaster Award. His first middle-grade novel, SIMON GREY AND THE MARCH OF A HUNDRED GHOSTS, was just released by Excalibur Books.

For more information, visit charleskowalski.com or japanwritersconference.org.


Sep 21

 

Posted by Tom Baker

Kanazawa JET Michael Frazier is set to lead a poetry workshop at this year’s Japan Writers Conference (Oct. 12-13 in Tokyo). Here’s the official description:

Haibun, Tanka, Pecha Kucha—Contemporary English-Language Poets & Japanese Forms
Craft Workshop

This workshop focuses on the influences of unsung Japanese poetic forms on contemporary English language poetry and spoken word. We’ll watch and read haibun, pecha kucha, and tanka. We’ll discuss the forms and write our own poems using one of the forms. This generative workshop is open to writers of all genres.
In particular, we will look at less common forms (haibun & tanka) and newly-invented forms (Origami & Pecha Kucha). The Pecha Kucha, based on a Japanese business presentation style, was pioneered as a poetic form by American poet Terrance Hayes. It is this type of ingenuity this workshop is to focused on. In this workshop we will look at poems by writers of color who practice “re-approaching” by using Japanese forms like Aziza Barnes, Sonia Sanchez, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Amiri Baraka, and Terrance Hayes. We will discuss the content of their poems, why they used the form, and how they reinvented. Participants will be asked to choose a form and write something new in the workshop.

Michael Frazier graduated from NYU, where he was the 2017 Poet Commencement Speaker & College Union Poetry Slam Invitational Co-Champion. He has performed at venues such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, & Gallatin Arts Festival. His poems appear in The Visual Poetry Project, Day One, The Speakeasy Project, & others. Catch him reading poems for The Adroit Journal & teaching SHS in Kanazawa.


Sep 15

 

Posted by Tom Baker

A trio of current JETs – Micah Tasaka, Yoshika Wason, and Michael Frazier – will be among nearly 50 published writers making presentations at this year’s Japan Writers Conference (Oct. 12-13 in Tokyo). Here’s the official description of what they’ll do:

Beyond Borders: Creating Connective Writing Communities
Reading, Panel, and Q&A

In this presentation, we will discuss how to build international writing communities, utilize internet resources, and create publishing opportunities for one another. Ultimately, we want to explore the connective power of writing communities in our home countries and abroad while focusing on creating mutual support and legitimacy for other writers.
While publishing is often thought of as written work being “accepted” by a publisher, we would like to question what publishing means and focus on how to build international communities that support and create opportunities for one another. Through this discussion, we seek to dismantle the scarcity complex that often surrounds publishing and find new ways to get our work in front of audiences by means of collaboration and community support while utilizing internet resources to extend our reach to a global scale. With backgrounds in both written and performance art, we would like to redefine publishing to be more inclusive and community based. By establishing communities that are willing to hear and experience one another’s work, can we create space for more writers to be legitimized? In doing so, how can we ensure that those who exist in the margins are also heard from and not just established writers?

Micah Tasaka is a queer mixed Japanese poet and spoken word artist from the Inland Empire, California, residing in Fukui prefecture, Japan. They received their undergraduate degree in creative writing from the University of California, Riverside. Micah is a community organizer and has taught workshops on publishing manuscripts, poetry performance skills, and using poetry as healing for trauma survivors. Their first full length manuscript, Expansions, was released on Jamii Publishing in 2017, and their work has appeared in In the Words of Women, Name and None, and Nikkei Uncovered among others.
www.micahtasaka.com

Yoshika Wason is a teacher and writer. She earned her BA from Boston College, where she was Editor in Chief of ASIAM, an Asian Pacific Islander American literary magazine. She is continuing her work in the API community through her current role as Co President of the Asian Pacific Islander Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching (API AJET.) Yoshika is working on her first full length poetry manuscript currently titled Second Chances for Fallen Blessed Children and also has a self published micro chapbook called Extra Bold. She currently writes a monthly education column
called Today’s Lesson and has been published in Ghost City Review, Rice Paper Magazine, The Paper Napkin, and elsewhere. Learn more at
www.yoshikawason.com

Michael Frazier graduated from NYU, where he was the 2017 Poet Commencement Speaker & College Union Poetry Slam Invitational Co-Champion. He has performed at venues such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, & Gallatin Arts Festival. His poems appear in The Visual Poetry Project, Day One, The Speakeasy Project, & others. Catch him reading poems for The Adroit Journal & teaching SHS in Kanazawa.

For more information about this year’s Japan Writers Conference, visit www.japanwritersconference.org.


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