Suzanne Strempek Shea

February 2015 Update

Happy winter!

You’ve read this here before: I love winter.

So I’m loving this late-but-great start to big snow and cold.

I’m just back from teaching at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program in creative writing  and looking back on a wonderful ten days with faculty and students who gather twice a year for a writing residency in one of the loveliest parts of the world. I’ve been spending some of these afternoons skiing down the street to help out at my neighbor’s, Blue Star Equiculture,  a draft horse rescue and farm that is an amazing presence in this part of the world. If you’re in Western Massachusetts, do stop by to see what this dynamic place does for retired carriage horses from New York City and Philadelphia, and for horses in need of a home and loving care. Here’s a photo of two of my friends from the farm horsing around on a rare recent sunny afternoon.

Two legs or four. I hope you’re safe and warm in all this, wherever you are, and that reading books is keeping you company.

If you’d like some from an overseas source, take a look at the lovely spread The Irish Times recently gave to an essay on and excerpt from “This Is Paradise: An Irish Mother’s Grief, an African Village’s Plight and the Medical Clinic That Brought Fresh Hope to Both.”

I’m very grateful for the attention to the book, and thank editor Joyce Hickey for her interest in the story.

Those intrigued in the book’s subjects, Mags Riordan and The Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic, should check the events listings on this page. Mags will be flying over from Malawi for a few weeks of talks with me in March. To date bookings include Cheshire, Conn. on March 19; Portland, Maine, on March 24; Wells, Maine, and West Springfield, Mass., on March 25; and Kingston, Mass., on March 26. If your group would be interested in hosting Mags, do let me know.

Maybe some writing of your own is on your list of resolutions for this new year? If so...

  • Get your literary self off to a great start by marking your calendar for two events this month at Bay Path University, 588 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow, Mass.
  • Poets Ted Deppe and Annie Deppe of Co. Galway, Ireland, will begin a rare American tour with a reading open to the public free of charge Thursday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. Copies of both poets' books, including Ted Deppe's acclaimed new collection, "Beautiful Wheel," will be available for sale and signing.
  • On Saturday, Feb. 14, at Bay Path's eleventh Writers' Day, Ted Deppe will give a talk titled "Taking It All the Way to Coleman’s: On Abandoning the Good for the Marvelous." He will be joined by speakers Charles Coe, on "Writing About Those Close to You - The Joys and the Terrors"; Bruce DeSilva, on "Writing Crime"; Penny Guisinger, on "Grant Writing"; Nell Lake, on "How I Went Deep: Writing Intimate Stories About Other People"; and Roland Merullo, on "The Demons of the Blank Page." I'll be there to help check you in, sell the speakers' books and introduce. To register:
  • And do some of that writing farther afield - as in Ireland - this summer. Join Tommy and me as we lead a week of writing in gorgeous Dingle, July 25 to Aug. 1. Offered through Bay Path University’s all-online MFA program in nonfiction, the week is open to both students in the program and the public. All genres are welcome. I’m thrilled that the faculty will be Ann Hood, Ted Deppe, Richard Hoffman and Tommy Shea.

Whatever’s on your calendar, I hope it’ll make for a brilliant new year.

I’m off to shovel out.

Thanks for reading!


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