Expat Sat: The Expat’s Literary Life

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writing. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


When I landed in Shanghai in 2006, I wanted what I’d left behind in the States: a vibrant, nurturing, ass-kicking, writerhead-feeding writing community.

I was hungry for it.

Starving, really.

For months, I’d been packing, moving, marrying, organizing for moving and marrying, organizing for organizing, and so on.

I wanted—no, needed—to get back to the writing.

After all, novel #2 was on the tip of my tongue. I had at least a dozen essays hopping around in my noggin. And there I was, immersed in a country that was setting my passion for place on fire.

Fire!

But

(as I already knew)

(though perhaps had blocked in order to survive)

growing

a

writing

community

anywhere

(let alone in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language)

was

not

an

easy

task.

So despite my need for speed, it was sssssssssllllllllllloooooooowwwwwwwww.

How did I do it?

First, I found a writing group (via an article in a Shanghai expat magazine).

Next I found M on the Bund…quite possibly the world’s most amazing international literary hub.

Then I found a writer friend. A really amazing writer friend whose brilliant, sparkling writerhead ignited my writerhead…and vice versa.

Then I started a reading series for writers.

And then (to make a long story short) I also…

  • took on a couple of students
  • joined Facebook
  • started yakking with writers around the world on Twitter
  • published a novel in the U.S.
  • published a bunch of essays in various publications
  • spoke at some writers conferences
  • started teaching classes

In short, I worked my arse off. I shared what I wanted to receive. I reached out and touched someone (no, no, not literally!)…I simply mean that I reached out, found people who cared about books, words, and writing, and then kept them in my life.

Happy to say that nearly five years after I landed in Shanghai (just as I was leaving, of course), I’d grown exactly what I’d been seeking: a vibrant, nurturing, ass-kicking, writerhead-feeding writing community.

Booyah!

_____

Qs4U: What is your literary life like in your host country? How did you create it? How do you nurture it? Is it everything you want it to be? What would you like to be different? What’s missing? What’s brilliant about it?

 

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Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Expat Sat: M Literary Residency Program Invites Applications

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writing. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing and publishing to expat writers around the globe.


Today I want to share an amazing opportunity for writers with an interest in China and/or India…a 3-month literary residency in one of those two countries that includes transportation to and from the country, an apartment, and a stipend.

Crazy good opportunity for writers, huh?

Told ya so.

From the Residency page at the “M on the Bund” website:

“The M Literary Residency Program has been established to disseminate a broader knowledge of contemporary life and writing in India and China today and to foster deeper intellectual, cultural and artistic links across individuals and communities. Applicants are invited to apply for three-month residencies in India or China.”

Applications for the 2012-13 Residency are now being accepted.

The application deadline is Friday, July 1, 2011.

Decisions will be announced October 31, 2011.

To find out more (and to download program guidelines and an application form), please visit M’s Residency.

So if qualify, scooch your patootie over to the site and apply. Come on…time’s a’wasting.