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Kerouac House Newsletter – November 2019

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News from the Kerouac Project

Incoming Resident Threa Almontaser

Threa Almontaser is a Yemeni-American writer, translator, and multimedia artist from New York City. A first generation college student, she is a MFA graduate from North Carolina State University and the recipient of scholarships from the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and others.

Nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best New Poets, she is winner of the 2019 Claire Keyes Poetry Award, the 2018 Brett Elizabeth Jenkins Poetry Prize, the 2017 Unsilenced Grant for Muslim American Women Writers, and more. Her work is published in or forthcoming from Sundress Publications, Oxford Review, Nimrod International Journal, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and elsewhere.

She teaches English to immigrants and refugees in Raleigh and enjoys traveling to places not easily found on a map. For more, please visit

Chelsey Clammer’s farewell reading is happening at the Kerouac House on Saturday, November 16 at 7:30 PM. Come hear some of what Chelsey has been working on during her residency, and bid her a fond farewell before she heads back to Austin, Texas.

More information is on the Kerouac House Facebook page.

Kerouac Alumni News

Sion Dayson’s Documentary

There’s a short documentary film about Sion Dayson’s time living in the Kerouac house (Winter 2013-14). The director, Frederic Monpierre, made it several years ago for her birthday. Then they realized it was possibly more than simply a sweet home movie., and it has appeared in a few film festivals!

The film was recently released online via In
In the short film Sion reads snippets from her then-unpublished manuscript.

Mona Washington’s Residency and Radio Play

Congratulations to Mona (Fall 2010) for completing her second Dora Maar Fellowship in Provence, France in March 2019., where she was researching a play about James Baldwin. Shortly before that, she was commissioned to write a radio play by WXPN, in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writer’s House.

Darlyn Finch Kuhn is Running Jax by Jax Literary Festival

Darlyn (Winter 2006-07) is running the annual Jax by Jax Literary Arts Festival, which is held this year on Saturday, November 16. If you want to be a part of next year’s festival, visit the website and fill out an application.

Darlyn Finch Kuhn Also Has a Podcast

Darlyn and her husband Brad also host a writing podcast called Scribbler’s Corner. Each episode features casual conversations with writers about writing. Click the link for more information, or search for it on your favorite podcast app.

Past resident Erik Deckers on The Drunken Odyssey

Check out episode 388 of The Drunken Odyssey podcast featuring our Spring 2016 resident and board member, Erik Deckers, hosted by board member, John King.

In this episode, John “interview(s) Erik Deckers about how he finished the novel he began as a resident at the Kerouac Project of Orlando.” Erik recently published his first novel, Mackinac Island Nation, and he and John discussed the book and the place humor and satire has in literature.

Book Launch at the Kerouac House

Board member John King held a launch party at the Kerouac House for his new novel, Guy Psycho And The Ziggurat Of Shame, to an enthusiastic crowd.

John read a few excerpts from his novel, which follows alcoholic lounge singer, Guy Psycho, and his Postmodernaires as they re-enact the epic of Gilgamesh inside a mountain in Tennessee, because why wouldn’t you?

The launch was a mingling smash, with a brief reading from the post-modern novel and a zany raffle of literary artifacts, including a signed copy of Jamie Poissant’s The Heaven of Animals, A poster cover of Walter Mosley’s Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore (also signed!), and a gift package of Bachelor Pad Magazine.

If you would like to host your own book launch or writing workshop,during our “free” times at the Kerouac House, please contact us.

Meet a Board Member: Vanessa Blakeslee

Vanessa Blakeslee is the author of three acclaimed books of literary fiction, Train Shots, Juventud, and most recently, Perfect Conditions, winner of the Foreword Reviews’ 2018 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award for Short Stories (Gold).

A native of Pennsylvania, Vanessa has lived in Central Florida for over twenty years. She is an alumnus of Rollins College, UCF, and Vermont College of Fine Arts where she earned her MFA in Writing, and subsequently served as Graduate Assistant for three residencies. From 2009-2011, she founded and directed Maitland Poets & Writers, a community organization which focuses on expanding the literary arts throughout Central Florida, as part of the Performing Arts of Maitland (PAM). Trained in the Amherst Writers & Artists’ method, she has led writing workshops in museums, high schools, and libraries, and is delighted for the opportunity to do so again for the Kerouac Project’s new quarterly “Write-In” series that will kick off in 2020. She has served as a judge for the Florida Review Jeanne Leiby Chapbook Award as well as the Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.

Vanessa brings a wealth of expertise to our Board, having been awarded grants and residencies from Yaddo, Writers Omi, The Banff Centre, VCCA, the Ragdale Foundation, and many others. For more, please visit her website

From the blog: Erik Deckers’ Visit to the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac 2019 Festival

Jack Kerouac loved his flannel shirts. Loved them so much, he wore them in the hot Florida summers, taking three cold showers a day trying to cool off. Only to put another flannel shirt back on so he could complain about the heat again.

That fact popped into my head when I showed up in Lowell, Massachusetts for this year’s Lowell Celebrates Kerouac festival. I was greeted at the kickoff event by a small army of plaid flannel shirt-wearing Kerouac fans, and knew I was in the right place.

I had been invited to participate in the festival, in my capacity as a board member as well as a former writer-in-residence. I was going to speak about the Orlando Kerouac House and the residency program, give a response to an academic lecture, judge a high school poetry contest, and read at an open mic.

To read the rest of Erik’s trip, please visit our blog.

Speaking of the Drunken Odyssey, board member John King has interviewed writers from around the world. We encourage you to check them out.

Chelsey Clammer (our current/Fall 2019 resident has appeared on The Drunken Odyssey before! She’ll do her regular Kerouac farewell interview in a few weeks, but if you want to meet Chelsey now, here’s a 2018 interview with John.




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