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Meet Aspen Words' 2018 Writers in Residence



In Collaboration with the Catto Shaw Foundation
Aspen Words is proud to introduce the six authors participating in the Writers in Residence program this year. Each writer will spend one month in Woody Creek, Colorado, working on a project-in-progress, and will read and discuss his or her work at free community events held monthly from May through October at Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar in Aspen. This year, two authors also will do events at The Temporary in Basalt. These hour-long events are free and open to the public. We hope you'll join us! Read on for info about the residents and the public events schedule.
Tuesday, May 22 @ 5:30 p.m. | HOOCH, Aspen
Alex Mar is a writer based in her hometown of New York City. Her first book, “Witches of America,” was a New York Times Notable Book of 2015 in nonfiction, a New York Times Editors’ Pick, one of The Millions Most Anticipated Books of 2015, one of The Believer’s Favorite Books, Huffington Post Books Most Notable of 2015 and a Marie Claire Top Book-Club Pick. Some of her recent work has appeared in The Believer, New York Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Elle, Tin House, The Oxford American (where she is a contributing editor) and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2015.
Tuesday, June 12 @ 6:00 p.m. I THE TEMPORARY, Basalt 
Francisco Cantú served as an agent for the U.S. Border Patrol from 2008 to 2012. A former Fulbright fellow, he recently received an MFA in nonfiction from the University of Arizona. His essays and translations appear frequently in Guernica, and his work can also be found in “The Best American Essays 2016,” Ploughshares, and Orion, among others. He lives in Tucson, Arizona. “The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border” is Cantu’s account of his time tracking human border crossers. It was published by Riverhead Books in February 2018 and became an instant New York Times best-seller.
Tuesday, July 10 @ 6:00 p.m. | THE TEMPORARY, Basalt
Tuesday, July 24 @ 5:30 p.m. | HOOCH, Aspen
Kevin Fedarko has written for Esquire, National Geographic, The New York Times, and other publications. He studied at Columbia University and Oxford before joining the staff at Time, where he served on the foreign affairs desk, then later worked as a senior editor at Outside. His first book, “The Emerald Mile,” which was a New York Times bestseller, won the National Outdoor Book Award and the Reading the West Award, and was a finalist for both the PEN Literary Sports Writing Award and the Banff Mountain Book Award. Fedarko lives and works in Flagstaff.
Tuesday, August 21 @ 5:30 p.m. | HOOCH, Aspen
Geetha Kothari is the nonfiction editor of The Kenyon Review. Her writing has appeared in various anthologies and journals, including New England Review, Massachusetts Review and others. Her essay “If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I?” is widely taught in universities and has been reprinted in several anthologies, including in “Best American Essays.” She is the editor of “Did My Mama Like to Dance? And Other Stories about Mothers and Daughters” and recently published a short story collection, “I Brake for Moose and Other Stories.”  
Tuesday, September 18 @ 5:30 p.m. | HOOCH, Aspen
Carole DeSanti is vice president and executive editor at Viking Penguin, Penguin Random House. Known for championing high-quality literary and commercial fiction, Carole’s fiction list includes Dorothy Allison’s contemporary classic “Bastard out of Carolina,” Melissa Bank’s “The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing,” the novels of Terry McMillan, Booker Prize finalist Ruth Ozeki’s “A Tale for the Time Being” and the No. 1 best-selling novels of Deborah Harkness, among others.  Her nonfiction includes titles in the memoir, health and psychology area, including David Servan-Schreiber’s acclaimed “Anticancer, A New Way of Life”  and George Hodgman’s New York Times best-selling memoir “Bettyville.” Her critically acclaimed novel “The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R.” was published in 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Tuesday, October 18 @ 5:30 p.m. | HOOCH, Aspen
Yolanda Wisher is the 2016-17 poet laureate of Philadelphia. Wisher has been a force within Philadelphia’s literary scene for the past two decades, upholding poetry as a public art. She holds a B.A. in English and Black Studies from Lafayette College and an M.A. in Creative Writing/Poetry from Temple University. She is the author of the poetry volume “Monk Eats an Afro” and co-edited the anthology “Peace is a Haiku Song” with mentor and first Philadelphia poet laureate Sonia Sanchez. She has led and curated many innovative and community-driven programs with local and national partners, including The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Rosenbach Museum and Library, Jefferson University, Historic Germantown, LiveConnections and the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture. In April 2017, in collaboration with Philadelphia Contemporary, she organized the Outbound Poetry Festival. Her writings have been featured in a variety of media including GOOD Magazine, PennSound, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Citizen, among others. A Pew Fellow, Cave Canem Fellow and Hedgebrook Writer in Residence, she is currently the 2017-2018 CPCW Fellow in Poetics and Poetic Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.

Workshop: Writing Dialogue That Works

MAY 16 I 5:45 p.m.-6:45 p.m. I Pitkin County Library, Aspen
Dialogue can be a powerful tool for characterization, motivation, plot advancement and emotion. Great dialogue works on several levels. It provides context and subtext. It shows the reader what your character says, how he says it and what he really means. Bad dialogue is hard to read and bogs down the action of your story. How do you make sure your dialogue elevates rather than deflates? In this workshop, presented by award-winning novelist Tiffany Quay Tyson, who’ll join us via Skype from Denver, where she teaches at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, we’ll explore rhythm, pacing, phrasing, attribution and more. Registration not required.

Summer Words Workshop: Beginning Writing

June 18-22 I 9 a.m.-12 p.m.I The Gant, Aspen
This workshop, taught by novelist and writing professor Helen Schulman, is for anyone, experienced or not, who wants to write a story!  Over the course of five days we will use the natural beauty of Aspen, as well as its crazy-quilt mix of personalities and high-low aesthetics to inspire new work.  We'll concentrate on such building blocks of fiction as: how to craft an opening, create characters, put them in a scene together, build descriptive writing chops, write (and steal) dialogue and find stories inside us and in the world around us. The workshop should be fun, warm, inclusive and respectful.  We'll also read published stories in and out of class as writers, which means reading strategically: learning to mine the work we love most for craft elements.

Readers Retreat: Great Stories from Vanity Fair Magazine

June 18-20 I 9 a.m.-12 p.m. I The Gant, Aspen
Bruce Handy, former deputy editor and current contributing editor at Vanity Fair, will provide a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into a great piece of magazine journalism. We'll examine stories by authors such as Ingrid Sischy, Sam Tanenhaus, Peter Biskind and more, in genres ranging from profiles to investigative reporting to reported essays. Expect a focus on nitty-gritty aspects of craft, reporting and editing. Expect a little gossip, too.



Media partner: Aspen Magazine





















4th of July Parade Waiver



PARADE STARTING/STAGING: The parade will begin at 11:00am. Parade positioning is “first come, first serve” and line up begins no earlier than 10:00am. There is no entry fee and the parade is open to the public. All 5 lanes of Main Street, from Aspen Street to 2nd Street, will be closed to all traffic & designated for parade staging only. Power is not provided in staging area and remember generators do need gas.

PARADE ROUTE: The parade will start East on Main Street. It will turn South onto Hunter Street, then West onto Cooper Avenue. The parade will continue West on Cooper Avenue to Galena Street. At Galena it heads North for 2 blocks before turning West onto Hopkins Avenue. The parade will continue South on Mill then West on Hyman Avenue. Parade participants will be directed to disperse at Hyman and Monarch Street.  PARADE JUDGING: Parade judging will take place in front of the Hotel Jerome. Participants will be limited to 1 minute or less for any performances in front of the judges. Security will be onsite monitoring all entries to help prevent gaps in the parade route. Recognition will be awarded to the best entries in the following categories: 

Most Patriotic | Most Humorous | Best Animal | Best Music | Most Outrageous | Best Children’s  


  • Consumption of alcohol is prohibited during the parade.
  • Candy, favors, etc. should not be thrown from your float/vehicle during the parade. This is for the safety of the spectators and to prevent children from running out into the street. 
  • Water balloons will not be permitted. According to city ordinances, those caught throwing balloons will be removed from the parade and could face citations and/or arrests. 
  • All parade entries must be in “good taste” and will be allowed in the parade per the director’s discretion. 
  • Maximum height restriction for any float entry is 13’5”.


The undersigned organization has elected to participate in the Fourth of July parade sponsored by the City of Aspen and Aspen Chamber Resort

Association (“ACRA”). In consideration for City of Aspen and ACRA allowing the undersigned to participate in the festivities, the undersigned has read, understood, and willingly agreed to the terms of this INSURANCE LIABILITY AGREEMENT and WAIVER AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT (collectively referred to herein as “RELEASE”).


                                    Participants are required to carry insurance adequate to cover any liability for damage, injury, economic loss, or other

liability that may be incurred by individuals and/or organizations during the Fourth of July parade. All participants agree to carry such insurance, and also agree not to submit any claim against the insurance of City of Aspen, ACRA and/or any other sponsors of the parade, their officers, directors, agents, shareholders, employees, or anyone else directly or indirectly connected with production of the parade.


                                         The undersigned understands the potential dangers that could be encountered in participating in the Fourth of July

parade. The dangers include, among other things, dangers relating to vehicular and pedestrian traffic; crowds of persons in close proximity to such traffic; animals that may react unpredictably in a parade environment; celebration and recreational activities; loud and unexpected noise; items that may be thrown to and from the crowd in connection with the parade; and other dangers traditionally associated with parades.

      Understanding those risks, the undersigned for itself and for all persons who the undersigned invites or allows to participate in the parade with the undersigned, does hereby agree to indemnify, hold harmless, and release City of Aspen, ACRA and/or any other sponsors of the parade, their

officers, directors, agents, shareholders, employees, and anyone else directly or indirectly connected with production of the parade from any and all

liability, claims, demands, actions, or rights of action (including attorneys’ fees and costs) that are related to or are in any way connected with the

undersigned’s participation in the parade. By signing this RELEASE, the undersigned intends to extinguish any and all liability and to indemnify against any loss on the part of City of Aspen, ACRA and/or any other sponsors of the parade, their officers, directors, agents, shareholders, employees, and anyone else directly or indirectly connected with production of the parade for any injury or damage of any nature (without regard to negligence or fault) to the undersigned and to all persons who the undersigned invites or allows to participate in the parade.

                                      The undersigned warrants and represents that it will not invite or allow any person to participate in the parade unless

such person is bound to the terms of this RELEASE. To that end, the undersigned agrees that it shall take any steps necessary to secure agreement of such persons to the terms of this RELEASE, and that it shall be deemed a responsible person within the meaning of C.R.S. § 13-22-107 and § 19-1103(94) for all children who the undersigned invites or allows to participate in the parade.


   I am the official representative of the undersigned organization. On behalf of the organization, I acknowledge our responsibilities as set forth above. I also accept on behalf of the organization all of the terms and conditions of this


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