East Anglia Job Posting: Senior Lecturer in CNF


Exciting news in the world of CNF: East Anglia, where W. G. Sebald taught, is hiring a senior lecturer in CNF. The email that accompanied the link read:

“This post has just gone out for the University of East Anglia’s creative writing programme, for a senior lecturer in creative nonfiction. It is the first time ever that UEA (the pioneer in creative writing at HE level in the UK) has explicitly created a nonfiction post.”

You can find the full job posting here. Best to all who apply.

[Image: Jon Page]

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Words of Wisdom on Jobs and Writing

Today I came across some of the soundest and least hysterical advice for emerging writers that I’ve read in a while. It comes from the AWP‘s (Association of Writers and Writing Programs’) Guide to Career Services, 2012 edition. Tucked away at the bottom of a section called “Be a Good Steward of Your Talents” is this lucid and powerful paragraph:

Because academe does not necessarily pay a higher salary for higher education, you may sometimes feel coerced to devalue your education and your time. Don’t let this happen. Your time as a writer and as a reader is invaluable. Protect it. Remind yourself that, as a writer, your education is never complete; you must always write more, read more, experience more, learn more.


[Photo: jitze]

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Job Opportunity: Publicity Workshop Leader (Canada)

Work with Writers from Coast to Coast

The Writers’ Union is seeking two members who are subject matter experts and skilled presenters to create and deliver professional development workshops on the topic of “How to be Your Own Publicist.”

Specifically we are seeking one member who can present on traditional but innovative book marketing and one who can present on maximizing digital marketing platforms and new media.  Both presenters should have a track record of success in self-marketing and be engaging speakers.

Each presenter will be responsible for:

§         developing and delivering three-hour presentations in a series of full-day workshops in five Canadian cities,

§         developing and delivering a condensed presentation for two shorter webcast sessions, and

§         providing a 600-word article based on their presentation for publication in Write magazine.

All workshops are expected to be delivered in February or March in 2012 and again in 2013.

Fees, travel and accommodation are paid in accordance with the program budget.

The Professional Development program is made possible with assistance from the Department of Canadian Heritage. Its purpose is to enhance the careers of book writers, whether unpublished, emerging, or established.

Interested members are invited to submit an expression of interest including:

§         an outline of their proposed presentation, and

§         a brief bio highlighting their self-marketing and presentation experience

to Kelly Duffin, Executive Director of the Writers’ Union of Canada. Submission deadline is September 16, 2011.

For any questions, contact Kelly at kduffin@writersunion.ca or 416-703-8982 ext 221.

[Photo: Jasoon]

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Back from Washington DC: A Few Thoughts on the AWP Conference

The AWP stands for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. It’s a professional association, much like the MLA (Modern Language Association) or the APA (American Philological Association). These organizations offer a number of services to their members: they publish journals, coordinate job listings, and organize annual conferences.

Though it was my first time at the AWP Conference, I’ve been to a bunch of similar events, normally held in a series of big overheated and overpriced hotels in a big city.

The vibe tends to be a bit hysteric, suspicious and overly competitive. So, I was pleased to discover that the atmosphere at the AWP was far cooler and much friendlier. And this is probably the case because in Washington there were three kinds of conference participants: writing students, writing teachers, and writers, or combination thereof (writers who teach, writers completing degrees, writers who write).

And while at other academic conferences, there’s a lot of anxiety about prestige and success (overwhelmingly measured by the ivy-leagueness of one’s home institution), the same things seem to be measured differently at the AWP.

Writers are interested in writing. They are interested in other writers. And because they spend so much time working in isolation, writers get pretty excited when there are others around who understand the writing process and have something intelligent to say about it.

I, for one, found the experience exhilarating.

I went to a talk on the Essay in the 21st Century, where the room was packed with people who also loved the form and wondered about its unsexy appellation.

Next, I heard a truly fascinating presentation on setting in nonfiction by Kristen Iversen, author of Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Shadow of Rocky Flats. She talked about writing about her home town and childhood spent downstream from a secret factory that built triggers for nuclear bombs, and the environmental devastation that has resulted. Though no visible trace of the factory remains, the land (about to be opened as a park to hikers) is plutonium-riddled.

Finally, the session I went to on Strategies in the New Nonfiction was so packed that I had to sit on the floor. There was talk of technology, imagination and (most interesting to me) narrative tension. Author Stephen Elliot (TheRumpus.net) talked about the economy of narrative, and how backstory “costs” tension. In other words, if you want to veer from your narrative arc, you have to be able to afford it. And to afford it, you have to have earned enough narrative tension. It’s the first time I’ve thought about story-telling in these terms, and I’m not sure I completely understand yet, but I have a feeling that this will prove to be an important lesson.

Writers talking about writing creates a great vibe. There’s a sense of community and of real conversation — surprising at a conference with 6,000 participants. But anxiety creeps in when talk turns to teaching. In some ways, these pedagogical conversations were even more instructive.

There has been a rapid proliferation of writing programs in the US recently, yet the jury is still out on so many aspects of creative writing programs: does the workshop work as a pedagogical form? can writing be taught at all? are such programs doing a disservice to their students in some way by sending them out into the world with dreams but bleak prospects? how should such programs address the crisis in publishing?

The good news is that all of this is on the minds of those who work in the field.

All in all, it was a great experience. If you’re a writer in search of a hit of professionalism or wider context, do check out the AWP.

And now, back to work. Gotta start earning that narrative tension.

[Photo: chavelli]

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Job Posting: Writers’ Union of Canada, Executive Director

The Writers’ Union of Canada

Deadline: June 29, 2010

Job Description: Executive Director


The Position Summary:

Reporting to the National Council Executive, the Executive Director is the senior staff officer of the Union, responsible for its successful leadership and management under the strategic direction set by the National Council.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

The Executive Director performs some or all of the following:


· Participates with the National Council in developing a strategic plan to guide the Union

· Identifies, assesses, and informs the National Council of internal and external issues that affect the Union

· Acts as a professional advisor to the National Council on all aspects of the Union‘s activities

· Fosters effective teamwork throughout the organization

· Conducts official correspondence on behalf of and/or in coordination with the National Council as appropriate

· Represents the organization at public activities to enhance the Union‘s community profile

Operational planning and management

· Develops an operational plan to implement the strategic plan of the Union

· Ensures that the operation of the Union meets the expectations of its members, National Council and funders

· Oversees the efficient and effective day-to-day operation of the Union

· Drafts policies for the approval of the National Council and prepares implementation procedures; regularly reviews existing policies and recommends changes to the National Council as appropriate

· Ensures that personnel and member files are securely stored and privacy/ confidentiality is maintained

· Supports the National Council by preparing meeting agendas and support materials, and by comprehensively assisting at the Annual General Meeting and all National Council meetings

Program planning and management

· Oversees the planning, implementation and evaluation of the Union’s programs, services and special projects, ensuring that they contribute to the Union‘s mission and reflect the priorities of the National Council

· Monitors the day-to-day delivery of programs and services to maintain or improve quality

Human resources planning and management

· Determines staffing requirements for organizational management and program delivery

· Oversees the implementation of human resources policies, procedures and practices including the development of job descriptions for all staff

· Recruits, interviews and selects staff that have the right technical and personal abilities to help further the organization’s mission

· Ensures that all staff receive an orientation to the organization and appropriate training

· Establishes a positive, healthy and safe work environment in accordance with all appropriate legislation and regulations

· Coaches and mentors staff as appropriate to improve performance

· Implements a performance management process for all staff which includes regularly monitoring staff performance and conducting an annual performance review

· Disciplines staff when necessary using appropriate techniques; releases staff when necessary using appropriate and legally defensible procedures

Financial planning and management

· Works with staff, the Treasurer and National Council to prepare a comprehensive budget

· Works with the National Council to secure adequate funding for the operation of the Union

· Researches funding sources, oversees the development of fundraising plans, writes proposals, and participates in fundraising activities to increase Union revenues

· Approves expenditures within the authority delegated by the National Council

· Ensures that sound bookkeeping and accounting procedures are followed

· Administers the funds of the Union according to the approved budget and monitors monthly cash flow

· Provides the National Council with comprehensive, regular reports on the revenues and expenditures of the Union

· Ensures that the Union complies with all legislation covering taxation and withholding payments

Community relations/advocacy

· Communicates with members and sector partners to keep them informed of the work of the Union and to identify changes in the community served by the Union

· Establishes good working relationships and collaborative arrangements with community groups, funders, politicians, and other organizations

· Heightens and enhances the Union’s public profile

· Publicizes the Union’s positions on issues as directed by National Council

· Researches arts issues, becomes familiar with government departments, and prepares background papers on policies affecting Union members

· Advocates on behalf of the Union by lobbying federal and provincial governments to forward the interests of Canada’s book writers

Risk management

· Identifies and evaluates the risks to the Union‘s people (members, staff,  volunteers), property, finances, goodwill, and image, and implements measures to control risks

· Ensures that the National Council and the Union carry appropriate and adequate insurance coverage, and that the Board and staff understand the terms, conditions and limitations of that coverage



· University degree in a related field

Knowledge, skills and abilities

· Knowledge of leadership and management principles as they relate to National Arts Service /non-profit/ voluntary organizations

· Knowledge of all federal and provincial legislation applicable to voluntary sector organizations including: employment standards, human rights, occupational health and safety, charities, taxation, CPP, EI, health coverage etc…

· Knowledge of current community challenges and opportunities relating to the mission of the Union

· Knowledge of human resources management

· Knowledge of financial management

· Knowledge of project management

· Knowledge of marketing and communications

Proficiency in the use of computers for:

· Word processing

· Financial management

· E-mail

· Internet research

· Marketing and communications, including social networking

Personal characteristics

The Executive Director should demonstrate competence in some or all of the following:

· Adapts Well: Demonstrates a willingness to be flexible, versatile and/or tolerant in a changing work environment while maintaining effectiveness and efficiency.

· Behaves Ethically: Understands ethical behaviour and business practices, and ensures that his/her own behaviour and the behaviour of others is consistent with these standards and aligns with the values of the Union.

· Thinks Strategically: Assesses options and actions based on trends and conditions in the environment, and the vision and values of the Union.

· Builds Relationships: Establishes and maintains positive working relationships with others, both internally and externally, to achieve the goals of the Union.

· Communicates Effectively: Speaks, listens and writes in a clear, thorough and timely manner excelling in the use of all effective methods of public communication on behalf of the Union.

· Demonstrates Creativity and Innovation: Develops new and unique ways to improve the operations of the Union and to create new opportunities.

· Focuses on Member Needs: Anticipates, understands, and responds to the needs of members and sector partners to meet or exceed their expectations within the Union’s scope of work.

· Fosters Teamwork: Works cooperatively and effectively with others to set goals, resolve problems and enhance organizational effectiveness.

· Excels in Research: Conducts thorough and useful research into writing and other arts-related issues to support informed decision-making by National Council and to enhance member services.

· Leads Effectively: Influences others in positive ways to achieve results that further the work of the Union.

· Makes Decisions: Assesses situations to determine the importance, urgency and risks, and makes clear decisions which are timely and in the best interests of the Union.

· Plans and Organizes: Determines strategies, sets priorities, develops a work schedule, monitors progress towards goals, and evaluates the process and results.

· Solves Problems: Assesses problem situations to identify causes, gathers and processes relevant information, generates possible solutions, and makes recommendations and/or resolves the problem.


· 5 or more years of progressive management experience in a not for profit organization

Working Conditions

· The Executive Director usually works in an office environment, but the mission of the organization may sometimes take him or her to non standard workplaces. Some travel is usually required.

· The Executive Director works a standard work week, but additionally will often work evening and weekends, to accommodate activities such as National Council meetings and representing the organization at public events.

[Photo: Chapendra]

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