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Member of the Month: Kwoya Fagin Maples

When Kwoya Fagin Maples told me she wanted to become a member of See Jane Write, I was elated — and nervous.

Kwoya is my colleague at the Alabama School of Fine Arts where she teaches in the Creative Writing department, so I’m aware of how talented she is. She has an MFA from the University of Alabama and is a Cave Canem Fellow. In 2010 she published her chapbook Something of Yours through Finishing Line Press and her work has appeared in several journals and anthologies including The African-American Review, PLUCK, Cave Canem Anthology XIII, The Birmingham Poetry Review, Right Hand Pointing  and Sow’s Ear Poetry Review. As an instructor at ASFA, Kwoya has developed a three-dimensional poetry exhibit which features poetry and visual art including original paintings, photography, installations and film. With that kind of resume, I wondered, what could I offer her?!

But Kwoya was seeking community, courses, and coaching that would help her better market her work and herself as a writer and that would help her reach more of her life and literary goals. She’s done exactly that, which is why she is the See Jane Write member of the month for May.

On Friday, May 12, Kwoya will reach her goal of organizing and hosting this year’s three-dimensional poetry exhibit. The 2017 Three Dimensional Poetry Exhibit, which will be displayed at Space One Eleven in downtown Birmingham, will feature students of ASFA’s Creative Writing Department and will center on the theme of Chimera: Reimagined Memory. (Learn more here.)

An opening reception will be held at Space One Eleven, 2409 2nd Avenue North in Birmingham, at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 12. Before heading to Friday’s opening, get to know the woman behind this wonderful project.

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What Writers Can Learn from Cookbook Editors

Tuesday evening award-winning cookbook editor Shaun Chavis treated the See Jane Write community to a free online workshop on how to write a cookbook. Though I am not a food writer or blogger, I was happy to host this workshop for the members of my community who are.

Shaun spent four years as a development editor for Time Inc. Books, where she specialized in finding and working with new talent, and managing book concepts from start to finish. Three of her books were Cooking Light list bestsellers. Cooking Light Mad Delicious: The Science of Making Good-for-You Food Taste Amazing! won Time Inc.’s Luce Award for Best Book of the Year and the James Beard Award for Focus on Health in 2015. Shaun worked on The CarbLovers Diet, which spent 11 weeks on The New York Times Nonfiction Best Sellers List.

Currently, Shaun owns Saltshaker Marketing, a boutique content marketing agency in Atlanta that specializes in cookbooks and food magazines for businesses. With this kind of resume I knew my foodie friends would be in good hands. But what I did not expect was for this workshop on writing a cookbook to help me draft an outline for a collection of essays!

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