It’s festival season again, and over the next few weeks I’ll be speaking at two. First, on Sunday October 29th I’ll be talking about the power of belief at the Chicago Humanities Festival. The following weekend on Saturday, November 4, I’ll be in Madison for the Wisconsin Book Festival. If you’re near either one, please stop by! Details below:
The Geography of Madness
Sunday, October 29, 4 – 5 PM
Chicago Athletic Association, Stagg Court
12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
Is there a connection between mental health, disease, and belief? In Geography of Madness, journalist Frank Bures offers a resounding yes. In tracking the delusion that one’s genitals can be stolen—a relatively common complaint in countries ranging from Nigeria to Singapore—Bures sought to uncover the roots of a whole range of “culture–bound syndromes,” and how people’s beliefs about their health shape their physical experiences of health. Join Bures for a conversation about penis theft, placebos, and the intersection of Western and Chinese medicine.
The Geography of Madness
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, DeLuca Forum
The Geography of Madness is an investigation of “culture-bound” syndromes, which are far stranger than they sound. Why is it, for example, that some men believe, against all reason, that vandals stole their penises, even though they’re in good physical shape? In The Geography of Madness, acclaimed magazine writer Frank Bures travels around the world to trace culture-bound syndromes to their sources–and in the process, tells a remarkable story about the strange things all of us believe.
Presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Science Festival.
This winter, I’ll be teaching a small online class through The Loft Literary Center. In the past I’ve taught classes on narrative nonfiction, freelancing, profile writing, travel writing and other subjects. This course is designed both for people starting out and for those who want to shift career directions. We will focus on any genre students want to work on and cover practical skills of reporting, structuring your stories and selling your work. The ultimate goal of of the class is to finish with at least two polished, professional clips to use and sell. Please contact me if you want more info: Nonfiction Intensive: Building Your Portfolio
Before long, some 12,000 writers and 2,000 presenters will descend on this town (Minneapolis) for the annual AWP Conference & Bookfair. Officially, it’s the largest literary conference in the country. Unofficially (I’m told) it’s a big party for writers. Whatever it is, the number of panels and speakers is mind-boggling, and I don’t know how anyone could choose between them. Fortunately for me that choice is easier, since I’ll be on two panels, both related to travel writing. Both should make for great conversations on important issues.
The first, is called, “Can Literary Quarterlies Save Travel Writing?” and features some people I’ve known for a while, and others I haven’t: Jim Benning, Tom Swick, Pamela Petro and Sally Shivnan. I’ll be standing in for the moderator, Evan Balkan. I expect we will answer this question definitively.
The other is “Wild v. Into the Wild: X and Y Chromosomes in Travel Writing,” featuring Eva Holland, Brian Kevin and Kelly Ferguson moderating, with a focus on the differences between men’s and women’s travel writing.
If that wasn’t enough, there will also be a travel writing-themed reading called “Notes From the Road” on Saturday at 4pm at Honey, featuring many of the same writers, as well as Leif Peterson, Annie Scott Riley and Doug Mack, who kindly organized the event and who is busy finishing his new book about the U.S. Territories.
For those who want to expand their writing craft in all genres of narrative nonfiction–longform and shortform–I’m teaching an online class this fall that will cover essays, profiles, travel, features and more. Use the Early Bird Promo Code EBFA1434 by August 22, 2014 to get $20 off. Here’s the copy from the catalog:
To be a successful nonfiction writer today, it’s not enough know how to type, blog or tweet, or even how to cobble an article together. To write powerfully in today’s media environment, you need to be able to tell a great story. In this class, we’ll look at the evolution of narrative nonfiction beginning with the New Journalism. We’ll review some of the master nonfiction writers and study their techniques to write more compelling nonfiction stories. We will examine and practice different genres of narrative nonfiction, including profiles, essays, travelogues and features. And finally, we will review how to pitch and sell your stories.
More info here.
Do you like improv? Do you like public policy? The two are now blissfully wed at the Theater of Public Policy. This Thursday I’ll be on stage talking about–what else?–The Fall of the Creative Class. Only $5! “Frank Bures, Literary Editor for Thirty Two Magazine joins us this Thursday to talk about Richard Florida’s Creative Class Theory and why it’s not what it claims to be. The show is at Huge Theater and starts at 7pm.” More details here.
This month, on March 12, I’ll be teaching a class at The Loft’s Creative Nonfiction Conference called In Profile: The Art of Writing Life. We’ll look at work by Elizabeth Gilbert, Michael Paterniti, Bill Bryson and others who have worked in one of the richest veins of narrative nonfiction. Besides that, there are lots of other great classes. Sign up here!
This Tuesday (Feb. 22) I’ll be joining Andy Sturdevant and the Salon Saloon crew for The Ghost Show at Bryant Lake Bowl. If you’ve always wanted to know about kanaimas, ghost cats, popobawas, djinns and more, then come on out! Here’s the official flier:
“If you have ghosts,” howled legendary Texas singer Roky Erickson, “than you have everything.”
This is the basic idea behind the February edition of Salon Saloon: talk about ghosts in enough depth, and there’s almost no area of the human experience you won’t touch on. In that spirit, four guests from a wide range of disciplines will address ghostliness in all its forms. Seances, necromancers, phantom ships, spirit animals, electronic voice phenomena, Days of the Dead, wraiths, shades, ectoplasm, Ray Parker, Jr., Hamlet, orbs, spiritism, Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future – we have everything.
This month’s guests:
And as always: the Salon Saloon house band (Katie Condon, Jake Mohan and Claire Tiller), and your host Andy Sturdevant.
Buy your tickets now!