In Conversation with Julian Barnes, May 23rd

Join me in conversation with Julian Barnes, British novelist and winner of the Man Booker Prize, at the Menlo Atherton Center for Performing Arts on May 23rd.

About the Evening, a Kepler’s Premier Event

Julian Barnes in conversation with Michelle Richmond

Monday, May 23, 2016, 7:30 p.m.

The Noise of Time

Menlo-Atherton High School Center for Performing Arts, 555 Middlefield Rd., Atherton

Tickets are available at Kepler’s and online at Brown Paper Tickets

For many of us, we are still taken aback by the elegant and provocative novel The Sense of an Ending, which earned Julian Barnes the Man Booker Prize in 2011. The judges took 31 minutes to declare the winner, and the head judge said that The Sense of an Ending “spoke to humankind in the 21st Century.”

Perhaps you aren’t a reader of fiction or you’ve never picked up a Julian Barnes book before… this event will still resonate with you. As JFK once said, “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.” Join the discussion of what happens to art and artists under oppression and what happens when government seeks to control and even co-op artists and their art.

This is a rare opportunity to hear one of our most brilliant writers talk about his creative process, his inspirations, and so much more, and just in time for the film adaptation of The Sense of an Ending, which is slated to release in 2016.

Julian Barnes is the author of numerous novels, story collections, translations, and essays on art. In addition to the 2011 Man Booker prize-winning novel, The Sense of an Ending, his fiction includes Flaubert’s Parrot and Arthur & George, both short-listed for the Man Booker prize. In 2016, the American Academy of Arts & Letters elected Barnes as an honorary foreign member.

Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels, including Golden State and The Year of Fog, and two story collections, including Hum, winner of the Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize. She is the founder and publisher of Fiction Attic Press.

NOTE: Mr. Barnes will sign copies of The Noise of Time and up to 3 other books per guest.

Event date:
Monday, May 23, 2016 – 7:30pm
Event address:
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025-4349


Teju Cole – Known and Strange Things

There is another possible book that contains all that is not in this one.

 So says Teju Cole in the introduction to his wonderful essay collection, Known and Strange Things. Wide-ranging and deliciously exploratory, the collection tackles politics, art, literature, and travel. I love essay collections that are not narrowly defined, collections that lay the path open for surprise, as this one does. 
While Cole is referring, in part, to the many previously published pieces that he has not included in this collection, hos words ring true for me as a novelist. In every book I write, I fall short of my own expextations. For every book that I publish, there exists another one, just out of reach, “that contains all that is not in this one.” 

Writing Fiction

8-Week Fiction Writing Course – Delivered Right to Your Inbox

Learn to write fiction

Enroll in this 8-Week Fiction Writing Course to have lessons, assignments, and inspiration delivered right to your inbox.

About: Get the tools you need to turn your ideas into stories! In this 8-week email course, you’ll learn how to write short stories using the fundamental building blocks of fiction. This class was designed by New York Times bestselling author, veteran writing teacher, and small press publisher Michelle Richmond.

It’s all about craft: Discover the secret structure that will help you shape any story. Learn how to create complex characters, write a suspenseful plot, choose the best point of view for your story, get your characters talking, pace your story with the right balance of scene and summary, and more.

Outcome: By the end of the class, you will have written and revised at least two short stories or novel chapters, and you will have a strong understanding of narrative craft.

Structure: Every week, you’ll get new video and written lessons and a related assignment to help you put your new knowledge into practice. During the first week, you’ll write your first story, based on the 5-part structure you’ll learn in the first module. After that, each week will lead you deeper into the writing of your story or novel.*

Dates: This course begins the moment you enroll and lasts for eight weeks. As soon as you enroll, you’ll receive a welcome email and your first module, delivered right to your inbox. There’s no signing in; the class comes to you.

There’s an app for that! The free, easy-to-use gumroad app allows you to view the lessons on your tablet or phone, but you an also view them online or download the lessons as a PDF.

If you’ve always wanted to write fiction but don’t know where to begin, this course is for you. Taught by a New York Times bestselling author with more than a decade of experience teaching creative writing at the university level, WRITING FICTION provides a great foundation for anyone interested in writing and publishing short stories or novels.

Please note that this is not a workshop course. If you would like to receive feedback on your assignments, you can purchase the Critique Add-On at any time.



CNET begins publishing fiction : Technically Literate and my story, The Last Taco Truck in Silicon Valley

CNET kicked off its brand new fiction series this month with my short story, The Last Taco Truck in Silicon Valley. The CNET fiction series is edited and curated by Janis Cooke Newman (author most recently of A Master Plan for Rescue). CNET’s fiction series features stories about tech, beautifully illustrated and animated (Roman Murdov illustrated The Last Taco Truck, with animations by Justin Herman). At the bottom of the story, you’ll find a video: CNET News Editor-in-Chief Connie Guglielmo and I visited a taco truck near the CNET headquarters, where we talked about Silicon Valley culture, women in tech, and, of course, how to order a taco.

About the story, The Last Taco Truck in Silicon Valley:

An Evangelista—i.e. the Chief Evangelist for a heritage hoodie startup in Silicon Valley—is held hostage in a taco truck. Meanwhile, a guy from Portland with too many debts, is posing as El Taco Hombre. Add the mantra of all marketing—There’s social proof, there’s authority, and there’s scarcity, and the greatest of these is scarcity—to spice things up. Mix it all together, and what you have is a story that sends up everything we in the tech and hipster haven of the Bay Area hold near and dear. Plus the unforgettable hashtag #FrancoNeedsATaco

Technically Literate and “The Last Taco Truck in Silicon Valley” was covered in The New York Times, Publishing Perspectives, the San Francisco Chronicle, Tech News Daily, Chowhound, and elsewhere. As a writer, it’s exciting to see such a respected icon of the tech publishing world reaching out to find and promote literature. To me, it feels like a natural partnership. Tech is so deeply a part of the way we write, and even more a part of the way we reach readers, and I believe CNET, which gets 30 million visitors per month, will bring short fiction to an entirely new readership.

In her foreword to Technically Literate, Newman talks about how the series came to be, and the intersection between art and tech–both in our lives and in the microcosm of San Francisco.

When CNET first approached me with the idea that would become Technically Literate, it seemed like a collision of worlds, until I considered the geography of my day. The San Francisco Bay Area is home to equally vibrant, equally innovative, technology and literary communities. And in the way they share the topography of the city, they also share a world of common touch points.


What’s literature got to do with tech? Guglielmo told Alexandra Alter of The New York Times

“We hope it will help us expand our brand,” Connie Guglielmo, CNET News’s editor in chief, said of the series. “If you don’t experiment, you stay in place, and that’s kind of counter to the culture here.”

The next three stories for the series will be by Anthony Mara, Cristina Garcia, and Nayomi Numaweera.

A Review of the New Thriller Baggage, by S.G. Redling

Baggage, by S.G. Redling, is an edge-of-the-seat thriller about a young woman haunted by her violent past. Anna Ray works in the student advocacy office of a small liberal arts college in Western Virginia. Her mother incessantly sends her letters from prison, where she is incarcerated for the murder of Anna’s father. A year ago, Anna’s husband committed suicide. When a professor who has been courting Anna is murdered in a particularly gruesome way on anniversary of her husband’s and father’s deaths, the reader and Anna are both left to wonder who has come back for vengeance, and why. Is Anna herself to blame? Her controlling but supportive cousin? Redoing had me until the end, when the resolution veered away from a deeper exploration of character, toward horror-film shock value. I’ll be interested to see what Redling writes next.

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