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During the month of June, Black Lawrence Press author Carolyn Dekker is on board to critique creative nonfiction manuscripts.

Carolyn Dekker is the author of North Country: A Pedagogical Almanac (Black Lawrence Press, 2023). She holds a BA in Biology and English from Williams College and a PhD in literature from the University of Michigan. She lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and teaches English at Finlandia University. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in Identity TheoryUp North Literary Journal, and Waccamaw. She has published scholarship on Jean Toomer, Leslie Marmon Silko, Willa Cather, and Emily St. John Mandel, and edited Jean Toomer’s A Drama of the Southwest for the University of New Mexico Press.

Carolyn is accepting everything from flash-length essays to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  • Flash Essays, up to 2 pages in length, $25
  • Essays, up to 20 pages in length, $55
  • Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $225
  • Manuscripts, up to 180 pages in length, $475
  • Long Manuscripts, up to 300 pages in length, $725

All manuscripts should be double spaced and formatted in 12-point font.The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is June 30. Carolyn will complete her work and respond to all participants by July 31.


Carolyn's Statement of Purpose

I love memoir and creative nonfiction that tells an interesting story in interesting ways. Creative nonfiction is a wonderfully big genre. I am ready to immerse myself in your memoir or nerd out over your researched longform essay. (I take particular interest in science, animals, education, environmental and social justice issues.) In memoir, I’m drawn to work that has formal complexity—a wide gap between fabula and syuzhet—but can respect a compelling story told more plainly.    

To follow Dickinson’s directive to “tell all the truth but tell it slant”—good for prosaists as for poets—means seeking a balance between what we spell out and what we approach more cautiously or through refraction. I think as nonfiction writers we sometimes write right up to the most important moments or truths but shy away from filling them in and pinning them down in language. I love it when I get the chance to encourage another writer to gather their courage and actually write those passages that their work has been building to all along.    

When coaching other writers, I first try to reflect back to them the main threads of meaning I find and then use that vision to help identify the places where the piece can grow more fully into itself. I hope for each writer to exit the manuscript consultation with a strong sense of what they have already communicated well and what they may wish to amplify.

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