Landfall is a work of historical fiction set in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, focused on two women, one black, one white. As a former mental health specialist for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and advisory board member at the Annenberg Center for Health Science Research, Urbani focused on addressing the emotional repercussions of disease and disaster. This therapeutic perspective informs her characterization of the victims of Hurricane Katrina in Landfall, allowing for a nuanced fictional interpretation of historic events.
“You can write your ass off, Southern girl! With her new novel Landfall, Ellen Urbani enters the world of American fiction with a bang and a flourish. …It’s a hell of a book and worthy of the storm and times it describes.”
- Pat Conroy, international bestselling author of The Prince of Tides
“Ellen Urbani has written an amazing and original piece of literature. If you love family sagas characterized by women holding the generations together via a magical combination of grit and grace, such as Isabel Allende’s House of the Spirits, you will love this haunting book!”
- – Fannie Flagg, international bestselling author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Urbani’s first book was a memoir When I Was Elena, a Book Sense Notable selection documenting her life in Guatemala during the final years of that country’s civil war. Her autobiographical essays and short stories have appeared in a variety of bestselling pop-culture anthologies as well as the New York Times. Urbani has a B.A. in Writing and Design and a Master of Arts degree in Art Therapy, specializing in oncological illness and trauma survival.
From 9 to noon, longtime literary agent Chip MacGregor will present Crafting a Strong Book Proposal in a fun and information packed workshop. He’ll explore the big picture of a book proposal along with the nitty-gritty details of what goes into a strong fiction or nonfiction proposal, and what the publisher looks for. He’ll share what makes one proposal stand out from the crowd. MacGregor has represented nearly a thousand books, and each one was sold to the publisher based on a strong proposal.
During the day on Saturday, from 1 to 3:30, Urbani will lead a writing workshop on Personal Essay. Participants will work on the fundamentals of writing short-form personal narratives/essays with a focus on attention-getting openers, truth-telling, brevity, and kick-ass summations. Workshop fee is $30.
Following Urbani’s reading and Q&A in the evening, we’ll have our popular Open Mic where up to nine local writers will read 5 minutes of their original work. The suggested (not required) theme for the evening’s Open Mic is “disaster.”
Admission for the evening is $7.