Natali Petricic was born in Long Beach, New York, shortly after her parents emigrated from Croatia. She received a BA from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Natali was a 2004 Emerging Voices Fellow. Her short stories have been published in Santa Monica Review, Rosebud, and Red Wheelbarrow. She is currently working on Leaf Boats, a linked short story collection. Natali lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.
The Mark is a rigorous manuscript finishing school for Emerging Voices alumni. Each year the program offers two cycles, one for Fiction/Nonfiction and one for Poetry. Three to four applicants are chosen for each cycle. Project Defense, Mid-Project Review, and Final Review are all mandatory components of the program.
Visit the Mark Blog for an in-depth look at the program.
The next application period will open in the spring of 2014.
The Mark is seeking program applicants whose manuscripts are either completed or near completion.
Please note: Full manuscript will be required for faculty review before interview date.
Project Defense will allow Mark faculty and PEN staff to learn more about the participants' projects. Participants should be prepared to answer a series of detailed questions regarding the creation and crafting of their manuscript, as well as their future goals for the project. Following the Defense, the Mark faculty and PEN staff will prescribe goals for the manuscript and a workshop schedule specific to each participant. Informed by the Defense, the participant will then be prepared to enter the Workshop with clear and focused goals to complete the manuscript.
Workshop will meet every other week, for eighteen weeks. Workshop sessions are three hours in length. Mark participants are required to attend all nine Workshop meetings. In addition to revising their own manuscripts, Mark participants will read their colleagues work and provide thoughtful written critique each Workshop. Workshops will adhere to the schedule developed during the Project Defense stage.
Mid-Project Review All Mark participants will be scheduled for reviews with the Mark program faculty. Reviews will re-address the goals set out in the Project Defense and examine the participants' progress.
Final Review The Mark faculty and PEN staff will be in attendance at the Final Review. The participants will present their projects and a discussion will follow. The Mark faculty will play a large role in this review, especially in regards to publishing and query advice.
The Mark Blog Throughout the 18-week program, participants must contribute once a week to the Mark Blog. Hosted on PEN Center USA’s website, the blog gives the Mark Program a broader reach into the writing community. Mark participants will be asked to blog about each program element and about their experiences in the program. The Mark Blog schedule will be distributed at the Defense/Orientation and will extend through the Final Review.
Alan Watt is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and publisher. The 90-Day Novel, Watt’s nonfiction guide to writing, was published in 2010. His novel Diamond Dogs (Little, Brown) was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and was recognized in the New York Times list of “New and Notable Books.” Diamond Dogs has won numerous awards, including France’s 2004 Prix Printemps. Watt recently adapted Diamond Dogs for the French film company Quad. In 2002, Watt founded LA Writers’ Lab to help writers of all levels unlock the story within. His 90-Day Novel workshops in Los Angeles are now taught online to writers worldwide. Writers Tribe Books, his publishing venture, will release four works of literary fiction in the winter of 2012.
Anna Journey is the author of the collection, If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting (University of Georgia Press, 2009), selected by Thomas Lux for the National Poetry Series. Her poems are published in American Poetry Review, FIELD, Kenyon Review, and Shenandoah, and her essays appear in At Length, Blackbird, Notes on Contemporary Literature, Parnassus, and Plath Profiles. Journey holds a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Houston, and she currently teaches creative writing at the University of Southern California. She recently received a fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The application period for the next Fiction/Nonfiction cycle is now closed.
Mehnaz Turner was born in Pakistan and raised in Southern California. She holds degrees from the University of Arizona, The University of Texas at Austin, and UC Santa Barbara. She is a 2009 Emerging Voices Fellow in Poetry. Her short story, "The Alphabet Workbook," appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications such as The Journal of Pakistan Studies, The Pedestal Magazine, and An Anthology of California Poets. An English teacher, she lives in Southern California.
A note on the Poetry cycle: The Mark will not offer a Poetry cycle this year, as we are planning some exciting changes in that genre.