Freelance writer Mark Athitakis has covered books and the arts for a variety of publications, including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Humanities Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review and many more. A former board member of the National Book Critics Circle and judge for the Kirkus Prize, he has presented on writing at Arizona State University, Arizona Professional Writers, the Center for Fiction and elsewhere. He is the author of The New Midwest, a guide to contemporary fiction from the region, which won the Books by the Banks Award for best adult nonfiction title.
During his time as our Summer 2021 Writer in Residence, Mark hosted three programs:
Getting Started at Freelance Writing: This program discussed the essentials of finding paying outlets for your writing, successfully pitching editors, finding support and managing a writing business. Click here for a handout with information, resources, and tips for freelance writers.
Social Media for Writers and Readers: Literary social media is always shifting, from bookstagram to #booktok. But regardless of the tool, it’s a consistent source of inspiration and community for writers and readers — if you use it right. We talked about some of the most prominent platforms and how to use them in ways that are both fun and productive. Click here for a handout with resources from this program.
Reading Like a Critic: Book critics do more than just praise and pan — they look for themes and ideas that make a book worth thinking about. The tools critics use can help expand your tastes, win your book club and simply know yourself better. This session discussed the art and craft of criticism and explored what makes for an effective review, whether you’re writing for The New York Times or your Goodreads page. Click here for a handout from this program.
He also hosted numerous vlogs on our Writer in Residence Facebook group sharing writing tips and encouragement. View them below:
- The three skills a successful writer needs, and why you really only need two of them (May 4, 2021)
- How to conquer fear of the blank page (May 8, 2021)
- How to fact-check (May 11, 2021)
- Why you should keep a file of ideas (May 18, 2021)
- Favorite books on the writing process (and some of ours, too) (May 15, 2021)
- How to respond to rejection as a writer (May 22, 2021)
- How to break out of a writing rut (May 25, 2021)
- A guide to helpful hashtags (June 5, 2021)
- The tradeoffs of self-publishing vs traditional publishing (June 8, 2021)
- Should you write for free? (June 12, 2021)
- Three recommendations for books to help with nonfiction writing (June 15, 2021)
- Favorite novels set in Arizona (June 19, 2021)
- How to feel more confident about putting your work out there (June 22, 2021)
- How to know when your writing project is finished (June 28, 2021)
- Why you can get a lot out of writing reviews on Goodreads or personal blogs (July 3, 2021)
- Three recommendations for books of criticism (July 6, 2021)
- How to find the right word without a thesaurus (July 11, 2021)
- Inspiration for articles and personal essays (July 13, 2021)
- Qualities to look for in a beta reader (July 18, 2021)
- Thoughts on whether an MFA is worth your while (July 24, 2021)