The New Guard - Literary Review


“Hey, buddy boy, there’s going to be some changes around here…”

THE NEW GUARD is an independent literary review based in Maine. We proudly publish in print, with the exception of our online feature, BANG!, a page on this site that publishes three short works by a single writer for a full month at a time.

The New Guard is here to showcase newcomers alongside established writers, and to juxtapose tradition with experiment to create a new dialogue. The Writer's Hotel is the editorial arm of The New Guard literary review. Via The Writer's Hotel, we work with writers to develop their writing, online and in person at our Master Class Workshops. We are writers for writers' sake.

Here at TNG and The Writer's Hotel, we work diligently to support writers. We will stand up and put on the gloves for those good stories and poems. We do all we can to help our fellow writers.

Give us your ire, your lore, your guarded passage.

Patrick Rioux, video/Shanna McNair, music

"The New Guard presents a curious mixture of the traditional narrative with the experimental, whether it is intimate fan letters to long-deceased authors, short stories showcasing mythical transformations, or free-verse poems." --NewPages

"It is a rollicking read, at turns whimsical, sad, and experimental." --The Portland Phoenix

More on TNG:

The New Guard on Poets & Writers

The New Guard and Shanna McNair in The Portland Phoenix

TNG on

TNG on

TNG live on ABC radio Australia

TNG in Lily Magazine

TNG Columbia College video interview at AWP 2011

TNG on

Interested in helping support our cause? The New Guard accepts donations mailed to our postal address, payable to The New Guard, or via the PayPal donation button below. Every dollar counts for writers!

Thank you for your support!

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Cover art by Matt Welch


Thank you to all who entered the Volume III Machigonne Fiction Contest and The Knightville Poetry Contest! Competition was extremely tough, more so than ever before. We got an overwhelming response to our contests—the amount of entries doubled from last year, and we saw manuscripts coming in from all over the world. The stories and poems were of an extremely high caliber, and the selection process was truly a challenge.

All of the finalists and semi-finalists are to be published alongside the winners and contributors in Volume III. Big congratulations to our winners, finalists and semi-finalists! Big congratulations to our Pushcart nominees, as well.

Machigonne Fiction Contest Winner: Mark Wagstaff

Short story, Burn Lines (judged by Rick Bass)

Mark Wagstaff lives in London. Since 1999 he has had stories published across a range of journals and online, including Stone Highway Review, Scissors & Spackle, and Inkwell. Mark has published four novels and a novella. His most recent novel, In Sparta, a story of radicalism, conformity and terror, is available in print and e-book. Mark's first collection of short stories appeared in 2002 and his second collection will be published by InkTears. He is also working on an e-book project with Folded Word.

Knightville Poetry Contest Winner: Bruce Bond

Poem, Sea of Trees (judged by Jeanne Marie Beaumont)

Bruce Bond is the author of eight published books of poetry, most recently The Visible, Peal, and Blind Rain. His tetralogy of new books entitled Choir of the Wells will be released in 2013. Presently, he is a Regents Professor of English at the University of North Texas, and Poetry Editor for American Literary Review.

Pushcart Nominees for TNG Volume III:

Individual nominations:

Quenton Baker, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Nigger

John Blair, Three Little Indians

Bruce Bond, Sea of Trees

Jenn Chan Lyman, The Natural

Mark Wagstaff, Burn Lines

Section nomination:


Leslie Z. Anderson, To Faith

Madeleine Blais, To Miami

Erin Belieu, Love Letter: Final Visitation

Edie Clark, The Love of Many Strangers

Stephen Dunn, Love Poem for the Ages

Barbara Hurd, A Pre-Mortem Promise

Kate Levin, Angel (Excerpt from her novel-in-progress,Punk Prophet)

Van Newell, We'll Leave the Refrigerator Light on for You

Sharon Olds, The Signature

Judith Podell, To the IRS

Ian Withrow, To Ray



Jacob Appel, The Rod Of Asclepius

Brian Beard, Merci Jesus

John Blair, Three Little Indians

Taylor Brown, The Vizsla

Tracy Debrincat, A Certain Fire

Sarah Gerkensmeyer, Vanishing Point

Joan Lee Hunter, The Dog

Jenn Chan Lyman, The Natural

Leslie Jill Patterson, Catch And Release

Sara Patton, The Bull Rider

Leslie Rodd, Las Manos Grandes

Benjamin Rybeck, Perfect, Starting Now

Tamra Wilson, The Cozy Corner

Charles Wyatt, The Goldberg Variations


Conor Broughan, Moving Forward, No Delays

Paul Brown, Two Russians and An American Walk Into An Irish Pub

Justin Burnell, Non-lexemic Translation

Chris Connolly, Rabbit

Tomek Dzido, Ya Get Me

B D Feil, Men In Love

Kristen Hay, Hazard Ratios

Marc Mewshaw, Happy Accidents

Leslie Munnelly, Tonic Immobility

Gregg Schroeder, Apartment 6D

Lones Seiber, Finches



Quenton Baker, Nude Transformation and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Nigger

Christopher Bursk, Untitled—Mark Rothko—1969/70

Kevin Conner, Skinny

Meghan Dunn, Galileo Sees His Future

Roberta George, Reading Palms

John Johnson, California Breakdown

Wulf Losee, In the Season of Rain

Eamon Mahoney, Blood On The Moon

Kristina McDonald, My Brother Tries to Tell Me About the Zeno Effect

Jenny Molberg, Matryoshka

Cindy St. Onge, Egyptians

Jose Padua, One Night at the Nuyorican


Robyn Art, Frost, Beleagured Plains, Augeries of Dew, Whatever:

Vincent Basso, On the Death of Poets

M. Callen, History of Romance

Doris Ferleger Now the Smoke Bushes

Wayne Lee, Just Like John Glenn

Gregory Loselle, My Cat has an X ray

Allister MacMartin, The News

Ed Madden Adrift off the Islets of Langerhans

Mary Morris, Dinner with Hades

Gabriela Tiessen, Composed

Erica Vega, An Open Window

Order The New Guard

Cover art by Matt Welch


Subscription options are in the dropdown menu below. TNG VOL. III is $25, TNG VOL. II is $18 (reg. price is $22; 20% off), TNG VOL. I is $12 (reg. price is $15; 20% off) and the set of TNG VOL. I, VOL. II and VOL. III is $48 (reg. price is $62; over 20% off).


TNG VOL.III includes new work by contributors Sharon Olds, Marge Piercy, Madeleine Blais, Erin Belieu, Stephen Dunn, Barbara Hurd,Edie Clark and Judith Podell, among others, and interviews with Maine writers Patrick Quinlan, Elizabeth Miles, and Lewis Robinson.Our Volume III letters section is called "Love Letters." Cover art by Maine artist Matt Welch.

Orders over 20 copies nationally and over 10 copies internationally need special shipping attention. Please contact us at before ordering.

TNG VOL. II features A Storm of Blizzard Proportions (1944) by Ralph Ellison, a complete finished story which has never before been in print, and has only been read by a handful of people! Alongside A Storm of Blizzard Proportions, we've published a reproduction the original typewritten pages, straight from The Library of Congress.

Also included in this special section is an interview of John Callahan, Mr. Ellison's literary executor and author of A Man You Could Love. We are excited by this tremendous opportunity to share Mr. Ellison's work with our readers and writers.

TNG VOL II is a deluxe trade paperback with French flaps of 334 pages. Cover art is by Maine artist Jeff McCreight.

TNG VOL. II Contest Winners: Knightville Poetry Contest winner: Kathleen Spivack; VOL. II Machigonne Fiction Contest winner: Dan Marmor. All Vol. II contests finalists and semi-finalists (both genres) are published in this issue.

The Vol. II Letters Section: "Writers to Superheroes and Supervillains." Letter contributors: Joe Wenderoth, Tim Seibles, Tod Goldberg, Fred Marchant, Michael Kimball, Ed Skoog, Carolina De Robertis, Aaron Hamburger, Sarah Braunstein, James Zimmerman, Alexandra Oliver & Mike Heppner. A special illustration by local artist dave naybor (Dave Peabody) precedes the letters and kicks off this volume's group.

TNG VOL. II includes a section called "Twenty Questions," TNG's ode to writers who have lived and worked in Maine. Writers playing 20Q in VOL. II are Tess Gerritsen, Liz Hand & former Maine Poet Laureate Baron Wormser.

We are also be featuring two established writers in this volume: Theodore Deppe & Cortright McMeel.

TNG is grateful to our incredible Vol. II judges: former U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic & novelist and author of The Pure Lover, DAVID PLANTE.


TNG VOL. I features previously unpublished essays by two phenomenal Maine writers, Jaed Coffin & Bill Roorbach.

VOL. I Knightville Poetry Contest winner: William Derge; VOL. I Machigonne Fiction Contest winner: Payne Ratner.

Our most gracious VOL. I judges: former U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall & Good for the Jews author Debra Spark.

VOL. I letters: "Writers to Writers: Fan Letters to the Dead," a collection of fan letters to dead writers. Fan Letter contributors include: Sven Birkirts, Tom Grimes, Maxine Kumin, Thomas Lynch & Josip Novakovich.

TNG is also available at these fine bookstores:

Longfellow Books, Sherman's, McNally Jackson Books (Manhattan),Book Culture (Manhattan), Devaney, Doak & Garrett,Nonesuch Books,USM Bookstore,Colby Bookstore & Skylight Books.

Click the link below for THE NEW GUARD store! Get your TNG merchandise and be the coolest kid on the block:




P.O. Box 866
Wells, ME 04094

Founding Editor & Publisher:

Shanna McNair

VOL. III Special Sections Editors:

Shanna McNair
Scott Wolven

VOL. III Contest Readers:

Richard Hoffman, Fiction
Shanna McNair, Fiction, Poetry
Scott Wolven, Fiction

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Our reading series is held at the wonderful, fiercely independent Longfellow Books bookstore in Portland, Maine, as a literary offshoot of the First Friday Art Walk. Most readings take place on First Friday, and most of our TNG readers are Maine writers. TNG VOL. I and VOL II are available for purchase at Longfellow's, and our authors are happy to sign your book.

Stay tuned for a special TNG Editor's reading at Longfellow's on July 11. Scott Wolven and Shanna McNair will be reading original work.


November 8th, 7 PM: All-Maine author reading! TNG Contributor Sarah Braunstein, TNG Contributor Jaed Coffin, and TNG Fiction Finalist Jefferson Navicky.

Sarah Braunstein is the author of The Sweet Relief of Missing Children. Honors include being named one of "5 Under 35" fiction writers by the national Book Foundation, and she was a 2007 recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. Stories and essays have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Green Mountains Review, Five Chapters, AGNI, Ploughshares, Nylon Magazine, Maine Magazine, and on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Jaed Muncharoen Coffin is the author of A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants . Jaed has spoken widely at universities and colleges where his book is taught as a common text in multicultural curriculum initiatives. Honors include receiving the 2009 William Sloane Fellow at Bread Loaf Writers Conference and the 2009-10 Wilson Fellow in Creative Writing at Deerfield Academy. His forthcoming book, Roughhouse Friday, is about the year he fought as the middleweight champion of a barroom boxing show in Juneau, Alaska.

Jefferson Navicky is the author of the poetry chapbook, Map of the Second Person and his work has recently appeared in Quickfiction, Horse Less Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Interrobang!, and Tarpaulin Sky. He received a 2011 Good Idea Grant from the Maine Arts Commission for his six-play cycle, Redwing Solitaire, and his play, Lungfish, was chosen for the 2010 Maine Playwright's Festival.

August 3rd, 7 PM: Maine-based author and TNG Contributor Tess Gerritsen. Tess gave a special reading from her forthcoming novel, Last to Die, the newest in the Rizzoli and Isles series. Last to Die is to be released on August 28th. You can pre-order the book from Longfellow's! Buy local!

Tess Gerritsen was trained as a medical doctor and built a second career as a thriller writer. Her 23 novels include the Rizzoli and Isles crime series, on which the TV show "Rizzoli & Isles" is based. Among her titles are The Surgeon, Ice Cold, and The Silent Girl. Her books are translated into 37 languages and more than 20 million copies have been sold.

July 11, 7 PM: former U.S. Poet Laureate and TNG VOL. II Knightville Poetry Judge Charles Simic.

Charles Simic is a poet, translator, editor and essayist. He has put out over 30 books of poetry, has translated 15 books, and has published several books of essays. He won The Pulitzer Prize for his book, The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems. Other awards and fellowships include The Wallace Stevens Award, the Griffin International Poetry Prize, the Academy Fellowship and Guggenheim, MacArthur and National Endowment for the Arts grants. Simic was named a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2000. He was also was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1995.

Georgia Review correspondent Peter Stitt wrote: “The fact that [Simic] spent his first eleven years surviving World War II as a resident of Eastern Europe makes him a going-away-from-home writer in an especially profound way...He is one of the wisest poets of his generation, and one of the best.”

April 6th, 7 PM: An all-Maine author reading! TNG Editor and Contributor Bill Roorbach, TNG Editor and Contributor Scott Wolven, TNG Poetry Finalist Melissa Roberts, and TNG Founding Editor & Publisher Shanna McNair.

Shanna McNair is the founder of TNG and The Writer’s Hotel. She writes fiction, poetry, scripts and the occasional article. She is an award-winning journalist with a background in the visual and performing arts. She has a novel and a book of short stories forthcoming.

Melissa Roberts is a student in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She lives in Maine.

Bill Roorbach is the author of eight books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Flannery O'Connor Prize and O. Henry Prize winner Big Bend (2001), Into Woods (2003), and Temple Stream (2005). Life Among Giants, a novel, is forthcoming this year. The 10th anniversary edition of his craft book, Writing Life Stories (2008), is used in writing programs around the world. Recently, Bill was a judge on Food Network All Star Challenge, evaluating incredible Life Stories cakes. Bill’s work has been published in Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, The New York Times Magazine, Granta, and dozens of other magazines and journals.

Scott Wolven is a TNG Editor and an Editor at The Writer's Hotel. He is the author of the short story collection, Controlled Burn. His stories have appeared seven years in a row in The Best American Mystery Stories Series, the most consecutive appearances in the history of the series. The title story of the collection appeared in Best American Noir of the Century.


THE NEW GUARD VOLUME IV contest submission period runs from February 10 to July 14, 2014. The entry fee is $15. Guidelines are below. Click the link below to submit via Submittable's online submission manager. We are looking forward to reading your work!


MACHIGONNE FICTION CONTEST: $1,000 for an exceptional fiction in any genre. Submit up to 5,000 words: anything from flash to the long story. Novel excerpts are welcome if the excerpt functions as a stand-alone story. We do not publish illustrations.

Judged by Letters to Wendy's author Joe Wenderoth.

KNIGHTVILLE POETRY CONTEST: $1,000 for an exceptional poem in any form. Three poems per entry. Up to 150 lines per poem.

Judged by National Book Award Finalist and author of Fast Animal, Tim Seibles.

We accept .doc or similar files–no PDFs, please. We do pay strict attention to word and line count. We accept previously unpublished work only. Any size print run or online publication (including blogs and/or social networking) disqualify an entry. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, provided we're notified upon publication elsewhere. If we accept your story or poem for publication, we trust you will remove that story or poem from all other contests upon our acceptance of your work.

Contest winners and all finalists get one free copy of The New Guard, and each submission will be carefully considered for publication. Final judging is blind.

TNG retains standard first publication rights; all rights immediately revert to the writer upon publication. We are presently accepting contest submissions only. Please note that we no longer accept submissions via postal mail.

Please direct all submission questions to


Bang! authors are showcased individually here online. Each author installment is made up of three pieces in any combination: poetry shorts (20 lines) or fiction or nonfiction (500 words each) for thirty days. Bang! pieces are not published in The New Guard. Work is meant to be very short--flash-short--so that the pieces on Bang! serve as a kind of calling card for the author. Bang! installments run from the 20th to the 20th of every month.

Submit your work to be considered for Bang! below.


All work on must be previously unpublished. The entry fee is $20. We publish the work online; publication and exposure serve as payment to the author. Submission period runs all year round.

Our March 20-April 20 BANG! author is TNG Vol. II Letters Contributor Mike Heppner. Mike is an invited contributor.

Mike Heppner is the author of two books of fiction, The Egg Code, a novel, and Pike's Folly, a novella; Nada, and two collections of short fiction, The Man Talking Project and This Can Be Easy or Hard. His third novel, Sorry I'm Such an Idiot, will be published by Thought Catalog in the summer of 2014. His work has also appeared in Poets & Writers, The New Guard, Nerve, and Golden Handcuffs Review. He lives and works in the Boston area.

Mike Heppner

Photo by C. Heppner

Avascular Necrosis #1 – 3

Short works of fiction by Mike Heppner


I had surgery on my hip once—twice, actually. First one hip and then the other. Five months in between. The first time I was nervous and unprepared. I arrived at the hospital two hours before my surgery time and waited in a curtained-off area until my doctors were ready for me. Several anesthesiologists came round to question me. One thought she was being funny; she kept making jokes that failed to amuse or set my mind at ease but I smiled vaguely at them to be polite. Through a part in the curtains I could see a monitor with the names of patients who were either waiting to have surgery or were already in the operating room. It reminded me of a flight status board at an airport. I was a plane waiting to take off. When it was my turn, one of the anesthesiologists administered a sedative, and some orderlies wheeled me down a short hall. I wanted to be alert to the effects of the sedative. I thought it might be interesting, and why not? The hall was fairly crowded, a non-restricted space. I felt calm, and my muscles were water. Then we entered the operating room through a pair of silver doors, and the temperature seemed to drop by twenty degrees. A person instructed me to get up from the gurney and boost myself up onto the operating table. My mind was a blur but a part of me maintained an interest in clinging to consciousness. Once on the table, I looked up at a light fixture directly above my head. It was a broad disc, mirror-like: four or five discs inside a larger disc. It looked like the bottom of a spaceship. Then: a missing transition, and I found myself in a different bed in a different room. My legs felt puffy, some violence done to them, and a woman on the other side of a partition was complaining about being thirsty. Something like two hours had passed. I now had stitches and a piece of metal in my body.

Weeks later someone told me that the anesthetic commonly used during surgery contained a memory suppressant, so that it was possible I was actually aware of the very early stages of the surgery as it took place, and that some pharmaceutical element had subsequently erased the memory from my brain.


I went in for my second surgery just before Christmas. I was calmer this time, though still preoccupied with the memory suppressant business. Even if the anesthetic could erase some of my memories after the fact, there would still be the experience itself to get through. I’d be aware of something as it happened, and obviously that something would be unpleasant enough to warrant the use of a memory suppressant. The fact that I would ultimately have no memory of the surgery was no comfort to me now. Was not remembering the same as not experiencing? I didn’t want to find out. At the same time, even as they administered my sedative and wheeled me back into the operating room, I found myself perversely trying to maintain consciousness for as long as possible; to observe my surroundings, to register and process.

The second operating room seemed different from the first—smaller, narrower, almost like a hallway. My vision was fuzzy, but I thought I could detect various pieces of medical equipment lined up against the far wall: monitors and pumps and other boxy devices. I don’t remember having to get up from the gurney and transfer to a table, nor do I remember a silvery disc-shaped light above my head. I do remember one of the doctors wishing me good night (it was nine in the morning), and calling me by my first name. Then the same missed transition, the same woozy awakening in another room. Whatever horror I might have experienced in linear time was gone forever.


Have you ever had a catheter? They’re terribly uncomfortable! Generally they’re put in while the patient is under anesthesia—less painful, less trouble overall. I’d had a catheter after my first surgery; it takes time for the bladder to “wake up,” so catheters are often used during those first few hours to help the patient urinate. But when I woke from the second surgery, I was surprised to find I didn’t have one. Different doctors, different circumstances, and since the removal can be nearly as unpleasant as the insertion, I was relieved at first. Hours after the surgery, however, and I still wasn’t able to empty my bladder. Just getting out of bed was part of the problem. The anesthetic had made me nauseous, and I threw up every time I tried to stand. Even once the vomiting died down, I still couldn’t urinate; I’d stand at the toilet for five minutes and attempt controlled muscular exertions with no effect.

A man from some Latin American country came round to take an ultrasound of my bladder. He was brusque and had a blaming attitude. Apparently the bladder can only hold so many milliliters before it—what? Bursts? Probably not. But until it’s full, at any rate. His advice was to keep drinking water. Just keep drinking and you will be all right. It seemed an oddly machismo solution to the problem, but I stayed in bed and sipped my ice water as the guy turned up every twenty minutes or so to take a new ultrasound. He seemed genuinely perplexed as to why his technique wasn’t working. You should be urinating soon, he would say, frowning and rubbing his mustache. I sensed him losing interest in me. My full bladder pressed against its surroundings, its tender neighbors. Already I knew what was going to happen. I was going to get the catheter after all. I could’ve told my nurses that hours ago. But there are no guarantees when you go into a hospital. Sometimes the ideal solution proves ineffective. So at around nine p.m., a nurse who’d been looking after me all afternoon came in with her little kit bag and pulled the privacy curtain closed behind her. Our privacy, mine and hers. The TV was on, Monday Night Football from San Francisco. She was buxom, of course, with thin orangey hair showing gray at the roots. My bladder felt huge, an inflatable bag, bigger than my head. Her slumped comportment suggested apology and regret. The kit bag unzipped along the sides like an evening purse, and it held a variety of small sterile objects, plastic hose and glass tubes that clinked together. She didn’t speak but sighed often as she set up her equipment. Something was happening on TV. There’d been a blackout at the football stadium, and the commentators were stammering to fill the time. They looked cold in their booth; their breath huffed as they theorized and expostulated and sometimes glanced nervously over their shoulders to check the status of the blackout. The nurse had her tools ready, and I focused on the TV. Try to relax, she said. One of the guys on TV was speaking passionately about the need to score a lot of points early in the first quarter. After a random shot of Kid Rock in a fur coat partying next to a concessions booth, the nurse folded up my hospital johnny and made a reach for my penis with her gloved hand. I took a last, quick glimpse; my penis looked smaller than normal—it had retracted into a bulb. Back on the TV, the commentators and Kid Rock were engaged in some time-wasting banter as the blackout reached the ten minute mark. The nurse’s grip tightened, and I felt a hard something nip at my urethra. The key was not to breathe. The key was to concentrate intently on something else. The tube pushed in, and I tried to keep my mind on San Francisco. The pain was vague and distant—it didn’t really matter, I didn’t really care. I could feel the tube actually touch my bladder, and a warm flow leaked up the tube and into a salmon-colored tray that the nurse had placed between my legs. I was pissing upwards: capillary action, I seemed to know. The rate of flow was measured, slower than usual, and I tried not to clench down on it. Kid Rock was inviting the commentators to his ranch for a barbecue. Maybe every third word was a real word. The tray was about half-full, and I could watch it now without looking away. The pressure eased from my bladder, and the nurse adjusted the tube, the way one might re-grip a pencil. You’re doing good, she said. My urine had a copper tinge, perhaps some blood in it. Then the last few drops spilled out, and the nurse slowly retracted the tube. Involuntary muscles squeezed it on the way out, and the lights went back on in the stadium.

Prose © Mike Heppner, 2014. All rights reserved by author.

The Writer's Hotel

"Midtown Manhattan Dawn" by used under CC.



From vision to page: new focus for writers in the heart of NYC.

The Writer's Hotel & TNG are hosting a Writer's Workshop Master Class in Fiction and Nonfiction in the NYC Midtown area. Our events are to be held between three writer's hotels, The Algonquin Hotel, The Library Hotel and The Bryant Park Hotel. Workshops will take place at The Library Hotel Writer's Den and Poetry Garden and workshops, lectures and seminars will be given at The Bryant Park Hotel Terrace Loft and The Loft.

***Space is limited. All applications begin with an email. Please email us at to get your application started today.***

The June, 2014 Master Class in Fiction & Nonfiction is centered on craft and the publishing industry. Each writer participates in an intensive Master Class workshop with a TWH instructor. There will be several lectures and seminars on craft in both Fiction and Nonfiction. Agents and editors will be in attendance for two seminar spots. Writers get the opportunity to interact with those agents and editors face-to-face, and to present their best work for consideration. Each writer also has the chance to read their own original work at an NYC venue on one of our reading nights. Our venues for workshop participants are: KGB Bar Lit's Red Room* , The EAR Inn via The New York Poetry Society, Cornelia Street Cafe and Book Culture. Faculty readings are at The Half King and Kinokuniya. This special series is called "The Writer's Hotel Reading Series" and is just for our Master Class this year. *The KGB Readings are now full.

Accepted Master Class participants get the added benefit of having TWH Editors working alongside them right up to the Master Class in June, helping to tighten up manuscripts and ready them for presentation to our agents on site. We will also be working with our accepted writers for a month after the Master Class has ended, until July 20, 2014. The sooner a writer is accepted to the program, the sooner a writer will be able to begin the editing process with TWH Editors.

We are working in cooperation with Literary Manhattan , to give the Master Class its proper backdrop and to honor writers and a city so steeped in literary history. There are historic literary walking tours of Midtown and literary events on the docket, including a guided game of "Wink, Murder" at The Algonquin Hotel, a parlor game made famous by NYC's so-called "Vicious Circle."

Many seats have been reserved, and the process is selective. There is no application fee; we'll read your work, free of charge. Should you be accepted, you would be part of an exclusive group of writers. Our Master Class is very small, at only 44 writers total. A limited number of rooms have been reserved for attendees at **The Library Hotel, The Algonquin and The Bryant Park Hotel. Those rooms are going fast and are first-come, first-serve. **Please note that The Library Hotel rooms are now FULL for this event.

Workshop Leaders are Scott Wolven, Elyssa East and Shanna McNair teaching Fiction, and Richard Hoffman teaching Nonfiction.

The Writer's Hotel Master Class in Fiction & Nonfiction, 2014 is sponsored in part by The Kirby Family Foundation in cooperation with Creative Portland Corporation.

Please inquire at for more details. We hope to see you there!


The Writer's Hotel Master Class in Fiction & Nonfiction, 2014 in the news!

TWH on Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP)A New Kind of Writing Program? The Writer’s Hotel Master Class

TWH on Literary Manhattan“Floating” writer’s campus prepares to take over New York City streets

TWH on the Poets & Writers Conferences and Residencies Database



Your conference just ended. Your MFA is over, or maybe you decided the MFA wasn't for you. You're yearning for more attention and guidance as you work your way through your manuscript. Maybe you're coming to us after a lifetime of writing on your own; maybe you are looking to step up your game. No matter what the reason, we are here for you. What's that you're feeling? You want to keep writing! It's time to complete your book. We will help you every step of the way.

THE WRITER'S HOTEL is the teaching and editorial arm of THE NEW GUARD. We offer intensive, one-on-one Private Study. Our Private Study is much like a graduate-level Creative Writing course, and we aim to give you the same results at a fraction of the cost. We also work with writers to complete projects.


Private Study/Creative Writing Instruction/Coaching

Manuscript Evaluation

Blind Virtual Workshops


Editorial Services


Shanna McNair is the founder of TNG and The Writer’s Hotel. She writes fiction, poetry, scripts and the occasional article. She is an award-winning journalist with a background in the visual and performing arts. She has a novel and a book of short stories forthcoming.

"Shanna McNair has an eagle-eye and a deep understanding of the intricacies of the writing process. As editor of The New Guard, she helped me bring my memoir/essay on Saul Bellow into focus and being. Thank you Shanna!" --Fred Marchant, poet, scholar and author of The Looking House and Tipping Point.

Scott Wolven is a TNG Editor and he is also an Editor at The Writer’s Hotel. He is the author of the short story collection, Controlled Burn. His stories have appeared seven years in a row in The Best American Mystery Stories Series, the most consecutive appearances in the history of the series. The title story of the collection appeared in Best American Noir of the Century.

Praise for Scott Wolven's writing: "Wolven has turned raw, unreconciled life into startling, evocative, and very good short stories. He draws on a New England different from Updike’s and even Dubus’, but his fictive lives--no less than theirs--render the world newly, and full of important consequence." --Richard Ford, author of Independence Day and Canada.

We promise you will emerge from The Writer's Hotel a more confident writer. It is our goal to help you become the best writer you can be.

You will always have two sets of eyes on your work. Both editors will review your material, giving extensive line edits and detailed comments. Fiction and Creative Nonfiction students can expect us to study everything on the page, including plot, character development, dialogue, sentence structure and narrative arc. Poetry students will receive responses involving the elements of poetry, such as use of form, line breaks, rhythm, tone and imagery. Poetry students will also get line edits and detailed responses to each piece.

In addition to the intensive one-on-one work we do with each writer in Private Study, each week we send out an optional writing prompt and lesson. We hold Blind Virtual Workshops once a month. And each Private Study writer gets reading suggestions and guidance to help in navigating the difficult world of publishers and agents. Email communication is frequent, phone calls are as needed.

Aside from our popular Private Study, we are also available for general copyediting and proofing--you tell us what you want and we will deliver. We will tailor a program to suit you.

The Writer's Hotel Editors are professional writers, teachers and editors. We enjoy helping our fellows. Where appropriate, we will seek agency connections for our writers.

Please email us at for information on current rates, virtual workshops and more. We look forward to reading your work!

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