Magical Realism and Feminist Subversion in China and Beyond

Thursday, Nov. 7, 4:00 pm in Liberal Arts Building #136

How do Chinese activists today get around increasingly repressive political censorship? While the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, and Beijing’s severe reaction to them, confirm the lack of rights in China, young people on the Mainland are creating more roundabout ways to communicate their subversive ideas. 

Online literature in China flourishes, with reinventions of traditional genres such as sword-fighting, with a subversive, contemporary edge. Young women use creative linguistic innovations to subvert censorship of feminist social media. After the censorship of the Me Too movement, they used the emojis of rice (mi) and rabbit (tu) in place of the English words (homophones for “Me” and “Too”). 

Persecution of feminists in China is on the rise, with both activists and authors imprisoned. Through the veil of magical realism, brave women continue to voice opposition via hugely popular online novels. As repression increases, so does resistance. This is similar to how magical realism was originally used in Latin America to criticize dictatorships while avoiding political censorship and persecution. In addition to the China focus, this lecture provides keys to understanding magical realism, including how the imagination shapes our ways of seeing and acting in the world. Drawing from my book Décoloniser l’imaginaire: du réalisme magique chez Maryse Condé, Marie NDiaye; et Sylvie Germain (L’Harmattan, 2007), it includes examples from China, the Francophone world, and beyond. 

Professor of Literature Kate Rose is currently on leave from China University of Mining and Technology. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Boston College and went on to get her PhD in Comparative Literature from Université de Montpellier, France. 

She is the author or co-author of multiple books, chapters, academic articles, and reviews on feminism, traumatic memory in literature, social linguistics, French Literature, Chinese literature, and indigenous literature of the Americas. She is also the author of several fictional short stories and one novel.

She is the editor of a forthcoming book in Routledge’s Series on Contemporary Literature, titled Displaced: Migration, Indigeneity, and Trauma. Currently she is seeking a department at NAU interested in integrating her interdisciplinary and international teaching and research. In the meantime, she works as a freelance editor, and part-time for a local publishing house. 

Write Your Novel in November

Want to be inspired to write that novel you've been planning, but feel like you don't have the time? Trying to overcome a huge case of writer's block? Want to meet other writers? NaNoWriMo  or National Novel Writing Month is you chance.

Each year on Nov. 1 about half a million writers from all over the world converge on the internet and at local Write-In locations to work toward the goal of creating a 50,000 word novel by 11:59 PM on Nov. 30. That's a novel about the size of Catcher in the Rye.

The event began in 1999, and in 2005, National Novel Writing Month became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. NaNoWriMo’s programs now include National Novel Writing Month in November, Camp NaNoWriMo, and the Young Writers Program.

In 2017:
  • 402,142 participants, including 95,912 students and educators in the Young Writers Program, started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.
  • 972 volunteer Municipal Liaisons guided 646 regions on six continents.
  • 1,195 libraries, bookstores, and community centers opened their doors to novelists through the Come Write In program.
  • 65,962 Campers tackled a writing project—novel or not—at Camp NaNoWriMo.
  • In past surveys, 86% of respondents said that NaNoWriMo helped them learn what they can accomplish when determined. 89% of respondents said that NaNoWriMo made them more excited about writing and 87% of student participants in our Young Writers Program said that it made them more confident writers.
  • Hundreds of NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published. They include Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder
  • Each year, authors offer mentorship to our participants through pep talksPast author mentors have included Gene Luen Yang, Roxane Gay, John Green, N. K. Jemisin, and Veronica Roth.

Become a Participant

To get started in NaNoWriMo, use this Step by Step Guide:
  1. Fill out a Profile so other writers with similar interests can find you.
  2. Brainstorm a story for your Novel with Flagstaff Writers Connection.
  3. Announce your Novel to the world. This will help you stay the course when things get tough.

  4. Plan the plot for your Novel with NaNoWriMo, or NaNo Prep or C. Alex Smith. Or don't. Pantsers welcome!
  5. Select Flagstaff AZ as you home region.

    Each region has leaders who schedule meet and greets and writing sessions which usually take place at coffee houses or bookstores. Our leader is Cory. These sessions encourage writers to collaborate and share ideas. If you’re not into the idea of writing in public, the NaNoWriMo website also has numerous message boards so you can talk to writers from all over the world.
  6. Come November, WRITE! And earn Badges for reaching milestones.
  7. Get help when you get stuck. The encouragement that you receive is unparalleled. The website even e-mails inspirational quotes and messages to your WriMo inbox daily.
  8. Update your word count until you get to 50,000 words or more.
  9. Claim your Win by pasting the full text of the novel into the NaNo word counter. Winners can also claim prizes. You can even get a free copy of Scrivener for winning.
  10. NaNoWriMo also hooks you up with people who can help you find out what to do with your novel once it’s been completed.

NaNoWriMo Kick Off Event on 10/31/19

Start your NaNoWriMo challenge out at the stroke of midnight at the IHOP on Rte 66. Festivities start at 10 pm and last until 1 am. Costumes welcome. At midnight we settle in to write those first words of our 50,000 word challenge.

Write-Ins and More

11/1 Noon-3 pm Lowell Observatory Pizza Party and Write-In 
11/2 3-5pm A Writer's Toolbox Workshop at Main Library in Flagstaff
11/4 1:30-3:30 pm Literacy Center Write-In
11/5 Noon-1pm Writers Who Lunch at Main Library and 6-9 pm Write-In at Bookmans
11/7 12-2 pm East Side Writers at East Library on 4th St. 
4-6 pm Magical Realism Lecture at Liberal Arts Building, NAU Rm 136

6-9 pm The Written World at Mother Road Brewery on Butler 

6:30-8:30 pm Shut Up and Write at Flagstaff Main Library
11/8 Noon-1 pm Writers Who Lunch in Flagstaff Main Library
11/9 9am-Noon Cline Library Write-In at Room 131
Inspiration on Tap at Uptown Pub 3-6 pm
11/11 1:30-3:30 pm Literacy Center Write-In
11/12 Noon-1 pm Writers Who Lunch at Flagstaff Main Library
6-9 pm Bookmans Write-In
11/14 Noon-2 pm East Side Writers at East Flagstaff Library on 4th St
6:30-8:30 pm Shut Up and Write at Flagstaff Main Library
11/15 Noon-1 pm Writers Who Lunch Flagstaff Main Library
11/16 9 am-Noon Cline Library Write-In Room 131
3-5 pm Surviving the Last Half of NaNoWriMo Flagstaff Main Library
11/18 1:20-3:30 pm Literacy Center Write-In
11/19 Noon-1pm Writers Who Lunch Flagstaff Main Library
6-9 pm Bookmans Writer-In
11/21 Noon-2 pm East Side Writers at Flagstaff East Library on 4th St.
5:30-?? Special Written Word at Charley's Bar and Grill
6:30-8:30 Shut Up and Write at Flagstaff Main Library
11/22 Noon-1 pm Writers Who Lunch at Flagstaff Main Library
11/23 9 am-Noon Cline Library Write-In Room 131
11/25 1:30-3:30 pm Literacy Center Write-In
11/26 Noon-1 pm Writers Who Lunch, Flagstaff Main Library
11/28 Thanksgiving
11/30 10 pm-1 am Close Out Bash at IHOP on Rte 66

More from


Nature Writing Retreat: Eco Poetry & Prose

poet, author, and writing instructor
Pam Davenport
“Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
~Mary Oliver, The Summer Day
Spend the day remembering you are part of Nature. This all day retreat in a Garden Setting will break down the barriers between you and the natural world. See things differently and discover how to use your Poetry and Prose to live and breathe and even to facilitate change.
Saturday, September 14
Check-In at 9:30 am
Instruction 10 am-4 pm

Fee $50 before Sept 1 
and $60 in Sept.
(Includes entrance to Arboretum)
Participants limited to 25

Register by mailing Registration Form and Check payable to  Nancy Brehm
925 N. Sinagua Heights Dr.
Flagstaff, AZ 86004

For more info call or email Nancy at: 


Arrive early and stay until 5 pm to enjoy the gardens. The Arboretum has lots of paths, a butterfly garden, a mushroom garden, art, a pond, and a climate change center. Maps and tours will be available after 9 am.

Participants should bring a brown bag lunch. Coolers will be available. Coffee, tea and muffins will be furnished in the morning. Healthy snacks and desserts will be available during the day. Participants are asked to bring a water bottle for refilling.

Pam Davenport's writing is inspired by the mountains and deserts of Arizona. After decades of teaching college writing and literature classes, Pam earned a Masters of Fine Arts in writing from Pacific University in Oregon. Her chapbook, A Midwest Girl Thanks Patti Smith won the Slipstream Chapbook Competition and will be published this summer. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and recipient of Arizona Authors' Assc. Annual Award for Poetry. Her poems have been published in Nimrod, Tinderbox, Slippery Elm, Poetry of the American Southwest, Chiron, New Verse News, and Pittsburgh Poetry Review.

After the Workshop

We had a great group on Sat for this workshop. The facilities were beautiful and the weather was perfect for our outside writing. Thanks to all who participated for making the workshop and the readings extraordinary.

Mark James, Flagstaff Arboretum Docent, gave a wonderful talk prior to our workshop on Sat. Plants discussed included columbine, yarrow, larkspur and puke weed. Thank you Mark for all the interesting info.

Point of View & Voice Workshop

by Margaret Erhart

This all day workshop will help you with effective use of Point of View and Voice.

June 1st
9am to 4pm

The day includes:
              • Presentation
              • Discussion
              • Writing Activities

The workshop will be held at the Flagstaff Senior Meadows Clubhouse.
1351 N. Pine Cliff Dr. in Flagstaff.

Parking is limited but you can park in the Basis School parking lot across the street.

Fee $40

(Includes Lunch)
Participants limited to 20
Register by mailing Registration Form and Check payable to  Nancy Brehm
925 N. Sinagua Heights Dr.
Flagstaff, AZ 86004

For more info call or email Nancy at: 


Margaret Erhart earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of five novels and many essays and articles. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and most recently in Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine. Her commentaries have aired on NPR. Her fourth novel, Crossing Bully Creek, won the Milkweed National Fiction Prize. Her fifth, The Butterflies of Grand Canyon, was a finalist for an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. She has taught poetry to first-graders in Tuba City, and fiction to college students. She lives and works in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Writing and Publishing on the Colorado Plateau

and the 
a showcase of local authors of the Colorado Plateau from a variety of different genres who will share their writing and publishing experiences:

Samantha Burton, Publications & Bookstore Manager

Samantha Burton works as a Bookstore and Publications Department Manager at the Museum of Northern Arizona. She holds a BA in English with an emphasis in Native American Literature. She has contributed to museum exhibits as a freelance Indigenous Consultant and has presented on the representation of Indigenous people in literature, media, and popular culture.

Jean Rukkila, author & illustrator 

Jean Rukkila fills blank pages with words and drawings. She's taught Arizona teachers and students how to make one-of-a-kind books. Her essays, poems, and stories have appeared in Mountain Gazette, Sonora Review, FlagLive and The Sun.

Don Lago, author 

Don Lago has published a dozen books, half of them from university presses, and writes creative non-fiction and history. As well as essays in national magazines and literary reviews, he's published three books about the history of the Grand Canyon and has lived in Flagstaff for 30 years. 
Gwen Waring, author, illustrator, ecologist

Gwen Waring is an ecologist and writer who is based in Flagstaff. Her love of the region is expressed through landscape painting and the writing of natural history. She's conducted research in most ecosystems in Arizona. Her new book, The Natural History of the San Francisco Peaks (2018) tells the story of this fabulous mountain based on research conducted over the last 130 years. 

Location and Time:

May 4th, 2019 2-4 p.m.

Branigar Hall @ Museum of Northern Arizona 
Free with admission to museum (Adults/$12 Seniors/$10)

Book Signing:

Presentations will be followed by a Question and Answer session which will be moderated by Flagstaff author, Margaret Erhart. The authors will be selling and signing their works following the presentation.

More Information, Contact: 

Barbara Shovers, Co-Coordinator, Flagstaff Writers Connection

Nancy Brehm, Co-Coordinator, Flagstaff Writers Connection

Margaret Erhart, Flagstaff Writers Connection Member