Julia Pistell writes mostly nonfiction, including essays, articles, columns, and book reviews.
Published projects include:
- An essay about lunch featured on NPR's "This I Believe"
- An essay detailing her time spent aboard the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan and her experience re-reading Moby-Dick on board
- A flash fiction piece, "A Mystery is Solved," winner of the Coachella Review Flash Fiction award
- Reviews of dueling Mark Twain biographies for the Sunday Star-Ledger
- Created the "Walking Distance" column for the Hartford Advocate
She has done live readings at the Cornelia Street Cafe in New York, Real Art Ways, and Literary Death Match. Incidentally, she won the death match by performing her essay "The Fairy Godmother of the Berlin Turnpike" and then defeating poet Jon Sands in a literary spelling bee (thanks for the medal, Wisława Szymborska).
She has been a featured storytelling at The Mouth, Other People's Stories, and SpeakUp.
Julia holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars and a BA in English from Skidmore College.
Julia's work has been recognized by the Greater Hartford Arts Council, who awarded her a Solo Writers Fellowship, and the City of Hartford, who awarded her an Arts and Heritage Jobs Grant for her work.
To read some of Julia's most popular work, please visit her blog.
Freelance Writing & Marketing Services
Julia is an experienced freelance writer, editor, and publicist.
She is currently creating extensive marketing content for LEGO.
Pistell also works with Civic Mind, United Way, The Hope Foundation and Fischman Orthodontics to create marketing concepts and copy. She has also worked with HartBeat Ensemble and the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative on their public relations strategies.
Through her work at the Twain House, she wrote a feature article about Twain's love of cats for Cat Fancy magazine, the world's top-selling cat-related publication.
Julia edited the book proposal for news anchor Kara Sundlan's memoir, Finding Dad, which quickly landed an agent and a book deal.
To hire her for writing, editing, and marketing projects, please contact her here.
"Before I met Julia, I read an essay on her blog. I fell in love. I had goosebumps, chuckled, and even cried a little because her words were so graceful and honest. Julia has the ability to draw her readers in like no other. The scene she sets is truthful, detailed, and truly lovely. I sat there wanting to read on forever. This is not something I find myself thinking too often, and it was right then that I knew Julia was something very special. A few months later, she wrote the blog post for my photography, and the response from the audience was overwhelming. People were struck by her story-telling, and I know they wanted to keep reading forever as well."
Literary Disco is a podcast by Rider Strong, Tod Goldberg, and Julia Pistell. The three friends and writers review current, classic, and off-the-beaten-path books in every genre. Reviews include everything from Sweet Valley High to new plays to Stoner.
Literary Disco can be found on Stitcher and iTunes, or streamed directly from the website. Thanks for listening.
Syllable Reading Series
Syllable is a reading series held monthly in Hartford, Connecticut, founded and administrated by Julia Pistell.
Formerly held at the coffeehouse La Paloma, the series has now moved to Hartford Prints, the letterpress shop on Pratt Street in Hartford. For more information on submissions, themes, and guidelines, check out Syllable's website here.
Within the role, Julia created the Royal Nonesuch National Humor Writing Contest, the Young Writers in Residence Program, the "Write to the Point" Creative Nonfiction summer programs for teenagers, and Writing in Mark Twain's Library.
She also oversees workshops, classes, and the annual Writers' Weekend (which have featured Lewis Lapham, Anita Diamant, Meg Wolitzer, and Dani Shapiro).
In her work with the Marketing & Events department of the museum, Julia has worked with Stephen King, Judy Blume, Joan Didion, Christopher Moore, John Irving, Sandra Brown, R.L. Stine, Gregory Maguire, and dozens more writers.
Three times a year, she teaches the Mark Twain Players, a playwriting class for children. Her favorite project at the Twain House has been remounting Sam's daughter Susy's play "The Love-Chase" in the Clemens drawing room.
For more information on the Mark Twain House & Museum, please click here.
Photo by Frank Grace.
Interviews & Panels
Julia is an accomplished public speaker, who specializes in leading author conversations and panels.
Moderated panels: AWP Conference, the Hartford Public Library, the Mark Twain House, Hartford Stage, and the Mandell Jewish Community Center.
Panelist: Book Expo America, The Big Book Getaway, Barnes & Noble in the Grove (live Literary Disco panel).
Authors interviewed live onstage: David Hadju, Joan Didion, Judy Blume, Christopher Moore, Anne Rice, Colm Toibin, Mark Seigel, Anita Diamant, Meg Wolitzer, Dani Shapiro, Lisa Brown, Clea Simon, Carmela Ciuraru, Michael Gorra, Norman Lock, Francesca Segal, and many, many more.
Thank you Hartford and everyone at The Twain House for a magical evening! JuliaPistell, you are the best! On to Nantucket Film Festival.
"Working with Julia was truly a pleasure. Julia moderated two fiction panels at the Mandell JCC Jewish Book Festival over the past two years and each time drew the audience in with her and understanding of each book and author, her interest in the topics at hand, her professionalism and her humor. Her knowledge of the publishing world along with pop culture made it very easy for her to relate to authors and readers alike. We would welcome the chance to have Julia moderate another author panel in our Festival."
- Elana MacGilpin, Director of Community Engagement, Mandell JCC
Photo by Katherine Martinelli.
Featured many times on Connecticut Public Radio. Appearances include:
And Julia has performed three times in Producer Catie Talarski's Radio Adventure Theater, and may or may not be working on a top-secret project with Ms. Talarksi reviving an old radio show. Only time will tell.
Photo by Chion Wolf.
Sea Tea Improv
Julia is one of the founding members of Sea Tea Improv, Connecticut's favorite improv company.
Sea Tea Improv has performed award-winning comedy all over the country, from Cleveland to Maine to Baltimore, but our home is Hartford.
Sea Tea performs monthly at City Steam Brewery, The Studio at Billings Forge, HartBeat Ensemble's Carriage House Theater, and Real Art Ways. Sea Tea is also the creator of the Hartford Improv Festival.
Julia has been involved in some of Sea Tea Improv's most exciting community outreach initiatives, including teaching improv to the homeless, Alzheimer's patients, kids of all ages, and many more. Sea Tea Improv also offers corporate training and classes through our studio, which Julia teaches frequently.
Julia was trained at the Hartford Stage Company and the Upright Citizens Brigade, where she is an Advanced Study student. Sea Tea Improv won the Upright Citizens Brigade Indie Cage Match in 2012 and went on to perform in the larger UCB Cage Match. Julia was one of the first members of the E-Mprov team Electronic Initiation and half of the duo Julia & Jeffrey. She also performs frequently with the members of Franklin's Peaches, experimenting with new forms like Improvised Disaster Movie, Campfire, and Spoken.
"I have attended many Sea Tea events around Hartford. Over the years, I have also taken numerous Improv classes taught by the members of the group. I can only share my most sincere and heartfelt sense of gratitude and appreciation for each and every member of Sea Tea Improv. Every member of the group is an exceptionally dedicated and hard working professional. Working tirelessly for many years, this gifted group of Improvisers managed to place Hartford on to the regional and even national map with their successes in NYC Del Close Marathon and their inaugural (and wildly successful) Hartford Improv Festival in 2014. As a resident of the Greater Hartford Community, I am delighted that we have Sea Tea Improv right in the heart of the city. Their Studio on Pratt Street is a hub of Improv and theatrical activities for the entire state."