Morning workshops

Our intimate and interactive workshops are restricted to fourteen participants, with the exception of the Master Class which is limited to twelve. Participants will follow their instructors for three mornings, Thursday through Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Enrollment for all workshops is first-come, first-served, with the exception of the Master Class which entails a juried entry. Like scholarships, Master Class applications are accepted early, from January 1-February 15. General registration for all other morning workshops opens on March 1 and closes on June 30. Participants in all workshops will be expected to submit work in the workshop genre by July 1 and to read and comment on the work of others. Submission guidelines will be supplied upon enrollment.


master class: The Art of Fiction

Having lived is possibly the least important qualification for writing memoir. In lieu of living, Master Class workshop instructor Myriam Gurba privileges craft. She also understands that audiences have developed a taste for memoir that reads like a novel and novels that read like memoirs. To achieve personal prose that moves novelistically, we will raid the toolboxes of both novelists and poets and we will aestheticize personal narrative using these borrowed devices. We will also learn about autotheory, an emerging genre which marries personalized anecdotes to history, philosophy, critical theory, contemporary politics, and art, and discuss how autotheory might restructure and enhance each other’s projects.

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Novel Writing: Writing as a Laboratory

Writing a novel takes discipline but also a sublime sense of play. The page is a place to experiment, to grow into and out of writing habits, expand your imagination of what is possible, and arrive at work that is fresh and thrilling to you. In this workshop with Ingrid Rojas Contreras, we will approach writing as a laboratory, using story-based prompts and process-based prompts throughout. We will engage with each other’s work, workshopping a novel excerpt from each participant and experimenting on sections in need of a re-write.  


Overcoming our fear in Short Fiction

Hunter S. Thompson said, “Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.” Do we kill fear or keep it alive? How do we counter fear? Do we go around it, or do we go through it? In this workshop with Shobha Rao, we will focus on the ways writers are tethered by fear and the tools we have inside us to untether ourselves. It is too simple to say, “Be courageous.” What does that mean? What are the particles of which courage is made? Using each other’s work, writing prompts, deep discussion and exercises, we will dismantle our fear and mobilize its ever-patient and waiting twin, courage.

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Structure, Setting, and Snappy Dialog

Get your MG/YA novel submission ready! In this workshop with Mitali Perkins, we will focus on strengthening your novel’s story structure, anchoring scenes with a strong sense of place, and creating momentum with excellent real-time dialog. You’ll enjoy in-class guided writing exercises and constructive feedback on your work.

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presentation in Memoir

You do not need to be the world’s youngest surgeon/senator/CEO in order to write a memoir. You can write about your dog if you do it well. Memoir is all in the telling. In this workshop with Jeannie Vanasco, we will explore the possibilities of dramatic presentation—how you can take a seemingly small-stakes memory, and very little action, and methodically create the conditions for conflict. Individually, we will find the forms that best suit our projects by engaging with one another’s work and with sections of published memoirs.

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The magic and craft of Poetry

Some people believe that a poem comes from some magical place, the unconscious, the muse, the ether.  Other people believe that a poem comes from the writer’s intention.  Still other people fall somewhere in between.  Join Victoria Chang to explore both the mysterious magical place where poetry might come from and learn about craft—the writer’s intention.  We will read a lot, learn a lot, learn about each other, and hopefully walk away as more magical and more intentional poets.  Each day will be devoted to looking closely at an important craft element by reading poems, as well as writing our own, and workshopping each others’ new poems.  Bring a notebook and/or laptop, your imagination, and an open mind, and hopefully you will leave with new poems, new inspiration, new friends, and ideas for future poems.

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Beyond the Personal Essay in Creative Nonfiction

In this workshop with Ismail Muhammad, we will consider strategies for writing hybrid forms of creative nonfiction. With an eye towards how including elements of other genres can deepen the personal essay, we will focus on incorporating elements of other prose genres, including but not limited to criticism and academic sources. By working with hybrid forms, we will explore how we can use the personal essay as a venue for political and aesthetic reflection. The workshop will include a series of writing exercises, discussion of sample texts, and manuscript discussion. 

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The Business of Show: Successful Screenwriting

This class with seasoned producer, screenwriter and novelist Nina Sadowsky will provide an in-depth view of writing for film and television.  The mixture of lecture, in-class exercises and workshopping of participants’ material will reveal how material is pitched, developed and produced in Hollywood; give an overview of television and film story structure and craft; as well as provide tips for successful screenwriting that are also applicable to other genres. This workshop is sponsored by Humanitas and no pre-written script pages are necessary. As long as you can put together a synopsis of the story you’d like to see as a film, you can be part of this illuminating discussion!

Registration is now closed

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EMERGING WRITERS’ workshop: The Next Level

For many of us, the writing life means accepting that we learn and plateau, learn and plateau. If this your current experience, then this workshop with Charlotte Gullick is for you. We will broaden our writers’ toolkits to grow and deepen our work, and we’ll have a clearer sense of how to take our writing to the next level. In this highly interactive session, we will discuss ways to close the gap between ability and aspiration, cultivate a more playful relationship to process, see current work through new lenses, and build community. Format will include peer critique, writing exercises, and craft discussion.