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. Tuition for the morning workshops is $575, with the exception of the Master Class, which is $675. Breakfast and lunch, as well as the afternoon events, are included. 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 craft of personal Prose

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 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, students 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 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.” How do we counter fear? Do we go around it, or do we go through it? Do we kill fear or keep it alive? In this workshop with Shobha Rao, students 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 for MG/YA

Get your MG/YA novel submission-ready in this workshop with Mitali Perkins. Over the three morning sessions, 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. You’ll leave with a plan of action to improve your MG/YA novel so that it’s ready to submit to agents!

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dramatic 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, writers 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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Combining Magic and Intention in 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. 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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Hybrid forms of 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. 


Storytelling for Speculative Fiction

Genre fiction is often dismissed as a serious art form, yet science fiction and fantasy dominate sales in many media formats. What are the storytelling elements that make speculative fiction so popular? How can you create works in a field that is known for armies of passionate fans? In this workshop, #1 New York Times best-selling novelist Scott Sigler will discuss how speculative fiction examines the human condition, and how you can use genre to generate captivating characters.

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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.