2017 Event Descriptions

Here is a closer look at some of our conference offerings. Check back regularly as new program descriptions are added.

Fiction Workshop with Jennifer Haigh

Whether you’re brand new to fiction or have been writing it for years, this workshop will help you get started on a new short story or move your current project to the next level. Each day’s session will include writing prompts, a craft lecture and class critique. Topics covered will include sentence-making, story structure, beginnings and endings, writing dialogue and the five narrative modes. Participants will be asked to bring to class the opening passages (2 pages maximum) of a short story, novella or novel to share with the class.

Poetry Workshop with Major Jackson

In this class we will explore issues of poetic craft, using devices such as formal strategies, structure, rhythm and sound. We will experiment with ways to push our writing beyond our usual subject matter and style. Our time will also be spent reading and examining the work of other contemporary poets. We will challenge ourselves with in-class writing exercises, as well as take the time to read each other’s work and offer feedback that inspires. Come prepared to make your poetry shine.

Nonfiction Workshop with Kenny Fries

In this hands-on workshop, we’ll explore how creative nonfiction differs from, and might be similar to, fiction and other genres. We’ll look at how we might best use techniques and structures from other genres (narrative voice, dialogue, characterization, flashback/flashforward, setting, close-up, montage, point of view, etc.) to get to the heart of what we’re writing. Each day we’ll use our time together to discuss craft issues, look at some short excerpts from good examples of the genre (memoir, personal essay, travel writing, and other kinds of creative nonfiction), write and brainstorm from prompts, and share some of our own work with each other. The goal of the workshop is to get each of us further along in what we’re writing or want to write with a focus on how best to lift the work off the page into the reader’s psyche.

Panel Discussion: Historical Narratives: The Craft of Writing

The discussion with historian and author Marie Jenkins Schwartz and historical novelist Taylor Polites will focus on the joys and challenges of engaging with history when writing. Research is an essential part of writing any book set in the past. What approaches to research work, and when it is time to stop researching and to start writing? Both Schwartz and Polites will read excerpts from their latest books and explain how their approaches to research informed the stories they tell.

Publishing Panel: Demystifying Publication and Prizes

How do you write a query letter?  Do you need a platform?  Are literary prizes a viable path to getting published? Are there advantages to self-publishing? We will answer these questions and more. Panelists will share their experience and expertise as editors, publishers and writers. You will receive sound advice on querying etiquette, finding the right agent/editor, tips on submitting to literary contests. They will also touch on trends and changes in the marketplace.

Craft Talk: Screenwriting: Page to Screen

This craft session will look at ways to bring your words to life. Attendees will explore how to do this with screenwriting techniques such as the role of dialogue in characterization, scene shaping, creating insightful character descriptions and use of non-verbal expressions of identity.

Think Big We Do

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