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

Achieving distinction as a poet is a result of stylistic vision, but most often, of finding the courage to say the “unsayable” which often illuminates some aspect of human existence while serving as a testimonial of the poet’s life and journey.  With a concern for craft elements of a poem such as imagery, sound, syntax, and form, this beginning and intermediate workshop is focused on ways to structure a poem that frames the “grand utterance.” We will read and discuss example works as well as excerpts of interviews, then make effort towards writing our own poems that name our truths in memorable language through in-class writing exercises. In this sense, the workshop is generative and designed to cultivate empathy and courage while offering strategies of composition that facilitate self-revelation.

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

This 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.

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