2014 Workshops


Memoir Intensive with Dorothy Allison

In this workshop we’ll dissect the art and craft of memoir writing through lectures, writing exercises and class discussions. We won’t be reading and critiquing manuscripts, but rather closely examining elements of the memoir form with the intention of allowing you to see your work with deeper insight while also generating new material. Topics we’ll cover include the art of revelation, narrative density, setting, scene-making, risk-taking, emotional and literal plot trajectories, structure, metaphorical resonance, subtext, tone, connecting the specific to the universal, the use of objects, interiors and exteriors, and honesty, among other things. The class is appropriate for writers at all stages—from novice to experienced memoirists.

Descending Into Story with Andre Dubus III

Master novelist and short story writer, Richard Bausch says: “Do not think, dream. If you think you’re thinking when you’re writing, then think again; you’re working with the dreaming side of your mind, so dream, dream, dream it through.” I could not agree more. I also believe this holds true whether you’re writing fiction or creative non-fiction/memoir, for when we explore our lives through the subjective lens of our own memories, we’re still dreaming our way back. But how – technically speaking – does one dream fully and honestly with mere words? Come to this workshop, and I’ll try to lay this out with a bit of lecture, in-class creative writing exercises, and a constructive critique of what comes out of you, one honest word at a time.


Workshop for Experienced Writers with Robert Boswell

The workshop will be divided between the discussion of conferees’ manuscripts and conversations over craft in specific works of fiction. We will attempt to focus on more esoteric matters of craft than the typical conference workshop. Manuscripts are limited to fifteen double-spaced pages.

Shaping the Stuff of Your World Into Story with Pam Houston

Open to both fiction writers and memoirists/personal essayists, this manuscript based class will focus on the elements of good prose writing: metaphor, structure, voice, scene, tension and narrative arc.  We will also examine the rich (and widening?) grey area between fiction and memoir and how to make choices about which genre is the best vehicle for the story you have to tell.  Manuscripts are limited to fifteen double-spaced pages.

Full Manuscript Master Class with Antonya Nelson

This Master class is for the writer who has a full manuscript of either a collection of short stories or a novel and would like to engage with a group for a serious and productive response to these complete books. Having taught this type of intensive small group in both universities and conferences, I can say with confidence that members of the class find it the most useful workshop of their writing lives, as the entire group has deep commitment and the conversation is thorough and extremely useful.  Manuscripts are limited to 300 double-spaced pages and the final manuscript for workshop must be submitted by September 15, 2014.  This class is limited to 5 students.


Chameleons of Suffering:  Strategies of Empathetic Transformation in Poetry with Kwame Dawes

The workshop will combine conventional group reviewing of the work of participants in the workshop, with in class writing exercises and craft talk discussions.  Using the metaphor of the color-shifting chameleon as a framing device, the workshop will offer strategies of generating poetry that is urgent, empathetic and suitably crafted for the subject material.