In our manuscript workshops, capped at 10, you will distribute manuscripts in advance, prepare comments for your colleague’s submissions, and gather online each morning to share insights and gain inspiration on the best path to advance your writing. You’ll receive critical feedback from peers and your faculty mentor and learn what other writers are working on as well.
Our write-now workshops, capped at 12, allow you to immerse yourself in the craft of writing without the pressure of preparing or reading manuscripts. Through daily reading, writing exercises, and prompts, you’ll write both in class and during the afternoon to generate new work over the course of each day, dedicating as much time as possible to your own new writing.
- Sunday afternoon opening, workshop groups meet
- Daily workshops, craft lectures, and social time
- Evening events
- Lectures and readings will be recorded for viewing at any time (this does not include workshops)
We offer merit and need-based scholarships.
Available Workshops and Retreats
- Advanced Novel –Fred Leebron – fiction
- An Editor’s Perspective -Barbara Jones – fiction and memoir, advanced
- Creative Nonfiction: A Generative Retreat -James McKean – all levels
Fiction Writers’ Retreat -Dan Mueller – fiction, all levels
- Multiple Genres/Singular Voices: An approach to Writing, Jon Pineda – multi genre, all levels
- Our Memories and Our Words: The Art of Writing Memoir, M. Randal O’Wain – all levels
- Press Play, Cade Leebron – multi genre, all levels
- The Thrills of Adaptation, Maxine Swann – prose and screenplay, all levels
- Wild and Whirling, A Poet’s Retreat, Thorpe Moeckel – poetry, all levels
- Writing for and Working with an Agent, Jeff Kleinman – multi genre, advanced
An Editor’s Perspectives, fiction and memoir, advanced
This manuscript workshop focuses an editor’s perspective on your work; one that will have an eye toward your future readers. Writers of fiction and memoir are right to be passionate about their work and its inherent value, but successfully connecting with readers (including agents and editors) very often requires considering the reader—and the inherent value of the reader—as well as the merits of the work. In this workshop, we will examine a portion of your novel or memoir (approximately 20 double-spaced pages) with an emphasis on understanding how most readers will perceive this literary offering and how you can best revise your material to connect meaningfully with a reading audience. John Updike once said that his ideal reader was a boy somewhere “to the east of Kansas” who discovered Updike’s books by accident in a school library. Who is your ideal reader? This workshop will help you identify him and/or her and, through edits large and small, adjust the material that matters to you in ways that will matter to the booklovers you want to reach.
- Barbara Jones is an executive editor at Henry Holt & Company, where she edits fiction, memoir, and an idiosyncratic short list of nonfiction. Her authors include Paul Auster, Sebastian Faulks, Christa Parravani, Adelle Waldman, Rick Moody, and many others. She was previously editorial director of Hyperion Books and Voice Books, where she edited Lauren Groff, Deborah Copaken Kogan, Chitra Divakaruni, Isabel Gillies, Kelly Corrigan, and many others. Before becoming a book editor in 2008, Jones spent nearly 20 years as an editor at magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Magazine, More, and Grand Street, editing authors such as Jennifer Egan, Lorrie Moore, Ann Patchett, Louise Erdrich, Francine Prose, Liz Gilbert, Ann Hood, Kate Braestrup, Amy Wilentz, Christopher Hitchens, Kathryn Harrison, and many others. She has taught at Yale College, New York University, and elsewhere. Her writings have been published in magazines, newspapers, and books, including Salon, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Elle, The Paris Review, and in anthologies from Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Riverhead Books.
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Writing for and Working with an Agent, multi genre, advanced
A frank manuscript workshop that not only evaluates your novel, memoir, or narrative nonfiction (focusing on premise, voice, character, and momentum) but also works on making your book as marketable as possible. Participants will workshop their own (10 double-spaced pages of novel or sample chapter) and the group’s work, and then participate in several nuts-and-bolts exercises designed to immediately improve their craft with an eye toward publication.
Jeff Kleinman is a founding partner at Folio Literary Management. He loves unique voices, magnificently strong characters, unusual premises, and books that offer up some new perspective on something he thought he already knew something about or never even dreamed existed. He’d particularly love to find some great dark upmarket or literary psychological suspense if you have any lying around. Current clients include: New York Times bestsellers Garth Stein, Eowyn Ivey, Jacqueline Mitchard, Charles Shields, Elizabeth Letts, and soon-to-be-mega-bestseller Karen Dionne.
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Press Play, multi genre, all levels [no longer available]
- In an increasingly tech-savvy and multitasking world, podcasts and audiobooks are on the rise. While these forms are widely accessible to listeners, they may feel out of reach for the writers looking to tap into this growing market. This class will bridge the gap by exploring the audio form, discussing how writing in all genres (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and genres in between) can adapt to audio, workshopping audio concepts, and jumpstarting your audio projects. By the end of the week, you’ll have the tools to write, record, and distribute your own audio work. No prior technical expertise needed, but must have a reliable internet connection, as well as a phone or computer with sound recording and sending capability. Please prepare a sample of the work (or type of work) you’d like to adapt to an audio format. If poetry, 6-8 pages of poetry single-spaced (no more than one poem per page). For prose or scripts, no more than 10 pages double-spaced.Cade Leebron holds an M.F.A. from The Ohio State University, where she taught undergraduate creative writing and composition and served as an editor for The Journal. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Electric Literature, American Literary Review, and elsewhere. She cohosts the podcast The Cold Take with Jackie Hedeman. She exists online at www.mslifeisbestlife.com
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Advanced Novel, advanced [no longer available]
- “A novel is really like a symphony,” Katherine Anne Porter once said, “where instrument after instrument has to come in at its own time, and no other.” Whether you’re working on conventional or experimental fiction, your novel is shaped by the instruments you choose: the scenes you select and extend, the voices in which you describe them, and your treatment of narrative time. In this workshop, we will examine your novel excerpt (of no more than 20 double-spaced pages) for both technique and the critical impulses that inspire a long work of fiction. What is your novel accomplishing in its narrative tracks, character arcs, and structural shape? And, just as important, what instruments are you choosing not to “play” that you might try to incorporate in the symphony that is your novel? For any writer who has completed several polished chapters or a first draft of a novel, this workshop will help you evaluate how your approach to the novel is working for you and offer you fresh ideas for development and revision.
Fred Leebron has published three novels, a novella, and numerous short stories, winning both an O. Henry Award and a Pushcart Prize. He has founded and directed writing programs in Europe, Latin America, and the United States, and has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate level for nearly 30 years. His second novel, Six Figures, was made into a feature length award-winning film in Canada, and he has worked on a number of film and television projects. He is co-author of a Harcourt Brace textbook on fiction writing and co-editor of the Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Fiction.
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Creative Nonfiction: A Generative Retreat, all levels
So much to remember. Where do we begin? This retreat will discuss how we might generate the bits and pieces of our personal narratives, with the aim of compiling these fragments into more finished work. The emphasis will be on drafting moments, lines and images, scenes, portraits, anecdotes, and flashes of memory, and sharing these discoveries with classmates. Through readings and discussion, we’ll investigate such structural elements of creative nonfiction as dual time frames, the narrative impulse versus reflection, character development, scenes, voice, rhythm, and lyricism in the service of good prose.But the main focus of the retreat will be on your writing process, the material you generate, and sharing that material with a sympathetic audience. Class time will be dedicated to sharing work aloud, discussing the art and craft of writing, and perhaps working on an exercise or two. Outside of class, you’ll be asked to write in response to prompts or wherever the muse takes you. In writing our lives, Annie Dillard says that we must “fashion a text.” The goal at the end of our week is to develop new material and new resources for fashioning your personal essays, stories, and/or memoirs. Open to all levels.
- James McKean writes poetry and nonfiction. He has published two books of essays: Home Stand: Growing Up in Sports, and Bound; and three books of poems, Headlong (1987 Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writer Award), Tree of Heaven (1994 Iowa Poetry Award), and We Are the Bus (the 2011 X.J. Kennedy poetry prize from Texas Review Press). His work has appeared in magazines and collections such as The Atlantic, Iowa Review, Gettysburg Review, the Southern Review, and the Best American Sports Writing 2003, and has received a Pushcart Prize.
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Wild and Whirling, A Poet’s Retreat, all levels
This write-now workshop will be a “wild and whirling” immersion in poem making, from raw drafting to drafting through expansionist and obstructionary rituals. Vision, sensation, craft, and generosity will be our guiding lights. We will generate clauses, lines, drafts, images, word banks, erasures, lists, sketches, aphorisms, and much more. We will read from a wide range of poets, contemporary, noncontemporary, domestic, and international, and riff off of the many moves, emotions, and themes we discuss and admire in them. All the while, we will explode, diversify, and hone in on our aesthetic and psychic lineages and impulses. We will surprise ourselves by what comes onto the page and then play off of one another’s surprising drafts, read aloud. We will explore generative prompts and radical revision prompts. We will also engage in process-based prompts, such as devotional, found, and walking practices. Each meeting will be a poem-making jam session, affirming, surprising, rigorous, yet unencumbered by the time and energy demands of workshop round robins. We will leave with very promising drafts as well as new ideas for poems, so as to keep us busy at our desks for a long time.
Thorpe Moeckel is the author of three books of poems: Odd Botany, Making a Map of the River, and Venison: a poem. Chapbooks include Meltlines and The Guessing Land. He teaches in the English and creative writing program at Hollins. A former Kenan Visiting Writer at UNC-Chapel Hill, he has received an NEA Fellowship in poetry, a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, the Gerald Cable Book Award, the George Garrett Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and a Henry Hoyns Fellowship. His poetry is featured in several anthologies, including Field Work: Modern Poems from Eastern Forests, edited by Erik Reece, and From the Fishouse. His prose and poems appear in such journals as FIELD, Open City, The Antioch Review, Poetry Daily, Orion, Poetry, The Southern Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. His most recent works are the nonfiction book Watershed Days: Adventures (A Little Thorny & Familiar) in the Home Range, and the epic/anti-epic Arcadia Road: A Trilogy.
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Fiction Writers’ Retreat, all levels
- In this write-now workshop, we will focus predominately on fiction, we’ll embody the practice of writing daily. During meeting times we’ll discuss matters of craft derived from reading a wide swath of contemporary fiction; read aloud to one another from our own newly written work and respond to it as a community of writers intent on helping one another find a larger audience; write from prompts; approach publishing as a part of the creative process; and address any and all concerns related to the writing life from writer’s block to sources of inspiration to submission strategies. While conventional creative writing workshops privilege the critique, the quality of them hinging upon the amount of time and thought outside of meeting times writers put into reading and responding to each other’s manuscripts, in ours we’ll honor the act of writing by putting the time, space, and camaraderie to use in the drafting of new work. This workshop is open to writers of all skill levels and degrees of experience.
Daniel Mueller is the author of two collections of short fiction, How Animals Mate (Overlook Press 1999), winner of the Sewanee Fiction Prize, and Nights I Dreamed of Hubert Humphrey (Outpost 19 Books 2013). His work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, The Cincinnati Review, Gargoyle, Story Quarterly, CutBank, Joyland, Booth Journal, Solstice, Free State Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Writing Disorder, Another Chicago Magazine, The Mississippi Review, Story, and Playboy. He is currently working on a memoir, tentatively titled I Wish This Book Belonged to Me. He teaches at the University of New Mexico and on the faculty of the low-residency M.F.A. program at Queens University of Charlotte.
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M. Randal O’Wain
Our Memories and Our Words: The Art of Writing Memoir, all levels [no longer available]
- We all have a story inside of us that is itching to be shared with others and as writers we have the drive to put these memories on paper. But how do we reconstruct the past and all of the messy components of life on to the page? How do we breathe personality into the people we love and how do we illustrate the settings and landscapes that made us who we are so that a reader can experience these meaningful life events with compassion and empathy?Over the course of our manuscript workshop, you will learn the foundations of writing memoir artfully through exercises and readings that exemplify compelling narrative persona, vivid imagery, and sensory details, and turn anecdotes into satisfying situations that are relatable and fulfilled. All memoir submissions should not exceed 20 double-spaced pages.
- M. Randal O’Wain is the author of Meander Belt: family, loss, and coming of age in the working class south (Nebraska 2019) and the short story collection Hallelujah Station (Autumn House 2020), and his work has been published in Oxford American, Hotel Amerika, Crazyhorse, and Guernica Magazine.
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Multiple Genres/Singular Voices: An Approach to Writing, multi genre, all levels [no longer available]
- In this multi-genre manuscript workshop, we’ll read and discuss published poems, stories, and essays, with attention to how various components from each genre might be implemented to establish singular voices and, in turn, increase reader engagement. In addition, participants will submit their own work for critique (max. 10 pages per genre), with the workshop focusing on strategies and concepts essential to each genre. This workshop is open to all skill levels.
- Jon Pineda is author of six books. His second novel Let’s No One Get Hurt (FSG) won the 2019 Emyl Jenkins Sexton Literary Award for Fiction from the Library of Virginia, and his third poetry collection Little Anodynes won the 2016 Library of Virginia Literary Award for Poetry. His memoir Sleep in Me was a 2010 B&N Discover Great New Writers selection and a Library Journal “Best of 2010” pick. He lives in Virginia and teaches at William & Mary.
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The Thrills of Adaptation, prose and screenplay, all levels [no longer available]
Have you ever written something in one genre that you sense might work in another genre? In this manuscript workshop, we’ll be experimenting with the thrills of adaptation, from fiction to nonfiction, nonfiction to fiction, and fiction and nonfiction to screenplay and the reverse. Adaptation is full of remarkable surprises. When you write it as a screenplay, you suddenly understand what was missing from your story—vibrant dialogue! Or your screenplay reaches new emotional depths when it’s converted into nonfiction. Along with shedding exciting light on your own work, there’s no better way to understand what a genre can accomplish than these hand-on experiments. You’ll be expected to provide 20 pages that you would like to adapt into the genre of your choice.
Maxine Swann is the author of three novels, Flower Children, Serious Girls, and The Foreigners. She has received a Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters for “recent writing in book form that merits recognition for the quality of its prose style” and her stories have been featured in The Best American Short Stories, O’Henry Prize Stories, Pushcart Prize Stories, and the series Selected Shorts. Her New York Times Magazine article “The Professor, the Bikini Model, and the Suitcase Full of Trouble” was chosen for Longform’s “Most Entertaining of 2013,” and is currently being adapted into a feature film by Fox Searchlight. She has taught creative writing at Barnard College in New York, in the M.F.A. program at Queens University of Charlotte and at The Walrus School in Buenos Aires. Born in Pennsylvania, she has been living in Buenos Aires since 2001 and is a founding editor of the bilingual cultural magazine The Buenos Aires Review.
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