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Writing Chicago: Northwestern University Summer Writers' Conference

Conference Schedule: August 17–19, 2017

Register here

Registration ends August 6

Writing Chicago: Northwestern University Summer Writers’ Conference

  Thursday, August 17 Friday, August 18 Saturday, August 19

9:00 a.m. –

10:00 a.m.

Coffee and Check-In Coffee and Check-In Coffee and Check-In

Writing Workshops

10:00 a.m. -

11:30 a.m.

Workshop A - CLOSED

Keep It Moving: A Toolkit for Sharpening Your Plots

with James Tadd Adcox

Workshop A - CLOSED

Persons of Interest: the Development of Fictional Characters

with Eric Charles May

Workshop A - CLOSED

Top 10 Things I Learned at a Prestigious MFA (and how you can use them right now from the comfort of your living room)

with Adrienne Gunn

Workshop B - CLOSED

Asking and Answering Questions in Fiction Writing

with Fred Shafer

Workshop B

Specificity and Clarity as Tools for Articulating Ambiguity and Mystery

with Alex Higley

Workshop B - CLOSED

Finding the Right Words

with Lynn Sloan

Workshop C

Understanding Movie and TV Endings from a Screenwriter's Perspective

with David E. Tolchinsky

Workshop C

I, You, and All of Them: The Power of Point of View

with Jarrett Neal

Workshop C - CLOSED

Building Tension and Suspense in Fiction

with Susanna Calkins

Workshop D

Agent Queries and the Publishing Process

with Crystal Hana Kim

Workshop D

"Hey I thought this was supposed to be fun"

with S. L. Wisenberg

Workshop D

This Branding Workshop Will Change Your Life: Story, Saturation and Selling Books in the Age of Social Media

with Ben Tanzer

Workshop E

Journey (Not the Destination): Travel Writing Basics

with Gretchen Kalwinski

Workshop E - CLOSED

Enhancing the Creative in Creative Nonfiction

with Michele Weldon

Workshop E

Live Lit: Using Our Voices for Good

with Jeremy Owens

Workshop F

How a Flash Essay is like a Baby Elephant: Translating the Big Moment into Small Spaces

with Paula Carter

Workshop F

Let's Talk About Sex: The Art of Writing the Intimate

with Billy Lombardo

Workshop F

Form as Inspiration: How to Write (and Break the Rules of) a Sonnet in 2017

with Vincent Francone

Workshop G

Telling Your Story to Children

with Esther Hershenhorn

Workshop G

A Beautiful Mess: Writing & Publishing Cross-Genre Work

with Krista Franklin

Workshop G

Haunting: Mining Memory to Add Depth and Intrique

with Jac Jemc

Lunch and Keynotes

11:45 a.m. 

1:30 p.m.

Keynote Speaker

with Stuart Dybek

Keynote Discussion

with Ines Bellina, Lindsay Hunter, Parneshia Jones, and Megan Stielstra

Keynote Performance

live lit storytelling show hosted by Jeremy Owens

Writing Workshops

1:45 p.m. –

3:15 p.m.

Workshop A - CLOSED

Tear it Down

with Rebeca Makkai

Workshop A - CLOSED

Trusting POV and Experience of Your Origins

with J-L Deher-Lesaint

Workshop A - CLOSED

Grab Them By the Throat: How to Keep Your Audience Reading Past the First Sentence

with Dana Norris

Workshop B 

Torqueing Images: Why You Should Write Unlikeable Characters

with Goldie Goldbloom

Workshop B

Why We Tell Stories

with Vu Tran

Workshop B

Ear Training for Writers

with Gint Aras

Workshop C

Show Don't Tell: How to Build Scenes and Bring Your Story to Life

with Renee Rosen

Workshop C

Life as War, War as Life

with Ross Ritchell

Workshop C

Creative Journal Writing

with Mary Wisniewski

Workshop D

Turn Your Personal Experience Into History

with Ethan Michaeli

Workshop D

Creating a Working Plot Map: What's the Shape of Your YA or Middle Grade Novel

with Laurie Lawlor

Workshop D

Writing Page-Turning Family Stories

with Sara Connell

Workshop E - CLOSED

Fast Talk: Four Easy Ways to Make Dialogue Pop

with Juan Martinez

Workshop E

Serious Is the Rubber Chicken: Introduction to the (Dubious) Art of Humor Writing

with Ian Belknap

Workshop E - CLOSED

Thinking with Metaphors

with Ozge Samanci

Workshop F

Writing About Spiritual or Religious Matters

with Henry Carrigan

Workshop F

Curses, Blessings, Invocations, and Spells: Magic and Language in Trying Times

with Marty McConnell

Workshop F

The Fantastic Mongrel: Getting Started on Prose Poetry

with Kathleen Rooney

Workshop G

Insta-Poetics: Exercises to Generate Poetic Ideas

with Vincent Francone

Workshop G

Longform Journalism: How to find, pitch, report and write great ideas

with Brian Hieggelke

Workshop G

The Poetics of Place. On writing and representing the city you are from

with Kevin Coval

3:15 p.m. –

3:30 p.m.




Faculty Panels

3:30 p.m. –

4:30 p.m.

Panel A

Digital Storytelling: New Tools for Telling Your Stories

with Amy Guth, Jill Hopkins, Jonathan Messinger, Aram Mrjoian (moderator)

Panel A

Keeping Print Relevant in a Digital World

with Michael Arndt, Brian Hieggelke, Susanna Homan

Panel A

Indie Presses: Creating New Communities

with Lynn Sloan, Marylee MacDonald

Panel B

Finding Fellowships, Residencies, Grants, and Contests

with Ignatius Aloysius, Jeremy T. Wilson, J. Preston Witt, Jonathan Jones (moderator)

Panel B

Journey from a Manuscript to a Published Book

with Mike Levine, Doug Seibold, Christine Sneed, Barbara Egel (moderator)

Panel B

Traveling the World and Within

with Ines Bellina, Toni Nealie, Ozge Samanci, Betsy Haberl (moderator)


4:30 p.m. –

5:30 p.m.

Cocktail Reception

Networking Reception 

Networking Reception 


5:30 p.m. –

6:30 p.m.

Literary Reading 

hosted by Northwestern University's MA/MFA in Creative Writing

Literary Reading

hosted by TriQuarterly Magazine

Literary Reading

A People's History of Chicago Event featuring Kevin Coval and guest artists

Please note: schedule is subject to change.