Conference Schedule

All 2022 workshops offered online only.

Friday, July 8
Time (CT) Title Instructor
9:30-10:30am

Beyond Child’s Play: The Beauty and Power of Acrostics

Faisal Mohyuddin

11:00am-noon

Scriptwriting Fundamentals

Christine Sneed
12:30-1:30pm

Panel Discussion: Behind the Scenes of Independent Book Publishing

Haki Madhubuti and Doug Seibold 

2:00-3:00pm

The Body Intervenes: Personal Narrative and The Body

Megan Stielstra

3:30-4:30pm

Multi-Genre Revision

Rebecca Morgan Frank

Saturday, July 9
Time (CT) Title Instructor
9:30-10:30am

Writing About Friends, Family and Lovers: Telling Your Truth while Holding Space for Compassion

Paula Carter
11:00am-noon

The Origins of the Original

Rebecca Makkai
12:30-1:30pm Panel Discussion: Promoting and Selling Your Book

Julia Borcherts and Sara Connell
2:00-3:00pm

How to Describe Characters

Gioia Diliberto
3:30-4:30pm

Writing Ourselves into Place

Maya Marshall

Workshop Descriptions

Friday, July 8

9:30 – 10:30am CT
Beyond Child’s Play: The Beauty and Power of Acrostics
Featuring Faisal Mohyuddin

Acrostics are often seen as a playful and sometimes childish gateway into writing poetry, especially for very young writers. But acrostics hold the potential to be much more serious, sophisticated, beautiful, unexpected, and powerful. In this workshop, we will briefly explore some of the traditions associated with acrostics and then examine some examples that are more complex and subtle. Most of the workshop will be spent on developing (and sharing!) our own acrostics, focusing on the themes of gratitude, tribute, and commemoration.

11:00am – noon CT
Scriptwriting Fundamentals
Featuring Christine Sneed

Many prose writers have successfully made the leap to screenwriting, which, upon first glance, might appear to be an easy transition. Scripts, however, are their own art form, and although some well known screenwriters have written scripts defined by their novelistic flourishes (see William Goldman’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), screenplays more commonly feature a conservative number of words per page. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to some of the key characteristics of the contemporary feature script.

12:30 – 1:30pm CT
Panel Discussion: Behind the Scenes of Independent Book Publishing
Featuring Haki Madhubuti and Doug Seibold

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at an independent press: what publishers look for in a book proposal, what sorts of job opportunities are available, how publishers juggle it all, from acquisitions and editing to distribution and sales? NU Alum Betsy Haberl will ask publishers Haki Madhubuti of Third World Press Foundation and Doug Seibold of Agate Publishing these questions and more!

2:00 – 3:00pm CT
The Body Intervenes: Personal Narrative and The Body 
Featuring Megan Stielstra

“Literature does its best to maintain that its concern is with the mind,” wrote Virginia Woolf in 1926. “On the contrary, the very opposite is true. All day, all night, the body intervenes.” This workshop examines how memory lives in the body, using our own stories and experiences as a contribution to a wider cultural and political dialogue that centers human beings. Pulling from both literary and oral storytelling traditions, we'll engage in a series of activities (adapted for online!) that will take our writing out of the head and into the body, generating new work and digging deeper into material you're already exploring. All levels and genres are welcome; we need you. We need your voice. We're trying to remake the world.

3:30 – 4:30pm CT
Multi-Genre Revision
Featuring Rebecca Morgan Frank

This cross-genre revision class will explore a range of strategies for "revision," the modes of movement from early drafts towards work we consider finished, or final. We will cover big picture approaches and organizational strategies, such as using mission statements. transitional drafts, and generative revision, and you will leave with a variety of more specific revision exercises you can continue to practice beyond the class. Join us to expand your revision toolbox!

Saturday, July 9

 9:30 – 10:30am CT
Writing About Friends, Family and Lovers: Telling Your Truth while Holding Space for Compassion
Featuring 
Paula Carter

We all have a right to tell our truth and share our experiences. But what happens when people we care about are a part of that truth? How do we approach writing the past without the fear of how others will receive our perspective shutting down the process? And away from the page, how do we then navigate the real relationships that make up our lives? In this workshop, we’ll look at examples of writers writing about friends, family and lovers, discuss why we feel compelled to tell these stories, examine some of the ethics of writing memoir and nonfiction, and engage in writing prompts to generate honest work from past events.

11:00am – noon CT
The Origins of the Original  
Featuring Rebecca Makkai

For writing to succeed, it must be both well-executed and original. But when we sit down to write, the first words, scenes, characters, conflicts, and settings we come up with are often the least original ones of which we're capable. Digging past the obvious, the stock (and even the products of the collective unconscious), we might finally arrive at stories that are strikingly new and memorable. In this class we'll cover some key elements of originality -- specificity, idiosyncrasy, complexity, repetition, and change -- and talk about accessing them in both drafting and revision. While originality might seem intuitive, or even a product of the writer's personality, it's in fact a skill that can be sharpened. That's what we'll be doing.

12:30 – 1:30pm CT
Panel Discussion: Promoting and Selling Your Book
Featuring Julia Borcherts and Sara Connell

For years, you put your heart and soul into writing and revising your book, a press agrees to publish it, but then what, after the ink dries? How do you get your book from the printing press into readers’ hands? How does your book get the attention it deserves from the media? Hear from publicists Julia Borcherts and Sara Connell on best strategies.

2:00 – 3:00pm CT
How to Describe Characters
Featuring Gioia Diliberto

All stories – in fiction and nonfiction – have characters. And characters need to be described. A specific description of a character grounds readers in the world of a story and helps them believe in it. If readers can “see” a character in their mind’s eye, they’re much more likely to engage with what’s happening on the page. But description for description’s sake, no matter how beautiful, witty, or colorful, is wasteful unless it illuminates qualities behind the mere physical. In this workshop, we’ll explore elements that make successful character descriptions and try writing one ourselves.

3:30 – 4:30pm CT
Writing Ourselves into Place
Featuring Maya Marshall

In this generative workshop we will delve into the choices writers make to craft a poetics of place. How we write about where we are, have been, and wish to be can birth a world, buoy a metaphor, or inspire an environmental intervention. Join us as we close read brief texts from cross-genre writers and get started on writing a poem, scene, or paragraph embodying a place with character.

Please note: schedule is subject to change.

^ Back to top ^