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Northwestern University Summer Writers' Conference

Workshop and Panel Descriptions

Workshop and Panel Descriptions

Go to workshop and panel descriptions for:

Thursday, August 9Friday, August 10Saturday, August 11

Register today! Registration ends August 5.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 9

Morning Workshops 9:30–11:00 a.m.
Workshop A
First-Lines Critiques: Poem 
Titles and First Stanzas Workshop
with Kenyatta Rogers

In the Poetry Titles and First Lines Workshop, participants will submit a poem title and opening stanza in advance and together we’ll discuss what makes for interesting and compelling beginnings to poems that makes readers want more, and also beginnings that may stifle poem.  We will discuss approaches some editors and poets take when thinking about what makes an engaging work.  This workshop will also discuss the titles and opening stanzas the participants submit (anonymously if desired) and give brief feedback on how the stanza is working and what could expect in the full poem.  Additionally we will look at opening stanzas of published poems and how they set a tone and grounding for the poem itself.  This workshop is designed to guide and inform participates when thinking about their work and the work of others.

Workshop B - CLOSED
Take Me There: Establishing A Sense of Place in Fiction and Nonfiction
with Michele Weldon

When done adroitly, place becomes a vivid character in your work. Learn techniques to establish immediacy and accessibility in your writing that firmly grounds the reader. Award-winning author of five nonfiction books, journalist for close to four decades and emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University, Michele Weldon offers tools and specific insight into using description, dialogue and more to amplify the settings in your work. With exercises, discussion and interactive prompts, this workshop can enhance your fiction and nonfiction with a sense of place that will enliven your work and engage your readers.

Workshop C
To Tell or Not to Tell: Showing vs. Telling Revisited
with Fred Shafer

One of the most basic lessons that every fiction writer learns is “Show, don’t tell.” As good advice to follow, it leads a writer to find vivid details and active scenes, instead of settling for empty statements and generalizations. But if it is treated as a rule, “Show, don’t tell” can be misleading. Statements are necessary in fiction, and they often become sources of clarity, balance, and depth. The challenge is to figure out when, where, and how extensively to provide statements. In this workshop, we’ll look at examples from contemporary novels and short stories in order to see the strengths and limitations of making statements, with an emphasis on the times when telling and showing work together effectively.

Workshop D
This Happens, Which Causes This to Happen, Which Causes This to Happen, and So On: Cohesive Plot and Story
with Eric Charles May

In fiction, in every scene there should be a direct cause and effect between the scene and what it causes to happen (or not happen) in the story. With causality, something happens in a scene that causes a character (or characters) to do something she/he/they wouldn't have done if the action of the scene had not happened, or something happens in a scene that causes a character (or characters) to not do something they/he/she would have done had the scene not happened. In this workshop, Eric Charles May tells you how utilizing causality has served him well in fiction.

Workshop E
Dirty Tricks
with Juan Martinez

Good fiction hinges on the elements of craft, which take time and effort. But some elements of fiction are less mysterious, easier to pick up, and fun to throw in. We'll talk about five useful tricks that generate interesting, dramatically rich scenes, and we'll generate a series of quick, funny pieces that may develop into full stories. We'll also talk about how these tricks can be retrofitted into your existing drafts to make them more exciting.

Workshop F
Writing Images and Generating Ideas
with Vincent Francone

How do writers get inspiration?  Where do they look for ideas? How do they overcome writer’s block?  In this workshop, we’ll review ekphrasis, the art of writing about images, and discuss how it has inspired writers to pen new work.  We’ll look at writing that was inspired by paintings and imagery and review a number of visual art works to help us write poems and short prose.  Attendees will leave with drafts of new work as well as approaches to responding to images that will inspire them in the future, especially when trying to break out of writer’s block.

Workshop G
8 Rules to Getting the Right Agent
with Renee Rosen

In addition to covering the basics of querying, we'll explore 8 rules designed to improve your changes of landing the right literary agent. Together we'll discuss the biggest mistakes authors make when approaching agents and how to avoid them. We'll look at how to evaluate an agent's credentials and the likeliness they'll be a good fit for your project. This workshop will also address how to deal with rejection and keep going until you get the best agent for your career.

Morning Panel Discussion 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Awards, Contests, Fellowships, and Residencies
with Ignatius Valentine AloysiusAmina GautierJonathan Winston Jones, and Devin O'Shea

Three writers share their experiences with fellowships, residencies, grants, and writing contests. Topics of discussion will include tips for finding these opportunities, the application and submission process, and their advantages and drawbacks. 

Lunch and Keynote 12:15–1:45 p.m.
Keynote Reading and Discussion
Embracing the Midwest: Five Writers Discuss the Nuance, Contradictions, & Beauty of the Region
with Martha Bayne, Shannon Cason, Christine RiceJeremy T. Wilson, and Paul Durica (moderator)

Where does the Midwest begin and end? Is it rural or urban? Factories or farmland? And what, exactly, makes a Midwestern writer? And do we have a chip on our shoulder? The Midwest’s literary identity is more diverse than the standard associations with stoic farmers and youthful talent just itching to head for a coast. Toni Morrison is a Midwestern writer and so are Roxane Gay, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Richard Powers, and many, many more. In this panel Martha Bayne, Shannon Cason, Christine Rice, Jeremy T. Wilson, and Paul Durica will read from their work and tackle these and other questions, to try and understand how literature (and other art) both reifies and challenges our understanding of the region.

Afternoon Workshops 2:00–3:30 p.m.
Workshop A
Form (Noun) the Manner or Style of Arranging and Coordinating Parts for a Pleasing or Effective Result
with Jeremy T. Wilson

The famous maxim "form follows function," attributed to Chicago architect Louis Sullivan, expresses a belief that the shape a building takes should be directly related to the purpose of that building, in other words, the building's intent. How might we apply this suggestion to creative writing? Recent stories, memoirs, and essays have been written in the form of tweets, listicles, encyclopedia entries, powerpoint presentations, bumper stickers, just to name a few. But what comes first, the form or the function? And does it matter? Participants in this workshop will read examples of work presented in multiple forms and explore new forms for their own writing, focusing on the relationship between the shape of a work and its content.

Workshop B
Short Story Structure
with Christine Sneed

Most writers will agree that stories must have a beginning, middle, and an end, but how to bring these elements together in a way that keeps the reader engaged and feels true to your writerly intentions?  In this workshop, we'll discuss tried and true as well as some potentially new ways for you to work with story structure and we'll take a look at a couple of contemporary short stories that use traditional and nontraditional means to deliver their characters and plots.  

Workshop C
Writing the Body: Capturing the Human Pulse Across Genres
with Kathleen Rooney

A common intellectual fantasy is to be able to encounter pure ideas in a featureless imaginary space. But tough luck: ideas come from people, and people come with bodies. In this generative class, we will consider the implications of our embodiment on writing, and look at how the body informs the mind and the art it creates. Sports, sickness, aging, beauty, pregnancy, disability, sex—when we write on these topics, what forms are best suited to say what we want to say? This cross-/mixed-genre course is designed to be a rich opportunity for creative writing in all genres, including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Writers of every level with an interest in improving their ability to convincingly write from or about embodied experience will benefit from this intensive class.

Workshop D
Your Facts, Your Fiction
with Eric Charles May

How do you take the factual stories of your life and turn them into fiction that goes beyond “the names have been changed to protect the innocent” kind of storytelling? How do authors dip into the wells of their own backgrounds to find pathways to compelling fiction? What if your own life has not been particularly dramatic? Is there any way to use the facts of a relatively positive and peaceful life as a basis for fiction that will captivate and enchant readers? This craft workshop will present approaches, some used by authors down through the ages, to get the most fictional bang out of the background bucks of our own life experiences.  

Workshop E
Make It New: Five Revision Shortcuts
with Juan Martinez

I used to hate revision, and now I love it, but it took a lot of work. If you’re a writer trying to figure out revision, how to get your piece to be the best it can be, this workshop can help. You can’t write without revising, and you certainly can’t get to a polished, published piece without heavy-duty revision. In this workshop, I’ll give you five concrete paths for you to take so that you can get a good handle on your revision process – it’s the most challenging part of writing, and one of the hardest to master, but these tools will help.

Workshop F
Creative Journaling: An Eye on the Everyday
with Mary Wisniewski

The purpose of this class is to foster a habit of personal journaling as a way to be a better writer. A journal is a great way to enhance observation and listening skills, recognize story arcs and build empathy. The class is intended for three types of students – those who have never kept a diary, those who have tried keeping diaries in the past and failed to keep them going and those who want to expand their journaling practice. During the first half of the session, we will be reading and discussing some writers who have used personal journals as source material, like novelist L.M. Montgomery, humorist David Sedaris and historian William Shirer. The second half of  will consist of writing exercises, to jumpstart the journaling process.

Workshop G
Reviewing Books for Fun and Profit
with Henry Carrigan

What’s the role of a good book reviewer? How easy is it to get into the world of professional book reviewing? What are the best and most profitable book review outlets? Does anyone read book reviews any more, and if they do, how can those reviews be valuable to readers and authors? Henry Carrigan brings over 25 years of reviewing books for newspapers and magazines—Washington Post Book World, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Charlotte Observer, Christian Science Monitor, Orlando Sentinel, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Publishers Weekly, No Depression, BookPage—to the session to help participants answer these and other questions about book reviewing. Writing book reviews can be a valuable way to keep the flow of writing and ideas alive as you write fiction or nonfiction, and we will discuss various way to review books for fun and profit in this workshop.

Afternoon Panel Discussion 3:45–4:45 p.m.
Q&A with Publishers
with Gerald Brennan, Kathleen RooneyEmily Victorson, and Joshua Bohnsack (moderator)

Three of Chicago’s independent publishers – Gerald Brennan of Tortoise Books, Kathleen Rooney of Rose Metal Press, and Emily Victorson of Allium Press of Chicago – will discuss the nuts and bolts of how a book gets published. They’ll talk about how their independent presses work—from what they look for in a query, to how they select their manuscripts, and how they work with writers who sign contracts with their companies to get their books into the hands of readers.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10

Morning Workshops 9:30–11:00 a.m.
Workshop A
First-Lines Critiques: Poetry and Fiction
with Ruben Quesada

In this workshop, registrants will submit several lines of poetry or fiction prose in advance. Together we’ll discuss what makes for great openings and what makes for openings that just don’t work. We’ll look at opening lines of historical and contemporary literature, talk about the idea of surprise and delight when reading opening lines, and discuss ways that readers/editors may encounter these opening lines during the submission process. Registrants will submit (anonymously if desired) several lines of original work to the instructor as well as their favorite openings in others’ works, and offer collective feedback on the openings.

Workshop B - CLOSED
Backstory: Seamless Weaving
with Eileen Favorite

One of the toughest skills in writing fiction and creative nonfiction is determining how much backstory the reader needs, and how to skillfully transition from present action to backstory. In this workshop, we'll look at different examples of how writers manage this issue, whether through space breaks, interior monologue, or jump cuts. Readings will include first chapters of novels, short stories, and essays.

Workshop C
The Tao of the Classic Short Story
with Christine Rice

 Every short story is unique – with its own yin and yang, code of behavior, and harmony. But what elements do all short stories share? Since the short form is the lifeblood of literary journals, editors are on a constant hunt for beautifully-crafted work. Unlike big publishing houses or well-funded magazines, small literary magazines (where the most exciting and experimental work is being published) have just a few over-caffeinated and harried readers slogging through the slush pile. So when an editor reads your short story, they ask, "Why am I reading this?" or "What's at stake?" In this session, we'll discuss universal story elements that make an editor savor every word. We'll also discuss why an editor might not read past the first paragraph.

Workshop D
Writing Without Fear
with Amin Ahmad

Are you working on a novel, memoir or non-fiction project? Did you start off with great enthusiasm, only to feel the project bog down? Are you overwhelmed by the complexity of the task? Has anxiety crept into your writing day?

To produce good work, writers must be willing to take risks and to produce writing that fails. This process of exploration often creates anxiety, and often results in the dreaded writer’s block. How then do we allow spontaneity and improvisation into our work, yet create coherence? How do we craft a writing process that allows risk, but also creates a safety net?

Borrowing from psychology, we will understand the types of anxiety inherent in different stages of the creative processes, and how to manage them.

We will then learn how creative people in other creative fields have developed working methods, and apply them to long term writing projects. We will examine and steal working methods from architects, screenwriters, film editors, and radio story tellers.

The goal of this workshop is to create a writing process that works for you, and that allows you to be fearless and productive. 

This 90-minute workshop includes lecture, writing exercises, videos and graphic novel excerpts. Fiction, memoirists, and nonfiction writers welcome.

Workshop E
Writing a Page Turner
with Charles Finch

Why are so many mysteries and thrillers dull, yet so many novels and memoirs about unremarkable subjects - family, work - unputdownable? What is the secret?

Every writer has to reckon with that question: suspense. This workshop is designed to instruct writers across all genres of prose about the technical keys to the suspense that the best authors, from Stephen King to Elena Ferrante, from Agatha Christie to Ian McEwan, seem effortlessly able to create.

Workshop F
Harvesting Trauma
with Gint Aras

Some of Western culture’s most rewarding and enduring books are the results of their authors’ trauma. What if we learned to consider our emotional, psychological and physical trauma not an obstacle to our success or a problem in our identity but a source of power and inspiration?

Workshop G
Personal Branding and Storytelling
with Ben Tanzer

Are you a writer looking to craft a personal narrative and tell your story in a way that engages the public? Then please join us for this hands-on workshop where you will learn how to manage your message, build your brand through storytelling and create a framework for executing a social strategy.

Morning Panel 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
The Working Writer
with J-L Deher-LesaintAdam MorganMare Swallow, and Barbara Egel (moderator)

In the midst of a busy life, it can be challenging to find time to write. Yet, it's possible to have a career and be a writer at the same time. Three writers discuss ways they balance the writing life with the working life and the creative ways they're using a writer's skill set in their careers.

Lunch and Keynote 12:15–1:45 p.m.
Keynote Speaker
The Uses of Memory
with Roger Reeves

Description forthcoming.

Afternoon Workshops 2:00–3:30 p.m.
Workshop A - CLOSED
Deepening Voice and Character
with Susanna Calkins

Do you like your cops alcoholic, your cheerleaders chirpy, and your swashbucklers swashbuckling? If so, this workshop is definitely for you. In this interactive session, Susanna Calkins, author of award-winning historical mysteries, will share strategies for deepening characters, avoiding clichés (and just getting beyond the obvious) and creating a consistent and authentic voice. Participants will examine excerpts from published fiction and complete several writing activities during the session.

Workshop B
The Toggle: Switching Between Immersion and Reflection in Personal Narrative
with Ian Belknap

The twofold nature of well-crafted personal writing must both draw a reader in/hold her interest/immerse her in the experience the author is relating (Past), but must also include the commentary/beliefs/observations of the the author in the current moment (Present). The successful piece that toggles back and forth between these two--in a way that remains clear and compelling, and strikes a balance between these, is richer and more resonant than one that only does one or the other. Good personal writing demands that we demonstrate both the sense of pacing, observation, voice, etc. of the fiction writer and the concision, clarity, and conceptual rigor of the essayist. Where both these elements are in evidence, the work becomes elevated above mere reminiscence; it becomes more emotionally resonant than an op-ed. This workshop will introduction the subject of the "toggle" and discuss the need to represent both elements in personal writing, and a series of questions that students may direct at a piece they are creating or revising.

Workshop C - CLOSED
Novel Structure
with Christine Sneed

The novel might be a "loose, baggy monster," as Henry James noted many years ago, but despite the challenges it presents to writers, it remains the most popular fictional form and the proverbial gold standard in the publishing industry. We'll look at how several authors have structured their novels and discuss strategies for how to begin and continue writing a novel from the first page to the last.

Workshop D
Writing for the Ear
with Julianne Hill

As storytelling and the media evolve, stories are being told in new ways, and writers must be ready to adapt. Perhaps you have an essay that you feel is just right for The Moth podcast or This American Life broadcast. Maybe you have a short story with potential as an audio story for an online literary journal. Perhaps you must do a public reading of an essay you wrote.

How must your writing shift?

Since grammar school, we’re told to write pretty sentences, some long, some short, but all to please the reader’s eye. However, on many occasions—from a business presentation to a toast at a wedding to live literature--writers must please the ear, creating stories meant to be heard.

But, speakers often sound stiff. Surprisingly, it’s often not because of their presentation skills as a speak. The problem is that their copy is stilted.

In this class, you will learn how to adjust your writing. Simple words and sentence structures guide writing for the ear. Sounds easy, but it’s tricky business.

The class offers advice on to make words on paper sound like ordinary speech—even if it looks odd on paper. We will focus on writing techniques and word choices that will make your stories come alive for your listeners.

We will break down the process of writing for the ear. Writing prompts and exercises will be included, as well as examples of how writing changes from eye to ear.

Note: This class does not offer suggestions on how to present a story in front of an audience or how to use new technology for telling stories out loud.

Workshop E
From Idea to Publication: The Process of Conceiving, Researching and Writing a Nonfiction Book
with Kevin Davis and Miles Harvey

Miles Harvey interviews Northwestern MFA grad Kevin Davis about how he turned an MFA class writing project into a magazine story that evolved into a nonfiction book, The Brain Defense: Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America's Courtrooms.

Workshop F
What Movies Can Teach Us As Writers
with Vu Tran

For better or for worse, movies affect the way we read and write fiction.  Many writers approach their work with a cinematographer’s eye and a screenwriter’s heart, but even for those who rarely watch movies and have no desire to write or see their work adapted for the screen, the language of cinema has already spent over a century seeping into the ways we tell stories on the page.  A lot can be said about how it has degraded the art of fiction, but how has it also enhanced and expanded the art?  What cinematic impulses do we knowingly and unknowingly bring to our work, and how might we learn from and take advantage of those impulses, the bad as well as the good?  In this talk, we’ll consider all these questions, including the most important one of all: what can literature do that cinema cannot? 

Workshop G
Snapping the Spine of the Poem: Using Non-Linear, Collective, and Disruptive Techniques to Generate New Writing and Radicalize Revision
with Marty McConnell

Let’s get weird. This workshop is for people interested in moving beyond straightforward writing prompts and standard revision practices to move into the startling, the unpredictable, the dim realms where the not-easily-accessed poems grow. We’ll discuss poems that have their roots in this realm and do some writing and revising as a group. We’ll experiment with generative techniques including intentional interruption, tarot ekphrasis, and collective expression, as well as revision approaches that aim to break poems open to their vast possibilities. Participants are invited to bring poems they are interested in revising, and should come ready to dialogue, write, and play in the shadows as well as the light.

Afternoon Panel Discussion 3:45–4:45 p.m.
Q&A with Agents
with Marcy PosnerAbby Saul, and Jim Davis (moderator)

This panel is a great opportunity to find out how agents are involved in the publishing process. Marcy Posner of Folio Lit and Abby Saul of The Lark Group will discuss how to find an agent that’s the right fit for your book, how to get your query noticed, and other helpful information from the agent’s perspective.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 11

Morning Workshops 10:00–11:30 a.m.
Workshop A
First-Lines Critiques: Fiction and Nonfiction
with Billy Lombardo and Frank Tempone
Workshop B - CLOSED
Making a Scene
with Rebecca Makkai

Scenes are the building blocks of fiction—and yet while an education in playwriting pays tremendous attention to the architecture of scene, fiction workshops tend to overlook it. We’ll take a playwright’s approach to fiction by learning how to build scenes with a solid arc, scenes that advance every element of the story, scenes that matter. Appropriate for writers working on short stories, novels, and scene-driven creative nonfiction.

Workshop C
The Magic and Mechanics of Imagery
with Rachel Swearingen

From Rick Bass’s lyrical descriptions of ice in “The Hermit’s Tale” to uncanny fertility dolls in Lesley Nneka Arimah’s “Who Will Greet You at Home,” images, when done well and consciously shaped into a pattern, can make a story unforgettable and mysterious. In this prose session, we'll explore the mechanics behind the magic, including how to use images to structure your narrative, to transition in time and space, and to modulate setting, pace, and voice. We’ll study the works of several image-driven stories (and poems). We'll also write our own pieces, attempting to pull something altogether unexpected from our magician’s hats.

All levels welcome.

Workshop D
Smelling is Believing: Writing  Using Your Other Senses
with Beth Finke 

Visual descriptions come easy to most writers, but when it comes to bringing readers into the story, the other senses are key. How can we give the forgotten four -- taste, sound, smell and touch -- their due? In this workshop we'll read over short examples by noteworthy writers who describe events without the use of visuals, and then devote the rest of our time to writing  -- and sharing -- in-class exercises to help us write like they do. Writers will leave with a personal essay to fine-tune at home and send for possible publication in journals, blogs, or magazines. This session is especially appropriate for new writers, but writers of all levels are encouraged to attend.

Workshop E
Writing Life
with Ross Ritchell

In this installment we'll aim to identify helpful writing habits and disciplines in order to get from paper to bookshelf, as well as use our own unique lives to get the most out of our experiences and imaginations. Writing should be freeing, a pursuit of passion, not a grind or spell on the torture wheel.

Workshop F
Everything You Ever Need to Know about Storytelling in Chicago
with Jeremy Owens

This session will cover everything from who to know, shows to be in and watch, what to expect from show runners, what stories work best when told live, guidelines for what those stories should be AND a guide to what makes you stand out as a performer. I want to arm you with the tools you need to perform all over the city in different shows and become love and adored by the various show runners.

Workshop G
21 Ways to Get Published
with Sara Connell

In this fun, optimistic, interactive workshop, we will explore 21 expected and unexpected strategies, tools and avenues to publish writing. Writers will explore a wide spectrum of places to submit work, how to set submissions up for success and how to query and pitch like a pro. This workshop is applicable to short and long form, fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry and supports writers of all experience levels.

Morning Panel 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Using Research to Inform and Enrich Writing
with Robert K. ElderKaren Schreck, Donna Seaman, and Patricia Crisafulli (moderator)

Research can add vitality, gravity and detail to your work. Writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry can all benefit from digging deeper into their subjects. Three writers who are master researchers will discuss approaches and techniques for using research to enhance writing.

Lunch and Keynote 12:15–1:45 p.m.
Keynote Reading and Discussion
From Singular to Shared: the Combined Mind of Collaborative Writing
with Anne-Marie Akin, Laura Jones, Simone Muench, Christine Pacyk, and Virginia Smith Rice

What are the possibilities, pleasures, and potential pitfalls of collaboration? Among the jointly-authored pieces in the new anthology They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing, there are collaborations of correspondence, call and response, and linguistic pas de deux. What’s most striking is the myriad ways in which differing minds are able to converge and negotiate terrains to create a seamless point of view that is neither one person or the other, but a new voice—a third-tongued entity. Four authors from, and one of the editors of, this anthology are here to read and discuss the countless prospects and complexities of collaborative writing, as well as speak to its incorporation into the classroom.

Afternoon workshops 2:00–3:30 p.m.
Workshop A - CLOSED
We Need to Talk
with Rebecca Makkai

In real life, we’re polite, repetitive, and a lot of what we say is unnecessary filler. Which means that the more “realistic” our dialogue, the less it serves our fiction. How do we break our own learned conversational habits to craft dialogue that not only convinces but also moves the story forward and oozes subtext? In this craft class, we will look at examples from some of the masters of dialogue, and discuss what makes them work. We’ll also discuss craft details such as pacing, avoiding awkward speech tags, and maintaining longer speeches (monologues) – as well as the larger issue of giving each character a distinct and consistent voice.

Workshop B
I, You, and All of Them: The Power of Point of View
with Jarrett Neal

A story's ability to capture readers and effectively express a writer's ideas hinges on the writer's proper use of POV. Understanding both the benefits and limits of first, second, and third person POV gives writers the power to lend immediacy and detail to their work or to limit focus to allow other aspects of the story to surface. This generative workshop tasks participants to create microfiction from all three perspectives to better understand point of view and its possibilities.

Workshop C
Writing the Monster
with Riva Lehrer

Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula, the Walking Dead, the Borg, Poltergeist, Golems, Ghosts, Demons: monsters act as literary doorways to both the interior self and to structures of political power. Monsters grow inside us when we feel unacceptable, or if anger and dread rule our waking hours. Monsters are endlessly mutable images that might arise from medical issues, childhood fears, abusive relationships, extremist movements, or concerns about environmental damage. They might be strangers or loved ones or politicians.

This workshop will explore the characteristics of monsters, discuss which you identify with and which you most fear, and how to use such creatures to open new possibilities in your work. You'll bring both writing materials and a small sketchbook.

Workshop D
The End of the World
with Roger Reeves

We will read and discuss poems that convene an ending, an apocalypse, an obliteration of the world, of poetry in order to begin writing the poem--a renunciation that begins a genesis. We will read Aime Cesaire, Solmaz Sharif, and few other poets, discuss their strategic use of aporia and doubt as a means of writing a poem that feels "new."

Workshop E
Conducting Literary Interviews (or "In Conversation with Writers")
with Donna Seaman

Participants will learn how best to prepare for an author interview, what to ask, what to listen for, and how to turn a transcript into a polished, publishable conversation.

Workshop F
From Page to Stage: Telling Your Story in Front of a Audience
with Adrienne Gunn

Love storytelling events like The Moth and want to get on stage and tell your own story? This class is focused on where to draw inspiration for your story, discovering and refining characters, illuminating hidden meaning, organizing your ideas, capitalizing on emotional moments, editing and revision, and getting on stage and capturing the audience’s attention.

Workshop G
Briefly Told: A Short-Short Introduction to  Flash Fiction
with Betsy Finesilver Haberl

Flash fiction stories, also known as short-short stories, have fewer than 1,000 words. Writing these compressed works encourages creativity; the form allows a writer to focus on language while still maintaining a narrative. In this workshop, we'll look at a few examples of flash stories and discuss how they utilize craft elements, such as point of view, setting, and character development within such a compressed form. We'll also complete writing exercises and draft our own flash fiction. This workshop is open to writers with all levels of experience.

Panel Discussions 3:45–4:45 p.m.
Q&A with Literary Editors
with Mike Levine, Toni NealieZoe Zolbrod, and Eric Grawe (moderator)

Literary editors play many roles: they review submissions for literary journals—often the first place you’ll publish your writing—help writers polish and refine their work, and work with writers to get the word out about their books and public events in mainstream media. In this panel, literary editors will talk about the various roles they play in helping get a writer's writing—and name—out in the worldThe panel features editor Mike Levine (Mike Levine Editorial​), author and editor Toni Nealie (New City Lit editor),  and author and editor Zoe Zolbrod (previous Sunday editor of The Rumpus).

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