Each workshop will meet twice, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., in the Rockville Memorial Library

Each Workshop is limited to 15 Registrants


“How to Start, How to Stop”
Non-Fiction Workshop
Henry Allen
* Registration Closed *

This workshop will provide practical guidance on the English language as tool, inspiration, and mind in itself. It will stress the need to stay open to inspiration from the magic and music of the English language; how to use the inspiration with computer tricks as simple as the block move; how to start a piece of writing by taking copious notes on your thoughts and findings, then finding the start among them; learning that the point is not to be a writer but to do writing.


Henry Allen, born in Summit, New Jersey, in 1941 and an alumnus of Hamilton College,  has published a novel, Fool’s Mercy (1984); a collection of his long-form journalism at the Washington Post, Going Too Far Enough (1994); an evocation of each decade of the 20th century, What It Felt Like (2000); and a chapbook of poetry, The Museum of Lost Air (1998). He won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2000. A family history, Where We Lived, is scheduled for fall 2016 publication.  He has published in The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker and the Paris Review, and he reviews books for the Wall Street Journal.  He has three children and six grandchildren.  He lives in Takoma Park, MD.



“He Said, She Said”
Fiction Workshop
Olga Grushin

Imagine the story of Snow White as told by her Stepmother, or the story of Little Red Riding Hood as told by the Wolf. In this workshop, we will discuss the importance of choosing your point of view when telling your story, unreliable and omnipresent narrators, and how switching voices can change the narrative. As an in-class exercise, participants will take a short piece they have written and retell it using a different point of view.

GrushinPhotoOlga Grushin is a Russian-born writer whose work has been translated into fifteen languages. Her first novel, The Dream Life of Sukhanov (2005), won the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, was a finalist for The Lost Angeles Times Award for First Fiction and England’s Orange Award for New Writers, and both it and her second novel, The Line (2010), were among The Washington Post’s Ten Best Books of the Year. In 2007, Granta named Grushin one of the Best Young American Novelists. Her most recent novel, Forty Rooms, was published in February 2016. She lives in Maryland.



“Writing a Memoir Without Witness Protection”
Non-Fiction Workshop
E. Ethelbert Miller
* Registration Closed *

Is it always about telling the truth? This workshop will discuss the obstacles that might prevent one from writing a memoir. How do you start? How do you finish? What happens after the memoir is published? We will discuss why the writing of a second memoir might be necessary. We will examine recently published memoirs for the various “crimes” that have been committed.

MillerPhoto (1)E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the author of several collections of poetry and two memoirs, Fathering Words: The Making of an African American Writer (2000) and The 5th Inning (2009). For fourteen years he has been the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. In 1996, Miller delivered the commencement address at Emory and Henry College and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature. He has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Fellow to Israel in 2004 and 2012. Miller is often heard on National Public Radio. He is host of the weekly morning radio show On the Margin which airs on WPFW-FM 89.3. Miller is host and producer of The Scholars on UDC-TV and his E-Notes has been a popular blog since 2004. On April 19, 2015, Miller was inducted into the Washington DC Hall of Fame. His latest book of poetry, The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, edited by Kirsten Porter and published in March 2016 by Aquarius Press, is a comprehensive collection that represents over 40 years of his career as a poet.



“‘I’m Fine, and you?’: Deepening the Dialogue in Your Fiction”
Fiction Workshop
Dolen Perkins-Valdez
* Registration Closed *

I’m originally from Tennessee where we can easily spend the first five minutes of any conversation exchanging pleasantries. In fiction, dialogue must do more than that. Thoughtful dialogue works on multiple levels: it reveals character, creates dramatic tension, and pushes the story forward. In this workshop, we will discuss advanced techniques for creating subtle and nuanced exchanges on the page that take your story to the next level.


Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the author of two critically acclaimed historical novels, the New York Times best-seller Wench (2010) and Balm (2015). She also wrote the introductions for the recent editions of Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup (2013) and Behind the Scenes, or Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley (2016). In 2010, she was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for Fiction, and she was the recipient of the First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She also received a DC Commission of the Arts Award for Balm. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review, StoryQuarterly, African American Review, PMS: PoemMemoirStory, North Carolina Literary Review, and SLI: Studies in Literary Imagination. A graduate of Harvard University and a former University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA, she has taught at American University and lives in Washington, DC, with her family. .



“Here at The New Yorker
Non-Fiction Workshop
Margaret Talbot
* Registration Closed *

Ever since it was first launched in 1925 as a sophisticated chronicler of life in the modern metropolis, The New Yorker magazine has been making a distinctive contribution to narrative journalism, short fiction, and humor writing. We will consider the style, culture, and history of the magazine, looking behind the scenes at what goes into the making of New Yorker profiles, humor pieces and cartoons.


Margaret Talbot has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2003, and was formerly a Contributing Writer at the New York Times Magazine and Executive Editor of The New Republic. Her articles and essays have appeared in National Geographic, More, The Atlantic, Salon, and Slate and have been anthologized in collections including The Best of the Best American Science Writing and The Art of the Essay. She is a recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and was a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. Her memoir/biography of her father, stage and screen actor Lyle Talbot, and his times, The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father’s Twentieth Century (2012), was praised by Elizabeth Gilbert as “wonderful, loving, beautifully researched and touching” and “a gift and a treasure––and a top-notch documentation of Hollywood history, besides.”