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
“Coming-of-Age: Young Adult Novels”
* Registration Closed *
The young adult novel is one of the most sought-after genres in publishing. What distinguishes a young adult novel versus a middle grade or adult novel? How can you establish an authentic voice for your young adult novel? Be prepared to learn about current trends in young adult publishing and to write a series of short pieces designed to jumpstart your ideas for a young adult novel.
Caroline Bock is the author of two critically acclaimed young adult novels: Lies (2011) and Before My Eyes (2014). Her short fiction is included in the anthologies Abundant Grace (2016) and District Lines (2017). Her poetry was nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize and her short story, “Gargoyles and Stars,” was the 2016 winner of The Writer Magazine short story competition judged by Colum McCann. In addition, her short fiction, “No Mercy” won first runner up in the 2016 F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference. In 2013, she moved to Maryland from New York and one of the first things she did was attend the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference and tour F. Scott Fitzgerald’s grave. She is at work on a new novel. More at www.carolinebock.com
“Revision, Revision, Revision”
Getting the first words on the page is the hard part, but revising can be a blast. In this workshop, we will take a short piece that you have written—whether it’s a page, a scene, or just an idea—and play with the words on the page until they pop. We will begin with some in-class warm-up exercises and then focus on individual work.
Susan Coll is the author of five novels, including The Stager (2014), a New York Times and Chicago Tribune editor’s choice. She is also the author of Acceptance (2007), a satire of the college admissions process, which was made into a 2009 television movie starring Joan Cusack and Mae Whitman; Beach Week (2010); Rockville Pike (2005); and karlmarx.com (2001). Her work has appeared in publications including the Washington Post, NPR.org, atlantic.com, and The Millions.
“Exploring the Divide”
The line between fiction and non-fiction can be porous. What is the best way to use your material? In this workshop, we will consider your projects—excerpts, summaries, even book ideas—and focus on this divide. On the non-fiction side, we can focus on journalism, history, memoir, and as-told-to memoirs. On the fiction side, we can focus on short stories and novels of all sorts. Is your project a tell-all memoir or a novel, a history or historical fiction? Should you think of shifting genres? Let’s hash it out.
Paul Goldberg‘s debut novel, The Yid (2016), is a dark comedy set in Moscow in 1953. His nonfiction books are: How We Do Harm: A Doctor Break Ranks About Being Sick in America, with Otis Brawley (2012), The Thaw Generation: Coming of Age in the Post-Stalin Era, with Ludmilla Alexeyeva (1990), The Final Act (1988), and To Live Like Everyone, a translation of a memoir of the late dissident Anatoly Marchenko (1989). He is the editor and publisher of The CancerLetter. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the Washington Monthly.
“Finding the Lazarus in You: How to Rise and Write a Memoir”
E. Ethelbert Miller
What keeps a person “down” from even thinking of writing about their past? Do you need someone to save your voice and help you rise as a writer? This workshop will discuss how writing about the self can help one’s personal growth. What happens before a memoir is written? What happens after one is published? How might a book change a writer’s relationship with others? This workshop is also for people who love to read good memoirs and share stories.
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.
“Crafting the Lede”
What elements go into the writing of powerful first paragraphs? What kinds of ledes hook readers—and why do journalists spell lede that way anyway? We will analyze strong examples from narrative long-form pieces and personal essays, and workshop participants will also write their own ledes.
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.”
“Clocks, Watches, and Sundials: How to Contain and Move Time in Your Fiction”
Fiction can encompass a brief scenic moment or several generations. One of the most difficult craft elements to manage in fiction, whether long or short, is time. If it is not handled properly, the reader can become temporally disoriented. In this workshop, we will examine strategies for managing time by analyzing and revealing this very important, though often invisible, scaffolding in published stories and novels.
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.