Past Workshops

October 23-25, 2105

Fiction instructor: Emylia Hall

We all have stories to share, and writing fiction is one of the most fulfilling ways of exploring and interpreting the facts of our lives – with the added pleasure of artistic license. Whether it’s re-imagining a city we once loved, the experience of a particular childhood holiday, or the sensation of a certain kiss, in this workshop we’ll explore how to best use the details we all observe on a daily basis – the things we see, think, and feel – to create fiction that shines with authenticity. We’ll cover the importance of creating a sense of place and three-dimensional characters, and discover why acute observation – of both the outside world, and our interior minds – is vital. Written exercises, and the study of brief but brilliant passages from literature will form part of our work. We’ll also cover some of the more practical aspects of writing – how to motivate ourselves when we begin to flag, or find inspiration when it’s lacking – as well as hints and tips for the road to publication. Writers at all stages are welcome – whether you’re knee-deep in a work-in-progress, or just beginning to think you’d like to put pen to paper. 

Miniature Memoir instructor: Chantal Panozzo

Do you have an anecdote you don’t know how to shape? A personal experience you don’t know how to make universal? An already-written essay you can’t figure out where to send for possible publication?

Perfect.

We’ll go from there to an international writing career, one miniature memoir at a time.

One of the best ways to break into freelancing is to write personal essays, otherwise known as miniature memoirs. In this class, we’ll discuss the personal essay form and learn how to master it. We’ll read and analyze published work, critique student work, learn how to pitch publications, negotiate contracts, and manage a writing career in the age of social media.

Participants will have the option to submit a personal essay of up to 1,000 words for critique. Additional details will be sent to registered participants.

May 23-25, 2014

Fiction instructor: Anne Korkeakivi
Well-written fiction is not like a snake that, losing its head or tail, can still keep going. Nor is its middle simply a bridge. In this workshop, suitable for short and long fiction writers of all levels of experience, we will focus on what makes an effective opening—especially for today’s readers, the interactivity between different sections of a manuscript, and some practical suggestions on how to get from a manuscript’s first to last words. We will consider selections from both long and short fiction, and also undertake a brief writing exercise.

How to Make a Living as a Writer instructor: Chantal Panozzo
Are you ready to transform your writing from a hobby into a career? Would you like to explore different ways to make a living as a writer but don’t know where to start? Then this beginner’s course, taught by Chantal Panozzo, is for you. During the two-day workshop, we’ll look at ways to find work as a writer as well as strategies to get you started. By the end of the course you’ll know how to write both a pitch letter and a personal essay that will help you break into magazines and newspapers, how to develop a successful blog or writing website, what it takes to write good ad copy, and how all of these things will help you build that ever-necessary writing platform should you decide to become an author.

The class was awesome, and within three months, I had an agent for my first book.”
– Workshop 2014 participant

April 12-14, 2013

Storytelling Fundamentals instructor: Sam North
We have all been enchanted by reading a story, and, for some of us, that enchantment leads us to want to write our own. Yet it seems like a difficult task – what is storytelling, and how does it make its magic? This beginners’ course will concentrate on three particular principles which are of central importance in the composition of a story. They are simple to understand for the beginner, and without them fiction will not come alive in the reader’s mind’s eye. Close reading of some short stories – to see how others work with these principles – will be accompanied by writing exercises which will start the writer’s working practice.

First Draft to Bestseller instructor: Lee Weatherly
Tutor Lee Weatherly will use examples from your writing to illustrate story structure, scene structure, characterisation, dialogue, ‘show, not tell’ and pacing (including killing your darlings!). With the focus on how to self-edit, you will be encouraged to view your work like a craftsman and a professional: the first draft is vital, but it is only the beginning. Submitting your work to agents and publishers will also be covered, and one-to-one sessions with each participant will focus on your personal strengths and areas for possible improvement. Her fun but challenging workshop will be a mix of lecture, group work, exercises and discussion.

May 18-20, 2012

Fiction instructor: Sam North
Prose fiction is written word by word, sentence by sentence, and each one counts. Part of writing well is to develop the music of your particular voice, its integrity and authority. But it’s not enough to add one paragraph of good writing to another, and hope for the best. To try and do so is to write yourself to a standstill, or into a dead end, or into a maze where there are so many choices that no choice can be made, and the story atrophies. Sam North will introduce you to a set of overarching principles that will help you develop your own way of working with the internal combustion engine of fiction — that is to say, plot. Short writing exercises will be performed during the sessions, and participants who wish to have their work critiqued are invited to submit a short sample of their work beforehand. By the end of the weekend, you will have new insight into the way fiction works, and how you can make it work for you.

Nonfiction instructor: Diccon Bewes
Where is your writing going? What puts the ‘travel’ into writing? How do you achieve a sense of place? Maybe you want to discover a new dimension to your creative writing or simply turn your travels into more than memories. This intensive but fun two-day workshop helps you discover how to bring locations to life by exploring all your senses, as well as how to find your voice, use detail and enjoy yourself — and what not to do. It will be a lively mix of writing assignments, group discussions, interactive exercises and real examples. As a successful travel writer, Diccon will look at practical aspects including creating a non-fiction book proposal, finding an agent, self-marketing, and the pitfalls of the dream job. He’ll also explain how to make the most of blogging and social media.

May 6-8, 2011

Fiction instructor: Janet Skeslien Charles
Do you have a great idea for a novel, but aren’t sure where to begin? Have you already begun, but struggle to continue? This two-day intensive course will cover important elements of fiction such as strong beginnings, plot and turning points, and characterization. Reading assignments and writing exercises will be given. Feedback will be given on work submitted. We will also talk about the nuts and bolts of getting published, from writing a strong query, to finding an agent, landing a book deal, and creating publicity for your writing. This workshop is for new and established writers interested in developing the skills to write a novel.

Non-fiction instructor: Susan Jane Gilman
Do you have a personal story you’re dying to tell? Do people often say, “You should write a book”? This intensive, two-day workshop is designed as an informative and inspiring introduction to memoir writing. Susan Jane Gilman will illuminate how to best put your experiences into words. She’ll address practical issues – such as how to structure a story, make a narrative compelling, and deploy imagery and humor to full advantage. She’ll also highlight what not to do as a writer. She’ll talk about editing and criticism, hold a workshop of student writing, and discuss the practical aspects to publishing, such as getting an agent, landing a book deal, and generating publicity. As an expat, Gilman will also touch upon the benefits – and challenges – of being a writer abroad.

October 1-3, 2010

Fiction instructor: Amal Chatterjee
Themes, plots, conflict, character, details: how can a writer convey these? And, how can they be blended into a satisfying narrative? This day and a half course will explore each of these elements and how they can be balanced, leading up to a detailed outline, a short story or an extract from a novel to be shared and discussed in the group and with the course leader.

Non-fiction instructor: Susan Jane Gilman
Do you have a personal story you’re dying to tell? Do people often say, “You should write a book”? This intensive, two-day workshop is designed as an informative and inspiring introduction to memoir writing. Susan Jane Gilman will illuminate how to best put your experiences into words. She’ll address practical issues – such as how to structure a story, make a narrative compelling, and deploy imagery and humor to full advantage. She’ll also highlight what not to do as a writer. She’ll talk about editing and criticism, hold a workshop of student writing, and discuss the practical aspects to publishing, such as getting an agent, landing a book deal, and generating publicity. As an expat, Gilman will also touch upon the benefits – and challenges – of being a writer abroad.