Workshop 2018

Workshop 2018

The Zurich Writers Workshop will be held April 13-15, 2018, in Zurich, Switzerland. It is divided into two sections: Food and Travel Writing with Adam H. Graham and Drafting and Revision with Michelle Bailat-Jones. Each workshop also includes the Sunday afternoon session, Pitch Perfect in Zurich. There is also the opportunity to register for Pitch Perfect in Zurich only. The entire program is conducted in English. Registration is now open and is filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Food and Travel Writing

The Food and Travel Writing section is ideally suited for writers who are interested in breaking into freelance writing and/or improving their ability to pitch to editors at bigger publications. The section is limited to 15 participants.

Want to break into food and travel writing? Or just improve your ability to communicate and write about food and travel online and on social media? This workshop will help you improve the skills necessary for honing in on good ideas, pitching them effectively to editors, and most important, writing solid food and travel stories/reviews with memorable on-the-ground details that will get you repeated assignments in the future. Learn the secrets of the “Dream Job” and what it takes to stand out in today’s saturated world of low-value food and travel writing and user generated feedback.

Instructor: Adam H. Graham

Adam H. Graham is a freelance food and travel journalist who worked and lived in New York City for ten years, but has been based in Zürich for the last five years. He’s a regular contributor to top publications like The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic, Afar, The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Travel + Leisure, and several other food and travel publications. His assignments have taken him to more than 100 countries, where he’s reported on a variety of lifestyle topics including skiing the powdery slopes of the Japanese Alps, making cheese in France, and tracking down birds of paradise in Papua New Guinea.

Drafting and Revision

The Drafting and Revision workshop is ideal for novelists, short story writers, essayists, or poets of any experience level who wish to improve their drafting, editing, and revision skills. This section is limited to 15 participants.

Like all professions, writing involves different skills. Some writers are excellent drafters and unafraid of the blank page, while others find it a challenge to get the words down but are experts at editing and shaping their early work into a polished piece. What kind of writer are you? How can you develop your strengths and overcome your challenges? This workshop will look at both sides of the drafting/revision equation. From writing prompts to daily ‘best practices’, we will find inspiration and techniques for drafting your work—whether you’re a novelist, poet, essayist, or short fiction writer. And in the second half of the workshop we will focus on revision: from line edits to pruning to substantive edits to complete re-envisioning, we will approach revision from all directions. We will generate new material in class that you can use in the revision section, but feel free to bring pages from a current project as well.

Instructor: Michelle Bailat-Jones

Michelle Bailat-Jones is a writer and translator. Her début novel, Fog Island Mountains (2014), won the inaugural Christopher Doheny Award from The Center for Fiction and Audible. Her second novel, Unfurled, is forthcoming in 2018. Her fiction, poetry, translations, and criticism have appeared in various journals, including: The Kenyon Review, the Rumpus, Public Pool, the View from Here, Hayden’s Ferry Review, the Quarterly Conversation, PANK, Spolia Mag, Two Serious Ladies, Cerise Press and the Atticus Review. Her translation credits include two novels by celebrated Swiss modernist, Charles Ferdinand Ramuz: Beauty on Earth (Skomlin, 2013) and What if the Sun…? (Skomlin, 2016) along with shorter work by Julia Allard Daudet, Claude Cahun, Laure Mi-Hyun Croset, Timba Bema, Alexandre Correa, and Céline Cerny. Michelle is the Translations Editor at Necessary Fiction and runs a literary blog called Pieces. She was born in Japan, grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and now lives in Switzerland.

Pitch Perfect in Zurich

Workshop instructors Adam H. Graham and Michelle Bailat-Jones, along with additional guest Chantal Panozzo, will moderate a pitch panel, Pitch Perfect in Zurich, that offers live feedback on anything a writer might pitch to an editor: from query letters, freelance magazine and newspaper pitches, to personal essay pitches. To reflect reality, the participants will pitch the instructors ahead of time via email, and besides providing feedback on each submission, the panelists will discuss which submissions caught their eye in their packed inbox and why. All feedback will keep the writer’s name private if requested. A maximum of 350 words is allowed per participant pitch.

Pitch Perfect in Zurich will also include an editing discussion. How likely will writers be asked to edit their work – for an agent, for a commissioning editor, for a magazine editor – and what does that process feel like? Most writers are unprepared for how much editing they will be asked to do, even when a piece is already polished. Learning to be open to this or how to negotiate this—in other words, how to take the sting out of editing requests – will be discussed. Participants are free to ask questions during this time as well.

Chantal Panozzo is the author of Swiss Life: 30 Things I Wish I’d Known and 99.9 Ways to Travel Switzerland Like a Local. She has written for the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN Travel, Die Zeit, The Independent, Fodor’s, The Christian Science Monitor, Vox, Vice, Boston Magazine, Salon, CNN Business Traveller, and others. As the founder of Cross Border Content Inc. and as the Chief Content Officer for the Washington D.C.-based The Brand Consultancy, Chantal has also named companies, created brand voices, re-branded companies like Swiss International Airlines, and written thousands of print, radio, online, and television advertisements. She is also at work on a collection of essays, American Life: 30 Things I Wish I’d Known—the sequel to her first book.


The workshop will be held at the Volkshaus, Stauffacherstrasse 60, 8004 Zürich.


Friday, April 13

19:00 – 21:00 Meet & Greet at James Joyce Pub (Optional; drinks are at your own cost, no registration necessary)

Saturday, April 14

9:00 – 10:30 Session 1

10:30 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 12:30 Session 2

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:30 Session 3

15:30 – 16:00 Break

16:00 – 17:30 Session 4

18:00 – 20:00 Literary dinner at Haus Hiltl (Optional; Separate registration required)

Sunday, April 15

9:00 – 10:30 Session 5

10:30 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 12:30 Session 6

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 17:00 Pitch Perfect in Zurich (Included for those who are registering for Adam or Michelle’s workshop. Writers not attending Adam or Michelle’s workshop can register for this program separately.)

To register, click here