There are two sections for the Beginning Writing workshop in 2017.  Neither workshop will exceed 20 students. This non-juried, five-day workshop is filled on a first-come, first-served basis and does not require manuscript submission. The workshop is open to beginning writers of both fiction and nonfiction, as well as more experienced students looking to reinvigorate their work.  To secure your spot, you will be asked to pay the tuition ($1,375) in full upon registration. 


Chinelo Okparanta


Chinelo Okparanta is the author of Under the Udala Trees (2015) and Happiness, Like Water (2013). One of Granta’s six New Voices for 2012, she was a finalist for the 2014 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and was short-listed for the 2013 Caine Prize in African Writing. She is a 2014 O. Henry Award winner, a 2016 Jessie Redmon Fauset Fiction Book Award Winner, as well as a two-time Lambda Literary Award winner for Lesbian Fiction. Her work was nominated for the 2016 NAACP Image Awards in Fiction as well as for the 2016 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award in Fiction. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, and The Kenyon Review, among others.

Course Description
A house has different parts–rooms, doors, closets, windows, and such. A story is like a house. What are its parts? How do we walk seamlessly from one part to another? Are we slammed in the face by a misplaced door or cupboard or window, or does the door or cupboard or window open seamlessly for us to enter? Are there empty rooms or corridors that lead nowhere? Are there rooms too big to be functional? In this course, we will map out stories much in the way that floorplans map out houses.

Jane Hamilton – Workshop full


Jane Hamilton’s novels have won literary prizes, been made into films, and become international bestsellers; and two of them, The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World, were selections of Oprah’s Book Club. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Allure, O: The Oprah Magazine, Elle, and various anthologies. She’s married to an apple farmer and lives in Wisconsin. 

Course Description
In this workshop we’ll wrestle with various questions including: how do you get started? What do you need to know before you start typing? How do you create credible characters and settings, how do you decide what to include and leave out, and when do you clue the reader in that a bomb is ticking?   What if you have everything you need except…a plot? What if you have a plot but nothing else? What do you want out of a narrative? How do you end a story? Can the act of writing be playful and fun? In short: we’ll talk about all the essentials of good writing, do many in-class exercises (playful and fun); and, there may be some homework, with the goal to generate material that will start you on your way.

Testimonial From A Beginning Writing Student

“My participation in the 2016 Beginning Writing Workshop was a game-changer.  I joined the class that Monday morning, having never written a fictional story.  By Friday, I had written several.  With the support of an encouraging teacher and engaged students, I gained the skill and confidence I needed to begin writing seriously.  Four creative writing courses later, I couldn’t be happier!” –Beth Mondry, 2016 Workshop Participant