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Yale Writers' Workshop 2022 Course Descriptions will be updated shortly

On-Campus Workshop June 4 - June 11

In the on-campus Workshop you will participate in workshops, lectures, individual conferences and readings intended to broaden your understanding of the craft of writing. This is an immersive experience on Yale’s lovely New Haven campus. The writing conversations extend from the classroom to the dining hall. Visiting faculty will deliver craft talks to all workshop participants. Because we write to be read, we will have panels of agents and editors to provide insight into the publishing process and the realities of the writer’s life. Writers are invited to participate in open mics and a formal reading of their work. During the session, faculty will hold half-hour, one-to-one meetings with participants. Plus, participate in an experiential writing adventure.

Virtual Workshop June 12 - June 18

The one-week Workshop is intended for writers concentrating on a specific genre. Over seven days, you will meet in a seminar with fellow writers, led by a faculty member established in the field. The seminar will include exercises and readings as well as discussion of student work with eye toward revision. During the week, faculty will hold half-hour, one-to-one meetings with participants. Plus, the one-week workshop includes an agent panel and meetings for writers with completed manuscripts! You are invited to participate in open mics and a formal reading of their work.

Workshops

  •  Children and Young Adult
  •  Short Story/Novel Excerpt
  •  First Ten Pages
  •  Personal Essay/Memoir
  •  Write Here, Write Now

Alumni Workshop: Work-in-Progress Intensive 

Offered for YWW alumni only, this two-week workshop allows alumni to work with an instructor on a work in progress.

Young Yale Writers' Workshop July 10 - July 15

Writers chose from one of four genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry or graphic storytelling. We have capped the workshops at 12 writers per genre to ensure all voice are heard. Participants attend talks on the craft of writing, genre workshops, open mics, faculty and visiting author readings, student readings, and learn about careers in writing.

Fiction

Jotham Burello

Read, Workshop, Revise, Repeat. The classroom is our lab to experiment and take risks on the page. In this seminar writers will complete assigned reading prior to conference to understand the board stylistic possibilities of fiction. In New Haven we’ll establish a supportive environment, and together we’ll workshop stories in the first three sessions and then dedicate time to revision exercises, reading work aloud, journaling and discussion of craft, with a special emphasis on scene building. Expect to write during the conference. Writers will leave with a revision strategy for their manuscript or novel excerpt submitted, and a full toolbox of ideas and techniques to help write the next story.

Trey Ellis

This intensive fiction workshop consists of a mix of craft talks and in-class exercises in between the spirited, collegial and brave sharing our work with our peers. Particular emphasis will be on building irreplaceable, multi-faceted characters.  This workshop welcomes short stories as well as excerpts from novellas and novels.

Lisa Page

“Everything comes from language. Plot is a juvenile idea.” Colum McCann. 
Language is the engine that drives the literary train. This fiction workshop will emphasize voice, persona, style, dialogue, tone and setting. It will also focus on narrative arc because, while plot may be a “juvenile idea,” it’s also a necessary one. This workshop will embrace novels-in-progress, short stories and flash fiction. It will also incorporate writing exercises designed to generate new work.

Sergio Troncoso

Our Fiction Workshop will focus on a detailed review of novel chapters, short stories, flash fiction, and other fictional narratives. Writers will receive practical critiques to create tailored strategies for rewriting. The class will work collaboratively on exercises to sharpen writing skills as well to create new work. We will examine what makes a great sentence and paragraph, and consider narrative voice, narrative suspense, and metaphor in fiction. As homework, we will also be reading accomplished writers to study their craft. Our goals? Dedicate ourselves to creating a community in the service of the writing craft, while all workshop members receive the individual time and focus necessary to take their writing to the next level.

Intensive

Kirsten Bakis

Work-In-Progress Intensive. This unique two-week workshop is designed for writers working on book-length material taught by YWW faculty member Kirsten Bakis. This cohort of just eight writers will meet and write for two weeks. This program is open to YWW alumni only. In week one, writers will critique 7000 words from their fellow writers’ manuscripts. Exercises and readings will be assigned prior to arrival. Week two will be generative, a mini-retreat if you will, with writers developing new material, and reading back at least 1500 words in session. The cohort will meet virtually to discuss progress, and strategies to completing confident first drafts.

Jacquelyn Mitchard

Creating a novel or any book-length prose work can be a long and unpredictable journey, but it can be the most rewarding work of a writing life. In a small-group setting that is both nurturing and rigorous, eight writers will meet under the direction of veteran novelist and MFA instructor Jacquelyn Mitchard. During the intensive, they will consider every facet of the book-length manuscript, from the concept through the planning to writing vigorous and vivid narrative prose. In a workshop setting, with in-depth feedback both from peers and the instructor, participants will focus on all the elements of narration -- establishing conflict, world-building, character work, pacing, and the effective scene. Asynchronous work, to complete between class sessions, will support the in-class discussions. Along with a strong concept for a long-form prose work, students will submit, by May 15, 2022, a sample of up to 7,000 completed words and generate 1,500 words during the course. Not only will stud

Non Fiction

Sybil Baker

While we often equate nonfiction with memoir, there are actually many modes of nonfiction including lyric, narrative, assay/meditative, didactic and hybrid forms. In this workshop we’ll look at assigned readings and craft exercises that will help you to expand your own writing process.  For workshops we’ll be creating a synergistic exchange. Comments and suggestions and observations move from micro to macro, from craft to content, to reader experience and psychology. In addition to giving and receiving feedback on your submitted work, we’ll also work in class on different revision strategies, techniques and ways to shape your essays.

Mary Collins

Navigating Nonfiction Prose in Shifting Markets and Media
This workshop welcomes a broad range of nonfiction writing from personal essay and/or memoir to flash nonfiction intermixed with other forms of media. How do you remain true to your own skills and goals as a nonfiction writer and still reach readers? One generation wants the long form classic book another wants something that takes minutes to read and offers video, audio or art. We will meet you where you stand as a writer and help you navigate your goals for your creative work.

Kristin Bair

Whether your characters rocket into space or travel cities on subways, in this workshop you’ll learn how to hook readers, create compelling settings, and write dialogue that moves a story forward. You’ll even get a better sense of just what the heck "voice" is all about. We’ll be telling, writing, reading, and talking about stories. Get your pens, keyboards, and imaginations ready.

Sean Frederick Forbes

In this course we’ll focus on narrative poetry. As one might surmise, it’s a form of poetry that tells a story using the voices of both a compelling narrator and vibrant characters. Narrative poems may be short or long, and the story it relates to may be complex, comical, dramatic, or somber. It’s a form of poetry with marrow deep roots in the oral tradition: stories passed down from generation to generation dating back thousands of years, a tradition from in every culture. As a poet, I write almost exclusively narrative poems, and I’m often reminded of the stories my maternal grandmother would tell me with such vivid detail; her words was poetry to my ears. We’ll consider how various types of oral and written narratives, whether it be song lyrics or spoken word pieces, or even the written poetic form or digital poetry, helps to inform, influence, and inspire our own poems.

Sahar Mustafah

This workshop will explore the personal essay as an accessible and entertaining genre for young writers. Participants will examine craft through mentor texts and engage in fun generative writing activities that apply successful creative tools to their own work. They'll excavate inspiration from their lived experiences and identities, ultimately revealing the value of personal stories.

Anne Thalheimer

Graphic storytelling exists in multiple worlds simultaneously; plotting a story, creating characters, and world-building, while also relying on images and visual culture to move narratives forward. We’ll spend some time working with each of these elements while shaping our ideas into stories. No drawing skills are required. Our Graphic Storytelling workshop will begin with an idea and end with a plan. In between, the workshop will combine in-class exercises of varying length along with conversation about tools and techniques.

Children and Young Adult

Sarah Darer Littman

How do you write novels that read as authentic for young people when you’re—to put it politely—no longer a teenager? Join middle grade and young adult author Sarah Darer Littman to get in touch with your inner child/tween/teen and discover how to write books that resonate with “kids these days”.

First Ten Pages: Fiction and Memoir

LaTanya McQueen

The first five to ten pages of a novel or memoir often determine whether an agent, editor, or reader wants to see more of your work. Whether you are just beginning a project or revising the manuscript for the fifth time, chances are your first ten pages could still use revision and feedback at the sentence and content level. In addition to getting feedback on your own work, during this course we will look at openings of published novels and memoirs, and discuss what makes those openings work. Both genres share many successful craft fundamentals. We will also spend time in class sessions discussing and applying revision strategies for the beginning of your work.

Personal Essay/Memoir

Mishka Shubaly

We understand fiction to be made-up and nonfiction to be true. But any linear narrative is a human construction, as life explodes constantly in all directions. Any first person narrative is a distorted, imperfect retelling from one limited perspective. To make it more confusing, Grace Paley's fiction and Lucia Berlin's autofiction overflow with truth while Mary Karr's and Harry Crews' memoirs seem too wild or too evocative to be true. Where's the line? How much can we get away with? How can anyone tell “true” stories? This workshop will locate the emotional heart of your narrative, then identify and amplify the truth that spills from it. We’ll be aided in our quest by readings across genre, songs, jokes, and other real-life texts.

Short Stories

Molly Gaudry

For this workshop, you may submit a wide range of fiction forms—traditional short stories or novel chapters, stories toward a novel-in-stories, interconnected flash fictions, flash fictions that stand alone, even fragmented or braided narratives. Submit a manuscript of up to 3,000 words, and plan to read and discuss a variety of published works as models for your own revisions. You will leave our time together eager to get back to work on your own revisions, able to apply knowledge and skills developed at Yale to your future writing projects, and with a clearer understanding of the functional relationship between form and content.

Ethan Rutherford

“The two things I want are interesting language and genuine feeling.”—Amy Hempel

In this workshop, open to all forms of fiction, our questions will be: what makes this piece successful? What makes it interesting / compelling / unique? What choices is the author making, and to what effect? We’ll focus on style and structure, look closely at the way language is mobilized, how characters are created, how voice is deployed. Generative writing exercises and revision strategies will be incorporated in every session. The point here is to not only get you writing, but to help you become a better, more thoughtful reader of your own work. Some reading will be assigned prior to conference.

Write Here, Write Now

Patricia Ann McNair

Write Here, Write Now Perhaps you are new to the writing workshop experience or coming back to it after time away; in any case, the process-based activities in this course will help you identify and discover the stories you have to tell and to write. Whether you are eager to create new work or reinvigorate on-going or left-behind projects, this workshop is for you. Drawing from memory, imagination, and observation, writers will discover their own unique material and a variety of ways of telling, structure, and form. And we will write! Whether a writer is creating imagined new worlds or writing autobiographical pieces these explorations will feed the muse. Workshop members will receive an assignment to complete and email to instructor before the workshop begins. There will be NO critique of peers' work prior to arrival. Time will be spent creating instead; you will write new pages and develop strategies to keep going.