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Welcome from the Yale Writers' Workshop Director, Jotham Burrello

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Jotham Burrello, Director

Dear Writer,

In her acclaimed textbook, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, Janet Burroway writes that during the revision process, writers need their “conscious critic, creative instinct, and readers they trust.” Revision is about reseeing, and Burroway believes serious writers—writers looking to break through—need to be open to new meaning. This is sound advice for any writer in any genre with a story to tell.

After a year hiatus due to the Coronavirus, we’re back with an online Yale Writers’ Workshop in 2021. The two-week and one-week programs are comprehensive. We’re taking the online advantage by inviting guests who would not normally be able to travel to New Haven. Plus we’ve added additional open mics and virtual gatherings. These are not normal times. Writers I’ve spoken with feel a desire to write, to help makes sense of the past year—it’s been a doozy.

So this year I invite dedicated writers (and their pesky conscious critics) with creative instinct to be part of a community of trusted readers. In workshops we motivate and critique, celebrate and problem-solve. Writers attempt to transform stories into written experiences for readers. With a trusted community supporting you, move beyond all the talk to do the hard work of composing compelling narratives.

Working writers and editors are at the heart of the workshop. Our talented and energetic instructors guide writers on individual journeys of discovery. Drawing on their unique backgrounds as writers and editors, instructors provide readings and exercises designed to illuminate and to improve all aspects of a writer’s craft—facilitating breakthroughs on the page. Sessions do not rely on a set curriculum, but instead draw on each instructor’s expertise in order to provide writers with a personalized experience.

Our workshops assist writers in advancing their craft and provide insight and instruction on how to revise—how to resee—their manuscripts. The endgame of both weeks is this: to be better prepared to tackle your next story.

Jotham Burrello is the director of the Yale Writers’ Workshop. He is the publisher of the award-winning Elephant Rock Books, professor of English at Central Connecticut State University, and curator of the Roar Reading Series.