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Schedule & Registration

Online registration is now available.

You can register for 1 Morning Workshop and/or 1 Afternoon Workshop.

9:00-10:30 a.m.

Morning Workshops (Registration Required)

Ellen Prentiss Campbell “Time Travel on the Page: Fiction Fueled by History and Imagination" ((HISTORICAL FICTION)

Margaret Talbot “The First Sentence, the First Paragraph" (NON-FICTION)

Lauren Francis-Sharma  “A Different Way to Make a Writer" (FICTION

William Jones “What is Afrofuturism and Why Is It Important?” (AFROFUTURIST FICTION)

3:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Afternoon Workshops (Registration Required)

Leila Cabib “Stop Staring at That Blank Sheet of Paper and Fold It into a Mini-Comic Book” (GRAPHIC FICTION)

E. Ethelbert Miller "Memoir As Vaccine: Saving Your Life and Memories" (NON-FICTION

Online registration is now available.


“Stop Staring at That Blank Sheet of Paper and Fold It into a Mini-Comic Book”

Calling all doodlers, cartoonists, graphic novelists, and blocked writers!  The mini- comic book is a fun, nonintimidating format to explore ideas, experiment with drawings and text, and visualize your story.  Using one sheet of paper, you will write and illustrate a brief (6-8 page) narrative that can be factual, fictional, or a combination of both.  You will apply various graphic novel storytelling techniques to your comic book, which can serve as a jumping–off point for a longer work.  The link to a short instructional video will be provided prior to the Festival.

Materials needed:  8.5 x 11-inch white copy paper, scissors, pencil, eraser,

black .5 mm rolling ball stick pen

Leila Cabib is a cartoonist, illustrator and animator whose work has been commissioned for newspapers, magazines, books, and an environmental museum.  She has written and illustrated two nationally syndicated comic strips.  Her clients include Time-Life Books, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Gannett newspapers, and many other publications and organizations.  Leila teaches cartooning and animation as an artist in residence in elementary, middle and high schools and has presented her classes and workshops through Montgomery County Public Libraries.  She has a B.A. in English from Bard College and an M.A. in illustration from Syracuse University.

Ellen Prentiss Campbell | HISTORICAL FICTION

“Time Travel on the Page: Fiction Fueled by History and Imagination"

Whether long ago and far away, or closer to home and the recent past, historical fiction is a hybrid of fact and imagination in which the author seeks the essence of an era, places, events, and people. We’ll consider the process:  the flash of inspiration when the past grabs hold, the challenges and pleasures of research, the exhilaration of recreating and entering the past. This interactive workshop combines discussion and writing prompts.


Ellen Prentiss Campbell’s fiction explores the way world and personal history, work and the people we love, and chance, shape our lives. Her debut novel The Bowl with Gold Seams (2016) received the National Indie Excellence Award for Historical Fiction. Her new novel Frieda’s Song (2021) is inspired by renowned psychiatrist Frieda Fromm-Reichmann who fled Nazi Germany in 1935 and spent the rest of her life working at the Chestnut Lodge Sanatorium in Rockville, Maryland. Campbell’s collection of stories Contents Under Pressure (2015) was nominated for the National Book Award. Her second collection Known By Heart appeared in 2020. Her short fiction has been recognized by The Pushcart Press. Campbell is a reviewer and columnist for The Washington Independent Review of Books and a contributing editor at The Fiction Writers Review. She practiced psychotherapy and lived in Rockville for many years. Connect online at

Lauren Francis-Sharma | FICTION

“A Different Way to Make a Writer"

In the current North American literary context much of our understanding of how writers are created comes from the machine known as the “publishing industry,” which include both institutions that confer MFAs and the “houses” that offer such MFA holders six-figure advances. But what about the other ways writers are made?  How can we become a “break out” writer via a non-traditional route?  How do we maintain a creative life with the demands of a 9 to 5 and perhaps even a family? I will share what I've learned on my personal journey from practicing lawyer to novelist to Assistant Director of Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and invite you to share what you've learned too. And please come with questions you might have about writing and/or publishing.

Lauren Francis-Sharma is the author of Book of the Little Axe (2020), the American Library Association “Libraries Transform Book Pick” and 'Til the Well Runs Dry (2014), awarded the Honor Fiction Prize by the Black Caucus of the ALA and short-listed for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature with a minor in African-American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. She is a contributor to Marita Golden’s 2019 anthology, Us Against Alzheimer’s, and her more recent work can be found in ElectricLit, Barrelhouse, The Lily, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is a MacDowell Fellow and the Assistant Director of Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at Middlebury College. She is on the Board of Directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.


“What is Afrofuturism and Why Is It Important?”

Afrofuturism is described as, "a movement in literature, music, art, etc., featuring futuristic or science fiction themes which incorporate elements of black history and culture." This workshop will discuss the history and evolution of Afrofuturism.  I will also discuss its purpose and need today. Participants will build a world and incorporate Afrofuturistic themes.

William Jones is the founder of Afrofuturism Network, a historian, educator, and self-described "comic book geek." He frequently speaks on the subjects of the history of black people in America, the image of black people in various forms of media, pop culture, and hip-hop music on various college campuses and at conferences both nationally and abroad. He is also the author of The Ex-Con, Voodoo Priest, Goddess, and the African King: A Social, Cultural, and Political Analysis of Four Black Comic Book Heroes (2016).  He has been featured on several radio programs and podcasts where discusses both history and Afrofuturism.  

E. Ethelbert Miller | NON-FICTION

“Memoir As Vaccine: Saving Your Life and Memories"

The workshop will examine how writing can help one cope with a crisis. How might memoir writing serve as a "vaccine" helping to deal with loss and depression? How have events of the last several months influenced what we might want to write? Can lockdowns help the writing of a memoir?  During the workshop participants will be given "literary medicine" to strengthen the imagination. Time will be set aside to discuss recent memoirs. Limited to 8 participants. This workshop is now filled and registration is closed.


E. Ethelbert Miller is a literary activist and author of two memoirs and several poetry collections. He hosts the WPFW morning radio show On the Margin with E. Ethelbert Miller and hosts and produces The Scholars on UDC-TV which received a 2020 Telly Award. Most recently, Miller received a grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and a congressional award from Congressman Jamie Raskin in recognition of his literary activism. His latest book If God Invented Baseball, published by City Point Press, was awarded the 2019 Literary Award for poetry by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Miller has two forthcoming books: When Your Wife Has Tommy John Surgery and Other Baseball Stories and the little book of e.

Margaret Talbot | NON-FICTION

“The First Sentence, the First Paragraph"

We will explore strategies for getting started on an essay, and for persuading the reader to keep reading. We will  examine some great first sentences in journalism, literary nonfiction, and memoir, and launch some pieces of our own.


Margaret Talbot has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2004, and was formerly a Contributing Writer at The New York Times Magazine and Executive Editor of The New Republic. Her articles and essays have been anthologized in collections including The Best of the Best American Science Writing and The Art of the Essay. She is a recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and was a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. Her memoir/biography of her father, stage and screen actor Lyle Talbot, and his times, The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father’s Twentieth Century, was published in 2012. USA Today called The Entertainer a "fascinating social history of the same time, a warm father/daughter story;"  and according to Slate, "Talbot has woven a tale as romantic and vivid as any film could hope to be, while still seeing every bit of it plain. She is as clear-eyed about her father as she is about history—no easy feat." Her book profiling 1960s and 1970s radicals, By the Light of Burning Dreams: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Second American Revolution, written with her brother David Talbot, was published in June by HarperCollins. 

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