2023 WRITING WORKSHOPS
9:00-10:30 a.m. Morning Workshops
Louis Bayard - “Writing Historical Fiction”,
GG Renee Hill - “Turning Your Mental Health Story Into Fiction”,
Margaret Talbot - “The Art of the Interview”
3:30 - 5:00 p.m. Afternoon Workshops
Tope Folarin - “Rendering Your Life on the Page”
E. Ethelbert Miller - “Lies, Secrets, and Memoir Writing”
Linda Ruth Stai - “Promoting Healing through Converting Oral History into the Written Word”
Louis Bayard | FICTION
“Writing Historical Fiction”
We will explore the whys and hows of reanimating lost worlds, with selected readings and in-class writing exercises.
Louis Bayard is the author of the acclaimed novels Jackie & Me (2022), The Pale Blue Eye (2006), now a Netflix motion picture starring Christian Bale, the national bestseller Courting Mr. Lincoln (2019), Roosevelt's Beast (2014), The School of Night (2010), The Black Tower (2008), and Mr. Timothy (2003), as well as the highly praised young-adult novel, Lucky Strikes (2016). In the words of the New York Times, Bayard “reinvigorates historical fiction,” rendering the past “as if he’d witnessed it firsthand.” A New York Times Notable author, he has been nominated for both the Edgar and Dagger Awards, and his story, “Banana Triangle Six,” was chosen for The Best American Mystery Stories. His reviews and articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Salon. An instructor at George Washington University, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and was the author of the popular Downton Abbey recaps for the New York Times.
Tope Folarin | FICTION
“Rendering Your Life on the Page”
In this workshop we will examine the challenges and joys of autobiographical writing, and the ethics of including your family in your work. We will read passages from autobiographical novels featuring the authors' family members, discuss methods of transforming memory into art, and conclude with a writing exercise.
Tope Folarin is a Nigerian-American writer based in Washington, DC. He serves as Director of the Institute for Policy Studies and the Lannan Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at Georgetown University. He is the recipient of the Caine Prize for African Writing, the Whiting Award for Fiction, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, among other awards. His debut novel, A Particular Kind of Black Man (2019), was published by Simon & Schuster in 2019. He is Vice President of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.
GG Renee Hill | FICTION
“Turning Your Mental Health Story Into Fiction”
In this workshop, participants will learn how to mine their memories and experiences for themes that reflect how mental illness and mental health disorders have affected their lives. Writers will learn a story discovery process that identifies themes for fictional stories, and we will explore the benefits and challenges of turning their stories into fiction, along with best practices for writing about this topic responsibly.
GG Renee Hill is an author, creative coach, and workshop facilitator. Her transformative workshops show individuals, groups, and organizations how to overcome creative blocks and reframe their stories. Her books include The Beautiful Disruption: A Soul Story (2014), Wallflower: Essays & Anecdotes For Quiet Women Who Want to Be Heard (2014), Writing the Layers: A Self-Discovery Workbook (2015), and A Year of Self-Reflection Journal (2021). Through her books, workshops and coaching programs, she centers writing as a tool for all forms of creative expression, as she creates safe spaces for artists to explore their voices and creative callings. Her essays have been featured by Shondaland and Thrive Global. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Morgan State University, and she lives in Maryland with her partner and three children.
E. Ethelbert Miller | NON-FICTION
“Lies, Secrets, and Memoir Writing”
In an era overwhelmed by social media, misinformation, and misplaced secret documents, what happens to memoir writing? Why write a memoir if you have a Facebook page or Instagram account? How does the writer tell a story without telling a lie? What’s the price of a secret if your memoir becomes a best seller? Much to discuss and more to workshop. Participants are encouraged to bring to the workshop any secret documents they have been hiding since childhood.
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. Miller is Associate Editor and a columnist for The American Book Review. He was given a 2020 congressional award from Congressman Jamie Raskin in recognition of his literary activism, awarded the 2022 Howard Zinn Lifetime Achievement Award by the Peace and Justice Studies Association, and named a 2023 Grammy Nominee Finalist for Best Spoken Word Poetry Album. His latest book is How I Found Love Behind the Catcher's Mask, published by City Point Press.
Linda Ruth Stai | FICTION AND NON-FICTION
“Promoting Healing through Converting Oral History into the Written Word”
This workshop will assist writers to transfer personal stories into a written form that can be preserved to inform, benefit, and bring healing to the storyteller and future generations. This process can be effective in obtaining research for fictional material, lending credibility to the finished product. We will explore: choosing a topic, assembling participating individuals, conducting interviews, gathering research and editing individual stories to preserve unique styles of communication. We will also discuss how facts and principles acquired from interviews can be adapted for suitable use in works of fiction
Linda Ruth Stai is an accomplished author, inspirational speaker and dramatist. She is the owner of Dokka Publishing Company, and has written fiction, non-fiction, short stories and dramas, including the novels The Rose Journal (2005) and The Primrose Papers (2015). She is currently engaged in promoting Veteran Awareness in schools and at community events, and recently published the non-fiction book, Remember Me: Vietnam Veterans Tell Their Stories (2022). She served as speaker trainer and speaker for Stonecroft Ministries, and has held a variety of positions as an advocate for women with City Life Center and New Life Family Services. Her home is near Buffalo, Minnesota, where she lives with her husband and close to her three children and 8 grandchildren.
Margaret Talbot | NON-FICTION
“The Art of the Interview”
Conversations with people are some of the most vital material for all kinds of nonfiction writing, from straightforward news reporting to memoir, biography, history and long-form story-telling. We'll consider tips and strategies, and the ethical, logistical and creative challenges of interviewing, including how to get the best material for making people come alive on the page, and how to effectively incorporate quotes to reveal personality and motivation. We'll interview each other, then distill and share the results.
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 America...at 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 2021 by HarperCollins