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Workshop Leaders

Bill Barich - Hybrid
Bill Barich

Biography

Bill Barich’s first book, Laughing in the Hills, a classic account of racetrack life, was serialized in The New Yorker where he became a staff writer for fifteen years, publishing both fiction and nonfiction. His nine other books include the novel Carson Valley, Big Dreams: Into the Heart of California, Hard to Be Good (stories), and A Pint of Plain. His writing has appeared in such diverse publications as Sports Illustrated, Esquire, American Poetry Review, Rolling Stone, Narrative, and Best American Short Stories. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and worked most recently as a screenwriter on the HBO series, Luck, with David Milch. He is a graduate of Colgate and currently lives in Dublin, Ireland.

Workshop Description: The Art of the Narrative

At the core of every successful book, whether fiction or nonfiction, is a strong narrative component. The art of storytelling is ancient, of course, but writers often overlook the need to connect with a reader and become too caught up in moving the parts of a book around. A story’s DNA is established in its first few pages, and that determines the rightness or wrongness of everything to follow. Garcia Marquez once said he can spend two or three months on a first paragraph, unable to continue until he gets it right.

In this workshop, we’ll concentrate on how best to achieve a page-turning narrative by cutting and compressing. We’ll focus most especially on language, on the clarity and concision that distinguishes first-rate work from the run-of-the-mill. Participants must be actively involved with each other’s writing, open to constructive criticism, and willing to think outside the box. The idea is to break the habits holding you back.

The workshop is limited to five writers, each of whom will submit a work in progress—fiction, memoir, or autobiography.

Workshop Submission Limit

60,000 words (~200 pages)*
Jennifer Brice - Essay
Jennifer Brice

Biography

Jennifer Brice has been on the Colgate faculty since 2003. Unlearning to Fly, a memoir in essays, is her latest book. She is also the author of The Last Settlers, a work of literary journalism. Her essays have appeared in such journals as The Gettysburg Review, Under the Sun, and River Teeth.

A graduate of Smith College, Jennifer holds an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. At Colgate, she teaches creative writing and literature courses as well as the college’s signature Living Writers and LW Online courses.

Workshop Description: Personal Essay Workshop

A nurturing but rigorous workshop in the art and craft of transforming life into art. Open to writers who are at work on one or more personal essays. Submit up to 25 pages. The idea is to meet everyone’s work wherever it is and to help them take it to the next level, whether that’s Draft #2, Draft #17, or publication. Ideally, every member should come to the conference having read each manuscript with care. Detailed written comments aren’t necessary; constructive criticism is. Individual conferences will be scheduled with the instructor. Depending on time, there is the possibility of reading additional material and generating new work over the course of the week.

Workshop Submission Limit

7,500 words (~25 pages)

Videos

Brock Clarke - Novel
Brock Clarke

Biography

Brock Clarke is the author of seven books of fiction, most recently the collection The Price of the Haircut (published March 2018) and the novels The Happiest People in the World (which was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Pick, an Indie Next Pick, and an Amazon Book of the Month choice), Exley (which was a Kirkus Book of the Year, a finalist for the Maine Book Award, and a longlist finalist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award) and An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England (which was a national bestseller, and American Library Associate Notable Book of the Year, a #1 Book Sense Pick, a Borders Original Voices in Fiction selection, and a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice pick). His books have been reprinted in a dozen international editions, and have been awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize for Fiction, the Prairie Schooner Book Series Prize, a National Endowment for Arts Fellowship, and an Ohio Council for the Arts Fellowship, among others. Clarke’s individual stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Boston Globe, Virginia Quarterly Review, One Story, The Believer, Georgia Review, New England Review, and Southern Review and have appeared in the annual Pushcart Prize and New Stories from the South anthologies and on NPR’s Selected Shorts. Algonquin Books will publish his eighth book—the novel I Am Calvin Bledsoe—in 2019. He lives in Portland, Maine, and teaches creative writing at Bowdoin College.

Workshop Description: Novel Intensive

This workshop will focus on writing and revising a novel, with an eye toward pacing, structure, logic, theme, voice, plot, characterization--everything, in other words. Workshop members are asked to submit whatever they've finished, whether it's a full draft or a representative excerpt or something in between, just as long as the submission is substantial enough to enable your readers to give you what you need. Speaking of that: workshop members will be asked to do a good bit of reading in preparation for the conference. I encourage everyone to line-edit brief passages in each other's work, but I will definitely expect everyone to be able to talk, in detail, about each other's fiction during workshop, and also to provide a detailed letter to the writer offering praise, encouragement, gentle (but specific) criticism, and ideas for revision. I will write each of you a long letter, and will line-edit a substantial, representative section of each of your manuscripts. Each participant will get his or her own workshop session, and I will meet with you outside of workshop as well. Finally, I will bring in examples of fiction and non-fiction that will help you with writing and revising your novels.

Workshop Submission Limit

60,000 words (~200 pages)*

Videos

Brian Hall - Novel
brianhall

Biography

Brian Hall bicycled in western and eastern Europe for two years after attending Harvard University, and wrote his first book about those experiences: Stealing from a Deep Place. His most recently published novel, Fall of Frost, concerns Robert Frost, mainly in the last year of his life, when he went to Russia to speak with Khrushchev, hoping to save the world from nuclear war. The Impossible Country explores the breakup of Yugoslavia. I Should be Extremely Happy in Your Company involves the Lewis and Clark expedition. His Saskiad's richly imaginative twelve-year old narrator lives on a commune in Ithaca, New York--or is it the Ithaca of Odysseus? Madeleine's World is a novelist's version of Piaget and child development.

He has published in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine. His fifth novel, about lonely people and the ultimate fate of the universe, will be completed sometime this year.

Workshop Description: Novel Intensive

This workshop is an opportunity to have a novel manuscript read by the instructor and your fellow attendees (partial manuscripts are also welcome: recommended minimum of 50 pages). With five participants, each possibly bringing a full novel, attendees must be ready to do a lot of reading in preparation for the conference. Line editing of each other's work is not necessary, but everyone should come prepared to comment in detail on each submission during the morning session, and provide each other with written comments of a general (or specific, of course, if you want) nature on their work. We will workshop one manuscript each morning. I will meet one-on-one in the afternoon with the writer whose work was discussed in the morning. I will provide detailed feedback on the entire manuscript, and will line-edit about 50 pages, to give an idea of textual issues that might pertain to the whole. Although a lot of preparation is required, the week is worth it.

Workshop Submission Limit

60,000 words (~200 pages)*

Videos

CJ Hauser - Short Fiction
cj_hauser_hr_03

Biography

CJ Hauser teaches creative writing and literature at Colgate University. She is the author of the novel The From-Aways and her fiction has appeared in Tin House, Narrative Magazine, TriQuarterly, Esquire, Third Coast, SLICE, Hobart, and The Kenyon Review. She has received McSweeney's Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award, The Jaimy Gordon Prize in Fiction, and Narrative's Short Story Prize. She is at work on a new novel about sex, death, and ducks.

Workshop Description: Two Fictions, Fat and Thin (Stories and Flashes)

For this workshop you will submit a complete short story draft to be critiqued by your fellow writers. You will receive written critiques from all members of the class as well as from me. We will discuss your work to help guide you toward a revisions strategy, but we will also use your submissions as a springboard for more macro discussions about the craft of story writing.

Each day we will also read a piece of flash fiction in class in order to learn how to conjure potent language and enchant readers with our storytelling. We will do exercises in class, inspired by our daily flashes, to generate new ideas and work.

This workshop welcomes writers of realism as well as writers of speculative or experimental fiction. Bring me your unflinchingly real, your incisively true, your fantastically weird, or your terrifically peculiar. I can’t wait.

Workshop Submission Limit

7,500 words (~25 pages)

Videos

Naomi Jackson - Novel
Naomi Jackson

Biography

Naomi Jackson is author of The Star Side of Bird Hill, published by Penguin Press in June 2015. The Star Side of Bird Hill was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and longlisted for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize, the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and the International Dublin Literary Award. Star Side was named an Honor Book for Fiction by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Star Side is the winner of Late Night Library's 2016 Debut-litzer Prize. First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray selected the novel for the City's 2016 Gracie Book Club. The book has been reviewed by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Kirkus Reviews, NPR.org and Entertainment Weekly, which called Star Side “a gem of a book.” Publishers Weekly named Jackson a Writer to Watch.

Jackson studied fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. A graduate of Williams College, her work has appeared in literary journals and magazines in the United States and abroad, including Tin House, brilliant corners, Obsidian, Poets & Writers, and The Caribbean Writer. She is the recipient of residencies and fellowships from Bread Loaf, MacDowell Colony, Djerassi, the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writers House, Hedgebrook, and the Camargo Foundation.

Jackson has taught at the University of Iowa, University of Pennsylvania, City College of New York, and Oberlin College. She currently teaching in the National Book Foundation's BookUp program. Jackson was born and raised in Brooklyn by West Indian parents.

For more about Naomi, please see interviews with The Rumpus, LargeUp, Apogee, and Elle.com.

Workshop Description: This Summer, You Write Your Novel

Stephen King suggests that a novel should be written in a season. Walter Moseley’s This Year, You Write Your Novel offers advice on how to do as the title of this book suggests. In this workshop, students will make significant progress towards their goal of finishing a complete first draft of their novels by the end of the summer. Participants will cheer each other on as they break through obstacles to their projects’ completion. Each student will submit and receive substantive feedback on a new excerpt of their novel-in-progress. Appropriate for beginning as well as advanced writers, this weeklong workshop will be of particular interest to writers who want to strengthen character development and employ new ideas for plotting and structuring their manuscripts.

Workshop Submission Limit

60,000 words (~200 pages)*

Videos

Kathleen Ossip - Poetry
Kathleen Ossip

Biography

Kathleen Ossip is the author of The Do-Over, a New York Times Editors' Choice; The Cold War, which was one of Publishers Weekly's best books of 2011; The Search Engine, which was selected by Derek Walcott for the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize; and Cinephrastics, a chapbook of movie poems. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Best American Magazine Writing, the Washington Post, Paris Review, Poetry, The Believer, The New Republic, and The Nation. She teaches at The New School in New York, and she has been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

Workshop Description: Poetry

During the course of our workshop, we’ll explore many aspects of the poetic landscape. First and most important, this is a workshop, a studio class – which means that your work, and your responses to your classmates’ work, will be front and center. Every day, student work will be read and discussed. We'll talk about how to develop your strengths, how to recognize and mine inspiration, how to become more ambitious in your goals for your work, how to open up to new areas of expression, what revision practices work best for you. We’ll also do periodic in-class and out-of-class writing exercises – to encourage spontaneity, experimentation, and general poetic craziness. Finally, part of our time together will be spent exploring some of the most compelling issues informing contemporary poetry: specific aspects of craft and content and a consideration of various outposts and ideas about contemporary practice.

Workshop Submission Limit

Six poems, totaling no more than 25 pages

Videos

David Ryan - Hybrid
David Ryan

Biography

David Ryan is the author of the story collection Animals in Motion (Roundabout Press). Stories of his have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Esquire, Electric Literature, BOMB, Tin House, Fence, No Tokens Journal, Hayden's Ferry Review, failbetter.com, Booth, Denver Quarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, New Orleans Review, Cimarron Review, several Mississippi Review Prize issues, Nerve, Hobart, and Salt Hill, among others. His fiction has been anthologized in WW Norton's Flash Fiction Forward, The Mississippi Review: 30, and Akashic Book's Boston Noir 2: The Classics. His essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in The Paris Review, The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature, Tin House, BookForum, and elsewhere. A recipient of the Elizabeth Yates McGreal Writer in Residence, a Connecticut state arts grant and a Macdowell fellowship, he currently teaches in the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College and in the low residency program at New England College.

Workshop Description: Hybrid Creative Writing Intensive (Non-fiction/Fiction/Auto-fiction)

In this workshop we'll discuss each other's essays, autobiographical fiction, or any blend of the two, with dramatic interest in mind. I want to show how metaphor and memory work together to layer and deepen the truth of self-reflective writing, regardless of genre. Each workshop will include a roundtable discussion, where everyone will have read each other's work and prepared in-depth, thoughtful comments. Line edits aren't necessary, but a deep engagement with other participants' work is. The goal will be to find the center of interest living, but sometimes hiding, in the work—to then draw it out and intensify it. Through prompts and some theory I'd like to talk about how to create surprise, suspense, and empathy in your writing; how to use form and symmetry to shape conscious experience from the chaos of our lives into something artful and imaginative. Ultimately, you'll not only have improved your manuscript, but you'll know a bit more about how your life relates to, and compels, broader human experience.

Workshop Submission Limit

60,000 words (~200 pages)*

Videos

Bruce Smith - Poetry

Biography

Bruce Smith was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He went to Bucknell University where he stayed to earn a MA in English and worked at The Federal Penitentiary in Lewisburg. He has taught at Tufts, Boston, and Harvard Universities, on the West Coast at Portland State and Lewis & Clark College, and at University of Alabama before coming to Syracuse in 2002. He has recently been a visiting professor at Colgate and Columbia University.

He is the author of six books of poems, The Common Wages, Silver and Information (National Poetry Series, selected by Hayden Carruth), Mercy Seat, The Other Lover (University of Chicago), which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, Songs for Two Voices, and Devotions, (Chicago, 2011). Devotions has been named a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award as well as the winner of the Williams Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.

Poems of his have appeared in The Best American Poetry, 2003 and 2004, The New Yorker, The Nation, The New Republic, The Paris Review, The Partisan Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, and were included in the Best of the Small Presses anthology for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010. Essays and reviews of his have appeared in Harvard Review, Boston Review, and Newsday.

He has been a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center and was a winner of the Discovery/The Nation prize. In 2000 he was a Guggenheim fellow and has twice been a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts.

Workshop Description: Poetry

In the brief but intense time we have at Colgate, I'd like to think of the workshop as both a close reading of your existing work [in appreciative and critical ways] and as suggestions on how to push the work farther. The emphasis will be both on the language and the shaping and forming of the writing, and the imagination -- the vision that's unique to each individual. Workshop style discussion of student work will be the emphasis, although each class will begin with poems, ancient and modern, as model or target for discussions of technique as well as examples of tapping the resources available to the writer. I’ll begin class with what I call, an “exemplary” poet – avoiding the more proscriptive term “essential.” Exercises will include ways to locate the source of your poems as well as ways to "music" them, to lick them into shape, and to revise them.

Workshop Submission Limit

Six poems, totaling no more than 25 pages

Videos


Readers and Speakers

Peter Balakian
Peter Balakian

Biography

Peter Balakian is the author of seven books of poems, four books of prose and two collaborative translations. Ozone Journal won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. His other books include Ziggurat (2010) and June-tree: New and Selected Poems, 1974-2000. His books of prose include Black Dog of Fate (an American son uncovers his Armenian Past), which won the 1998 PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for the Art of the Memoir, and was a best book of the year for the New York Times, the LA Times, and Publisher’s Weekly, and The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response (HarperCollins, 2004), which won the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize and was a New York Times New York Times Best Seller, and his newly published selected essays Vice and Shadow: Essays on the Lyric Imagination, Poetry, Art, and Culture.

Balakian is the recipient of many awards, prizes, and civic citations, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Spendlove Prize for Social Justice, Tolerance, and Diplomacy (recipients include President Carter). He has appeared widely on national television and radio (60 Minutes, ABC World News Tonight, PBS New Hour, Charlie Rose, CNN, C-SPAN, NPR, Fresh Air, etc), and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. He is the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities, Professor of English, and Director of Creative Writing at Colgate University.

Videos

Alice Bolin
Alice Bolin

Biography

Alice Bolin is the author of Dead Girls (Morrow/HarperCollins), a collection of essays about crime, gender, and the American West. Her criticism, personal essays, and journalism have appeared in publications including Elle, Salon, Racked, The Awl, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review online, and The New Yorker's Page-Turner blog. Her poems have been published in Guernica, Washington Square, Blackbird, and Ninth Letter, among many other journals. She is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Nonfiction at the University of Memphis. Her website is alicebolin.com.

Deirdre Coyle
Deirdre Coyle

Biography

Deirdre Coyle is a writer living in Brooklyn. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New Republic, Electric Literature, Literary Hub, Hobart, Joyland, and elsewhere. She is a columnist at Unwinnable Magazine and a digital producer at Publishers Weekly. Her website is DeirdreCoyle.com.
Emma Komlos-Hrobsky
Emma Komlos-Hrobsky

Biography

Emma Komlos-Hrobsky serves as Associate Editor at Tin House Books and Tin House magazine. She is also director of the Tin House Craft Intensives, master classes for writers held in the magazine's Brooklyn office. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Guernica, Conjunctions, Hunger Mountain, The Story Collider, and Bookforum. She holds an MFA from the New School, where she also taught writing for eight years.

Monika Woods
Monika Woods

Biography

Monika Woods is a literary agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. She is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course and has worked at Trident Media Group and InkWell Management, where she worked closely with leading voices in contemporary literature. Her interests include literary and commercial fiction and compelling non-fiction in food, popular culture, journalism, science, and current affairs. Monika is particularly excited about plot-driven literary novels, non-fiction that is creatively critical, unique perspectives, a great cookbook, and above all, original prose.