Writing Classes & Conferences

This is an entirely subjective selection of classes taught either by me or by writers and teachers I respect. I also include writing conferences that I am participating in, or that I think are well worth your time and money. All are listed (more or less) in chronological order, unless one item is especially newsy.

Finding the Writer's Voice

December 4, 2014

University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

What do we mean when we refer to a writer's voice, and how can each of us develop a distinctive one–whether for emails, memos, or memoirs? Does an author have one voice or many? Constance Hale, the author of bestselling books on literary style including Sin and Syntax and Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch, answers these questions and others in a presentation that mixes readings, lecture, and discussion. Find more about this free public lecture here.

First Person Plural: Crafting Stories from Our Lives

December 6, 2014

University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

This workshop uses innovative techniques to encourage writers to explore personal experiences that can be transformed into meaningful personal essays. We dig deep into memories, dreams, and fears, but also talk about how to make essays universal so that readers will have a transformative experience. We read examples from various artists to see how large themes can be woven into accounts of even small moments and to understand how even highly personal memoirs can become commentary on events in the news or in our communities. More details here.

Writing As Refuge

A retreat for writers interested in social and ecological change

With Zoe FitzGerald Carter and Constance Hale

March 7-8, 2014

The Mesa Refuge, Point Reyes Station, California


Are you writing about social justice? Racial inequality? Environmental change? Or, do you want to deepen a personal story by tying it to a larger societal issue? In a setting of unparalleled beauty and calm, this unusual writers workshop offers a small group of writers a literal and psychic “refuge” where you can pause, consider your work from a new perspective, and enjoy the fellowship of other committed writers. Authors Zoe FitzGerald Carter and Constance Hale will coach you on how to approach difficult topics with verve and humanity. Readings from a variety of genres will inspire you to explore a more intentional literary style. Guided writing exercises will spark fresh ideas. You will have the opportunity to share your writing and be critiqued by the group in a supportive, thoughtful manner. For more details, as well as information on how to register, please see the Writing As Refuge page.

Mokule‘ia Writers Retreat:

Nā Wahi Ho‘oulu

(Places That Inspire Us)

May 3 - 8, 2015

On Oahu’s North Shore

After its first successful writers retreat in April 2013, Camp Mokule‘ia will host another gathering of artists interested in exploring the notion of place in their work. Directed by Constance Hale, the 2015 will include top writers and editors from the islands and the mainland, as well as Hawaiian musicians and cultural icons. Writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, and memoir to are invited to spend five amazing days and nights on O‘ahu’s North Shore. With the mountains at our back and the open ocean at our front, we will learn from the masters, write in the shade of ironwoods, wander along the beach, salute the sun in morning yoga, and come to understand the essence of Hawaii through evening programs led by island composers, dancers, and musicians. The program includes daily workshops, private writing time, and one-on-one meetings with faculty. Optional activities—available to family and companions staying at the camp—include yoga, snorkeling, beachcombing, and even skydiving. Other highlights include hike to sacred spots in this remote part of the islands . Information, updates, and registration will be posted here.