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.

Greensboro Writers Retreat

First-Person Plural: Crafting stories from our lives 
A writing workshop with Zoe Carter and Connie Hale

September 12-14, 2014
Greensboro and Hardwick, Vermont

An intimate and unusual workshop, led by Zoe FitzGerald Carter and Constance Hale, who have published memoirs and essays in books and in Vogue, Health, Honolulu, The Atlantic, and O. This year, the retreat also feature chef and food writer Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen, who will cook all our meals in the kitchen of Zoe’s expansive family home on Lake Caspian. The retreat kicks off on Friday night, at The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, with a reading and a conversation about mixing memory, food, and meaning. Zoe, Connie will lead most of the sessions on Saturday and Sunday, with Stephanie stepping in as well. We will mix guided writing, workshopping, coaching, and private writing time. Late Sunday afternoon, all participants will have the opportunity to read at the Galaxy and enjoy a special farm-to-table dinner. The workshop is open to writers of all levels and genres. $300 includes all writing sessions and meals. Limited lodging is available for $60/night. For information, email chale (at) well (dot) com. To register, drop a line to zoe (at) mac (dot) com. More info and updates are here.

Here’s a recap of the Fall 2013 workshop:

What happens when you gather a dozen professional writers, install them next to a Vermont lake, and encourage them to take in the natural wonders, sit by the fire, and dig deep into memories, dreams, and fears? This is the annual experiment conducted by Connie Hale and Zoe FitzGerald Carter. This year, out came poems about love at 80 and violence in Sri Lanka, as well as essays about walking daughters to school, easing the loss of a mother by eating popcorn, and facing down the ultimate alpha male—a sea lion ready to rumble. Grotto chef Stephanie Rosenbaum plied us with farm chickens, fat apples, and warm maple syrup, all the while sharing insights about how to write about food in a way that is fresh and bracing. The retreat concluded with participants reading at Connie’s cousin’s bookshop and chowing down at the restaurant next door. If you long for a little leaf peeping in 2014, drop a line to zoe (at) mac (dot) com.

The Latest in Longform:

The Berkeley Narrative Journalism Conference 2014

Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley

November 8, 2014

Under the direction of Constance Hale, a veteran journalist and teacher, this Cal conference brings together top editors and an audience of talented, veteran writers. The all-day event will be one long conversation about the tradition and the edges of literary journalism. Sessions will ask big questions and will also bore in on specific techniques. Platforms discussed will range from microblogs to books and genres looked at will range from spot news to memoir. We will not just explore how to research and write great stories, but also where to publish them, and how to collaborate with agents and editors. There will be keynotes, lectures,  practical workshops, and additional “master classes” on Sunday, Nov. 9. Attendance is limited to 75 experienced writers, to allow for small-group sessions and rich networking. Registration begins September 1. Email NarrativeatCal [at] gmail [dot] com for more information. More detailed information here.


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.