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.
***SEE BELOW: Registration is now open for Mokule‘ia Writers Retreat,
May 4 – 9, 2014, on O‘ahu’s North Shore. ***
Sassy Sentences and Wicked Good Prose:
How to Craft Better Writing
American Society of Journalists and Authors Annual Conference
Thursday, April 24 ~ New York City
This version of a popular workshop Connie Hale leads all over the country is tailored specifically for ASJA members. She will proceed through a series of hilarious exercises that will perk up your writing in surprising ways, and she’ll leave you with five secret tips. Call it grammar for grownups: Writers in attendance will stretch new muscles, disabuse themselves of bad habits, and duke it out in a war of words. We’ll also talk about how to cultivate that most elusive of literary elements: the writer’s voice. It is perfect for writers of any genre who want to take their prose to the next level. No grammar competency required, but a sense of humor is a must.
The Hawai‘i Book and Music Festival:
A Celebration of Story and Song
May 3-4, 2014 ~ 10.a.m.-5 p.m.
on the Civic Grounds outside Honolulu Hale (City Hall)
This two-day extravaganza celebrates books, literary conversation, Hawaiian music, and traditional hula. It happens in historic downtown Honolulu and is free and open to the public.
Among the authors featured are Adam Johnson, Rebecca Walker, and Kaui Hart Hemmings. There will also be discussion about some important additions to the Hawaiian history canon, like the new annotated edition of Hawai‘i’s Story by Queen Lili‘uokalani and the new edition of the original Hawaiian-language Bible.
For those who adore Hawai‘i’s traditional culture as much as its literary culture, there will be lots of music to make the hips sway. Not to mention dancing by various hālau hula (traditional schools of dance) as well as a panel of kumu hula (dance masters) who have followed in the tradition of the late Aunty Maiki.
More details here.
Mokule‘ia Writers Retreat:
Nā Wahi Ho‘oulu
(Places That Inspire Us)
May 4 – 9, 2014
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 2014 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 are posted here.
May 15 – 18, 2014
Mayacamas Ranch ~ Calistoga, CA
The San Francisco Bay Area’s first juried writers’ conference, Lit Camp is a joint venture between two respected literary organizations – Litquake and the SF Writers’ Grotto. It features representatives from San Francisco’s best magazines and sites, as well as editors and agents from top publishers.
The camp is held at Mayacamas Ranch, in Napa Valley, a secluded retreat center set atop rolling hills. Accommodations are rustic wooden cabins outfitted with organic linens. Mayacamas has a salt-water pool, a jacuzzi, a spring-fed pond, an organic garden, hiking trails, and a yoga room. (You won’t want to miss Yoga for Writers).
More online at litcampwriters.org.
Catnip for Agents:
How Editors Can Help Authors Craft Irresistible Book Proposals
June 3, 2014
First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley
With more and more editors distracted by marketing, and more and more agents drafted as editors, writers today must do a lot more than sketch out a good idea and expect an agent to sell it. Book proposals have to be sophisticated, and they must demonstrate a savvy understanding of the book market, publicity, and that hard-to-define idea of platform. As a result, many credible authors turn to freelance editors to help craft irresistible proposals. This class is designed for those editors eager to work more with independent authors. It mixes lecture, discussion, and exercises.
More info and registration here.
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
And intimate and unusual workshop, with Zoe FitzGerald Carter and Constance Hale, who have published memoirs and essays in books and in Vogue, Health, Honolulu, The Atlantic, and O. The workshop begins Friday night, at The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, with a reading and a conversation about memoir. Saturday and Sunday mix guided writing, critique sessions, coaching, and private writing time. Late Sunday afternoon, all participants will have the opportunity to read at the Galaxy; followed by a special farm-to-table dinner. The workshop is open to writers of all levels and genres.
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.