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.
Mokule‘ia Writers Retreat:
Nā Wahi Ho‘oulu
(Places That Inspire Us)
April 7 – 12, 2013
On Oahu’s North Shore
Camp Mokule‘ia announces its first annual writers retreat, a gathering of artists interested in exploring the notion of place in their work. Directed by Constance Hale, the faculty includes writers Laura Fraser and Steven Goldsberry, as well as Hawaiian musician/composer Aaron Mahi and language expert and composer Puakea Nogelmeier. 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, kayaking, and beachcombing. Other highlights are a lu‘au, a hike to a sacred spot at Ka‘ena Point, and a visit to Pu’u O Mahuka Heiau, an ancient Hawaiian temple.
Registration begins January 7. Information and updates posted here.
San Francisco Writers Conference
February 14th – 17th, 2013
Mark Hopkins Hotel, Mason & California
Its organizers call The San Francisco Writer’s Conference “a celebration of craft, commerce, and community.” That tagline is pithy—the conference is fun and collects a vibrant literary community. But attendees should not ignore the commerce part of the equation. The three-day affair is designed to help writers master the nuts and bolts of the writing business, and to help them blossom into published authors. More than 100 authors, agents, editors, publishers, and book-marketing experts hold information sessions; the conference offers enough workshops, keynote speakers, and presentations to write a book about. But it also leaves room for personal attention. The guest-list is maxed out at 325, and social and mingling events—agent speed dating is one—are scheduled. There are also opportunities for writers to seek out personal feedback on their work. R.L. Stine and Barbra Taylor Bradford headline this year’s conference, but there are many, many writers worth paying attention to. (If you plan to go, look for my talk and make sure to come say hello!)
Online registration and event details are available at: www.SFWriters.org.
April 4 – 7, 2013
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 will feature representatives from all the city’s top literary players, including McSweeney’s, The Believer, ZYZZYVA, The Rumpus and 826 Valencia.
The camp will be 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).
Submissions will be accepted from September 10, 2012 through December 30, 2012, for 40 quality writers of fiction and narrative nonfiction. This limited enrollment allows for a ratio of three writers to one faculty member. That faculty includes Adam Johnson (The Orphan Masters Son), T.J. Stiles (The First Tycoon), Ethan Nosowsky (McSweeney’s Publishing), and agent Amy Williams (McCormick & Williams).
More online at litcampwriters.org.
Crafting stories from our lives
(a writing workshop with Zoe Carter and Connie Hale)
Greensboro and Hardwick, Vermont
In this intimate two-day workshop on a weekend when the leaves are in full color, writers will work under the guidance of authors Zoe FitzGerald Carter and Constance Hale, both of whom have published memoirs and first-person essays in magazines as varied as Vogue, Health, Honolulu, The Atlantic, and O. The workshop begins Friday evening at The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, where Connie and Zoe will read from their work. Participants have the option of staying at home, if they live nearby, or staying in Zoe’s cabin on Lake Caspian in Greensboro. After Vermont breakfasts at the Carter home, Zoe and Connie will spend two days there working with writers on their pieces, in a mix of guided writing, critique sessions, coaching, and private writing time. On Saturday night, we will make live music in front of the fire. Sunday will close with a dinner at Claire’s restaurant in Hardwick, and a reading by all participants at the Galaxy.
The workshop is open to writers of all levels and sessions will be tailored to the group. Lodging is available, $30 per night for singles and $50 for doubles (rooms have two twin beds or one queen). The fee for the workshop, which includes breakfast, lunch, and the readings, is $200. The dinner at Claire’s will be pay-as-you-go and is open to family members and friends.
For more information, email connie [at] sinandsyntax.com. To register, email Zoe at zoecarter [at] me.com.
East Meets West: A Gathering of Literary Journalists
Fall, 2013 (Date to be announced)
Graduate School of Journalism
University of California, Berkeley
“East Meets West” brings together top editors from the East Coast and the West, as well as an audience of 60 talented, veteran writers. The all-day event will be one long conversation about the tradition and the edges of narrative journalism, and will explore how to research and write great stories, where to publish them, and how to collaborate with agents and editors. There will be keynotes, lectures, and practical workshops.
The conference is designed as a boost for professional writers interested in doing the ambitious work they imagine—and finding the best editors and the widest audience for that work. Books, blogs, magazines, multimedia, online news and newspapers—all will be in the mix. While we will focus on nonfiction, we imagine that the conference will be valuable to any serious and experienced writer
Click here for more information.