2020 Gathering of Writers Schedule




7:00PM Eastern

Rachel Sahaidachny

Keynote: "Playing the Dying Man"
Michael Poore
9:00 – 10:15 a.m.

An Intersection of Art & Activism: The Docupoem

Janine Harrison

What is “docupoetry”? How can poets use primary source material to create work that straddles the spheres of art and activism? That surpasses the role of “witness”? That is at once the language of evidence and transcendence? In this workshop, we will discuss a working definition, purposes, devices, and examples of docupoetry, then write and workshop our own texts. Handout included.

12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

Essaying Our Way Through This World

Samuel Autman

In this generative session, Samuel Autman will explore ways the personal essay can help us use our bodies and memories - as a backdrop and paintbrush – as tools of discovery to transform sometimes ugly, painful experiences into something for the world. Some of the tools will be traditional and others will be experimental.
 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. Syntax and Voice in the Set Piece
Eric Freeze

Set pieces are those moments in a story that escalate tension and stick in your mind years after you've put the book down. This class will look at how to craft compelling set pieces by examining voice and syntax. We will start  by mining our own experience for set pieces: moments of fear or elation both real and imagined that for whatever reason will not leave us. Then we will craft our own set pieces with a few literary examples as our guides.


*Fiction Intensive schedule below*

9:00 – 10:15 a.m.

Strong Openings: Right from the Start

Noley Reid


After the title, a short story’s opening can make or break its connection with a reader.  After all, the first words, first sentence, first paragraph are the most visible and the spot where most readers, editors, and agents decide to stop reading altogether.  In this workshop, we will examine the openings to dozens of well-published authors’ short stories, noting the many techniques used and how they strengthen these openings.  Then we will turn to our own work, revising our current openings according to what we’ve learned. We all want our stories to grab our readers and hold on tight; bring one short story draft to this workshop and a healthy sense of adventure, and you’ll never write another dull opening again.

12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

One Word: Unfurl Your World with a Syllable


What word opens possibilities for you? What does it sound like? Taste like? How does it move? What universes does it conjure? In this workshop, we will contemplate the poem "Love Is a Place" by e. e. cummings and explore what is possible in the world when we speak with the intention to call our visions into being.

3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

Writing Your Memoir

Barbara Shoup

Memoirists live their lives day by day, making sense of them along the way and gaining insights they want to share with others. The best memoirists write their memoirs that way, too, delighting in the further discoveries they make in process, both about themselves and the memoir they're writing. The reader feels the energy of these discoveries between the lines. This session will help you focus your ideas for the memoir you want to write, dredge up memories and identify the best ones to tell your story, suggest ways to approach the project, and offer a variety of structures to consider. Participants will engage in a series of writing exercises to generate new memories and prompt new insights about their lives that will make their memoirs more compelling.




12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

Flash Play!

Liz Duffy Adams

In this workshop, you'll write a short play from scratch, as I lead you through a rapid dive into theatrical risk-taking. Come without a preconceived idea. Bring a notebook and pen, or laptop if you prefer to write that way (and earplugs/noise cancelling headphones if you concentrate better with them). Suitable for all levels of experience.


2:00 – 3:15 p.m.

The Poem of Witness
Marc Hudson

We’ll. . . take upon us the mystery of things                                        
As if we were God’s spies . . .”  
                  -King Lear, William Shakespeare                                                                               

We are at once unique souls and part of the collective--of our human society and of the larger household of nature. The poem of witness embodies this tension. It muses on history, politics, society, and the planet, not in any vague or general way, but through the particulars of a life, a set of eyes, the writer’s memory (yours). In this poem, remember, or imagine, a time when the larger world confronted you with its injustice, its indifference, its incalculable resistance to reason; or, more happily, with its possibility, its moral beauty. (Witness, of course, encompasses all encounters.) Whatever you witnessed must then finds words. There follows the challenge of discovering the form of your poem, its sounds and images, its voice. What will carry the encounter (as whole as possible) to your reader?  We’ll read some poems of witness, and discuss them. Then through various prompts, write our own, and share them.


4:00 – 5:15 p.m. The Blurry Line between Fiction and Nonfiction
Ania Spyra


In this workshop you will use images – postcards, photographs, drawings etc. – as a way to jolt your memories awake and jumpstart your writing. You will study the connection between the visual and the written, the lived and the imagined, the factual and the remembered, while engaging in a number of dynamic writing exercises to hone your craft as creative prose writers. You will begin with Jamaica Kincaid's short story "Biography of a Dress" to contextualize her description of her writing practice – "everything I say is true, everything is fiction" – andexplore the thin line between fiction and nonfiction. Please bring your own childhood photos or other images you find inspiring.  


Open Mic – up to two pages of poetry or one page of prose; three minutes or less.



Big Drama / Little Drama:
Making the Awesome Relatable

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
2:00 – 3:30 p.m.

*pre-registration is required to attend*

This class will challenge participants to bring a more personal lens to characters facing epic conflicts. Whether we're talking about short work or full-length projects, characters in trouble on a large scale run the risk of being overwhelmed and defined by their challenges. We'll talk about and practice ways to use imagination and personal experience to make the awesome more relatable, and find the key to the universe in a lost ballcap or an argument about a foot massage. We will examine literature in which this technique appears to good effect, and delve into the meaning of the relationship between the universal and the specific.








© Indiana Writers Center 2012