Writer's Village: A Creative Writing Intensive




At this time, the College is planning to operate all summer programs as scheduled and there are no changes to academic nor residential logistics for these programs. This is an evolving situation and future decisions about summer programs will be made based on the College’s coordination with government and public health officials concerning COVID-19.

Please be assured that any changes or cancellations made by the College will amend our refund policy and allow for refunds. Additionally, should any government policies restrict a registered student from participating in a summer program, a refund will also be processed.

Sarah Lawrence has established a webpage where all updates about the College’s response to COVID-19 are posted. You are encouraged to review all sections of the page and to check back frequently to stay on top of the latest developments.​

July 12–31, 2020

Writers Village is an immersion program, where high school students passionate about creative writing can do a three-week deep-dive into writing with like-minded souls under the mentorship of accomplished working writers.

Students participate in two daily writing workshops—prose and poetry—each led by authors who have taught at the college-level. Students will read and discuss published work, generate new material, and receive feedback on their own writing. Students also meet with their professors for two conferences, to receive more individualized feedback.

Mixed into the schedule are Festival Days, one for each genre, where published authors come to campus and do readings of their work and then lead students through generative writing exercises. There is also a field trip to New York City where students get to experience a Broadway play. And a “genre” field trip, where students spend a day exploring playwriting and screenwriting under the tutelage of writers from those fields.

Over the course of the three weeks, students work with their two primary professors on a regular basis, but get some exposure to the teaching styles of 8-10 other teachers.

We welcome students entering the 10th, 11th, or 12th grades the following fall. Commuter students must be age 14 or older at the start of the program. Residential students must be age 15 or older at the start of the program.

Poetry & Fiction Workshops

In both the fiction and poetry writing workshops, students will be exposed to published texts by a wide-range of authors, both contemporary and from the canon. These works will be examined closely and discussed seminar-style.

There will be in-class writing exercises and students will have their work considered compassionately and seriously by their peers and professor.

In keeping with the Sarah Lawrence pedagogy of individualized learning, students will also have two one-on-one meetings with each of their writing professors.

Readings & Free Writing Time

There will be a number of readings by visiting writers, where students will be exposed to new work and have a chance to interact with published authors.

Students will also get to see and hear their professors—all working writers—present new and published work.

There will also be several generative sessions where students will gather with the purpose of creating new work as they are lead through writing exercises by faculty and visiting writers.

Sample Schedule

8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Breakfast (and time for conferences with faculty)
10 a.m. - Noon Fiction Workshop
Noon - 1:30 p.m. Lunch (and time for conferences with faculty)
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Tuesdays & Thursdays: Free Writing (and time for conferences with faculty)

Mondays & Wednesdays: Readings

2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Poetry Workshop
4:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. Break, Dinner (and time for conferences with faculty)
7 p.m. - 11 p.m. Optional Summer Programs community building programs on campus
11 p.m. Curfew (Midnight on weekends)

Please note: two days of the program will be all-day field trips. Details to follow.

Student Testimonials

  • "I loved my instructors. I would definitely take another course with them. They really helped me to feel comfortable and helped me make my writing stronger."
  • ‘"My instructor was a kind and very enthusiastic teacher who knew how to direct a workshop."
  • "My instructor really taught an interesting class. His teaching style seemed almost conversational and comfortable."
  • "I absolutely adored both instructors, and would definitely take courses with them in the future. Both were kind and casual, but also focused and informative. Workshop critiques were clearly well thought out."
  • "Both my class and my teacher were fantastic, and I wouldn’t change a single thing."
  • "I loved the workshopping seminars. They were extremely helpful and effective."
  • "My instructor has a teaching method that maintains interest and order in the classroom, while maintaining a friendly, laid-back atmosphere in class."
  • "Our instructor was knowledgeable, yet incredibly friendly. His method of teaching ensured learning while nurturing support and respect amongst the group members."
  • "I would certainly take more courses with this faculty for their interesting, effective forms of teaching, the amount I learned, and their ability to creatively inspire me."
  • "Both instructors were great. I did much more writing with them that I enjoyed than in my history at school as a whole."
  • "The instructors were amazing! Their advice really helped me grow as a writer and develop better writing habits and abilities."

2019 Faculty

2020 Faculty will be announced in the spring

Joanna Fuhrman

Joanna Fuhrman is the author of five books of poetry, including The Year of Yellow Butterflies (Hanging Loose Press, 2015) and Pageant (Alice James Books, 2009). Her poems have appeared in various journals, including The Believer, Volt, and New American Writing, and various anthologies, including The Pushcart Prize 2011 and 365 Poems for Every Occasion (Abrams, 2015). She teaches poetry writing at Rutgers University, and in private workshops in Brooklyn. Her essays on teaching poetry to young people appear regularly Teachers & Writers Magazine. For more, visit joannafuhrman.com.

StStacy Gnallacy Gnall is the author of Heart First into the Forest (Alice James Books, 2011). She holds a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Southern California, and is also a graduate of the University of Alabama’s MFA program in Creative Writing and Sarah Lawrence College. Her most current poems are published in Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, New American Writing, Third Coast, and Another Chicago Magazine.

Sarah McCollSarah McColl is the author of Joy Enough (Liveright 2019), one of 2019's "most anticipated books" (BookRiot). Called “stunning” (New York Times), “exquisite” (Los Angeles Times), and "an unforgettable debut" (Library Journal), Joy Enough was selected by Emma Roberts for the Belletrist Book Club. Her writing has appeared in the Paris Review, McSweeney’s, The Guardian, and StoryQuarterly, which nominated her essay on singer-songwriter Connie Converse for a Pushcart Prize. She has received fellowships from the Millay Colony, Ucross, Vermont Studio Center, and the MacDowell Colony, where she was named the 2017 Mary Carswell Fellow. She’s based in Los Angeles.

Jeffrey McDanielJeffrey McDaniel is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Chapel of Inadvertent Joy (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013). Other books include The Endarkenment (Pittsburgh, 2008), The Splinter Factory (Manic D, 2002), The Forgiveness Parade (Manic D Press, 1998), and Alibi School (Manic D, 1995). His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry 1994 and 2010. Recipient of an NEA Fellowship. BA, Sarah Lawrence College. MFA, George Mason University. Sarah Lawrence, 2011–

Christine ReillyChristine Reilly lives in New York City. She has taught at the Gotham Writers Workshop, the Dalton School, City and Country School, and Collegiate School. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University and her Master’s degree in writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her debut novel, a hybrid of poetry and prose, Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday, was published by Simon & Schuster in April 2016. She is currently working on her second novel, a coming of age story about a college student. Her website is http://christinereillyauthor.com/.

Teaching Approach

  • Joanna Fuhrman: My teaching approach is very hands-on and playful. I use pictures, props, and random words as tools for students to break their habits of thinking and engage with the unknown. My goal for the first week of class is for every student to start 10 poems.
  • Stacy Gnall: As a teacher, I relish the experiment of the classroom and the variables inherent in each student/classroom cohort. This means that, more than anything, I strive for my classroom to be a space of possibility—where anything can happen, where we can surprise even ourselves, where we can “let fearsome things fly.” I think learning the fundamentals of poetry is just as important as letting our imaginations run amok—that the two, in fact, go hand-in-hand. I honor the place of play in the pursuit of “serious” poetry. And I think everyone’s say is just as important as the next person’s say.
  • Sarah Koskoff: When we’re relieved of the burden of having to impress other people, I think we are more likely to hear the sound of our own true voice. I like to establish a class environment where students have this space and freedom to explore, to take risks, and to write from a deeper place, under their judgmental minds. While at the same time I provide definite structure, in terms of both the classroom and the craft of the writing itself, to support this freedom. And I'll try to be funny.
  • Sarah McColl: My goal in a creative writing workshop is to create a warm and lively space that frees writers to leave their comfort zones and pursue experimentation and creative curiosity. By introducing students to new texts, techniques, and methods to re-envision their work, my hope is to encourage passion for the wonders of the writing process.
  • Christine Reilly: My primary goal is to get my students excited about growing their writing. Often the Writer's Village workshop setting is the first workshop my students ever experience, and I facilitate in a gentle yet enthusiastic way.

Workshop Descriptions

  • Joanna Fuhrman: In this intensive class, the focus will be on generating new poems and learning about the basics of poetry: imagery, sonics, figurative language, wordplay, and voice. Most days, students will be writing new poems in class. (Some days they may even start three or four poems!) The approach will be playful: students will write poems inspired by drawings, fairytales, postcards, food, memories, pop culture, false translation, music, and chance. They should expect to laugh, and also to be challenged. The second two weeks will focus more on sharing
    constructive feedback and revising.
  • Stacy Gnall: In my workshop, we learn the fundamentals of poetry at the same time that we experiment, play, and challenge what can be done with language—all in the pursuit of making the best poems we possibly can. We read, talk, and write. A LOT. And hopefully we have some fun along the way!
  • Sarah Koskoff: We will explore how elements of writing for stage and screen are embedded in fiction. And how cultivating a facility with these elements can enrich their stories. We will read beautiful writing and discuss what makes it so. And we will be so inspired that we’ll want to write. So we will! Then we’ll read aloud what we’ve written, and discuss, and so on like that until there are breakthroughs and revelations or at very least we get a ton of practice and insight. We will also ask what makes some characters seem fully real, and use this question as a tool to unearth our own characters, and give them a fighting chance at life.
  • Sarah McColl: In my workshops, I like to blur lines and upend expectations to show students what is possible on the page. What happens when prose behaves like poetry? How do we render emotional landscapes and the three-dimensional world in written language? We’ll read widely, talk a lot, listen hard, question our thinking, and write till we get hand cramps, all while chanting, “Genre is a construct!” Workshop is a time and space I am honored to hold as a collaborative process to which young writers contribute their curiosity and creativity.
  • Christine Reilly: I like to personalize and tailor my workshop as much as possible to the needs and tastes of my students. The most rewarding part often is "revving the engine" with a lecture, then listening to my students wax freely about higher meaning, techniques, and care for the art at hand. I write a page-length letter about every piece I receive about what I appreciate about the piece, constructive criticism, and a "prescription" to a book or author I think would be relevant. We read a diverse variety of literature, so that my students may be exposed to different kinds of writing.

Goals for Young Writers

  • Joanna Fuhrman: The students are so passionate, thoughtful, and willing to have fun. I am always inspired by their writing and insights. My goal is that they enjoy experimenting with language and gain a greater understanding of the tools poets use to create art.
  • Stacy Gnall: I love getting to know such eager, earnest, intelligent, and talented young people. And I love seeing them work alongside one another, feeding off of each other’s talents. I hope that Writer's Village students leave the summer session with a supercharged excitement for poetry and fiction, and a barrel of new skills to help them create stronger imaginative writing of their own. I also hope they’ve made connections with like-minded writer friends with whom they can stay in touch.
  • Sarah Koskoff: To have authority over how one inhabits one's time is, I feel, a big step towards becoming an author. So I’d love for my students to learn how to set their own writing goals. Early on, students will articulate what they want from the workshop, so I can help them achieve their own goals. These can adjust as we go along, but a clear plan for the class, individually and collectively, will help us make the most of our time together. I’d love students to come out of the workshop inspired and with very clear action steps they can take to continue with a consistent writing practice of their own.
  • Sarah McColl: As rich spaces for ideas, insights, and intellectual and creative breakthroughs, I have seen truly extraordinary things happen in creative writing workshops. My hope is that my Writer’s Village students show up with open minds and a sense of wonder. With those in place, they’re pretty much guaranteed to leave with enthusiasm and reverence for what language can do, a sense of belonging to a literary community, and confidence in themselves as writers and students of the world.
  • Christine Reilly: My greatest hope is that my students return from the Writer's Village with new stories/authors they've fallen in love with, valuable information from workshop, and a passion for developing as writers. My own experience in writing workshop has set the tone and driven my writing today, so I enjoy paying the honor forward.

Prior Visiting Writers

  • Sarah Kay

  • Sally Wen Mao

  • Emily Jungmin Yoon

  • Laurie Stone

  • Tania Pabon

  • David Hollander

  • Lesley Tims

Program Costs

Application fee $50
Deposit $250
Remaining tuition $2,928

$1,900 (non-A/C)

$2,350 (A/C)

Meal Plan*

$1,047 (full includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner)

$379 (lunch only)

*Residential students under age 18 are required to have the full plan and commuter students under age 18 are required to minimally have the lunch plan.

Limited financial assistance is available for this program. Please apply by April 1 to be considered. Should Sarah Lawrence be unable to provide the necessary amount possible for you to attend, a full refund of your registration fee and deposit will be provided.

There is a limited number of air-conditioned rooms available on campus. Please register and deposit early to secure an air-conditioned room should you plan to reside on campus. ​