Writer's Village: A Creative Writing Intensive




Due to the pandemic, no residential programming will be offered in the summer of 2021 and plans for remote offerings are still being considered by the College. For details about this program for summer 2021, please fill out our inquiry form or check back here in January 2021.

Icon showing pencil and notebookFor the past ten years, high school writers have been coming from around the world to spend three weeks at Sarah Lawrence College diving deep into their passion for writing. Because of the global pandemic we will not be having in-person learning. But the good news is we will be running the Writers Village program remotely. Students who are passionate about their writing will have an opportunity to take college-level creative classes with award-winning writers.

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

Students will still get to study with the likes of:

  • T Kira Madden (author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls and National Book Critic Circle finalist),
  • Jeffrey McDaniel (Best American Poetry 1994, 2010, 2019 and recently in The New Yorker)
  • Chrissy Reilly (author of Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday)
  • Joanna Fuhrman (author of The Year of Yellow Butterflies)
  • Sarah McColl (author of Joy Enough, published in The Paris Review)
  • Stacy Gnall (author of Heart First into the Forest)
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 are developing an exciting format to study writing in a remote setting, where students can still do inspiring generative exercises, read and discuss published work, get feedback on their own writing, and build community.

We welcome students entering the 10th, 11th, or 12th grades the following fall.

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

Each day students will have a Zoom poetry workshop and a Zoom fiction workshop.

There will also be:

  • generative sessions
  • live readings
  • conferences with their primary teachers
  • small group question and answer sessions with teachers
  • zoom hang-out sessions for students

Classes will meet daily on weekdays from late morning and into the afternoon, Eastern Standard Time. The precise daily schedule will be sent to registered students closer to the program start date.

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."

2020 Faculty

Headshot style photo of T Kira MaddenT Kira Madden is a lesbian APIA writer, photographer, and amateur magician. She is the founding Editor-in-chief of No Tokens, a magazine of literature and art, and is a 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in nonfiction literature from the New York Foundation for the Arts. She has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Tin House, DISQUIET, Summer Literary Seminars, and Yaddo, where she was selected for the 2017 Linda Collins Endowed Residency Award. She facilitates writing workshops for homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals and currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. Her debut memoir, LONG LIVE THE TRIBE OF FATHERLESS GIRLS, is available now. There is no period in her name.

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 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 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 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


Limited financial assistance is available for this program. 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.