Writer's Village: A Creative Writing Intensive




July 15 - August 3, 2018

This summer, become immersed in the craft of creative writing.

Students will participate in a fiction workshop and a poetry workshop led by members and guests of Sarah Lawrence’s celebrated writing faculty. Readings, craft talks, and free writing periods are also part of the program and are designed to supplement learning in the classroom. Students work together alongside their instructors to improve each other’s writing and explore their passions. Together, students produce an anthology of all pieces finalized while in the program and create a focused community that will last into the future.

Students are asked to submit a five-page manuscript and is used for placement only and is not used as a consideration for enrollment. Students are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

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. This program is well-suited for both the seasoned writer and the beginner.

Poetry Workshop

Students will closely examine published poems to deepen their appreciation and understanding of what makes a poem meaningful and impactful. This course is comprised of in-class generative exercises and line-by-line discussions of student work, with an eye toward revision. Students will learn to consider the different ways a character may be created and inhabited via syntax, diction, emotional crescendos and deflations, associative leaps, metaphors, and tonal shifts.

Through the writing exercises and also during revision, students will be pushed to explore associative imagery in their own poetry and discover for themselves the various ways that similes and metaphors can be employed to create a more three-dimensional experience for the reader.

Fiction Workshop

In this course, students work intensively on creating lively and compelling fiction. Daily writing exercises geared toward specific literary craft topics such as point of view, tone, character, and handling time are implemented throughout the three weeks. Writing sessions to access imaginations and become more aware of sensory and spatial experiences are also performed. Each student will have at least one story workshop, in which critique that is constructive and creative will be delivered.

There will be assigned reading of works by writers such as Anton Chekhov, Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Denis Johnson, Aimee Bender, and Junot Diaz. Field trips for on-site writing adventures are planned as well.

Readings & Free Writing Time

Enjoy private readings by acclaimed writers each week. Two writers, one prose writer and one poet, will read and answer questions.

Additionally, each student will have free writing time scheduled into each week to provide a quiet time in which to work on their writing projects.

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.’
  • ‘Chrissy was a kind and very enthusiastic teacher who knew how to direct a workshop.’
  • ‘Jeff 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.’
  • ‘Jonathan has a teaching method that maintains interest and order in the classroom, while maintaining a friendly, laid-back atmosphere in class.’
  • ‘Our instructor [Jonathan] 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 Jonathan and Stacy 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.’
  • ‘Lisa and Stacy were amazing! Their advice really helped me grow as a writer and develop better writing habits and abilities.’
  • ‘I really got to connect—Lisa is one of the best mentors I’ve had.’


Joanna FuhrmanJoanna 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.

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.
  • 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: sound, image, figurative language, and voice. Most days, students will be writing new poems in class. The approach will be playful: students should expect to laugh and also to be challenged. By the end of the class, the focus will shift to critiques and revision.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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

Registration fee $50
Deposit $250
Remaining tuition $2588

$1950 (non-A/C)

$2390 (A/C)

Meal Plan

$987 (full)

$357 (lunch only)