Writer's Village: A Creative Writing Intensive

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914.395.2205

July 14 – August 2, 2019

Students in Writer’s Village will participate in two daily writing workshops: fiction and poetry, each led by members of Sarah Lawrence’s celebrated writing faculty or other published authors who have taught at the college level.

Readings, craft talks, and generative sessions 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, explore their passions and deepen their appreciation of craft.

Together, students produce an anthology of pieces written in the program and create a literary community that will last into the future.

Students who register for the program are asked to submit a five-page manuscript that is used for placement only and is not used as a consideration for enrollment.

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 young writer and the inspired beginner.

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."

Faculty

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.

Sarah KoskoffSarah Koskoff is a screenwriter, playwright and former actor. A Sundance Screenwriters Lab Fellow, she wrote the screenplay for Hello I Must Be Going, which was nominated for a Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and won the award for Best Screenwriting in Feature Film at the Nantucket Film Festival. The film was honored by the National Board of Review as one of the year’s Ten Best Independent Films. She's now in post production on her indie half-hour pilot, The Summer People, and in development with her television adaptation of Elizabeth Hand’s crime novel series, Generation Loss. Koskoff is also a script consultant on feature films and an ongoing advisor for the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive in Los Angeles. Prior to writing for the screen, she wrote plays and acted in film and television alongside such luminaries as Burt Reynolds, Tobey Maguire, Helen Mirren, Kathy Bates, Gillian Anderson, Ryan O'Neal, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Tambour, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, among many others. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two wondrous teenage boys.

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: Video poems combine poetry with moving and still images, music, and sound in ways that bring new dimensions to the genre. In this class, students will write new poetry and workshop, revise, and create short films using readily available free software and apps. The first week will focus on unleashing the imagination; through playful writing exercises students will begin 10 poems! The second week will focus on learning the formal language of poetry and giving constructive feedback. During the third week, students, either alone or in collaboration, will create short films that bring their words to life.
  • 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 $2,840
Housing

$1,900 (non-A/C)

$2,350 (A/C)

Meal Plan

$1,017 (full)

$368 (lunch only)