This page is for reviewing the various Workshops being offered.

Use the Registration Page to select your choices.

To print these pages

as a


document, CLICK ICON

To print these pages as a

PDF document,





This year the “Writing Intensives” are SIX hour sessions, all of which will be held on Friday, September 8th ONLY.  Intensives are limited to 8-10 Participants, so please register early.  The Intensive Registration deadline is 8/27/17.  Workshops that draw fewer than 8 Participants will be cancelled, unless the Writer agrees to conduct it. 


The Intensive is for Participants in the process of developing manuscripts. You will share work and receive feedback on your writing. The Festival will provide space dedicated solely to each Intensive in order to maximize this special opportunity. 

Intensive Participants will pay a Registration fee of $120 for the unique opportunity to spend a day in an advanced setting with a professional writer, one of our Festival Alumna. The $120 Registration includes a lunch on the day of the Intensive and covers all other Festival activities. All we ask of you is a firm commitment to attend once you register.

While Intensive participants may register for other Festival Workshops, they may register for only one Intensive. If your Intensive is cancelled and there are available spaces in other Intensives, we will email you. If you find that you cannot attend an Intensive Workshop that you have signed up for and it has not been cancelled, a refund may be given if we find a replacement for you from the waiting list.

Please consult the specific Intensive description for any required materials or references.


TIME SLOTS 3, 6, 8 and 10 are Reading Slots which are Free of charge and therefore NOT listed here.

Friday 9/9/16

11:00 am - 5:00 pm




    Turn Your Content Into Cash

Presented by  Dara Lurie

“AUTHOR BREAKTHROUGH: Turn Your Content Into Cash” will explore and focus Participants’ lived experiences into powerful stories for personal and professional enrichment. 

In this Intensive, Participants will explore the deep sources of vulnerability, resilience and inspiration that have shaped their lives, writing about key moments and turning point experiences.  By the end of this Intensive, participants will have a well-crafted turning point story and artfully constructed business narrative.


Part I:  Participants will take a deep, adventurous dive into the places where your stories live using photographs, poetry and other creative mapping tools to discover, develop and shape your personal narrative from key moments and life experiences.  Participants will then craft their “turning point” stories integrating your “key moments and experience.”


Part II: Participants will devote themselves to re-purposing “turning point” stories into powerful business narratives. The workshop focus will flip from inward to outward as Participants learn to re-purpose their “turning point” stories into well-crafted marketing content. We will cover important marketing terms & concepts which Participants will integrate using worksheets and group activities to accelerate the learning process.


Program registrants will receive a suggested reading list in advance to prepare them for the program.  Please register early.



     A Screenwriting Intensive

      Presented by  Elisabeth Nonas 

Learning to think cinematically can be a useful tool for writers of prose and poetry as well as screenwriters.

Through in-session writing and discussion, participants will be introduced to the basics of screenplay formatting and structure, from treatment to step outline. They will leave our six hour intensive having written their own properly formatted scenes or sequence of scenes.


Screenplay excerpts and corresponding film clips will illustrate the particular challenges facing the screenwriter, not just the need to write economically, but also to create visual equivalents for moods and the relationships between characters.



    The Deep Red Heart Of Life 

Presented by  Esther Cohen 

Good stories are the living breathing unpredictable deep red heart of life, of writing, of what we want to say, no matter what form we choose. We each have stories — good stories — only we can tell.

Participants will look at examples from poetry and prose, from fiction and non-fiction, and from oral traditions, old and new. Your goal will be to create and tell your own story, in the form that matches your own intrinsic voice.


This Intensive is for story lovers and story makers who want to make your own stories better. How the world began, all that you know and don’t know, whatever you feel and see and hear. We will look at every part of our lives as rich material for stories, good stories.

This Intensive will be experiential: you will tell stories, hear them, read them, and write them, using a wide range of sources, from Naguib Mahfouz to “The Moth Radio Hour.”


Writing Workshops are a solid tradition of the Festival of Women Writers.  Writers returning to the Festival and those who have been invited for the first time will offer the Festival a diverse group of Workshops.


Each Workshop will be presented for two hours and will address a variety of topics, genres, skills, and techniques.


TIME SLOTS 3, 6, 8 and 10 are Reading Slots which are Free of charge and therefore NOT listed here.


Friday 9/9/16

11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Workshop # 1


   Telling Your Story in Pieces

Presented by  Sophfronia Scott

Many writers find the concept of tackling a memoir daunting because they don’t know how to organize a life narrative that will fill 300 pages. The good news is you don’t have to do it all in one big chunk.

Writing your memoir as an essay collection can be easier and more satisfying for both author and reader. We’ll examine examples of this art form that is rising in popularity and explore the best techniques to develop your collection so it offers strong cohesion and a powerful impact.

Participants are encouraged to bring a list of memories, events, or issues you feel best illustrate the life story you want to tell and we’ll discuss strategies for how you can pull it all together.

Workshop # 2


Presented by  Ginnah Howard

This Workshop will demonstrate the usefulness of keeping a writer’s notebook & writing essays using the electricity from these “jolts” as catalysts for essays.

We’ll read a few short examples.  We’ll share some “jolts” from our writer’s notebooks. Then there will be time to write a “startled” essay draft and share some of these with the group.


Prior to the Workshop, registered Participants will be sent some sample “startles” from writers’ notebooks and several attachments of essays you might like to read on your own.


Friday 9/9/16

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Workshop # 3



    Create, Curate, Relate     

Presented by  Linda Lowen

"What's your platform?" is a typical question today. Writers are more likely to have their work published if they have a platform which can be a subscriber list for a blog, website or email newsletter, a following on Twitter, a large number of “Likes” on Facebook, or any social media presence with followers that number in the thousands.

Explore such questions as:


What’s the difference between a website and a blog?

How do I “grow” an audience and attract readers to my site if nobody's heard of me?

What should I focus on to make my online presence more successful?

How much emphasis should I place on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.?


This Workshop will also identify the basic elements that need to be in place on any platform useful to media outlets or others looking to see if you are an influencer.

Workshop # 4



                                   Presented by  Mary Johnson

Grants, awards, and residencies can help a writer build her platform and provide funding, opportunity, network, and recognition.

As a writer who has both received grants, awards, and residencies, and served as a judge on panels awarding them, the Presenter will discuss a writer’s relationship to her financial reality; how to research opportunities for grants, awards, and residencies; protocols in grant and residency applications; the need to personalize an application by writing with personality; the importance of tracking your submissions and methods for doing so; as well as, the elements of a creative project plan.

Workshop # 5


                               Presented by  Yesenia Montilla

Lorca wrote that: “Duende . . . is a power, not a work . . . . a struggle, not a thought." As writers we are in constant struggle. A never-ending questioning is always with us. “Duende” and its power are never quite defined in a way that is palpable.

In this workshop we are going to look at images, listen to audio, and read poems to see if a palpable definition of Duende can be created. We will then try to invoke it and channel it so that it may grace our work.


Through prompts and other texts we will go in search of Duende for ourselves. Recounting personal revolutions as women, envisioning forgiveness, and reimagining our ancestral struggles are subjects we will touch upon to reach Duende.



    To Read, Write, Revise, Edit, Submit 


Presented by  Bertha Rogers

This six-hour Intensive is an opportunity for the poet who is not only serious about writing, but serious about getting her poems into the world.

Participants will bring two poems, one short (no more than 8 lines), one long (9-20 lines) for the workshop. If the participant has a group of poems (no more than 10) that are in the process of being assembled as a short manuscript, students should bring them.  


Participants will review poetic terms and figurative language. We will read works by contemporary and classical poets. Participants will write two or more poems in form from examples provided by the Presenter, e.g., Afghani Landay, French Rondeau, Italian Sestina, Japanese Haibun, Korean Sijo, Blank Verse Sonnet, etc.


Participants will discuss how and why poems work and revise and edit their work. They will be given guidance and handouts on how to select and submit poetry to literary journals and how to organize chapbooks and longer manuscripts. Submission of individual poems before submitting manuscripts is an important process of becoming published poets and will be discussed.


The last hour of the Intensive will be dedicated to the manuscript preparation process.

Saturday 9/10/16

9:30am - 11:30am 


Workshop # 6


                          Presented by  Chinelo Okparanta

“Crafting the Short Story” is a practice-based approach to fiction writing. The two-hour session will consist of in-depth analyses of craft elements of selected short stories, in conjunction with hands-on attention to Participants’ own short stories. This Workshop will not insist on any one school of writing.

However, there are rules to good fiction writing, and Participants’ employment of craft elements will be analyzed according to these rules. Feedback on participants’ stories will be given orally.


Presenter would like to receive student work ahead of time.

Workshop # 7


    A Workshop For Fiction Writers

                                 Presented by  Alexis De Veaux

This workshop is designed to assist fiction writers in incorporating the idea that the sentence is an important element in building a fictional narrative.

What is the purpose of the “opening” sentence? How do subsequent sentences reflect its importance? How can we build character and plot and narrative in subsequent sentences? What is the importance of the “ending” sentence? How do we know when the “ending” sentence has appeared?


Making use of these and other questions and exercises, this Workshop aims to provide Participants with some tools for realizing the notion that stories are built one sentence at a time. All Participants will be required to submit a brief sample of their work (5 pages) prior to the workshop.

Submit materials by August 1, 2016 to Workshop Leader care of:">

Workshop # 8


                                 Presented by  r. erica doyle

This is an invitation to look “into the chaos” through a practice of generative play and mindful contemplation.

We will focus on giving attention to our writing habits, predilections, idiosyncrasies, hang-ups, blocks, assumptions in order to de-program our process and dance and tangle in the space between knowing and understanding.


Participants will read the work of poets who oppose the status quo as a move towards a political or ethical purpose, and share their own habits as readers.


Participants will generate work through exercises that encourage them to stretch toward the “new and vital.

Workshop # 9


Presented by  Various Festival Writers


Saturday 9/10/16

1:45 pm - 3:45 pm 


Workshop # 10


                         Presented by  Kamilah Aisha Moon

Robert Frost famously said,  "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

Poets often find themselves in a groove that becomes a rut at times, inadvertently leading to less innovation in style and language/syntax choices.

Through a series of exercises and parsing a few sample poems, participants will be encouraged to move beyond their usual modes and approaches in the creation of poems ---- arriving at meaning in fresh, original ways.

Workshop # 11


   Writing In, Into and To Community


Presented by  Stephanie Nikolopoulos


Surveying famous literary friendships throughout history—Dickinson and Higginson; Lewis and Tolkien; Hurston and Rawlings; Kerouac and Ginsberg .... we’ll discuss the value of friendship among writers from both a personal and professional perspective as well as how writers today can achieve this type of community through such avenues as residencies, writing groups, and social media.

We’ll also consider the notion of dialoguing with writers past, present, and future through parody, homage, collaboration, and criticism. In-class writing exercises will explore these ideas and more.

Workshop # 12


   Reading and Writing Historical Fiction

             Presented by  LaShonda Katrice Barnett

“Until you attain the truth, you will not be able to amend it. But if you do not amend it, you will not attain it. Meanwhile, do not resign yourself.”

– Book of Exhortations

No matter its diversifications, a good historical novel demands the wise selection of the right fact for the right effect; it doesn't surfeit readers with too much information, or starve them with too little. In the end, the story rules through the power of the language.


This workshop will consider the practical challenge at the core of writing historical fiction: the seamless integration of fictive imagination and historical fact. Truth relies on historical research, but the evidence of historical reality must be finely woven into the verities of any good novel—point of view, plot, character, setting, structure.


Sunday 9/11/16

9:30am - 11:30am 

Workshop # 13


                                       Presented by  E. J. Antonio

Participants in this workshop will fully discuss the myriad issues facing the creative writers and their literary estate. Participants will thoroughly discuss all issues relating to the literary and will leave the two-hour session with a draft of something they can take to a lawyer and have an informed discussion.

At the conclusion of the session, participants will feel more comfortable initiating conversations with family, friends and literary executors.

Workshop # 14


   Constructive Feedback and Comfort Food

                                Presented by  Elizabeth Searle

Participants’ own work is welcome here; no experience is necessary.  Bring three pages of fiction-- flash fiction; the beginning of a novel or short story; YA or script excerpts-- for multi-genre mini-workshopping.

Participants will be guides in frank yet friendly critiques, so that Participants can learn from each other’s works. 

Participants are encouraged to bring their favorite bite-sized snacks to the workshop to share along with their words.

Workshop # 15


       Why Memoir?

Presented by  Simona David  


What family secrets are waiting to be written? Whose stories are straining to be told? Are they our stories to tell? What complications and challenges arise when painful memories haunt us? Who were we as teenagers? Young lovers? Close friends? Tired workers? How do we use the materials of memory, e.g. photographs, letters, old magazines to tell our stories, to write our poems?


These are just some of the questions that arise and are aroused as the memoirist explores her personal narratives, pictures, and oral histories. The exercise of writing memoir is one of assessment and evaluation and, perhaps, even regeneration. 

In this “Writers Conversation: Why Memoir?”, JP Howard, Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa, and Bessy Reyna will discuss their approaches to facilitating memoir writing, mining memories, and focusing on life’s significant events. This Writers Conversation is designed to encourage people to begin to structure the material of their lives and to write their life journeys.