The Writer's Guide - Fall 2019




Fall 2019

DC Debuts

pg 9

Interviews with Kristen Arnett &

Jericho Brown

pg 5

Booksellers Unite!

pg 30

The Writer’s Center

The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019





Schedule 12

Descriptions 17





Executive Editor

Zach Powers


Laura Spencer

Emily Holland

Amy Freeman


5 Meet 2019 OutWrite Fest featured authors

We chatted with Kristen Arnett and Jericho Brown about their new

books and the literary lifestyle.

9 Two DC area debut authors discuss their new novels

Tope Folarin and TWC’s own Zach Powers talk about the themes they

both address in their fiction.

30 Indie bookstores abound

Take a look inside the booming business of local bookstores with the

owners of some of our favorite local shops.

34 Rion Amilcar Scott builds a new world in his new book

Julia Tagliere reviews the groundbreaking new story collection by the

DC area author.

37 DC reviews

Plus, we read the new novels by local authors Angie Kim and

Tara Laskowski.


Kristen Arnett

Jericho Brown

Tope Folarin

Summer Hardinge

Nina Holtz

B.J. Love

Alexandra Orfetel

Julia Tagliere

Graphic Design

Virtually Detailed, LLC

Cover Image

Carlos Carmonamedina

Basilica of the

Immaculate Conception &

Howard University

Contact Us

4508 Walsh Street

Bethesda, MD 20815


Board of Directors

Chair: Mark Cymrot Vice Chair: Joram Piatigorsky Treasurer: Les Hatley Secretary: William DeVinney

Past Chair: John Hill Chair Emeritus: Sally Mott Freeman

Kenneth D. Ackerman • Margot Backas • Tara Campbell • Debbie L. Cohen • Susan Coll • Naomi F. Collins

Patrick Corvington • Lakshmi Grama • James T. Mathews • Jim McAndrew • Bill Reynolds • Mier Wolf

Honorary Board

Kate Blackwell • Timothy Crawford • Dana Gioia • Jim & Kate Lehrer • Alice McDermott

Ellen McLaughlin • E. Ethelbert Miller • Howard Norman

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit



The Writer’s Center

Confessions of an Open Mic


Printed essay in trembling hand,

I stood before an audience of

maybe twenty people. My stomach

twisted as though I’d forgotten to

wear pants. That’s when I realized

how very darned thin a microphone

stand is. Nowhere to hide.

Head down, I stumbled on my

first sentence, wishing I’d doublespaced

my lines, or at least used

a bigger font. As I continued on,

though, the familiarity and rhythm

of my own words gave me comfort.

I raised my chin and finished

strong (if I do say so myself). The

audience clapped and I returned to

my seat, flushed crimson and grinning.

That was the day—maybe

four years ago—I became an open

mic junkie.

Now TWC’s Development Director,

one of the best parts of

my job is serving as one of three

emcees for our monthly open

mics. Along with Zach Powers

and Emily Holland, we’ve created

a warm, welcoming space

for anyone and everyone in our

community to stand up and share

their work.

We’ve had first-time readers,

long-time readers, readers strumming

guitars and readers alternating

lines with partners. We’ve

heard the grief of the anatomy of

depression, the phosphorescent

joy of a teen’s first love, the gentle

calm of a writer by a stream. And

at the end of each reading, at the

end of every reading, we as a community

clap, stomp our feet, and

let that reader know they’ve been


Please, come join us, the first

Saturday of every month (third

Saturday in September), from

Amy Freeman

2 pm to 4 pm! Read your work, or

listen to your neighbor’s. And rest

assured: The Writer’s Center has a

nice solid wood podium, with the

skinny mic stand off to the side.

So we give you plenty of room to

hide, but lots more to shine.

— Amy Freeman


Since early 2016, artist Carlos Carmonamedina

has produced weekly illustrations for his project

DC is my City. “During my time in Washington,

DC, I have come to love the rich diversity of

people, past and present, and the quotidian dramas

through which they shape their neighborhoods

and the collective urban character,” says Carmonamedina.

“My art seeks to document that human

presence, in a way that is funny and compelling.”


Instagram/Facebook: @carmonamedinastudio

4 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019

Beautiful Messes

A conversation with Kristen Arnett about

her New York Times-bestselling novel

Mostly Dead Things

By Zach Powers

Before Kristen Arnett headlines

at OutWrite, DC’s annual

LGBTQ literary festival,

August 2-4, she took time to

chat with TWC.

Since we arranged this interview,

your novel Mostly

Dead Things has totally

blown up. Congrats on being

a New York Times bestseller!

How have your expectations

of publication aligned with


I have to admit that I did not expect

any of this—truly my expectations

for publication were only

that I would be able to publish this

book and hoped that people would

see the things I was trying to build

in the narrative. I mostly was

concerned with writing about the

day-to-day operations of queerness

and also with writing about a

Florida that felt authentic to me. So

my expectations were that I would

hopefully find an audience who

was looking to read that kind of

book. I am so happy and feel very

lucky and great

that it’s gone over

as well as it has.

Never in my life

did I anticipate

that I’d be able

to say it was a

New York Times

bestselling book,

but I am so grateful

that it is! I am

glad that such a broad collection

of different kinds of people have

wanted to embrace the things I’m

trying to write about.

Do you have any thoughts on

why this novel has been so

well received?

I really worked hard to make it a

version of Florida that felt special

and personal to me, so I hope that

this is maybe the reason why. Lots

of the feedback I’ve received from

readers has been about the home I

am trying to create (an authentic,

real Florida outside of the general

wacky narrative people come

up with regarding Florida Man,

etc.) and also about the queerness

I wanted to see in fiction. As

a reader, I am constantly looking

for stories that aren’t centered on

queerness as coming out stories.

I am looking to read narratives

where it’s embedded in the day-today

interactions that happen in a

household, or at a job, or between

friends, or just in relationships

and inside families. Readers seem

to want this, too, and it’s been so

wonderful hearing from those


I’d like to give a shout out

to editors! You worked with

Tony Perez at Tin House. Did

the novel evolve with his

input? What’s your biggest

takeaway from the professional

editorial process?

I absolutely love my team over

at Tin House. They took very good

care of me and the book, for sure.

When I decided to go with them,

I had a long conversation with

Tony about where we might tweak

the book and ideas that he had for

how I might work on some parts

that needed just a little fleshing

out. We worked very closely on all

of this and it was helpful to have

such good eyes looking over it. I

would say that we went through

the book twice together—the first

go around for sticky plot points

and the second time just as clean

up, and then we gave it over to the

copy editor. Some people when

they get a publisher might need

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more work and some need less.

The book luckily didn’t need too

much strong editorial work, so we

were able to really sit inside the

sentences together and look at how

we could coax out a bit more nuance.

Probably my biggest takeaway

is that there is nothing more

important than a good editor when

it comes to publishing your work:

someone who sees the work and

understands it, but also a person

who sees your vision and wants to

help you make it into the book that

you want.

Popular consensus is that

you’re quite funny, but I

don’t see you dropping oneliners

in your work. For me

there’s a difference between

jokey and absurd, and I definitely

see you tackling the

latter. Is humor a goal when

you write or a natural byproduct

of your worldview?

Perhaps something else


When I think about comedy, I

am generally thinking about it in

lots of different ways. So many

things are funny! There is the

absurd, the dumb, the puns—but

then there is also humor to be

found in darker places, or humor

that comes from someone not

understanding the joke, maybe. In

the novel, I find the most humor

in Jessa’s controlling tendencies.

It’s funny to watch someone try

and control everything around

them, including other people,

because it’s just something that

can’t and won’t ever work out the

way you want. She is a character

who truly never sees the joke

happening around her; she is the

straight man, no pun intended,

and so when things happen that

are absurd it makes it even funnier

to look at how she interacts

with them because she hardly ever

is able to see the joke. I think it’s

so great to be able to find humor

in so many things. Life is funny

and hard and weird and bad and

terrible and great all the time, and

comedy just sits inside all of these


I was struck by the novel’s

physicality, especially in

descriptions of the characters.

These are messy,

sweaty, fuggy folks. How did

you make these characters

so tangible? Why was that

important to you?

I am forever interested in the

body. How it opens, tactile sensations.

Taxidermy was a natural

conduit for me to express all the

physicality that I always want to

write about. People are messy! We

are messy and occasionally ugly

and we are gross and we are also

beautiful. Sex is also messy and

ugly and beautiful. Sometimes

things are bloody. Sometimes we

throw up! Sometimes the body

breaks down and we work to rebuild

it. I am just continually fascinated

by how bodies break open

and knit back together. I want to

write that in characters because

that is how I experience the body.

All that sweat and mess and heart.

Let’s talk about dysfunctional

families! That’s not

an uncommon theme in

literature, but I found your

characters had a unique will

toward functionality. How is

family both something to be

overcome and embraced at

the same time?

Families are a lot like the body,

too. Very messy! The dynamics in

families are forever shifting and

attempting to accommodate each

other. It’s really hard to know

anyone and I think the thing

that’s especially interesting about

families is that you’ve generally

known those people the longest

and there is a tendency to believe

that you understand a person because

you’ve lived with them and

known them so long. That’s when

things start to really get messy,

that idea that you’ve put a person

into a role and when they deviate

from it, it shocks you. Families are

hard and messy for sure, but they

are also full of love and then they

are also full of lots of other weird

and bad emotions. The dynamic

there is continually and eternally

so wild. I mean sincerely, does

anyone have a FUNCTIONAL

family? We all have some kind

of baggage there, and that’s what

makes families so great to write


Finally, can you share a

piece of writing advice for

aspiring authors?

Just keep working. Even if it’s

hard and messy and feels like it’s

never gonna get easier. That’s

the work, right? Hard and messy.

But if it were easy, it probably

wouldn’t be anything worthwhile.

Stick to the hard stuff.

6 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019

Traditions Broken

Jericho Brown on his book tour,

building a poetry community,

and the truth of his art

By Emily Holland

When Jericho Brown’s third

book of poetry The Tradition

(Copper Canyon Press, 2019)

launched at AWP this year, to say

that there was some excitement

would be an understatement. It

was madness.

My table for Poet Lore was just a

row behind Copper Canyon’s booth

and on the day of Brown’s book

signing, I could see a line of eager

readers stretching far and wide

if I peered into the center aisle.

Many people waiting were wearing

flower crowns, paying homage to

the cover image of the book, an Instagram

favorite for its muted color

palette and striking, young black

boy adorned in flowers.

Now, nearly 4 months since that

launch, Brown is still on tour, and

will be for some time, including

a stop here in Washington, DC

for the OutWrite LGBTQ literary

festival, August 2-4. He’s touring

until next April, he tells me over

the phone one morning, where

he’s chatting from a hotel room in

New York.

Spain, Nebraska, Illinois, and

Germany have all been on his

recently visited list. But it’s not

just the jet lag that’s wearing him

down: early into his book tour,

he broke a toe. And that kept him

from doing his

burpees, which,

he assures me,

are integral to his

artistic process.

“Part of the

reason why it’s so

important to me

as a poet is because

it’s the only

time in the world that I literally

cannot be thinking about poetry,”

he says. “When you’re an artist

you’re working all the time. But

if you have a weight over your

head that’s about to crush your

neck and you need to pick it up so

it doesn’t, then it’s really hard for

you to be thinking about anything

else. Working out is just really a

way for me to clear my mind.”

Prior to AWP, Brown tweeted

a simple hashtag: #AWPBurpeeChallenge.

Thousands of writers

joined in, posting regularly

about their progress and how

many burpees they could do in the

weeks prior to the literary festival,

which had close to 15,000 people

in attendance. A community of

writers emerged on Twitter, all

around an exercise challenge that

Brown says started simply as a way

to build his own confidence before

the large social gathering.

But Brown has always tried

to use his platform to bring

people together, whether it’s

encouraging writers to do

burpees or fostering a public

conversation among poets.

“I understand now that having

a conversation about a poem

becomes difficult on Twitter,” he

says, “and maybe it’s not where

you’re supposed to do that, but

then where do people who don’t

have the classroom or haven’t

had the classroom in a long time,

where do they get to do that?”

This sense of community is

what, according to Brown, continues

to draw people to poetry now,

and what drew him to the craft in

his early days.

“Every poet I know is running a

reading series or running a blog

or writing reviews or teaching, or

trying,” he says. “I meet poets all

the time who are like ‘I think I’m

gonna buy this house and turn it

into a writers retreat.’ There are

these kinds of things that poets

are interested in because we are

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community-minded and I really

appreciate that about us and I want

to be in on it. I want to be in on

that which is the best parts of us.”

The poems of The Tradition are

captivating because Brown is not

writing in a vacuum—he is an

active participant in the literary

and social traditions of his craft.

Brown uses his poems to investigate

rape culture, the South, and

police brutality, using images of

flowers and gardening to carry the

weight of the subject matter.

This book, he says, questions

everything from the history of

English poetry and the violence

of Greek mythology to common

institutions like marriage and the

prison system.

“Part of what the book means to

do is to name myself as part of all

of these traditions, to name myself

as a player in the game, in black

poetry, in Southern poetry, in

English language poetry, in queer

poetry, and at the same time to say

that, as a player in the game, I will

always be asking questions about

these traditions that will become

dangerous for the existence of

those traditions as we have known


From Petrarchan sonnets and

persona poems to new forms like

the Golden Shovel and his own

creation, the duplex, Brown is

not only adding his voice to the

community, he’s making his own


The duplex, he explains, began

as an exercise, a challenge

to himself to create a form that

represented all of his identities

as a black, southern, gay man in

one space. To do so, he combined

the classic forms of the sonnet,

the blues poem, and the ghazal,

utilizing repetition and rhyme in

a formula that has now taken off,

with poets writing and submitting

their own duplexes to literary


And, although there are only

a handful of published duplex

poems by Brown, both in his book

and elsewhere, he realizes that

what he started with the duplex is

more than a complex form. It is a

poetic exercise, and exercises, he

says, lead to new poetry.

“You might not get a poem out

of the exercise, but you do learn

something. Every time you do an

exercise you grow. Every time you

pick up a 30-pound weight, it’s

only so long until you can pick up

a 35-pound weight. If your goal

is 35, you have to pick up 30 first.

So, it feels good to be a part of that

and to be able to make a contribution

that has

caught on in that


At the core of

everything that

Brown does is

his dedication to

himself, his truth,

and his craft. He


how lucky he

is, as a poet, to

have had such


books—his first

book, Please (New

Issues Poetry &

Prose, 2009) won

the American

Book Award and

his second, The New Testament

(Copper Canyon Press, 2014) won

the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.

But, he says, he will always be

writing his poems for himself and

taking risks to tell his truth.

“I have to write these poems to

save my own life. I would like to

believe that if, indeed, we write

the poems that save our lives, then

they have no choice but to save

someone else’s. If you try to start

with saving someone else’s life,

you’re going to end up preaching,

and I didn’t sign on to be a

preacher. I signed on to be a poet, I

signed on to cast spells, I signed on

to deal with the magic of language

and through that language create

a new language. That’s what

I’m after. Which I think is why my

writing is particularly queer. I’m

always trying to make the thing

new and unexpected and unheard

of and yet, suddenly, by its very

presence, present.”

8 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019

Emergent Themes


I was thinking this morning

about the nature of

identity (because that’s what you

do on a commute at 6am). More

specifically, I thought about how

we forge our identities, and how

identities are some combination of

who we are at our core and who

we want to be. For example, I’m

pretty shy at my deepest core level,

but I also want to be a performer,

a public figure, so I seek out stages.

Who I am, then, is neither core

nor surface. I’m a combination of

foundation and aspiration. I see

that same character via conflict in

your narrator, Tunde. How did his

character emerge as you wrote?


Debut novelists Tope Folarin and Zach Powers

discuss identity, home, and freedom

Your description of your

identity resonates because

I find the same contradictory

impulses in myself—I think

this is one of the reasons I’m an

artist. Art presents a method of

examining how something that is

fragmented can simultaneously be

whole. And I must say that I love

your question because it’s a question

that acknowledges how the

writing process actually works.

When I started writing A Particular

Kind of Black Man, I wasn’t

quite sure what I wanted to write

about, or how, so I just started

writing. I had this sense that the

protagonist of my novel—who was

nameless then—would resemble

me in some ways; I even toyed

with the possibility of writing a

memoir. But then I began to write,

and I discovered that this character

who shared many aspects of

my biography was wriggling away

from my grasp. He was just as

complex and—dare I say it—human

as I am, but in profoundly

different ways. My job then, as I

saw it, was to marshal the skills I’d

cultivated over the years to render

his personhood and his journey

as accurately and as artfully as

possible. So his character emerged

from the process of writing, which

is to say that the act of creation

doubled as an act of discovery.

As it happens, Zach, your novel

also concerns identity, and at the

outset poses a couple questions

that strike at the very heart of how

we understand this concept: can

two people somehow become the

same person? And is it possible for

one person to embody two people?

How did you develop the incredibly

cunning conceit of your novel?


I’d like to lay claim to

cunning, but I’m pretty

sure my novel spawned from a

single thought along the lines of,

“Dude, what about space twins!”

However, if there’s something I

take pride in, it’s my ability to

reach more serious territory from

even the goofiest beginnings. The

joy of speculation, and the thing

that gets me writing forward, is

thinking about the implications

of a conceit and how that conceit

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would affect characters. In the

case of First Cosmic Velocity, if

you have twins pretending to be

the same person, you’re obviously

going to run headlong into issues

about identity. Identity became the

inescapable subject of the narrative,

and it expanded beyond the

twins. For example, there’s only

one major character in the whole

novel who goes by their actual

name. For me, the most interesting

part of identity is that there’s no

answer to the question “Who am

I?” Human existence is too fluid

for that.

Closely related to the theme of

identity is the theme of home, and

we both grapple with that concept

in our novels. Your narrator is outright

questing for it: “Home, in my

mind, was a jumble of the various

places I’d lived. My favorite

bookshop in Hartville right next to

my favorite pizza place in Cirrilo.

Friends from Bountiful and Cirrilo

and Hartville laughing and gossiping

with one another. The place I

missed did not even exist.” Why do

you think home is something we

desire so deeply while also existing

only as a fabrication of the human



Gosh, home. Such a hard

concept to pin down. It

can be a specific place—it often

is—and yet it can also be a feeling,

a sense of belonging that isn’t

necessarily moored to a location

on a map. If one has a connection

to home, whether it is a location

or a feeling, then one also has access

to a space where one makes

sense. Indeed, home could also

be described as the beginning of

identity, the space where identity

is born. All this is a way of saying

that I think we desire home

because we desire to know who

we are and to be among those who

know us and accept us. Home—as

a concept or in reality—is the one

space where both of these things

are simultaneously possible.

To take this to a more personal

level—home is important to me,

desperately important, because

I’ve never had a solid sense of

home. I grew up in Utah where,

because of my race, I was always

something of a foreigner, and in

a family where, because of where

I was born, I was culturally

distinct from my parents. So I’ve

spent many years searching for

home, and I suppose it’s inevitable

that the protagonist of my

first novel is engaged in the same


Do you mind if I switch gears

just a bit? I can’t stop thinking

about a line in your book that

has remained with me since I

read it—at one point the Grandmother

of two of our protagonists

says to them that “Freedom

is the possibility of happiness...”

This line resonated because,

first, I think it’s a beautiful and

beautifully true statement, and

second because I think it really

captures one of the more

important themes of your book:

freedom. The pursuit of freedom,

the denial of freedom, and how

freedom doesn’t guarantee happiness

or fulfillment. Am I on the

right page here? Were you thinking

about freedom and its various

attributes as I read it? Or should

I re-read your book (which I plan

on doing anyway)?


Freedom can be such a

huge word, especially

here in America, where it’s intrinsically

tied to both stompin’ on

Redcoats and to our long history

of human rights atrocities. When I

write, I’m less interested in freedom

on this large scale because

there are wiser people than me

addressing the subject. Instead, I

tend to write about a psychological

sense of freedom, and how even

when we’re constrained by one

system or another, we still stake

claim to freedom on a smaller,

personal scale.

Years ago I took a very corporate

desk job. It was the kind of place

that noted when you entered and

exited the building. They tracked

your phone calls to make sure

you were meeting quota. I found

many of their corporate practices

ethically gray, at best. After

two weeks, I knew that I didn’t fit

in (though I’d be stuck there for

a year and a half). I remember

that I almost got a tattoo while I

worked there, just to have something

that would mark me as not

just another cog in the corporate

machine. I’d never considered a

tattoo before, but the feeling of

freedom that I could choose to

get one was downright heady.

Would a tattoo have made me

happy? Probably not. But I think

the desire to be free of imposed

constraints is real and legitimate,

even if happiness isn’t a guaranteed


A Particular Kind of Black

Man by Tope Folarin and

First Cosmic Velocity by

Zach Powers will both be

published on August 6.

10 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019


Events at The Writer’s Center

Fall 2019


Tuesday, August 27, 5:30-7:30 pm

Happy Hour for Writers

Venue TBD

Thursday, September 5, 7:30 pm

John DeDakis book release

Saturday, September 7, 2 pm

Little Patuxent Review reading

Monday, September 9, 7 pm

Café Muse

Saturday, September 14, 8:30 am - 6 pm

Publish NOW

Saturday, September 21, 2-4 pm

Open Mic @ The Writer’s Center

Saturday, October 5, 2 pm

Open Mic @ The Writer’s Center

Monday, October 7, 7 pm

Café Muse

Thursday, October 10, TBD

Alan Squire Publishing’s Fall 2019 Book Launch

Joanna Biggar, Reuben Jackson, &

Linda Watanabe

Friday, October 11, 7 pm

F. Scott Fitzgerald Festival reading

Tania James, Julia Langsdorf, &

Deborah Tannen

Monday, October 21, 7 pm

Amsterdam Quarterly reading

Saturday, November 2, 2 pm

Open Mic @ The Writer’s Center

Sunday, November 3, 2 pm

Washington Writers Publishing House reading

Monday, November 4, 7 pm

Café Muse

Thursday, November 7, 7:30 pm

The Writer’s Center LIVE!

Sunday, November 17, 3 pm

Women Writing Crime Fiction

Cheryl Head, Tara Laskowski, Vanessa Lillie,

moderated by Angie Kim

Monday, December 2, 7 pm

Café Muse

Saturday, December 7, 2 pm

Open Mic @ The Writer’s Center

Monday, December 8, 2 pm

Strong Female Protagonists panel discussion

Solveig Eggerz, Melanie S. Hatter, Leslie Rollins,

Alice Stephens, moderated by Bethanne Patrick

Sunday, December 15, 12-3 pm

Holiday Book Fair & TWC Birthday Bash

Unless otherwise noted, events are held at The Writer’s Center

4508 Walsh St, Bethesda, MD 20815.

Visit for additional information.

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit



The Writer’s Center



Learning to write is an ongoing process

that requires time and practice.

Our writing workshops are for

everyone, from novices to seasoned

writers looking to improve their skills,

to published authors seeking refinement

and feedback, to professionals

with an eye on competition. Group

settings encourage the writing process

by teaching writers to prioritize and

to help each other using many skills

at once.

From our workshops, participants can


• Guidance and encouragement

from a published, working writer;

• Instruction on technical aspects

such as structure, diction and form;

• Kind, honest, constructive feedback

directed at individual work;

• Peer readers/editors who act as

“spotters” for sections of writing

that need attention, and who become

your community of working

colleagues even after the workshop

is completed;

• Tips on how to keep writing and

integrate this “habit of being” into

your life;

• Tactics for getting published;

• Time to share work with other

writers and read peers’ work, and

• Help with addressing trouble

areas and incorporating multiple,

sometimes conflicting, ideas into a



We strongly suggest that newcomers

start with a beginner-level workshop.

They are structured to help you

discover the fundamentals of creative

writing, such as:

• Getting your ideas on the page;

• Choosing a genre and the shape

your material should take;

• Learning the elements of poetry,

playwriting, fiction, memoir, etc.;

• Identifying your writing strengths

and areas of opportunity and

• Gaining beginning mastery of the

basic tools of all writing, such as

concise, accurate language, and

learning how to tailor them to fit

your style.


These workshops will build on skills

you developed in the beginner level,

and are designed for writers who have:

• Critiqued some published works;

• Taken a beginner-level workshop;

• Achieved some grace in using the

tools of language and form and

• Have projects in progress they

want to develop further.


Participants should have manuscripts

that have been critiqued in workshops

at the intermediate level and have

been revised substantially. This level


• Focus on the final revision and

completion of a specific work;

• Fast-paced setting with higher expectations

of participation and

• Deep insight and feedback.


Master classes are designed for writers

who have taken several advanced

workshops and have reworked a manuscript

into what they believe is its

final form. Master classes are unique

opportunities to work in smaller

groups with distinguished writers on

a specific project or manuscript.

Workshop leaders select participants

from the pool of applicants; selection

is competitive.


Workshop registration is available

online at

refund policy

• Full refunds are given only when

TWC cancels a workshop.

• Workshop participants will be

notified via email when a class is

cancelled, and recieve the option

of a refund or credit.

• Workshop participants who have

enrolled in and paid for a workshop

and choose to withdraw

from it within the drop period (see

below) will receive a full credit

to their account that can be used

within one year to pay for another

workshop and/or a membership.

Please email grace.mott@writer.

org to request a credit.

Find Your Niche

The Writer’s Center

recognizes that all writers

and styles are unique!

Our staff can help you find

the right course(s) for your

level of experience, preferred

genre and overall goals.

Call us at (301) 654-8664.

Drop Period for Credit

5 or more sessions: 48 hours notice required before the second meeting

4 or fewer sessions: 48 hours notice required before the first meeting

12 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019




Writing Picture Books Mary Quattlebaum 10/3–10/17 Th 7–9:30 p.m. B

Self-Publish Your Picture Book Ariel Mendez 10/26 S 10 a.m.–12 p.m. B/I

Picture Books II: Revision

Write & Illustrate a Picture Book (For

Kindergarteners and their Grownups)

Mary Quattlebaum &

Joan Waites

11/7 Th 6:30–9:30 p.m. I/A

Chloe Yelena Miller 11/23 S 10 a.m.–12 p.m. B


Extreme Novelist Critique Salon Kathryn Johnson 9/16–12/16 M 7–10 p.m. A

Beginning Fantasy & Sci-Fi Brenda W. Clough 9/18–9/25 W 7:30–9:30 p.m. B


The Extreme Novelist II: Revision Kathryn Johnson 10/2–11/20 W 7–9:30 p.m. I/A

Fiction in a Flash* Hildie Block 10/4–10/25 F 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. ALL

Your First (Or Next) Novel Kathryn Johnson 10/5 S 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. ALL

Selling Your Novel to a Major


Steve Kistulentz 10/12 S 10 a.m.–4 p.m. I/A

Advanced Short Story Hildie Block 10/15–12/17 T 7–9:30 p.m. I/A

How to Write a Novel John DeDakis 10/16 W 11 a.m.–1 p.m. ALL

Short Story: Inciting Events!* Hildie Block 10/16–11/20 W 7:30–10 p.m. ALL

Writing Bilingually Ofelia Montelongo 10/16–10/23 W 7–9 p.m. B

Creating Conflict & Tension Kathryn Johnson 10/19 S 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. ALL

From Novice to Novelist John DeDakis 10/19 S 10 a.m.–5 p.m. B

Beginning Fantasy & Sci-FI* Brenda W. Clough 10/22–10/29 T 7:30–9:30 p.m. B

How to Write a Novel* John DeDakis 11/6 W 11 a.m.–1 p.m. ALL

From Novice to Novelist* John DeDakis 11/9 S 10 a.m.–5 p.m. B

How to Plot Like a Pro Kathryn Johnson 11/16 S 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. ALL

Advanced Short Story Alyce Miller 12/3–12/17 T 10 a.m.–2 p.m. A

Crafting Your Main Character John M. Weiskopf 12/7–12/14 S 10 a.m.–4 p.m. B/I

How to Write a Novel* John DeDakis 12/11 W 11 a.m.–1 p.m. ALL

From Novice to Novelist* John DeDakis 12/14 S 10 a.m.–5 p.m. B


Getting it Down on Paper Abdul Ali 9/1–9/22 Su 1–4 p.m. ALL

Impostor Syndrome Julia Tagliere 9/7 S 10 a.m.–12 p.m. ALL

Herta B Feely &

Now That You’re Done, What’s Next?

9/10–9/24 T 6:30–8:30 p.m. I/A

Emily Williamson

B—beginner I—intermediate A—advanced M—master ALL—all levels —online class

* Indicates workshops held at one of our satellite locations. Please see descriptions for more information.

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit



The Writer’s Center


Unclogging Your Brain Lisa Jan Sherman 9/10 T 7–9 p.m. ALL

Getting Started: Creative Writing Nancy Naomi Carlson 9/28 S 12–5 p.m. B

Structure Your Book Hildie Block 9/18–9/25 W 6–10 p.m. ALL

Making Your Characters Matter Lynn Auld Schwartz 9/21 S 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. B/I

Structure Your Book* Hildie Block 9/24–10/1 T 10 a.m.–2 p.m. ALL


First We Read, Then We Write Gregory Robison 9/30–11/4 M 7–9:30 p.m. ALL

Dialogue for Writers* Richard Washer 10/3–11/21 Th 7:30–10 p.m. ALL

Dialogue for Writers Richard Washer 10/5–11/23 S 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. ALL

Unstuck! Facilitating Change and


Laura Oliver 10/10 Th 1–3 p.m. ALL

Dangerous Writing Aaron Hamburger 10/22–11/12 T 7–9 p.m. ALL

Break Out of Your Writing Rut with


Cecile Ledet &

Suzanne Zweizig

10/26 S 1–4 p.m. ALL

Getting Started: Creative Writing Elizabeth Rees 10/30–12/18 W 7–9:30 p.m. B

Celebrating the Work of Joy Harjo Rose Strode 11/2–11/23 S 1–4:30 p.m. ALL

Exploring Our Five Senses Cheryl Somers Aubin 11/2 S 9:30–12:30 p.m. B

How to Write a Lot Kathryn Johnson 11/2 S 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. ALL

Artifact as Muse Ann Quinn 11/3 Su 11 a.m.–2 p.m. ALL

Getting Started: Creative Writing* Patricia Gray 11/6–11/23 S 1–4 p.m. ALL

Reading and Writing Women’s Lives Sara Mansfield Taber 11/6–1/15 W 1–3:30 p.m. ALL

A Perfect Ending Lynn Auld Schwartz 11/9 S 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. B/I

How to Give a Great Reading!* Patricia Gray 11/2–11/9 S 1–4 p.m. B/I

Great Beginnings Kathryn Johnson 12/14 S 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. ALL

Writing Stories From Your Life* Solveig Eggerz 12/14 S 10 a.m.–2 p.m. B


My Life, One Story at a Time Pat McNees 9/4–10/9 W 1–4 p.m. B/I

Writing the Personal Essay Pamela Toutant 9/12–10/17 Th 7–9:30 p.m. ALL

Writing a Memoir Chris Palmer 9/18–10/2 W 6:30–8:30 p.m. ALL

Beginner’s Travel Writing* Bijan C. Bayne 9/19–10/24 Th 6:30–8 p.m. B

Contemporary Memoir Natasha Scripture 9/22–11/10 Su 10 a.m.–12 p.m. B/I

The Story of You GG Renee Hill 9/21 S 2–5 p.m. B/I

Advanced Personal Essay William O’Sullivan 9/28–11/16 S 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. A

Micro Memoir Laura J. Oliver 9/28 S 1:30–3 p.m. I/A

14 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019



So You Want to Write Your Story! Alyce Miller 10/1–10/8 T 10 a.m.–2 p.m. B/I

Words That Heal GG Renee Hill 10/13 Su 12–3 p.m. ALL

Nuts and Bolts of Getting Published Ellen Ryan 10/14–11/18 M 7–9:30 p.m. B/I

Publishing Your Personal Essays* Hannah Grieco 10/19–12/7 S 10 a.m.–12 p.m. B/I

Boot Camp for Writers Beth Kanter 10/30–12/11 W 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. ALL

Writing the Layers GG Renee Hill 11/16 S 10 a.m.–1 p.m. ALL

Life Sentences Gregory Robison 11/11-12/16 M 7–9:30 p.m. ALL


Saturday Morning Poem Generator* Rose Strode 9/7–11/2 S 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. ALL


Poetry as Experience Judith Harris 9/7–10/12 S 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. ALL

Poetry Workshop: Discipline and


Elizabeth Lindsey


9/10–10/15 T 6:30–8:30 p.m. ALL

Sestinas 101 Melanie Figg 9/21 S 1:30–4:30 p.m. ALL

Writing the Narrative Poem Sue Ellen Thompson 9/22 Su 1–4 p.m. ALL

Making It Whole: Chapbook Anne Becker 9/28–11/9 S 1–4 p.m. A

Identity Poetry Maritza Rivera 10/5–10/26 S 1–3 p.m. ALL

Polishing the Perfect Poem Nancy Naomi Carlson 10/5 S 12–5 p.m. ALL

Sonnet Crash Course Claudia Gary 10/12 S 10 a.m.–1 p.m. I/A

Torque and Profit: A Poetry


Jona Colson 10/16–11/6 W 6:30–9:30 p.m. ALL

Villanelle Crash Course* Claudia Gary 10/19 S 10 a.m.–1 p.m. I/A

Imagery in Poetry Melanie Figg 10/26 S 1:30–4:30 p.m. ALL

Diction: A Poet’s Choice Sue Ellen Thompson 10/27 Su 1–4 p.m. ALL

Poetry Workshop: Revision & Craft* Jacqueline Jules 11/4–11/18 M 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. ALL

The Force of Poetry Elizabeth Rees 11/4–12/9 M 7–9:30 p.m. I/A

The Personal Poem Judith Harris 11/9–12/14 S 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. ALL

Meter Crash Course Claudia Gary 11/16 S 10 a.m.–1 p.m. I/A

How to Revise a Poem Sue Ellen Thompson 12/8 Su 1–4 p.m. ALL


(PAGES 24–25)


Fundamentals of Persuasive Writing James Alexander 9/12–10/17 Th 7–9:30 p.m. B/I

Blogging to Build Your Platform Laura Di Franco 9/24 T 6:30–8:30 p.m. ALL

Media For Writers* Shanon Lee 10/6 Su 10 a.m.–1 p.m. ALL

The Business of Writing Kenneth D. Ackerman 10/19 S 10 a.m.–1 p.m. ALL

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit



The Writer’s Center




Marketing Your Book

Herta B. Feely &

Emily Williamson

11/5–11/19 T 6:30–8:30 p.m. I/A

Intuitive Copywriting for Entrepreneurs Laura Di Franco 12/3 T 6:30–9 p.m. ALL

Book Marketing & Promotional



Rob Jolles 12/7 S 10 a.m.–4 p.m. ALL

Write Like the News Hank Wallace 12/11 W 7–9 p.m. ALL


Screenwriting Intensive Alexandra Viets 9/12–6/25 Th 7–9:30 p.m.

Playwriting: Dialogue* Richard Washer 9/17 T 7–10 p.m. B

How To Produce Your Play Martin Blank 9/21–10/5 S 2–4 p.m. ALL

Playwriting: Exposition & Process* Richard Washer 9/21 S 10 a.m.–1 p.m. B

Your First Five Pages John M. Weiskopf 9/24–10/22 T 10 a.m.–3 p.m. I/A

Playwriting: Character* Richard Washer 9/26 Th 7–10 p.m. B

Writing for TV and Film* Khris Baxter 9/28 S 10 a.m.–5 p.m. ALL

The Secret of Life Through


Joy Cheriel Brown 10/6–11/10 Su 3–5 p.m. B

Perfecting The Ten-Minute Play Marilyn Millstone 10/21–11/25 M 7–9 p.m. ALL

Writing for TV and Film* Khris Baxter 11/2 S 10 a.m.–4 p.m. ALL

Writing for TV and Film* Khris Baxter 11/9 S 10 a.m.–4 p.m. ALL


Writing for Life Nicole Miller 9/2–9/23 ALL

Intro to the Novel T. Greenwood 9/6–10/25 B

Diverse Pasts and Futures in Speculative Fiction Tara Campbell 9/16–10/7 I

Introduction to the Short Story Christopher Linforth 9/16–11/4 B

How To Write Op-Eds Shanon Lee 9/16–10/21 I

Rhythm, and Rhyme: Spoken Word Unboxed Amanda Eke 9/23–11/11 B/I

Plotting Your Novel T. Greenwood 10/4–10/25 ALL

Funky Forms in Flash Fiction Tara Campbell 10/21–11/11 I/A

Setting and Voice Alicia Oltuski 10/21–11/25 ALL

Creating Novel Characters T. Greenwood 11/1–11/22 ALL

Intro to the Novel T. Greenwood 11/1–12/20 ALL

Writing with Sensitivity Jenny Chen 11/11–12/16 ALL

16 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019


For more detailed class descriptions, please visit

Adults Write for Children

Picture Books II: Revision

Mary Quattlebaum & Joan Waites

Learn to deeply revise and polish your picture book

manuscript before submitting to an agent or publisher.

A widely published author and an acclaimed

illustrator will lead discussions in pacing, page

turns, storyboarding, and visually dramatic storytelling.

During this hands-on workshop, writers will be

editing their own manuscripts and enhancing their

skills as picture book creators. Bring your questions

and two double-spaced copies of a picture-book

manuscript that you’ve carefully revised. Workshop

may most benefit those who have taken Mary Quattlebaum’s

“Writing Picture Books” but all writers

ready for revision are welcome.

1 Thursday 6:30–9:30 p.m. 11/7

TWC Intermediate/Advanced $50

Self-Publish Your Picture Book

Ariel Mendez

Have you considered self-publishing your picture

book? This two-hour workshop is for writers interested

in sharing their work through self-publishing.

Learn the basics to writing and revising a children’s

picture book, how to find an illustrator for your picture

book, publishing on Amazon and IngramSpark,

and marketing tips to get started. By the end of

the session, writers will have an understanding

if self-publishing is right for them, and how to

successfully do it. The workshop will be 1.5 hours

long, followed by a 30 minute Q+A to ask questions

specific to your picture book project.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–12 p.m. 10/26

TWC Beginner/Intermediate $50

Write & Illustrate a Picture Book

(For Kindergarteners and their


Chloe Yelena Miller

Let’s write a picture book together! After reading

a book together, kids and their grownups will

choose from a set of colorful, visual prompts. The

kids will narrate a story while their grownups help

to write the words. Together, they will illustrate the

short picture book. The class will end with each

child and their grownup presenting the book to the

group. The kids and their adults will leave with an

exclusive copy of their original tale and art supplies

to make additional books together.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–12 p.m. 11/23

TWC Beginner $65

Writing Picture Books

Mary Quattlebaum

Learn how to write a picture book from a successful

author of more than two dozen award-winning

books for children. Each session will begin with a

short discussion of an aspect of writing for children,

including story openings and arcs, characterization,

plot/pacing, rhythm/sound, and marketing.

Suggested readings, prompts, and feedback will

inspire and guide writers in the class. By the end

of the workshop, participants should have written

and/or revised part or all of a picture book and have

a better sense of how to create one in the future.

If you want feedback, feel free to bring work to the

first class (typed and double-spaced and with 16


3 Thursdays 7–9:30 p.m. 10/3–10/17

TWC Beginner $135


Advanced Short Story

Hildie Block

Take your stories to another level! This advanced

workshop will take a look at aspects of stories such

as character development, world building, and

tension, and also places to submit and how to get

those stories out in the world. Participants will read

from PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2018 as

well as do peer review. Note: No meeting November

5 and November 26.

8 Tuesdays 7–9:30 p.m. 10/15–12/17

TWC Intermediate/Advanced $360

Advanced Short Story

Alyce Miller

In this workshop, you will read and discuss several

short stories by writers who are masters of the

form, and then discuss the work you submit to the

class. This should be an exciting, energetic class

that will offer more insight into the possibilities of

story telling and the way craft supports our vision

as writers. You will receive reading and writing assignments

a week before the first class.

3 Tuesdays 10 a.m.–2 p.m. 12/3–12/17

TWC Advanced $215

Beginning Fantasy & Science Fiction

Brenda W. Clough

Vampires, zombies, and halflings with swords!

Participants will build a world and write in it. The

first session of this workshop will be devoted to the

basics of fiction and story construction. In the second

session, participants will do a start-up exercise

to help get them started on a possibly longer work.

2 Wednesdays 7:30–9:30 p.m. 9/18–9/25

TWC Beginner $80

2 Tuesdays 7:30–9:30 p.m. 10/22–10/29

Arlington Mill Beginner $80

Crafting Your Main Character

John M. Weiskopf

This workshop will ask participants to examine

HOW they envision and create their main character’s

voice and point of view. Emphasis will be on

authenticity and originality.

2 Saturdays 10 a.m.–4 p.m. 12/7–12/14

TWC Beginner/Intermediate $195

Creating Conflict & Tension

Kathryn Johnson

It’s often said that without conflict there is no story.

It also holds true that strengthening the conflict in

any type of fiction will bump up the tension and

turn limp, ordinary fiction into an extraordinary tale

that will keep readers turning pages. Whether you

choose to write literary fiction, mysteries, family

sagas, thrillers, historical fiction, sci-fi or fantasy—

you can learn techniques for drawing readers into

your tales through action, dialogue, setting details,

and plot twists that make your work stand out from

the crowd. Join us and leave with a handout chock

full of ideas to apply to your stories.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 10/19

TWC All Levels $50

Creating Novel Characters

T. Greenwood

When writing a novel, we must know our primary

characters inside and out. We need to understand

their desires, motivations, and frustrations, their

histories and their futures. This workshop will

focus on the development of authentic characters.

Participants will examine character as both autonomous

and residing within the context of the other

novelistic elements, and will discuss the challenge

of creating and integrating these various elements

into a cohesive and credible whole. Participants

will explore the main character(s) in their novels-inprogress.

4 Weeks N/A 11/1–11/22

Online All Levels $195

Diverse Pasts and Futures in

Speculative Fiction

Tara Campbell

Did you know W.E.B. DuBois wrote science fiction?

Have you ever wondered what would happen if

we could really change places with other races—

George S. Schuyler and Nalo Hopkinson have

some ideas to share. Science fiction is not just

about men in a lab, or robots in space--it’s also

about us, all of us, our families and our communities.

Developments in science and technology

affect people of all genders, races, and nationalities,

so we should all have a voice in exploring

the changes we’ll face. What lies in your future?

How will climate change, genetic manipulation, or

artificial intelligence affect you in the decades to

come? Join us to read diverse perspectives in science

fiction—and to start writing your own worlds

of the future.

4 Weeks N/A 9/16–10/7

Online Intermediate $195


for the most up-to-date news and information, visit



The Writer’s Center


Extreme Novelist Critique Salon

Kathryn Johnson

Graduates of The Extreme Novelist I and Extreme

Novelist II courses are invited to apply for a place

in this advanced writers’ workshop. Space will be

limited. The salon will meet on Monday evenings

(9/16, 9/23, 10/7, 10/21, 11/4, 11/18, 12/2, 12/16). All

members will be prepared to respond to chapters

submitted for review by others in the group, and

to submit their own work for comments. To apply,

please submit a 1- to 2-page plot synopsis of your

story and a 10-page writing sample from your workin-progress


8 Mondays 7–10 p.m. 9/16–12/16

TWC Advanced $430

Fiction in a Flash

Hildie Block

Through prompts and texts lets write, read, and

workshop really short fiction (under 1,000 words,

maybe even under 55 words!) When we strip stories

down like that, what remains? Let’s explore this

space together!

4 Fridays 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. 10/4–10/25

Arlington Mill All Levels $195

From Novice to Novelist

John DeDakis

This day-long workshop will deconstruct and

demystify the novel-writing process for struggling

and/or aspiring writers. Go all the way from getting

the start of an idea to getting your book into

the hands of expectant fans. Along the way you’ll

learn how to stay organized, write in the voice of

the opposite sex, the art of rewriting, and how to

overcome your writing and marketing fears. By the

end of the session you’ll be prepared to begin work

on a novel and will be equipped with the skills to

perfect it. The session will include time for writing.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. 10/19

TWC Beginner $115

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. 11/9

Arlington Mill Beginner $115

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. 12/14

Hill Center Beginner $135

Funky Forms in Flash Fiction

Tara Campbell

Have you ever looked at a map, an order form, or

a recipe and thought “there’s a story there”? No?

Well, it’s time to change that. In this four-week

course, we’ll explore different forms of flash fiction

and use them as a basis for our own, off-kilter

creations. Come ready to read, write, and give

feedback on each other’s work.

4 Weeks 10/21–11/11

Online Intermediate/Advanced $195

How to Plot Like a Pro

Kathryn Johnson

You have a great idea for a story. Do you dive in and

just begin writing, or start by drafting an outline?

Are you a born planner or a writer who loves to

discover stories organically (i.e., a pantser)? Understanding

how to structure a well-conceived story

around a main character and central conflict, while

paying attention to pacing, can make the difference

between a finished, publishable manuscript and

an abandoned work-in-progress. Plotting provides

a safety net that never robs the author of the joy

of writing, and always reduces revision time. Think

you can’t plot? Join us for this course, and we’ll

show you how!

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 11/16

TWC All Levels $50

How to Write a Novel

John DeDakis

This workshop offers a practical 16-point plan that

takes you from the mere germ of an idea all the

way through the creative process, with an eye on

getting a finished book into the hands of potential

fans. Participants will discuss how to transform

the nub of an idea into a book-length project, populated

with interesting characters, a twisty-turny

plot, snappy dialogue, and an interesting setting.

Participants will also look at strategies for finding

an agent and marketing the finished product.

1 Wednesday 11 a.m.–1 p.m. 10/16

TWC All Levels $50

1 Wednesday 11 a.m.–1 p.m. 11/6

Arlington Mill All Levels $50

1 Wednesday 11 a.m.–1 p.m. 12/11

Hill Center All Levels $65

Intro to the Novel

T. Greenwood

If you have always wanted to write a novel but

didn’t know where to start, this workshop will

help you understand the process so you can get

started putting pen to paper. The workshop will

focus on everything from generating ideas to

developing characters to establishing point of view.

Participants will discuss many elements of fiction

(dialogue, scene, etc.) but the emphasis will be on

discovering the writing process that works best for

each writer.

8 Weeks 9/6–10/25

Online Beginner $360

8 Weeks 11/1–12/20

Online Beginner $360

Introduction to the Short Story

Christopher Linforth

This workshop invites aspiring writers to consider

what makes a good short story. After reading

examples, participants will explore the craft of short

fiction through a set of written exercises. They

will gain a sound grasp of the essential building

blocks: character, point of view, dialogue, setting,

plot, structure, and theme. By the course’s end,

participants will have written, workshopped, and

revised a complete story and will have material for

many more.

8 Weeks 9/16–11/4

Online Beginner $360

Plotting Your Novel

T. Greenwood

Whether you are an organized planner or a writer

who flies by the seat of their pants, a novel still

needs structure. In this four-week online workshop,

participants will study the architecture of a novel

and devise plans for plotting their novels.

4 Weeks 10/4–10/25

Online All Levels $195

Selling Your Novel to a Major


Steve Kistulentz

We’ll talk about the difference between a book that

a publisher sells, and one they pass on.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. 10/12

TWC Intermediate/Advanced $115

Setting and Voice

Alicia Oltuski

This six-week workshop will focus on the fiction

elements of setting and voice through a series of

fun and varied exercises geared toward cultivating

inventive, thought-provoking, and narratively efficient

writing. Together we will look at what makes

successful setting and voice and how they can be

used to further a scene or story. This class is open

to writers of all levels.

6 Weeks 10/21–11/25

Online All Levels $270

Short Story: Inciting Events!

Hildie Block

Stories start with an event that sets the world off

balance! In this workshop we’ll look at plot, character,

setting, and dialogue and how to set our stories

apart! We will peer review stories as well as read

outside works from the text Best American Short

Stories 2019.

6 Wednesdays 7:30–10 p.m. 10/16–11/20

Arlington Mill All Levels $270

The Extreme Novelist II: Revision

Kathryn Johnson

This follow-on course to the popular Extreme

Novelist is intended for writers serious about their

publication goals. Participants will focus on revision

and learn ways to avoid the most common issues

that result in rejection. Plotting pitfalls, slow

beginnings, and weak endings are just a few of

the topics tackled as each writer works independently

on revising and polishing their manuscript.

The goal is to give authors of novels, short story

collections, and memoirs the tools they need to

self-edit and fine tune their manuscripts, thereby

increasing their chance of commercial publication.

Instructor critiques provided throughout the


8 Wednesdays 7–9:30 p.m. 10/2–11/20

TWC Intermediate/Advanced $360

18 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019


Writing Bilingually

Ofelia Montelongo

The objective of this workshop is to start writing

stories in two languages using code-switching.

By using two languages the writer could find their

unique voice by incorporating a second language,

besides English. This type of writing makes our

stories unique and reveals the authenticity of our


2 Wednesdays 7–9 p.m. 10/16–10/23

TWC Beginner $80

Writing with Sensitivity

Jenny Chen

In this course, we’ll talk about how to write characters

from marginalized communities with sensitivity

and nuance. Taught by a veteran sensitivity

reader and writer who has had work published in

Guernica, Washington Post, The Atlantic, New York

Magazine, and more.

6 Weeks 11/11–12/16

Online All Levels $270

Your First (Or Next) Novel

Kathryn Johnson

Writing a novel takes commitment, but it doesn’t

need to be daunting. Learn how to generate a

handful of plots from which to choose, methods for

effectively planning your story, and simple hacks

for fine tuning your basic fiction skills. Participants

will initiate a flexible writing plan that will keep

their writing flowing. This is a great half-day session

for the beginning long-form fiction writer, or

for the more experienced author in need of a quick

strategy brush-up.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 10/5

TWC All Levels $50

Mixed Genre

A Perfect Ending

Lynn Auld Schwartz

The ending is the last thing your reader sees, but

will often feel rushed, added on without thought.

They key is to find an organic conclusion for your

story, novel, or memoir. Is there an epiphany or a

question? A traditional plotted ending or an ambiguous,

resonant finish? Has your character gained

self-knowledge, and will this matter to your reader?

Learn to combine the inevitable with the surprising,

resolve interior and exterior conflicts, understand

rounding, climax, dénouement and more.

1 Saturday 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 11/9

TWC Beginner/Intermediate $50

Artifact as Muse: Using the Things

We Share to Bring Nonfiction and

Poetry to Life

Ann Quinn

How can we as writers interact with the past in a

tangible way? In this session we will examine how

ten writers in both poetry and non-fiction asked

questions of artifact to bring the past into relevant

relationship with the present. Come prepared

to write: we will practice posing questions to an

artifact (bring one, or a picture of one if you like) to

see how it can inspire our own writing.

1 Sunday 11 a.m.–2 p.m. 11/3

TWC All Levels $50

Break Out of Your Writing Rut

with Improv

Cecile Ledet & Suzanne Zweizig

Is your writing in a beautifully furnished, air-conditioned

rut? Or maybe you just want to have fun and

jumpstart your creativity? This three-hour workshop

will introduce you to games used by Improv performers

and apply them to your writing practice-

-creating interesting new plot twists, sparking radical

never-before-seen imagery, and unleashing all

manner of mad word choice and unique characters.

Class time will be a mix of game-playing and writing,

individual and teamwork. You will leave with some

new writing, a toolbox full of games and prompts to

inspire your creativity, and a smile on your face.

1 Saturday 1–4 p.m. 10/26

TWC All Levels $50

Celebrating the Work of Joy Harjo

Rose Strode

Participants will read and discuss a selection of

Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s poems, as well as her

memoir, Crazy Brave. The class will also use her

work as inspiration for explorations in writing and

the arts: since Harjo works in poetry, nonfiction,

music, and art, participants can respond to her

work in any form. The majority of the class will

be discussion, but the final class will be a day to

share creative work. Participants should be ready

to read assignments during the week with care

and thoughtfulness, and be ready to contribute to

conversations in class.

4 Saturdays 1–4:30 p.m. 11/2–11/23

TWC All Levels $270

Dangerous Writing

Aaron Hamburger

In your writing, do you shy away from writing

highly charged scenes involving violence, sex,

danger, mental illness, intoxication, or a character

going through any type of intense physical or

emotional state? During this presentation, we’ll

confront the challenges of conveying the thrills and

fears of the most intense moments of your work in

fresh ways that engage your readers’ hearts and

minds. We’ll analyze published work for inspiration,

do writing exercises, then share the results to come

up with common strategies for tackling this kind of


4 Tuesdays 7–9 p.m. 10/22–11/12

TWC All Levels $135

Dialogue for Writers

Richard Washer

Dialogue is the playwright’s primary tool for

conveying a story that ultimately becomes a visual,

aural and emotional experience for an audience.

But dialogue also features in poetry, screenplays,

fiction and even non-fiction. In this workshop, we

will explore dialogue through exercises and close

readings of various published work, in the context

of scene structure, character, exposition and the

craft that actors and directors use to bring dialogue

to life on the stage and screen. Whether you are

just starting out in creative writing, or a writer

looking to sharpen your understanding and skills,

this workshop will help demystify dialogue and provide

an opportunity to apply insights to your own

writing, regardless of genre. Weekly meetings will

include discussions, exercises and reading selections

from work generated by the workshop.

8 Thursdays 7:30–10 p.m. 10/3–11/21

Arlington Mill All Levels $360

8 Saturdays 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 10/5–11/23

TWC All Levels $360

Exploring Our Five Senses

Cheryl Somers Aubin

In this one-day, three-hour class, beginning writers

will explore their five senses and how they can

be used to enhance their writing. Using writing

prompts, participants will be shown images, listen

to music, and also experience touch, taste, and

smell. After responding to the writing prompts,

participants will have the chance to share their

work with others if they choose. This will be a

fun class and give writers an awareness of the

importance of using sensory descriptions in their

writing. Note: Please bring your own food for

the experience of taste if you have any allergy


1 Saturday 9:30–12:30 p.m. 11/2

TWC Beginner $50

First We Read, Then We Write

Gregory Robison

In the end, you write largely what you have read.

We all hope to be original, of course, and to develop

that most elusive quality: our own voice. But

just as we learn to speak by hearing others speak

around us, it’s our lifetime of reading that largely

makes us who we are as writers. So, what are

you reading, and how? In this workshop, you will

experience seven techniques for becoming more

conscious of yourself as a reader, deepening the

experience of reading itself, and thereby grow and

mature as a writer.

6 Mondays 7–9:30 p.m. 9/30–11/4

TWC All Levels $135

Getting it Down on Paper

Abdul Ali

This workshop is ideal for writers of any genre who

are looking to get back into writing. We will read

and react to selections from Natalie Goldberg’s

Writing Down the Bones. There will be generative

writing exercises that we will return to, creating

poems, memoir, and/or short fiction drafts.

4 Sundays 1–4 p.m. 9/1–9/22

TWC All Levels $215


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Getting Started: Creative Writing

Nancy Naomi Carlson

If you have always wanted to write but haven’t

known how to begin, this interactive workshop is

for you! In one afternoon, participants will explore

and try their hand at fiction, poetry (including prose

poems), and memoir in order to “jump start” their

writing. Exercises started in class will generate

ideas to take back home. Goals: loosening up,

putting words on the page, and having fun in the


1 Saturday 12–5 p.m. 9/28

TWC Beginner $100

Getting Started: Creative Writing

Elizabeth Rees

In this seven-week workshop, beginning writers will

have the chance to explore three different genres:

memoir writing, short fiction, and poetry. Each

week participants will be given a writing assignment

and several readings, to be followed by a critique

of each participants’ assignment. Participants

will learn about voice, point of view, dialogue,

description, imagery, and sound. By the end of this

workshop, everyone will have written one personal

memoir, one short-short story, and three original

poems, and have developed a greater understanding

of their own writing interests. Note: No meeting

on November 27.

7 Wednesdays 7–9:30 p.m. 10/30–12/18

TWC Beginner $315

Getting Started: Creative Writing

Patricia Gray

Before the holiday madness sets in, why not take a

personal breather? In just two Saturday afternoons,

you can explore several forms of creative

writing. By jump-starting with fun exercises, we will

circumvent the analytic brain and give imagination

a chance to thrive. You will receive tips on how to

free up memories and experiences and use them

as inspiration for memoir, fiction, poems, creative

nonfiction or journal-writing. Hallmarks of the workshop

include in-class assignments, opportunity

to read your writing—or not, as you choose—and

receive positive, helpful feedback that will point the

way toward your writing talents.

2 Saturdays 1–4 p.m. 11/16–11/23

Hill Center All Levels $135

Great Beginnings

Kathryn Johnson

To capture a reader’s attention and hold it, an

author needs a great first sentence, paragraph...

chapter. How do we provide the hook that will draw

readers into our stories, no matter the genre? This

fun workshop will reveal tried-and-true techniques

for launching your novel, short story, or memoir

that will make your story’s opening irresistible.

If you like, bring the opening paragraph of your

work-in-progress, and the instructor will provide a

critique and suggestions.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 12/14

TWC All Levels $50

How to Give a Great Reading!

Patricia Gray

Writing is one thing; giving a reading is quite

another. This workshop can help you develop your

own delivery style based on the sound of your voice,

your personality, and material. Shy and nervous?

While acknowledging how you feel, the workshop

can help you move into reading publicly more easily,

and as for that fine line between over-dramatizing

and reading with too little expression, you’ll be able

find a happy medium. The first session covers some

basic ideas and techniques and gives participants

the opportunity give and receive feedback on what

works. The second session will be all about giving

that hoped-for reading and will include information

on where readings are held in the DMV. Readings

from all genre are welcome in the workshop. Please

bring two pieces to read to the first meeting.

2 Saturdays 1–4 p.m. 11/2–11/9

Hill Center Beginner/Intermediate $135

How to Write a Lot

Kathryn Johnson

You may think you don’t have the time, energy, or

inspiration to write because of your hectic lifestyle.

Wrong! Learn what professional writers know about

organizing their time, establishing a productive

writing routine, and getting their stories written.

We’ll share methods many professional writers use

to complete their books in months instead of years,

their short stories in mere weeks. Become the dedicated

author you’ve always dreamed of being.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 11/2

TWC All Levels $50

Impostor Syndrome: Tips and

Tricks for Getting Out of Your

Own Way

Julia Tagliere

Impostor syndrome is no joke; it can limit our pursuit

of new opportunities and exploration of potential

areas of interest, and prevent us from participating

fully in our vibrant literary communities. In this twohour

workshop, participants will learn what impostor

syndrome is/isn’t; work to identify the real, negative

effects impostor syndrome can have on one’s work;

and explore possible strategies for managing its

impact. By the end of the workshop, participants will

have created a personalized list of strategies and

resources to help them “get out of their own way.”

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–12 p.m. 9/7

TWC All Levels $50

Making Your Characters Matter

Lynn Auld Schwartz

At the core of every good tale, is a character with

whom the reader wants to spend time. Discover

how to move beyond the superficial and cliché,

crafting characters who invite the reader to explore

the human condition. Illustrations and exercises

will help to uncover your character’s inner values

(in memoir that character is you) and present them

in ways that are integral to your story. We will examine

effective techniques for depicting character

yearning, physical description, internal conflict,

and come to understand what influences reader

empathy. This workshop will benefit those writing a

novel, short story, or memoir.

1 Saturday 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 9/21

TWC Beginner/ Intermediate $50

Now That You’re Done, What’s Next?

Herta B Feely & Emily Williamson

Revision and editing are key to developing your

final draft. So, what exactly are the steps to revising

your own work? In this four-week course, we’ll

use the analogy of The Telescope, The Magnifying

Glass, and The Microscope, as the three stages

to reviewing your manuscript (novel or memoir).

We’ll start by looking at the big picture and then

delve into the finer details, including character

development, plot, pacing, tension, showing vs

telling, point of view, voice, setting/description,

and how to fine-tune your prose. Participants will

be provided with numerous handouts outlining

the topics discussed in the class, including lists

of resources and contacts, and they will be given

an introductory questionnaire to help identify their

individual writing goals. Authors may bring the first

15-20 pages of their manuscripts to share during

the course of the workshop.

3 Tuesdays 6:30–8:30 p.m. 9/10–9/24

TWC Intermediate/Advanced $115

Reading and Writing Women’s

Lives: The Seasoned Woman

Sara Mansfield Taber

In this workshop participants will read and discuss

memoirs, stories, essays, letters, and poetry written

by and about women in the second half of life. The

readings will include evocations of the experiences

of older women as well as reflections by women on

the phases of their lives as girls, young, and mature

women. Mining these sources for perspectives on

what it means to be a woman and a woman seasoned

by time, participants will sample a variety of approaches

to writing about our lives. Each session will

include discussion of craft, a writing prompt, and rich

conversation about the readings and class members’

own experience. The short readings will include such

authors as Heilbrun, Truitt, Lamott, Olds, and Sarton,

as well as lesser-known wonderful writers. Note: No

meeting on November 27, December 25, or January 1.

8 Wednesdays 1–3:30 p.m. 11/6–1/15

TWC All Levels $360

Structure Your Book

Hildie Block

For anyone who wants to write a book but needs

help getting started, this two session, four hour

workshop will get you there! For novels, memoirs,

or nonfiction, we’ll talk about what goes where and

how to get started. Please bring a 50-word description

of your book project to the first class.

2 Wednesdays 6–10 p.m. 9/18–9/25

Arlington Mill All Levels $135

2 Tuesdays 10 a.m.–2 p.m. 9/24–10/1

TWC All Levels $135

20 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019


Unclogging Your Brain

Lisa Jan Sherman

This workshop will allow writers of all genres to

think and ‘write’ on their feet. Participants will

be guided through original activities to stimulate

perspective, generate cognitive flexibility, and gain

creative flow. Say ‘YES’ to getting rid of the negativity

blocking your creativity in a judgement free

zone. Gain a multifaceted perspective knowing that

all answers are correct!

1 Tuesday 7–9 p.m. 9/10

TWC All Levels $50

Unstuck! Facilitating Change and


Laura Oliver

Writing is more than a craft. It’s a tool. This goal-oriented

workshop teaches practical ways to let go of

the past, dissolve anxiety, heal grief, and improve

relationships through the transformative power of

writing. Exercises will inspire change, forward momentum,

and may become publishable work. Learn

how to write and live out a new story.

1 Thursday 1–3 p.m. 10/10

TWC All Levels $50

Writing Stories From Your Life

Solveig Eggerz

This workshop will help you shape personal stories

into powerful fiction or non-fiction for your readers’

pleasure. Participants will explore how to transform

memories into vibrant tales using conflict, dialogue,

a sense of time, and a reflection on meaning.

Prompts will demonstrate how to enhance

a personal story through historic events, shifting

points of view, and the relationship between scene

and summary.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–2 p.m. 12/14

Hill Center Beginner $100


Advanced Personal Essay

William O’Sullivan

This workshop is for writers who have a good understanding

of what a personal essay is, are open

to exploring further the many forms a personal

essay can take, and are already working seriously

in the genre. The focus will be participants’ writing,

supplemented with assigned readings. Participants

will workshop two essays (or drafts of the same

essay, if they prefer). The class is designed for

self-contained essays, not book-length memoirs. To

be considered for admission, please submit an essay

or excerpt of no more than five double-spaced

pages to by September 9.

8 Saturdays 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 9/28–11/16

TWC Advanced $360

Beginner’s Travel Writing

Bijan C. Bayne

The purpose of this course is to instruct aspiring

magazine and newspaper freelancers in how to

construct a destination or hotel article, pitch it,

write effective query letters, and find appropriate

outlets. Each week, participants will work on a feature

of their choosing, with some classroom reading.

They will be encouraged to bring in exemplary

features with which they are impressed, also for

reading or classroom analysis. At course completion,

participants will have completed a query letter,

and will own a draft of their tourism feature.

6 Thursdays 6:30–8 p.m. 9/19–10/24

Hill Center Beginner $290

Boot Camp for Writers

Beth Kanter

This course is for individuals who want to tone up

their writing muscles so they can go the distance.

Each class will include a prompt for a piece that we

will start in class. Participants will then focus on

specifics like effective beginnings, creative prose,

and strong conclusions. Participants will also learn

how to avoid common grammatical and usage

errors that can distract from their message. This

workshop will focus on both craft and technique

and is designed for participants of all backgrounds

who are looking to take their writing endurance and

skills to the next level. Participants will have the

start of several narrative pieces by the end of the

class. Returning Boot Camp Students always are

welcome. Note: No meeting on November 27.

6 Wednesdays 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. 10/30–12/11

TWC All Levels $270

Contemporary Memoir: How to

Share Your Story

Natasha Scripture

Learn how to write a powerful memoir that will

engage readers for years to come! Everyone has a

story to tell, which is why contemporary memoir—a

form of autobiography where everyday people tell

their stories—has become such a popular genre.

Whether your life has been strange and quirky,

highly eventful, or comparatively run-of-the-mill,

there is always something interesting to share

about it—a person or an experience that transformed

you in some profound way and altered the

course of your destiny. It’s just a matter of finding

those transformative moments and figuring out

how to give them life on paper in the most authentic

way possible. In this class, you will learn about

memoirs that succeeded and why they worked, as

well as become familiar with techniques on how to

get started on your own memoir or personal essay.

You will also develop your storytelling skills and

share your personal transformation narrative in a

compelling way.

8 Sundays 10 a.m.–12 p.m. 9/22–11/10

TWC Beginner/Intermediate $50

How To Write Op-Eds

Shanon Lee

Want to break into a new area of essay writing, give

your cause-driven organization more visibility, or just

get paid for your opinion? This five-week workshop

is for writers interested in learning how to craft opinion

pieces that matter. You will learn the elements of

an op-ed, how to generate unique angles pegged to

timely news stories, and when to pitch editors. Your

weekly reading assignments, writing assignments,

and class discussions will examine some of the most

thought-provoking opinion pieces online. Participants

will leave with a solid draft of an opinion piece

that is ready to be pitched for publication.

5 Weeks N/A 9/16–10/21

Online Intermediate $225

Life Sentences

Gregory Robison

There comes a time,” wrote the late American novelist

and short-story writer James Salter, “when you

realize that everything is a dream, and only those

things preserved in writing have any possibility of

being real.” But here’s the problem: the great swirl

of experience, observation, sensation and imagination

from which all our creative work emerges is

itself fleeting. “Without a diary, almost everything

we do or say or think or feel slips very quickly into

oblivion,” warned English novelist Roland Blythe. In

this workshop we will examine the almost limitless

ways in which writers, artists and other creatives

have used private writing to understand their own

lives and to leverage their experiences into work.

Whether you want to breathe new life into an

established journal practice or hope to start a habit

of private writing, this workshop will give you both

tools and inspiration.

6 Mondays 7–9:30 p.m. 11/11–12/16

TWC All Levels $270

Micro Memoir

Laura J. Oliver

This interactive workshop teaches writers to distill a

moment of change, conflict, contradiction, or mystery

to its essence, so that the impact on the writer

resonates profoundly with the reader. We will examine

inspiring published examples learning exactly

how the writer moved and entertained us, then do

an exercise to practice those skills. Using the same

tools with which we craft fiction, this workshop is

an excellent learning environment for both genres.

We’ll conclude this fun and dynamic workshop with

a review of where to publish. Tell your story as you

lived it: moment by moment.

1 Saturday 1:30–3 p.m. 9/28

TWC Intermediate/Advanced $50

My Life, One Story at a Time

Pat McNees

The goal in this ‘Guided Autobiography’ workshop

is to capture your life experiences in six short pieces

of autobiographical writing (true stories) for those

who will survive you—or for yourself later in life.

Knowing that you are writing not for publication but

to set the record straight (in your own mind, if nothing

else) may liberate you, allowing you to frankly

explore your life choices and experiences. Write a

two-page (500-word max) story to bring to the first

session, to read aloud, to introduce yourself to others

in the group—about a turning point in your life,

or a time when you made a choice that changed

your life. The emphasis here is on storytelling—

making yourself and important friends and family


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characters in your stories. There is no “literary critiquing”—so

you can relax enough to tell your story

frankly, and find your natural voice.

6 Wednesdays 1–4 p.m. 9/4–10/9

TWC Beginner/Intermediate $315

Publishing Your Personal Essays

Hannah Grieco

Are you ready to get your essay published? Learn

what publications are looking for and how to pitch

your piece. Participants will write, revise, and submit

two essays by the end of the session!

8 Saturdays 10 a.m.–12 p.m. 10/19–12/7

Arlington Mill Beginner/Intermediate $360

So You Want to Write Your Story!

Alyce Miller

You’ve led an interesting life and want to tell some

of your stories to others. You’ve read some memoirs

and personal essays, and have been stashing

some of your own efforts in a notebook somewhere.

Now it’s time to pull them out and begin to

craft them into a narrative. Come explore with us,

through readings and exercises, how to start to turn

private words into public. Pre-class assignments

will be sent to you a week before class begins.

2 Tuesdays 10 a.m.–2 p.m. 10/1–10/8

TWC Beginner/Intermediate $135

The Nuts and Bolts of Getting


Ellen Ryan

Learn how to get print and digital articles published

for professional pay. This six-week course will teach

participants how to generate ideas, where to market

them, how to propose them to editors, and how

to research and structure an article.

6 Mondays 7–9:30 p.m. 10/14–11/18

TWC Beginner/Intermediate $270

The Story of You

GG Renee Hill

Identifying the key transformational turning points

in your life is an important first step in writing your

story. In this session, we will explore how to narrow

down these turning points and associate specific

stories and lessons to each one. Once you have the

building blocks, how do you create a beginning,

middle, and end? We will work with the standard

narrative arc of conflict, crisis, and resolution to

create your own unique storytelling format. We will

also address the ethical dilemmas that come up with

personal writing. What techniques can you use to tell

your stories and still distance yourself and your loved

ones from direct exposure? You will come away from

this session with alternatives and best practices.

1 Saturday 2–5 p.m. 9/21

TWC Beginner/Intermediate $50

Words That Heal

GG Renee Hill

This workshop is based on the idea that the

words we use can change the momentum of our

lives. In this interactive workshop, we approach

healing through writing exercises that elevate

your thoughts, apply a healing narrative to your

memories and empower the way you imagine your

future. This workshop highlights how we can all use

writing as a path to transformation.

1 Sunday 12–3 p.m. 10/13

TWC All Levels $50

Writing a Memoir

Chris Palmer

This interactive workshop is for writers of all levels

who would like to create a memoir that values the

struggles in their lives, makes sense of them, and

explores their meaning. The focus will be practical

and designed to help participants make rapid

progress with their memoirs. We will discuss the

reasons for writing a memoir, how to plan and

structure it, how to collect ideas (including ones

long forgotten), how to develop character, how to

tell powerful and effective stories, how to deal with

conflict, how to write scenes with dialogue, how

to find your voice, and how to deal with sensitive

issues that might hurt other family members.

3 Wednesdays 6:30–8:30 p.m. 9/18–10/2

TWC All Levels $115

Writing for Life

Nicole Miller

This workshop will be dedicated to making your

memories live on the page, with a special emphasis

on capturing childhood scenes and adult

reflections. Excerpts from memoirs and essays

by authors such as James Baldwin, Tobias Wolff,

Joan Didion, Maggie Nelson, Alexander Chee, and

Lidia Yuknavitch will teach the art of scene-making.

Participants can write chapters of a longer work,

or self-contained personal essays which employ

elements of fiction in the service of fact: dialogue,

character, setting, conflict, consciousness. You will

be asked to comment meaningfully on experience

and contextualize it. The workshop format will allow

for generating drafts and receiving feedback from

the instructor and from peers, through an online

portal. The first session will ask you to describe

your memoir project.

4 Weeks 9/2–9/23

Online All Levels $195

Writing the Layers

GG Renee Hill

This interactive workshop provides writers of all levels

with techniques that reveal the patterns, themes

and stories that shape their lives. Participants will

practice writing with beginner’s mind, thought

labeling to identify hidden ideas and beliefs, and

storytelling as a creative path to healing. In this

three-hour session, you will write, share, and

discuss your work with classmates as you discover

new pathways to your own inner wisdom. You will

come away with writing exercises that deepen your

self-awareness and expand your creative perspective.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–1 p.m. 11/16

TWC All Levels $50

Writing the Personal Essay

Pamela Toutant

The personal essay combines a wide range of

techniques to make personal stories compelling to

readers. Primarily through participants’ work, this

workshop will explore the use of voice, reflection,

and dialogue as well as other techniques that

shape personal stories and make them resonate

with the reader. There will be some time spent

writing in class; most of the time will be focused

on giving constructive and supportive feedback on

participants’ work. Each participant will have two

opportunities to have work critiqued. If you have

a personal essay ready for critique, please bring a

copy to the first class.

6 Thursdays 7–9:30 p.m. 9/12–10/17

TWC All Levels $270


Diction: A Poet’s Choice

Sue Ellen Thompson

Should the language used in poetry be different

from that used in everyday speech? For centuries

it most definitely was...and then, thanks to William

Wordsworth, things changed. In this workshop, we

will examine what diction is and why understanding

where certain words come from is essential to

using and combining them effectively. Topics for

discussion include the relationship between diction

and tone, the difference between idiom and cliché,

and the role of ambiguity. We will also talk about

“poetic diction” and why it should be avoided.

1 Sunday 1–4 p.m. 10/27

TWC All Levels $50

How to Revise a Poem

Sue Ellen Thompson

All you have to do is to read the early drafts of

a well-known poet’s work to realize how crucial

revision is. And yet most poets resist doing the

hard work involved in turning a rough draft into a

finished poem. This workshop will focus on how

to distance yourself from your poem so that you

can identify its weaknesses. We will examine the

strategies other poets have used to get “unstuck”

and take a look at various ways to approach the

revision process. Then we will look at the “before”

and “after” versions of a successful poem to see

what the poet changed and why.

1 Sunday 1–4 p.m. 12/8

TWC All Levels $50

Identity Poetry

Maritza Rivera

We often see ourselves differently than others do

and wish they understood who we really are with

our work. With the different roles we portray in life,

we can create private and public personas that others

might never recognize unless we incorporates

these roles in our own “Identity Poetry.” Everyone’s

voice, identity, and work is unique! By reading

selected identity poems, this workshop will help

participants incorporate the many facets of our

22 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019


lives and paint picture of ourselves that we want to

share in our work..

4 Saturdays 1–3 p.m. 10/5–10/26

TWC All Levels $135

Imagery in Poetry

Melanie Figg

Images are one important way that a poem thinks and

makes an argument. By improving our description

powers we can build stronger poems that reach beyond

words to a powerful collective of visual language.

In class, participants will look at a few examples, and

explore how expansive images can provide us with a

toolbox of words, relationships, and options to focus

and strengthen our poems. Bring a poem to be worked

on in class (typed, not more than one page) that has

imagery you want to improve and expand.

1 Saturday 1:30–4:30 p.m. 10/26

TWC All Levels $50

Making It Whole: Poetry Chapbook

Anne Becker

In this seven-week advanced, intensive workshop for

participants who are ready to put together a chapbook

(must have 30 pages of strong poetry), we’ll

explore how groups of poems can work together to

create a focused and whole experience. During the

first six weeks, participants read model chapbooks

and consider various strategies of organization,

prepare their chapbook manuscripts, have them

critiqued by the group and in turn critique the chapbooks

of the other participants, revise their chapbooks

and have the final draft critiqued. The seventh

meeting consists of an hour-long private session

with the instructor. Please submit five poems before

the workshop to

7 Saturdays 1–4 p.m. 9/28–11/9

TWC Advanced $360

Meter Crash Course

Claudia Gary

Improve your ear for meter, and fine-tune your

understanding of how meter works in poetry.

Have you ever wondered how scanning the lines

of your first draft can make for a better poem? Do

you know why listening for the natural rhythms

of speech can strengthen your writing? Guided

by an internationally published author of sonnets,

villanelles, and other metrical poems, this one-day

workshop includes scansion of well-known poems,

writing exercises, and, if you like, close examination

of a poem you’ve drafted prior to class. You’ll

leave with new insights about improving the auditory

qualities of all your poems and prose.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–1 p.m. 11/16

TWC Intermediate/Advanced $50

Poetry as Experience

Judith Harris

Poetry is, in part, high emotion in language. Cultures

throughout the world use poetry to share their

histories, shape their stories, and express ideas in

lyrical form. In this workshop, we will look at our inner

language and life experiences to explore writing

from personal and cultural memory. Through writing

prompts and mini-lectures on craft, formal elements

of poetry as well as the history of the poetry

genre will be emphasized. This workshop is open to

all – no previous poetry experience required.

6 Saturdays 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. 9/7–10/12

TWC All Levels $270

Poetry Workshop: Discipline and Play

Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers

This course will approach poetry writing as a kind

of dance between tradition and experimentation.

Class sessions will include in-class “studio”

prompts, discussions of model poems, and discussions

of the participants’ poems. All class members

will produce a series of original poems by the end

of the course, approximately one poem a week.

6 Tuesdays 6:30–8:30 p.m. 9/10–10/15

Hill Center All Levels $225

Poetry Workshop: Revision & Craft

Jacqueline Jules

Is your poem ready to meet the world? Or would

a little feedback help you craft something more

powerful? Revise your poems and learn submission

tips with an award-winning poet whose work has

appeared in over 100 journals and three chapbooks.

Participants will bring poems to each class and

share in a safe environment designed to help each

poet strengthen his/her work. Writing models and

prompts will be provided to jump-start creativity.

3 Mondays 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. 11/4–11/18

Arlington Mill All Levels $135

Polishing the Perfect Poem

Nancy Naomi Carlson

Have a poem that’s almost there but seems to

be missing that last touch? Or a poem for which

you have questions? In this poetry workshop

condensed into one afternoon, we will discuss

your poems and help them go from good to great.

Bring 15 copies of 2-3 poems (time permitting) for

feedback and critique. Free literary journals will be

given to participants (to inspire future poems), and

publication questions will be addressed.

1 Saturday 12–5 p.m. 10/5

TWC All Levels $100

Rhythm, and Rhyme: Spoken

Word Unboxed

Amanda Eke

This workshop will cover the essential elements of every

rhyming text: rhythm, meter, cadence, and rhyme

scheme, breaking down each element in a way that

isn’t intimidating, whether on the page or the stage.

The Poetry Workshop is an introduction to poetry and

poetry performance. This workshop will involve two

components: writing and performing poetry. Participants

will be exposed to a variety of poetry writing

styles and templates. For the performance component,

skills taught will be drawn from theatre and

choral reading techniques. Sessions will be highly

engaging and geared at unlocking creativity.

8 Weeks N/A 9/23–11/11

Online Beginner/Intermediate $360

Saturday Morning Poem Generator

Rose Strode

Feeling stuck? This class will meet for the purpose

of becoming un-stuck, and playing with words

to find an image or a line that will lead to a

new poem. Classes will include time to write in

response to prompts the instructor will provide,

and creative exercises intended to break down the

inner critic. Some instruction and group discussion

of literary tools (such as line breaks, meter, rhyme,

and so on) will be presented as a means to begin

a new poem (or to revise one that won’t budge).

Please come to class with a notebook and a writing

utensil, and a willingness to move, discuss, and

play. Note: No meeting on September 27.

8 Saturdays 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 9/7–11/2

Arlington Mill All Levels $360

Sestinas 101

Melanie Figg

Sestinas are the short stories of the poetry world—

so this class is perfect for fiction writers as well

as poets. Take a crack at a sestina or learn how

to write better ones in this fun and informative

class. Sestinas often fail because writers don’t pair

the form with the right sized story/idea, so we’ll

begin with brainstorming exercises. We’ll study

how a few good sestinas work, and begin to draft

our own. The instructor will offer lots of tips and

insights on how to work in this form. While practicing

sestinas, you’ll build your literary muscles with

repetition, diction, storytelling, pacing, description,

and more.

1 Saturday 1:30–4:30 p.m. 9/21

TWC All Levels $50

Sonnet Crash Course

Claudia Gary

Improve your sonnet skills, or write your first one.

Guided by an internationally published author of

sonnets, villanelles, and other metrical poems,

you’ll first read classic and contemporary sonnets

to see how and why they work. Then—with or

without shortcuts—you’ll write one or more of

your own. Next you’ll see how a new poem can

be improved by revision. You’ll leave with at least

one new (draft) or improved sonnet, as well as

insights about how writing poems in form can

unlock deeper meaning and enhance everything

you write.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–1 p.m. 10/12

TWC Intermediate/Advanced $50

The Force of Poetry

Elizabeth Rees

In this six-week workshop, intermediate and

advanced poets will concentrate on reading, writing

and critiquing poetry. Each class session will

include a brief discussion of selected contemporary

poems, an in-class writing prompt, and workshopping

participants’ poems. Specific exercises will

be given to free the imagination, and quiet the

inner censor. We will explore formal considerations,

stylistic choices, and those moments when a poem

catches its own voice. By the end of the class, par-


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The Writer’s Center


ticipants will have produced seven original poems

and one revision, and will have refined their poetic

voice. Please bring 15 copies of a poem you love

(not your own) to the first session, as well as 15

copies of one of your own.

6 Mondays 7–9:30 p.m. 11/4–12/9

TWC Intermediate/Advanced $270

The Personal Poem

Judith Harris

This workshop will focus on how autobiography

functions as a method of mediating and revivifying

past events that hover in the unconscious and

surface in the writing process. Through writing

prompts, and mini-lectures on poetic craft and

history of the genre, participants will learn how

the very construction of the poem is a means to

contain—and often transform—subjective material

so that self-revelation can take place. Students of

all levels are invited—no previous poetry experience


6 Saturdays 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. 11/9–12/14

TWC All Levels $270

Torque and Profit: A Poetry


Jona Colson

This workshop will focus on the twists and surprises

of a poem (torque) and what is essential and

needed in the poem (profit). Participants will examine

iconic poems as well as work by new writers as

models and prompts. Open to those writers who

are truly interested in generating new work (often

in class) and re-envisioning previous work.

4 Wednesdays 6:30–9:30 p.m. 1016–11/6

TWC All Levels $215

Villanelle Crash Course

Claudia Gary

Improve your villanelle skills, or write your first

one. Guided by an internationally published author

of villanelles, sonnets, and other metrical poems,

you’ll first read classic and contemporary villanelles

to see why they work. The class will write a group

villanelle, and then, with or without shortcuts, you’ll

write one of your own. Next you’ll see how your

new poem can be improved by revision. You’ll leave

with at least one new (draft) or improved villanelle,

as well as insights about how writing poetry in form

can unlock deeper meaning and enhance everything

you write.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–1 p.m. 10/19

Hill Center Intermediate/Advanced $65

Writing the Narrative Poem

Sue Ellen Thompson

There’s more to a good narrative poem than telling

a story in lines rather than paragraphs. In this

workshop we will examine the distinction between

lyric and narrative poetry and look at some contemporary

narrative poems to see what makes them

succeed or flounder. We will discuss the varying

perspectives from which a story can be told and

the elements that bring it to life in a poem. If time

allows, we’ll draft a brief narrative in prose that can

be turned into a poem, paying particular attention

to the techniques that good poets use to lift their

words above the level of simple, straightforward


1 Sunday 1–4 p.m. 9/22

TWC All Levels $50

Professional Writing

Blogging to Build Your Author


Laura Di Franco

Build your author platform with the powerful tool

of blogging! In this one-time class participants will

learn about the five essential parts of a good blog,

how and where to blog to get the most exposure

for your message and the secrets to writing a blog

that actually gets read. By the end of the night

you’ll understand what makes a blog people actually

read and engage with and how to use guest

blogging to spread your message even further.

1 Tuesday 6:30–8:30 p.m. 9/24

TWC All Levels $50

Book Marketing & Promotional


Rob Jolles

You’ve written your book – now fight for it! One of

the most powerful ways to promote and market

a book is to learn how to speak on behalf of that

book. Improve your deliveries for the occasional

requests to speak that have come your way, or

generate additional revenue by building a speaking

business. In this workshop we will focus on book

promotion through social media, book distributors,

and all aspects of speaking including basic delivery

skills, creating dynamic keynote presentations and

workshops, engaging speaker’s bureaus, marketing,

proposal writing, and program pricing. If you

think writing a book is exciting, wait until you feel

the thrill of stepping in front of a room, and speaking

on behalf of that book!

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. 12/7

TWC All Levels $115

Fundamentals of Persuasive Writing

James Alexander

Learn how to pack a powerful punch when writing

persuasively! This six-week workshop teaches the

processes involved in crafting newspaper op-eds

and written speeches: Think. Plan. Write. Participants

will learn the techniques of audience analysis,

message development, targeted research, organization,

using persuasive language, and effective

use of social media in planning/strategizing. The

workshop also covers how to apply persuasive writing

principles to lower-profile writing products, such

as memos, letters, and emails. This class features

hands-on writing, engaging discussions, a recommended

reading list, and a blog for amplification.

6 Thursdays 7–9:30 p.m. 9/12–10/17

TWC Beginner/Intermediate $270

Intuitive Copywriting for


Laura Di Franco

Write words that help you grow your business! A

thriving, successful business is built on a foundation

of powerful words. But many entrepreneurs

never learned how to express themselves or

describe what they do in a way that feels good or

effective in terms of building their business. This

one-night course will give authors and entrepreneurs

powerful tools and the confidence for

writing content and copy that resonates deeply and

attracts more clients to their business. Expect to

learn the secrets to the kind of writing that comes

alive on the page, including how to write things

like a powerful bio, blog, website copy, or mission


1 Tuesday 6:30–9 p.m. 12/3

TWC All Levels $50

Marketing Your Book

Herta B. Feely & Emily Williamson

Although most authors now recognize the need

to participate in the marketing of their newly published

books, the idea of marketing can still inspire

fear and loathing. Fortunately, by developing a plan

and understanding basic elements of marketing,

much of that fear can be dispelled. Whether your

book is being published through a big press, indie

press, hybrid, or self-publisher, you’ll need to provide

marketing support. In this three-week class,

you’ll learn the basics of marketing and how to

develop a plan well in advance of your book’s publication

date. With class participation, we will explore

the effectiveness and value of book reviews,

various forms of social media, book tours (virtual

and real), house parties, targeted advertisement,

entering contests, and appearing at book festivals,

and more. Handouts and online links include lists

of book reviewers (print & online), paid advertising

options; PR and publicity firms that promote books;

local venues that host readings; lists of festivals,

contests, and awards.

3 Tuesdays 6:30–8:30 p.m. 11/5–11/19

TWC Intermediate/Advanced $115

Media For Writers

Shanon Lee

Whether your editor expects you to promote your

articles, or your book is set for release and you

need to attract readers - visibility matters. This

workshop is for writers searching for ways to build

their author platform and boost their personal

brand. You will learn how to position yourself for

success on the most relevant social media platforms

for your audience, strategies to attract radio/

TV producers and how to prepare for important

media opportunities when offered. Participants

will be asked to submit links to their website and

all relevant social media profiles in advance and

receive a personalized critique by the end of the


1 Sunday 10 a.m.–1 p.m. 10/6

Arlington Mill All Levels $50

24 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019


The Business of Writing

Kenneth D. Ackerman

Working on a book (or planning to) and need to

understand the business side of getting it done?

This one-day workshop focuses on the basics:

publishing, contracts, copywrites, organization

(setting up a writing business), the changing marketplace,

and how to position yourself for success.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–1 p.m. 10/19

TWC All Levels $50

Write Like the News

Hank Wallace

Lead with the future — not background. That’s

the most important of eight journalism skills that

will transform your writing. The others: write your

readers’ language, be positive (to be both clear and

upbeat), lay out logically, be consistent, be precise,

be brief, and choose strong verbs. Highlights:

communicate in a crisis, correct errors the correct

way, choose between raw numbers and a ratio, and

write around generic “he.” (Plus a Speak Like the

News skill: avoid “uptalk?”) Emulate the vivid news

examples you’ll see in this workshop, and you’ll

strengthen your writing voice with lively, engaging

news style. At 7 sharp, we’ll critique TheWallStreet- homepage, seeing how to communicate

your main point in just a few words. Then

we’ll talk our way through the workshop booklet,

emphasizing reasons, not just rules, for your writing

choices. To cover as much ground as possible,

we’ll have just a few writing exercises and most of

them will take less than a minute each.

1 Wednesday 7–9 p.m. 12/11

TWC All Levels $50

Stage and Screen

How To Produce Your Play

Martin Blank

Tired of waiting for a theater to say “yes”? In

this workshop, you’ll give yourself the “yes” by

learning everything you need to produce you

own play on any budget, starting at zero. Week

one will cover how to write a budget-friendly

play, where to find a space, as well as who you’ll

need to hire and how to find and hire them. Week

two, participants will look at budgets, contracts,

preproduction, and marketing. And in week three,

participants will work as both playwrights and

producers in rehearsals, from opening night to

closing. By the end of this workshop, you’ll know

exactly what to do and, just as important, what

not to do to get your play in front of an audience.

Many playwrights who have taken this workshop

have then produced their own plays successfully.

3 Saturdays 2–4 p.m. 9/21–10/5

TWC All Levels $115

Perfecting The Ten-Minute Play

Marilyn Millstone

If you aspire to be a produced playwright, the

ten-minute play could be your ticket to success. In

this highly interactive course, we’ll read aloud and

analyze for technique some of the best ten-minute

comedies and dramas of the past decade. Then,

you’ll apply those techniques to your own writing.

Your work will be read aloud and critiqued in

class, and you’ll be asked to revise/polish/perfect

throughout the course. The goal is for you to finish

the course with a competition-worthy, ten-minute

play. Please bring A More Perfect Ten: Writing and

Producing The Ten-Minute Play (first edition) by

Gary Garrisonto the first class.

6 Mondays 7–9 p.m. 10/21–11/25

TWC All Levels $215

Playwriting: Character

Richard Washer

Characters set in motion a series of events and actions

that become the engine of your play. In this

workshop we will look at strategies for exploring

and developing characters in the early stages of

writing your play and discuss ways to assess the

potential of the characters to drive action in your

story. In addition, in order to better understand the

instrument we are writing for, we will also look at

character through the eyes of actors and directors

seeking to interpret and portray a character to see

how this informs our process of building a play.

1 Thursday 7–10 p.m. 9/26

Arlington Mill Beginner $50

Playwriting: Dialogue

Richard Washer

Among the tools available to the playwright,

dialogue is the most obvious and possibly least

understood element of craft. In this session

participants will identify some of the many uses of

dialogue and discuss how the writer uses this tool

to explore, discover, and build a play. The workshop

will also take a look at how actors and other theatre

artists approach the play on the page and how this

can inform the writer.

1 Tuesday 7–10 p.m. 9/17

Arlington Mill Beginner $50

Playwriting: Exposition & Process

Richard Washer

What does your audience need to know and when

do they need to know it? In this workshop writers

will consider various strategies for managing exposition

in the context of process in writing a play

(getting started, exploring a first draft, analysis, and

revisions). Participants will look at examples to better

understand how to handle exposition and discuss

strategies to employ at various stages of the

process. Although the focus in this session will be

on playwriting, writers of all genres are welcome.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–1 p.m. 9/21

Arlington Mill Beginner $50

Screenwriting Intensive

Alexandra Viets

This year-long workshop will provide participants

a structured setting to complete, revise, and

workshop a feature-length screenplay under

the direction of an award-winning professional

screenwriter. Each participant will have the opportunity

to present a total of 250 pages, to include

an original draft and the completed revision of a

feature script. The course will be limited to ten

participants to provide an intensive, M.F.A. level of

discipline and rigor. Other benefits include:

*Scene breakdowns with readings by actors from

Acme Theater Corporation of Baltimore

*Guest speakers presenting their experiences

writing and taking a screenplay into production

*A staged reading of participant scenes at TWC

*Free access to a Workspaces at TWC during the

full year (valued at $1,000)

The class will meet every other week for twentyone

sessions from September 12 –December 19

and again from January 9 – June 25, 2020.

To apply: Serious applicants should send a letter

of interest along with a writing sample of a completed

first act (approximately 25-30 pages)


Thursdays 7–9:30 p.m. 9/12–6/25

TWC $5000

The Secret of Life Through


Joy Cheriel Brown

This course teaches beginning screenwriters a

process to use to write an entire screenplay. Each

week, participants will learn a different aspect of

screenwriting such as developing a premise, structuring

the story, or building a character. By the end

of this course, participants should be able to write

a complete screenplay from beginning to end.

6 Sundays 3–5 p.m. 10/6–11/10

TWC Beginner $215

Writing for TV and Film

Khris Baxter

These are exciting times to be a screenwriter. With

more shows and television channels than ever,

the opportunities for inventive ways of storytelling

increase daily. This hands-on workshop will

guide beginning and intermediate screenwriters

through the process of crafting a professionalgrade

screenplay and/or TV pilot. Participants will

examine proven methods for adapting fiction and

narrative nonfiction to the big screen, discuss

strategies for promoting and marketing their

screenplays or pilots, and work on advancing their

careers as screenwriters. This workshop is open to

all levels and genres.

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. 9/28

Glen Echo All Levels $115

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. 11/2

Glen Echo All Levels $115

1 Saturday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. 11/9

Arlington Mill All Levels $115

Your First Five Pages

John M. Weiskopf

When writing a screenplay, your first five pages is

the most important hurdle that you MUST clear.

5 Tuesdays 10 a.m.–3 p.m. 9/24–10/22

TWC Intermediate/Advanced $450


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The Writer’s Center


Kenneth D. Ackerman, attorney and

writer in Washington, D.C., has written five

commercially published book on American

history and biography, including his most

recent, Trotsky in New York 1917: A Radical

on the Eve of Revolution.

James Alexander has more than 30

years experience writing professionally,

including stints as a political speechwriter

at the Cabinet level. After earning a B.A. in

Journalism at the University of North Carolina

at Chapel Hill, he worked as a bylined

newspaper reporter at The Charlotte Observer

and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and also

interned at The Washington Post. He later

served on Capitol Hill as a U.S. Congressional

Fellow and then worked as a Hill press secretary

which involved writing lots of speeches

and op-eds. As a ghostwriter, James penned

dozens of op-eds for political figures with

publications in The Wall Street Journal, The

New York Times, USA Today, and Washington

Post, among others. He works full-time in

media relations and still writes.

Abdul Ali is the author of Trouble Sleeping,

the 2014 winner of the New Issues Poetry

Book Prize. He has received fellowships from

the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities,

Maryland Arts Council, and The Cave

Canem Foundation. His work has been published

in numerous journals and anthologies.

He currently works as an Andrew Mellon

Foundation Program Coordinator at the Community

College of Baltimore County. More

about him at:

Cheryl Somers Aubin has been writing

and publishing for almost 30 years. She has

an M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University.

Cheryl is the author of The Survivor

Tree: Inspired by a True Story, and the nonfiction

editor for The Delmarva Review.

Bijan C. Bayne is a travel writer and

author whose work has appeared in Ohio,

AAA, Pathfinders Travel, JustLuxe, and Family


Anne Becker, author of The Transmutation

Notebooks: Poems in the Voices of

Charles and Emma Darwin, The Good Body

(chapbook), and Human Animal, has presented

programs at Johns Hopkins, University

of Connecticut, Folger Library, and Smithsonian’s

Natural History Museum. She offers tutorials

for those putting together poetry chapbooks

and full-length collections. More about

her at:

Martin Blank is a producer and playwright.

His play The Law of Return premiered

off-Broadway and is in development

with a major Hollywood production company.

He served as Literary Manager, Woolly Mammoth

Theatre Company, Founding Artistic

Director, Theater J, and worked as an N.Y.C.

theater producer. He attended the Yale School

of Drama.

Hildie Block has been leading workshops

since the mid-90s. She’s led workshops at

American University, and George Washington

University. Having published over 50 short

stories, Hildie published her book Not What I

Expected, and has had stories widely anthologized.

She loves helping students fill their tool

boxes and get to the next step. More about her


Joy Cheriel Brown is an accomplished

screenwriter who owns Third Person Omniscient

Productions, and has served as a

mentor for DC Shorts and a panelist for the

screenwriting panel at the Prince George’s

County Arts and Humanities Council’s Festival

of Literary Arts.

Tara Campbell is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio

Fellow, and fiction editor at Barrelhouse.

Prior publication credits include SmokeLong

Quarterly, Masters Review, Jellyfish Review,

Booth, and Strange Horizons. She’s the author

of a novel, TreeVolution, a hybrid fiction/

poetry collection, Circe’s Bicycle, and a short

story collection, Midnight at the Organporium.

She received her M.F.A. from American

University in 2019. More about her at: www.

Nancy Naomi Carlson is a poet, translator,

essayist, and editor, and has authored

10 titles. A recipient of grants from the NEA,

Maryland Council for the Arts, and Arts &

Humanities Council of Montgomery County,

her work has appeared in APR, The Georgia

Review, The Paris Review, and Poetry. More

about her at:

Jenny Chen is a writer based in New Haven.

She is a veteran sensitivity writer and has

had work published in Guernica, Washington

Post, The Atlantic, New York Magazine, and


Brenda W. Clough is a novelist, short

story, and nonfiction writer. Her recent e-

books are Revise the World and Speak to Our

Desires. Her novels include How Like a God,

The Doors of Death and Life, and Revise the

World. She has been a finalist for both the

Hugo and the Nebula awards. She has been

teaching science fiction & fantasy workshops

at The Writer’s Center for over 10 years.

More about her at:

Jona Colson’s first poetry collection,

Said Through Glass, won the Jean Feldman

Poetry Prize from the Washington Writers’

Publishing House. His poems have appeared

in Ploughshares, The Southern Review, The

Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. His

translations and interviews can be found in

Prairie Schooner, Tupelo Quarterly, and The

Writer’s Chronicle. He is an associate professor

at Montgomery College in Maryland and

lives in Washington, DC.

Novelist and writing coach John DeDakis

is a former editor on CNN’s “The Situation

Room with Wolf Blitzer.” DeDakis is

the author of five mystery-suspense novels.

His fourth novel, Bullet in the Chamber, is

the winner of Reviewers Choice, Foreword

INDIES, and Feathered Quill book awards. In

his most recent novel, Fake, protagonist Lark

Chadwick is a White House correspondent

trying to walk the line between personal feelings

and dispassionate objectivity in the era

of “fake news” and #MeToo. More about him


Laura Di Franco, MPT, is the owner of

Brave Healer Productions and writes to Feng

Shui her soul. Brave Healing, a Guide for Your

Journey, is her sixth book to help inspire your

fiercely alive whole self. Join her to write

words that heal the world. More about her at:

Solveig Eggerz, a native of Iceland, is

the author of two novels, Seal Woman and

Sigga of Reykjavik. She teaches for Heard, an

Alexandria, VA non-profit that brings the arts

to underserved populations.

Amanda Eke is a Nigerian American artist

and scholar. A Fulbright Award winner

and author, she addresses socio-political issues

and contemporary culture prevalent in

society today through her art. Amanda has

worked with young adults in Malta, United

States, Nepal, and Nigeria where she has created

and held Spoken Word-Workshops.

Herta Feely is a local author, editor,

writing coach, and ghostwriter. Her novel,

Saving Phoebe Murrow, was an Amazon UK

best debut and won three Indie press awards

in the US. Her clients have been published

traditionally, through hybrid presses and selfpublished.

She is the co-founder of Safe Kids


Melanie Figg is a 2017-2019 NEA Fellow

and the author of the award-winning poetry

collection, Trace. As a certified professional

coach, she has helped hundreds of writers to

publish, tame their inner critics, and add more

26 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019


creativity, balance, and intentionality to their

lives. She also leads annual writing retreats.

More about her at:

Claudia Gary is author of Humor Me

(David Robert Books, 2006) and several chapbooks

including Genetic Revisionism (2019).

Internationally published and anthologized,

she is a former poetry editor and a threetime

finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet

Award, as well as a health science writer for In 2019 she chaired the panel

“Why Poets Need Science, and Why Scientists

Need Poetry” at the West Chester University

Poetry Conference. Her spring course at FAES.

org is “The Poetry of Science, the Science of

Poetry” (GENL355). See

claudia_gary, @claudiagary.

Patricia Gray, author of Rupture from

Red Hen Press, formerly headed the Library

of Congress’s Poetry and Literature Center.

An award-winning poet, Gray’s poems were

short-listed for the Faulkner Wisdom Poetry

Prize and appeared recently in Oberon and

in Endlessly Rocking, an anthology celebrating

Walt Whitman. Her honorable-mention

poem, “Fractals” is on

T. Greenwood is the author of thirteen

award-winning novels including Rust & Stardust,

Where I Lost Her, and Bodies of Water.

Hannah Grieco is a parent advocate and

writer in Arlington, VA. She has published

work in Washington Post‘s “On Parenting,”

Huffington Post, First for Women, Today’s Parent,

Motherwell, Scary Mommy, and many

other publications.

Aaron Hamburger is the author of the

story collection The View From Stalin’s Head

(winner of the Rome Prize in Literature), the

novel Faith for Beginners (Lambda Literary

Award nominee), and the new novel Nirvana

is Here. His writing has appeared in the New

York Times, the Washington Post, Tin House,

Crazyhorse, and many more.

Judith Harris is the author of three

books of poetry, Night Garden, The Bad Secret,

Atonement, and the acclaimed critical

book, Signifying Pain: Constructing and Healing

the Self Through Writing. Her poetry has

appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic, The

New Republic, Slate, The New York Times

blog, Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, The

Southern Review, and the syndicated column

“American Life in Poetry,” among many other

anthologies and journals. Her critical work

and interviews have appeared widely. She is a

recipient of a Yaddo fellowship and multiple

arts grants and has taught at several universities

in the D.C. area and has been a resident

seminar leader at Frost Place and the University

of North Iowa.

GG Renee Hill is an author and advocate

for self-discovery through writing. She has

published a free verse memoir about heartbreak

and healing, a book of short essays

for quiet women who want to be heard, and

a mindfulness workbook for self-reflection

and personal growth. More about her at:

Kathryn Johnson’s 40+ published

novels (finalist for the Agatha Award, winner

of Heart of Excellence and Bookseller’s Best

Awards), include historical fiction (e.g., The

Gentleman Poet, wherein Shakespeare escapes

to the New World aboard a ship bound for

disaster) and contemporary suspense. Her The

Extreme Novelist (nonfiction) is the text based

on her courses at The Smithsonian and The

Writer’s Center. Kathryn’s premium mentoring

services can be found here: https:// Reach out with

questions or for a free 20-minute private consultation:

A 30-year professional speaker, and threetime

bestselling author with books translated

in over a dozen languages, Rob JollES

coaches and mentors business authors around

the world. His designed approach and manuscript

development process have been successful

in the production of numerous conventionally

published business books. He lives

in Chevy Chase, Maryland. More about him

at: to

Jacqueline Jules is the author of three

chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum, Stronger

Than Cleopatra, and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken

String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook

Prize from Evening Street Press. Her

work has appeared in over 100 publications

including Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Beltway

Poetry, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and Gargoyle.

More about her at:

Beth Kanter is a writer, photographer,

and workshop leader with more than 20

years of experience. She is the author of six

books including No Access Washington DC,

which she wrote and photographed. Additionally,

her essays, articles, and photos have

appeared in a variety of newspapers, magazines,

journals, and online publications.

Steve Kistulentz is the author most recently

of Panorama (Little, Brown), named a

must-read by Entertainment Weekly and The

New York Post. He directs the graduate creative

writing program at Saint Leo University

in the Tampa area.

Cecile Ledet is a native Washingtonian

who has studied standup, improv, and sketch

writing at the DC Improv and UST. She was a

founding member of the troupe “Sometimes

Bears” and is currently playing with her team,

“What Now?” Cecile is a lover of all things

comedy and firmly believes that life really

does begin where your comfort zone ends.

Shanon Lee is a contributor for Forbes and

The Lily at The Washington Post. Her bylines

include Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Marie Claire,

Playboy, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day,

Redbook, Refinery29, Women’s Health, and

Prevention Magazine. In 2018, she was featured

in Poets & Writers Magazine for forging

an unconventional writing career. Her opinion

essays on misogyny and racism are widely

circulated and have been shared by notables

including bestselling author J.K. Rowling, rap

legend MC Lyte and political activist Kevin

Powell. Shanon is a Women’s Media Center

(WMC) SheSource Expert, a member of the

2019 WMC Progressive Women’s Voices

cohort, and an alumna of the Association of

Opinion Journalists/Poynter Institute Minority

Writers Seminar. She was recently named

to The Tempest’s 40 Women To Watch 2019

list. As a commentator, Shanon has appeared

on national and international live-stream and

network television programs including Huff-

Post Live, TRT World’s The NewsMakers, TV

One’s For My Woman and the REELZ Channel’s

Scandal Made Me Famous.

Christopher Linforth has published

work in The Millions, Fiction International,

Notre Dame Review, Gargoyle, Day One, and

Descant, among other magazines. He has been

awarded fellowships and scholarships to the

Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio

Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative


Pat McNees, writer-editor, helps people

and organizations tell their life story. A former

editor in book publishing (at Harper &

Row and Fawcett) and a freelance writer,

she also manages the Washington Biography

Group. She has taught life writing at The

Writer’s Center for several years. More about

her at:

Ariel Mendez is an author/illustrator

from Montgomery County, MD. Her debut

picture book, Fear and a Friend, was launched

on Kickstarter and selected as a Kickstarter

“Project We Love.” Ariel has also illustrated

Hair Like Me, which was featured on HLN,

and Dear God to be released in the Fall of


for the most up-to-date news and information, visit



The Writer’s Center


2019. Ariel is a member of the Society of

Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators,

and frequently presents on the topic of selfpublishing

and children’s book writing. More

about her at:

Alyce Miller is the award-winning writer

of four books of fiction and one book of nonfiction,

as well as more than 250 essays, short

stories, poems, articles, and book reviews.

She is Professor Emerita from the English Department

and Graduate Program in Creative

Writing at Indiana University-Bloomington,

where she also received awards for her teaching.

More about her at:

Nicole Miller is the winner of the 2014

Dorothy Cappon prize for the essay, and has

published memoir in New Letters and Arts &

Letters magazine. Her fiction has appeared

twice in The May Anthology of Short Stories,

edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian

Faulks. She received an M.Phil in Victorian

Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford, a

Ph.D. in English at University College, London,

and an M.F.A. at Emerson College, Boston,

where she held the Graduate Fellowship in

Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary,

she has served as a scholarly reader

for British Dialects since 2002. She edits

faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English

Department and teaches the nineteenth and

twentieth century British novel at Politics

and Prose in Washington D.C. She also leads

fiction workshops at Grub Street in Boston,

and has been named an emerging writer in

residence at Kingston University, Kingstonupon-Thames,

UK. More about her at: www.

Chloe Yelena Miller is a writer and

writing teacher living in Washington, D.C.

She and her six-year-old enjoy making books


Marilyn Millstone’s plays, including

her award-winning ten-minute comedy

Compos Mentis, have been produced around

the world. Two of her monologues appear in

Smith and Kraus’s Best Women’s Monologues

of 2019. Her full-length drama Proprioception

recently won AACT NewPlayFest 2020; it

will be produced in April 2020 and published

by Dramatic Publishing.

Ofelia Montelongo is a bilingual writer

originally from Mexico. She received a B.A.

in accounting and finance, an MBA, and a

B.A. in English and Creative Writing. Ofelia is

a freelance writer and photographer and has

collaborated with magazines such as Phoenix

New Times, So Scottsdale, and Phoenix

Magazine. She led creative writing workshops

in Spanish at Palabras Bilingual Bookstore

and was the Editor-in-Chief for the journal

Superstition Review in the fall of 2016. She

taught Spanish at Arizona State University

and she is pursuing her M.A. in Latin American

literature at the University of Maryland.

Her research interests include Chicano and

Latin American literature, theory of translation,

borderlands, creative writing, and more.

Her work has been published in Latino Book

Review, Four Chambers Press, Los Acentos Review,

Rio Grande Review, and Ponder Review.

She is currently reading for Potomac Review

and she is the 2019 Undiscovered Voices Fellow

at The Writer’s Center.

William O’Sullivan is an essayist and

editor whose writing has appeared in Washingtonian,

The Washington Post, The New

York Times, The North American Review, 100

Word Story, and others. His work has been

cited three times among the notable essays of

the year in The Best American Essays.

Laura Oliver is the author of The Story

Within (Penguin Random House), endorsed

by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Franklin

and by Poets and Writers Magazine as

one of the best writing books ever published.

Her short stories and essays have appeared in

The Washington Post, Country Living Magazine,

The Sun Magazine, Glimmer Train, The

Writer Magazine, and The Baltimore Review

to name a few. With an M.F.A. from Bennington

College, Oliver has been an adjunct

professor of writing, both fiction and essay,

at The University of Maryland and taught

writing at St John’s College. She is the winner

of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual

Artist award, an Anne Arundel County Arts

Council Award and has been nominated for

a Pushcart Prize. More about her at: www.

Alicia Oltuski’s work has appeared in

Tin House, McSweeney’s, Glimmer Train, W

magazine, and other publications. She has

been included in the Barnes & Noble Discover

Great New Writers series and received a David

Berg Foundation Fellowship at Columbia

University, where she received an M.F.A. in

Creative Writing.

Chris Palmer is an author, speaker, film

producer, and retired professor. He has published

six books, including the most recent,

College Teaching At Its Best, from Rowman &

Littlefield. More about him at: www.Chris-

Mary Quattlebaum is the author of

27 award-winning children’s books (Pirate

vs. Pirate; Jo MacDonald Hiked in the Woods;

Brother, Sister, Me and You) and of numerous

stories and poems in children’s magazines

(Cricket, Spider, Ladybug, Highlights). She

teaches in the M.F.A. program in writing for

children and young adults at the Vermont

College of Fine Arts and is a popular school

and conference speaker.

Ann Quinn’s poetry was selected by Stanley

Plumly as first place winner in the 2015

Bethesda Literary Arts Festival poetry contest,

and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Her work is published in Potomac Review,

Little Patuxent Review, and other journals and

is included in the anthology Red Sky: Poetry

on the Global Epidemic of Violence Against

Women. Ann lives in Maryland with her family

where she teaches reflective and creative

writing and music and plays clarinet with the

Columbia Orchestra. Her chapbook, Final Deployment,

is published by Finishing Line Press.

More about her at:

Elizabeth Rees, M.A. is the author of the

poetry collection Every Root a Branch (2014).

Three of her four poetry chapbooks are

award winners, most recently Tilting Gravity

(2009). Twice nominated for a Pushcart

Prize, her poems have been widely published

in journals, including Partisan Review, Kenyon

Review, Southern Review, and Agni.

She has taught at Harvard University, Boston

University, Macalester College, Howard University,

the U.S. Naval Academy, and in the

graduate program at Johns Hopkins University,

among other schools. A workshop leader at

The Writer’s Center since 1989, she has also

been a poet-in-the-schools for the Maryland

State Arts Council since 1994. She has served

as a consulting writer and editor to the U.S.

Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Kennedy

Center, the Smithsonian Museums’ Traveling

Exhibitions, and PBS.

Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers is the

author of two poetry collections: Chord Box

(University of Arkansas Press, 2013) and The

Tilt Torn Away from the Seasons (Acre Books/

The Cincinnati Review, forthcoming, 2020).

Her essays can also be found in Best American

Nonrequired Reading, Best American Travel

Writing, and elsewhere. A former Kenyon Review

Fellow and a current editor at The Kenyon

Review, she has been a visiting professor

at several colleges and universities.

Ellen Ryan has been published in AARP,

Outside, Good Housekeeping,,

Washingtonian, ForbesLife Executive Woman,

Sister2Sister, and many other national and

regional publications.

28 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019


Lynn Schwartz is a story development

editor and ghostwriter. Her plays have been

performed in NYC, including Lincoln Center.

She founded the Temple Bar Literary Reading

Series in NYC, has received two Individual

Artist Awards in Fiction from the Maryland

State Arts Council, and taught fiction at St.

John’s College.

Natasha Scripture is an author with a

passion for transformational nonfiction. Her

debut memoir Man Fast: A Memoir came out

in June 2019, and was featured in The Washington

Post as one of The 10 books to read in

June. Her personal essays have been published

in The New York Times, The Telegraph, Glamour

UK, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Boston

Globe, The New York Post, Marie Claire,

and The Atlantic, among other publications.

Lisa Jan Sherman is an actor, improvisational

acting and cognitive skills coach. She

has been a member of AFTRA and SAG for

over 35 years, and has performed on stage,

television, film, and radio. Lisa received a B.A.

in Theatre and Speech at University of Maryland.

She is a founding member of ‘NOW

THIS!, the totally improvised, musical comedy

troupe which had a 27 year run. Facilitating

communication skills groups with children

since 1995, and finding that the improvisational

‘piece’ created a natural basis for social

skill development, Lisa co-developed the ‘Act

As If’ program and with Laura McAlpine cowrote

Act As If (improvisational activities for

better social communication).

Rose Strode is a teacher, gardener, essayist,

and poet. She is a recipient of the Sidney

L. Gulick Fellowship at the Brauer Museum

of Art at Valpariso University in Chicago; a

student in the M.F.A. program for poetry at

George Mason University; and a volunteer

gardener at a Buddhist temple.

Sara Mansfield Taber is author of

Chance Particulars: A Writer’s Field Notebook.

She has also published the award-winning

Born Under an Assumed Name: The Memoir

of a Cold War Spy’s Daughter; Dusk on the

Campo: A Journey in Patagonia, and Bread of

Three Rivers: The Story of a French Loaf. Her

essays, memoirs, and cultural commentary

have appeared in literary journals such as The

American Scholar, newspapers including The

Washington Post, and have been produced for

public radio. More about her at:

Julia Tagliere’s work has appeared in

The Writer, Potomac Review, Gargoyle Magazine,

and numerous anthologies. She completed

her M.A. in Writing at Johns Hopkins

University, and in 2017, won The Writer’s

Center’s Undiscovered Voices Fellowship. She

serves as an editor with The Baltimore Review.

More about her at:

Sue Ellen Thompson’s fifth book of

poems, They, was published in 2014. An instructor

at The Writer’s Center since 2007,

she has previously taught at Middlebury College,

Binghamton University, the University

of Delaware, and Central CT State University.

She received the 2010 Maryland Author

Award from the Maryland Library Association

and was recently nominated for Maryland

Poet Laureate.

Pamela Toutant is a widely published

personal essayist and feature writer. Her work

has appeared in Salon, Slate, The Washington

Post, Redbook, Washingtonian Magazine, Applause

Magazine,and Bethesda Magazine. She

was selected as the winner of the Penelope

Niven Creative Non-Fiction Award, was a

Pushcart Prize nominee, and a three time

Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellow.

More about her at:

Alexandra Viets is a screenwriter and

journalist who received her M.F.A. from Columbia

University. Her first feature-length

screenplay, Cotton Mary, was produced by

Merchant Ivory. Her most recent screenplay,

Ask Me No Questions, won Best Screenplay

for 2018 at the Auckland International Film

Festival. She teaches at Johns Hopkins University.

More about her at:

Joan Waites has illustrated more than 40

children’s books and most recently has written

and illustrated A Colorful Tail: Finding

Monet at Giverny, and An Illustrator’s Night

Before Christmas. She teaches arts classes for

children at her private studio and speaks frequently

at schools and conferences.

Hank Wallace, a Columbia Law School

graduate, was a government reporter for New

Jersey’s Middletown Courier and Red Bank

Daily Register, and the assistant director of

law-school publishing for Matthew Bender.

He wrote the FCC’s plain-language newsletter

and newswriting tips for the Radio Television

Digital News Association. For more information

about Hank Wallace, visit his website at:

Richard Washer is a playwright and

director, and serves as Associate Artistic Director

and First Draft Resident Playwright at

The Rose Theatre Company. He holds a B.A.

(University of Virginia) and an M.F.A. (American

University). His produced full-length

plays include Missa, Of a Sunday Morning,

Monkeyboy (co-written with Keith Bridges

and Chris Stezin), The Fetish, Getting It, and

Quartet. His musical (music by Mark Haag)

Persephone: A Burlesque received a development

and workshop reading at First Draft

at the Rose Theatre in March, 2018. Most

recently, his new play, The Migrant received

a reading at First Draft in March 2019. More

about him at:

John M. Weiskopf received an M.F.A.

in Film Production from UCLA and currently

teaches at American University. He wrote a

novel entitled The Ascendancy, which was

widely and positively reviewed. It sells on

Amazon. He did author book-signing tours

in California, Texas, North Carolina, South

Carolina, Maryland, and Washington D.C. for

Barnes and Nobel and some small bookstores.

He subsequently wrote the adapted screenplay

for the novel, and currently is in active

development on Ascend, an episodic television

series based upon his novel.

Emily Williamson is an author, editor,

and literary agent at Williamson Literary. Her

short stories and poems have been published

in numerous literary journals, including

Blackbird, Measure, Word Riot, and others.

She is the recipient of the 2018 No Chair

Press Chapbook Prize for her collection of

poems, Dead Reckoning.

Suzanne Zweizig is a writer and translator

whose work has appeared in numerous

literary journals, including Subtropics,

RHINO, Grist, and others. She is the former

translation editor of Poet Lore magazine, the

recipient of writing fellowships from The

MacDowell Colony and others, and fell in

love with improv when she took two courses

a couple of years ago.

Teach for Us

The Writer’s Center is always

looking for individuals to add to

our talented pool of workshop

leaders. If you are a published

writer with teaching experience,

please send a cover letter

and resume to the attention

of Laura Spencer, Director of

Programs, at:


for the most up-to-date news and information, visit


Indie Bookstores Unite!

New and established shops thrive in DC

By Zach Powers

Perhaps the single best thing you can do to support our literary community is buying books at local, independent

bookstores. Indie shops have direct connections to local authors. They host readings and book clubs.

They’re involved with the books they sell in a way no online retailer can ever hope to be. Every dollar spent locally

supports the writers living and working here. Most importantly, indie booksellers bring us together. I reached out

to some of the DC area’s favorite booksellers to see what inspires their work in our literary community.

What led you to open a bookshop?

Laurie Gillman, Owner, East City Bookshop

I’ve always loved bookstores, but opening one

wasn’t something I even thought about until a few

years ago. Our neighborhood bookstore closed in

2009, and as a long-time resident it was clear to me

that my neighborhood needed a bookstore. I was sure

someone would open one, but after a few years of

waiting, it occurred to me that maybe I could open a

bookstore. At that point, there were still many independent

bookstores closing, so I wasn’t sure if it

would be viable. I decided to do as much research

as possible to really learn about the business, and I

saw that a slight indie bookstore resurgence was just

beginning. Once I realized that it just might work, I

couldn’t get the idea out of my head, so I envisioned

my perfect neighborhood bookstore and kept moving

toward that.

Bard’s Alley

Jen Morrow, Owner, Bard’s Alley

I was inspired to open Bard’s Alley when my son,

who was in kindergarten at the time, learned to read.

I realized that there was a void here, in Vienna, Virginia,

that needed to be filled; in every community I

had lived in up until then, I had had a “third place”

to go where I could browse for books, connect with

other readers, and meet the authors I admire. These

bookstores had given me so much, and I felt that it

was important to establish that third place for my

community as well.

Jake Cumsky-Whitlock,

Co-Owner, Solid State Books

East City Bookshop

The simplest explanation is that I love books, love

just being around them. Bookstores have always

played an outsized role in my life. I grew up in the

Boston area and spent much of my childhood exploring

the dense warren of stacks that was The New

England Mobile Book Fair, sitting in the windows at

Wordsworth, or exploring the labyrinthine Harvard


30 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019

What’s the most exciting thing going on for

you right now in bookselling?

Bradley Graham, Co-Owner, Politics and Prose

Most exciting is the role being played by many independent

bookstores in promoting and preserving our

country’s democratic values. Those values of justice,

truth, diversity, and freedom of speech are under siege

by forces of intolerance, mendacity, incivility, and

autocracy. What P&P and other indies can do is help

bring people together, engage them in discussions of

literature and ideas, offer books that inspire, comfort,

and teach, and provide a community antidote against

the toxic political and cultural divisions of our times.

Bradley Graham

Politics and Prose is supported by a very loyal community

of readers, many of whom have stories about

the bookstore. A favorite employee or aisle to browse

in. A memorable author event. An instructive children’s

storytelling event. A faithful book club. A preferred

table in the café. And most of all, a profound

desire to see this special place remain at the heart of

our community.

Laurie Gillman

We are a neighborhood of readers, and overall our

customers read to experience other viewpoints, to

learn and try to understand something unfamiliar,

and simply to be immersed in a well-told story. Our

customers really love to connect with each other

through books and talk about what they’ve read—we

have a dozen store book clubs, most through customer

requests and suggestions. Our goal is to have a community

that welcomes everyone who wants to be part

of it and to support readers throughout their lives.

Jake Cumsky-Whitlock,

Co-Owner, Solid State Books

Politics & Prose

Jen Morrow

Again and again, customers enter the shop and tell

me how grateful they are that Bard’s Alley exists. But,

the truth is, we wouldn’t be here without their support.

Our particular community is wonderfully diverse

with varying interests that span social issues, particularly

women’s issues; history; compelling contemporary

fiction; poetry; and children’s books. We recognize

many of our customers by name, but we still meet

new faces all the time.

Can you tell me a little about the community

of readers and writers that’s built up around

your shop?

What a gratifying thing this has been to see. It has

been amazing to watch people we don’t know (or,

more accurately, didn’t know before we opened) take

ownership of the store—running and attending book

clubs, meeting at the front table with their knitting

group, having a drink and reading a new book at the

bar. Every day it’s a potent reminder of exactly why

we do what we do. What a ride!

Some of our favorite indies

specializing in new books:

Bard’s Alley

Vienna, VA

Bridge Street Books


East City Bookshop

Capitol Hill

Kramerbooks &


Dupont Circle

Loyalty Books

Upshur Street

Old Town Books

Alexandria, VA

One More Page

Arlington, VA

Politics & Prose

3 locations

Scrawl Books

Reston, VA

Solid State Books

H Street Corridor

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit



The Writer’s Center

Meet the Editor: A Conversation with

Poet Lore’s New Executive Editor B.J. Love

By Emily Holland, Managing Editor, Poet Lore

We are excited to announce

that poet and teacher B.J.

Love is the new Executive Editor

of Poet Lore. As an introduction to

all of our writers and subscribers,

he chatted with Managing Editor

Emily Holland about what he

hopes to bring to the journal, how

the internet is changing literary

magazines, and where readers

can find some of his own work!

A graduate of the Iowa Writers’

Workshop, B.J. has written and

taught poetry and literature for

more than 15 years. In that time,

he has created youth programs

in Italy, led writing workshops

in Sitka, Alaska, taught fiction

and poetry writing for the Putney

School Summer Programs in

Vermont, and directed a group

of young writers around Ireland.

His writing has been published in

many journals, magazines, newspapers,

and anthologies including;

Gulf Coast, The North American

Review, Stirring: A Literary Collection,

The Moon City Review,

Hobart, and Pinwheel Journal.

What should our readers

know about you right off

the bat?

I don’t have to be called B.J.

Love. I choose to be called B.J.


What are you most excited

about as you start your

journey as Poet Lore’s new

executive editor?

The internet was supposed to

kill print, and yet, here we are.

So, a little like Lazarus, it’s up to

us to figure out what to do with

this new life. I’m most looking

forward to that. Figuring out what

life as a print magazine needs to

do to run for another 100 years.

Given the journal’s long

history, what do you hope

to bring to the issues you


I.M. Pei died while I was thinking

about this question, and if

there is anything I hope for my

time here, it can be summed up in

Pei’s glass pyramid at the Louvre;

to both modernize while still preserving

what’s already there.

You’re a teacher, and you

might get this question a

lot, but how is editing like

teaching? How do they


I’m not trying to teach my students

to write like me. My goal is

to show them the best tools they

can use to figure out how to write

like themselves. Editing isn’t much

different; I’m not trying to put

together poems for me (I would

quickly become the only subscriber

left!), I want a magazine that

everyone can enjoy. In either case,

teaching or editing, my tastes, my

desires are not the focus, I’m trying

to give you what I think/hope

you need.

In three words, describe the

type of work you are hoping

to feature in Poet Lore…

Meaningful, but irreverent.

Any tips for eager submitters?

If you’re sending poems to

friends, then definitely send them

to us while you’re at it.

32 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019


Poet Lore is one of a diminishing

few lit mags still in

print—what do you see as

the role of a print magazine?

A person can develop great intimacy

with physical objects. They

become triggers for our memories,

for our wants and desires. I

think Poet Lore needs to become

very deliberate about the object

we’re putting out in the world.

The first ‘date’ my wife and I

went on was after we’d noticed

we were both carrying around

the same book and so went to a

park and took turns reading it to

each other. I’ve also started conversations

with complete strangers

who were wearing t-shirts

that featured my favorite bands.

People have come up to me on

the street to talk about my dog.

The things we keep around us

are invitations to commune and I

hope to make Poet Lore one of the

things that people carry around.

What can Poet Lore do to

tap into the online energy

that seems to make those

journals so popular and


Trying to put your finger on

exactly what a broad audience of

readers wants could drive a person

insane, but one thing I think

we can all say is that when we

read we feel a special jolt when

we see ourselves represented in

some way; physically, emotionally,

intellectually, spiritually, etc.

Who do you hope will read

Poet Lore?

Everyone. I want everyone to

read Poet Lore!

What are you currently

working on and where can

our readers find some of

your poems?

I write every day, so I always

have a few irons in the fire. I’m

hoping to finish a book this summer

about a guy named Thad

Shumway who loves Subway, pop

music, and driving in his Nissan

Maxima. There’s a dumb beauty

to it that I’m really excited about.

I have another book I’m just

now finishing up called What is

Wrong With Me. You can find lots

of those poems around in places

like, Stirring: A Literary Collection,

Bear Review, Moon City Review,

Gulf Coast, Gold Wake Live,

Gravel, and Josephine Quarterly.

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit


Building a World

A review of Rion Amilcar Scott’s

The World Doesn’t Require You

Rion Amilcar Scott set his 2017

debut collection Insurrections,

which won the PEN/Robert A.

Bingham Award for Debut Fiction,

in the fictionalized town of Cross

River, Maryland. Scott’s latest

book, The World Doesn’t Require

You, due out this August from

Liveright, revisits that setting with

a dazzling collection that includes

eleven short stories and a complete

novella; some of the stories appeared

previously in publications

such as Bartleby Snopes, Midnight

Breakfast, and Barrelhouse, among


In a recent interview, Scott said

of his Cross River world that he’d

spent more time imagining it this

time around; that time was clearly

well spent. While the Cross River

of Insurrections served as an effective,

believable setting, in The

World Doesn’t Require You, Scott

breathes this world, the site of the

only successful slave revolt in US

history, to extravagant life, just

as thoroughly as Tolkien did his

Middle Earth.

By Julia Tagliere

Each of Scott’s stories provides

another fragment of the town’s

rich, detailed history: it has its

own literary canon, its own mythology,

its own music—even,

at times, its own language. But

Scott’s skill in fully realizing Cross

River lies in more than a generous

supply of details; it’s also in

the way he infuses them into each

story, blending them with “real”

history and literary canon, as well

as in the structure of the book as

a whole.

For example, “David Sherman,

the Last Son of God,” the first story

in the collection, reads initially

as Sherman’s quest to find himself

and his God/Father through

music; it does well as a standalone

with a beautiful, open ending.

But several stories later, in “The

Temple of Practical Arts,” the

reader learns the music Sherman

sought in the earlier story has now

become religion, salvation, and

Sherman is the deity.

Scott’s masterful use of this technique

throughout the collection,

telling one character’s story and

then doubling back to it as established

history or canon in another,

is part of what makes Cross River

feel so very real. But just in case

the reader somehow missed it,

Scott provides a deliciously meta

reminder of how he accomplishes

this feat in Special Topics in Loneliness


After all, I’m so Cross River

it feels as if I’ve made it all

up. Every inch of it. From the

cracks on the sidewalks of Angela

Street to the feet walking

over those cracks to the stray

dogs in the Wildlands being

confused for wolves to every

single ripple bobbing across

the Cross River. I even created

the sunlight sprinkled across

those ripples when the sun

sinks into the waters in the

early evening. And the sun, I

created that too.

Although Scott’s capacity for

world building approaches the

Tolkien-esque, any further comparison

must end there. Tolkien

used his world of dragons and

hobbits and returning kings to tell

lofty, soaring tales of heroism and

self-sacrifice (yes, it was also a

clear rejection of fascism).

34 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019

By contrast, Scott’s Cross River—though

infused with supernatural

elements, like “waterwomen,

mystical shape-shifting

water creatures who live on an

island beneath the water of the

Cross River” and, in “A Loudness

of Screechers,” massive birds that

snatch a ritual human sacrifice

from a terrified family—is unsparingly

grounded in the grim

realities of racism and slavery,

state brutality and random violence,

misogyny and madness,

and, in the wrenching novella,

Special Topics in Loneliness Studies,

in the desolation of a man

doomed by his growing inability

to connect emotionally.

Scott holds nothing back in this

collection. His language ranges

from raw and brutal to scathingly

contemptuous (particularly of

academia), from heartbreakingly

beautiful to wickedly funny. A few



First, this is a writing intensive

course. If that is a problem

for you there are plenty

of other professors in this

department who will award

you an A grade for making

power ballads, Play-Doh

sculptures, YouTube videos,

and the like as your primary


- Special Topics in Loneliness


He ruined us. Transformed

us all from little symphonies

into the faded plucks beneath

the bleeding fingers

of God the spent guitarist.

The last thumps in the dying

heart of God.

- The Temple of Practical Arts

In my memories, Loretta

turns to white dust midsentence

and blows away, leaving

behind the sweet scent

of gardenias in bloom. And

that’s how she left me.

- Numbers

Art’s not capable of banging

the dents out of the world,

man, or creating the sort of…

um…accumulated hurt they

want it to, and they’ll abandon

it for politics or psychology

or mass murder. Watch.

It’s all the same thing to

them, really.

- Slim in Hell

Scott doesn’t stint with his technical

feats of wonder, either, particularly

in the novella, a dizzying

display of craft that includes photos,

partially-redacted intra-office

emails, a PowerPoint presentation,


footnotes, and a Matryoshka doll’s

worth of nested narratives.

Most significantly, Scott doesn’t

pull any emotional punches for

the reader: sorrow, terror, love,

hate, lust, shame, anger, pride,

envy, despair, self-loathing—each

takes center stage at one point or

another in this often unsettling

rollercoaster ride. But each is also

absolutely necessary for a literary

work to succeed as a cleareyed,

unfiltered study of the best

and worst aspects of the human

condition. Succeed? The World

Doesn’t Require You does just

that—and so much more.

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit


Winner of the

2019 Bethesda Urban Partnership Poetry Contest

Judged by Michael S. Glaser

Navigating Fault Lines

Summer Hardinge

Some believe one day California will crack, fall

into sea. From above, it looks entirely possible,

the land cuts an angular silhouette, undulates

mountains, skirts bay and ocean.

In a more ancient story, Poseidon wielded his triton,

struck Earth, tremors erupted, bridges collapsed, roads

changed course, buildings toppled, thousands lost.

Lately I’ve encountered my own fault lines:

a trembling building, fear of lying under rubble,

wanting last sight sky,

smoldering talks with no one to blame,

yet friendships fissure, strike-side,

fall off

like a California.

I tell you now in moments of sudden dark,

as walls crack, doorways crumble, ears fall deaf, I cleave

to true things, far from fault lines,

fractures and aftershocks, reach for you on your side of the bed.

36 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019

Finding Authenticity in a Courtroom Thriller

A Review of Miracle Creek

By Nina Holtz

Angie Kim’s debut novel Miracle Creek begins with

an explosion and doesn’t lose momentum from


In Miracle Creek, Virginia, Pak Yoo and his wife

Young have staked their hopes on an experimental

medical treatment called hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

A pressurized chamber allows patients to breathe

in high levels of oxygen, which may be able to help

children with autism or cerebral palsy.

They name the chamber Miracle Submarine, but

when someone lights a fire, the Yoo’s dreams go up in

flames as the submarine explodes, killing two people

inside. The tragedy at the beginning of the novel

quickly turns into a courtroom drama where friends

and family members begin to doubt each other, unsure

of who is guilty as more and more secrets are


Kim masterfully jumps between the perspectives of

the characters involved in the accident. She transports

the reader into the

points of view of a mother

of a “submarine” patient,

a troubled doctor, a Korean

immigrant family, and the alleged

arsonist being tried for

the murder of a child.

Kim uses her experience as

an immigrant, lawyer, and

mother to bring a feeling of truth into her writing.

She tackles a multitude of difficult issues—predominantly,

what it feels like to be the mother of a child

with a disability and the worries that come with it.

Her life as a mother of three children who have dealt

with medical issues lends authenticity to her characters.

Kim’s first novel is an engrossing and well-thoughtout

story about the hidden thoughts and secrets

behind each character, and the responsibility we all

must take for our actions.

Small-Town Thrills

A Review of One Night Gone

By Alexandra Orfetel

Tara Laskowski’s One Night Gone is the perfect book to cozy up with this fall.

Filled with suspense and mystery, Laskowski takes her readers through the

quaint town of Opal Beach as the secrets surrounding a thirty-year cold case

are finally uncovered. In her own Capote-esque style, Laskowski tells the story

of Allison’s growing obsession with the odd disappearance of a headstrong teen

set on finding her destiny. The charming imagery of a mid-1980s summer will

bring back even the youngest of generations to neon carnivals, boardwalks, and

twilight bonfires on the horizon. The smooth twists and turns through warm

summer nights paired with the chilling thrills of riddles and small-town conspiracies

will keep any reader on the edge of their seat.

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit



The Writer’s Center

The Imperial Spy

Tamar Anolic

Vsevolod Ioannovich

Romanov is a member

of the Russian Imperial

family, a Prince of the

Imperial Blood . . . and

a spy against the Nazis.

From Warsaw to Budapest,

Rome to Tsaritsyn,

Vsevolod assumes various

disguises as he infiltrates

the Nazi’s front lines. Soon, Vsevolod

becomes the Nazis’ most wanted man.

Midnight at the Organporium

Tara Campbell

What do a homicidal

houseplant, an enchanted

office picnic,

sentient fog, and the

perfect piece of toast

have in common?

They’re all part of the

world of Midnight at

the Organporium. At

turns droll, wicked,

and surreal, these

tales cover topics from white flight, to the

Princess and the Pea, to marriage in the


Ghost Riders of Cumberland Gap

Ron Chandler

“Ron Chandler’s young

adult novella, Ghost

Riders of Cumberland

Gap, tells the story of

a young cancer patient

who time travels to an

adventure.” - BlueInk

Review. It features

many amazing events

including chasing

wild mustangs in the

highlands, hunting bison, and finding a precious

gift for a fair Indian maiden. Available


Sigga of Reykjavik

Solveig Eggerz

Sigga escapes the farm only to face grinding

poverty in Reykjavik. Supporting her

family as a fish woman

and embroiderer, Sigga

welcomes the World

War II occupation by

Allied forces. But she

must choose between

financially exploiting

the occupation

and protecting her

young daughter from


Dusk and Ember

Robert Jacoby

Can a life come apart

and be rebuilt in one

night? 19-year-old

Richard Issych is about

to find out. One friend

is dead—murdered by

another friend—and all

Richard wants to do is

get to the wake, come home, and start a new

life. But for one life to begin another must


First Cosmic Velocity

Zach Powers

It’s 1964 in the USSR,

and the Soviet space

program is a sham.

While the program has

successfully launched

five capsules into space,

they have never successfully

brought one

back to earth. By turns grim and whimsical,

fatalistic and deeply hopeful, this is a

sweeping novel of the heights of mankind’s

accomplishments, the depths of its folly, and

the people with whom we create family.

Two Mountains: Kilimanjaro to

Quadriplegic and Back

S. Michael Scadron

Four months after

summiting Mount

Kilimanjaro, the tallest

mountain in Africa, the

author Michael Scadron

mysteriously transforms

from vibrant athlete to

wheelchair-bound patient.

Newly wed, his wife Terri faces a future

of full-time caregiving. In this touching tale

of peaks, valleys—and an amazing ascent to

walk again—Michael reflects candidly on the

humbling, humorous, and heartfelt moments

of his life.

Beowulf: fragments

Translated by Stephen O.

Glosecki, edited by John M.

Hill, with a forward by Marijane


Thrym & Ellen Press, 2018

This is a new translation

of sections of the

poem, accompanied by

alliterative prose links

from section to section.

The passages of half-line

by half-line translation

are uniquely faithful

to the ancient diction,

stress, and on-going,

phrasal rhythm of the

Old English epic.


f r a g m e n t s

Translated by Stephen O. Glosecki,

edited by John M. Hill,

with a foreword by Marijane Osborn.

Thrym & Ellen


Emily Holland

The poems in Emily Holland’s

debut chapbook,

published by dancing

girl press, follow an arc

of growth, maturation,

and closure. Beginning

with poems that explore

the Southern pastoral

and pagan femininity,

the chapbook moves into an examination of

queerness and familial lineage, interrogating

questions of identity and tradition.

Advertise Your Book

in Book Talk!

$50 for members of

The Writer’s Center

Winter/Spring Issue

Deadline: October 18

Go to for

more information.

38 The Writer’s Guide Fall 2019







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