Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Summer writing workshops

Since I had a full month working on my second novel at the Saltonstall Foundation Arts Colony last summer and since I promised my girl I'd stick close to home this year and since we have no money even for transportation to anywhere more than an hour or two out of NYC, I didn't apply for any Summer 2009 residencies and for only one conference and that one only if they give me a free ride. It sounds like I'm not the only one holding back, as Poets & Writers reports that applications are way down, so much so that some conferences have been canceled for this year. Here are two writing workshops, though, that are very appealing and that might be affordable.
  • Novelist Tayari Jones is teaching "Tales from the Kidscape," a class about "writing believable stories about young people," June 14-19 at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass. FAWC is not cheap but there are a number of scholarships available so it's worth checking out. Especially since it means a chance to work with this gifted and charismatic author.
  • Then there's the Mount Chocorua Writing Workshop, July 12-17 in New Hampshire. The poetry workshop is led by Sapphire, an artist I admire tremendously. And for fiction there's Ellen Meeropol, who's written among other things Celebrate, a very fine and very moving program about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg that I saw at City Center in 2003 on the 50th anniversary of their execution. She's married to the Rosenbergs' son Robert Meeropol, and is a founding board member of the Rosenberg Fund for Children, which supports the kids of persecuted progressive activists such as, for instance, Mumia Abu Jamal's. Days at Mount Chocorua will be spent workshopping, and in the evenings there are programs. Like this one, which of course looks great to me: "Progressive Politics & Creative Writing: Can they work together to create a literature of social justice?"