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2001 Seminar
Writers' Workshops

The Workshops are sold out. You may register to be put on a wait list.
CREATIVE NONFICTION
January 8 - 11, 2001

The Creative Nonfiction Workshops will afford writer participants an opportunity to examine, in depth, the writing of creative nonfiction with writing teachers specially chosen for their interest in creative nonfiction (including science writing) and their experience in teaching the form. This Science & Literature: Narratives of Discovery Seminar will be preceded by several writers' workshops; each will be limited to twelve participants to ensure individual attention and will feature four days of intensive morning workshops, afternoon private consultations, and evening events. Workshops are designed to support writers of all levels of ability, published and non-published. Each workshop has its own entrance requirements. Workshops may be taken independent of the seminar, though participation in both the seminar and the workshop is strongly encouraged.

Applicants choose one of the workshops for the entire four day session. Sorry, it is not possible to do more than one workshop. Other workshop selections may be added; please bookmark this page and check our web site from time to time.

Workshops will begin Monday morning, January 8, 2001, 10:00 A.M. There will be an optional orientation dinner, Sunday, January 7, 7:00 P.M.

To register, please go to the Workshop Registration Page.

The cost of the four day workshop is $400 ($430 with tax); the cost of the Seminar and Workshop is $725.63. (The seminar is now sold out; if you are registered for the seminar, you qualify for the combined rate. We are taking a waiting list for the seminar.)

Please direct any questions to: Miles Frieden, Executive Director 1-888-293-9291 (toll free) Email workshops@keywestliteraryseminar.org


Workshops' Schedule
Workshop/Event
Day
Dates
Time

Orientation Dinner

Sunday Jan. 7th 7:00 PM
Writing the Healing Narrative
  with Paulette Bates Alden

TBA TBA TBA
Finding the Story and Nurturing It
  with Alan Cheuse

TBA TBA TBA
Creative Nonfiction: Style and Substance
  with Lee Gutkind

TBA TBA TBA
Science Non-Fiction
  with Richard Panek

TBA TBA TBA
The Writer, the Editor, the Agent and the Teacher
  with Tim Seldes and Susan Shreve

TBA TBA TBA

Workshops
New Workshop
"WRITING the HEALING NARRATIVE"

with Paulette Bates Alden
Email: (info@paulettealden.com)
Web Site: www.paulettealden.com

Register for this workshop

Paulette Bates Alden
Paulette Bates Alden

“What is any story but a form of hope?” Richard Jackson

For people who want to take the raw material of their life experiences and shape it into narratives that have the power to move and heal. The desire to tell one’s story is an ancient and honorable one. Instinctively people feel the need to express and communicate what has happened to them, how it felt, what it means. Unlike the flux of life itself, stories have form - a beginning, middle, and an end. By writing our stories fully and complexly - whether in memoir, short stories or novels - we have the opportunity to gain control over painful material and come to a symbolic resolution which can help us heal and move on. Paradoxically, writing is a way to both hold on - in the sense of honoring and even memorializing our losses - and also to let go. Once we have found the right images, details, language and structure, and have created a story, a concrete object, a work of art, we feel emotionally relieved.

Participants in this workshop will be invited to write their stories and will be introduced to elements of a healing narrative drawn from recent research and other writers’ experiences as well as the instructor’s. The instructor will offer helpful exercises on how to get started and keeping going, how to shape stories, the use of metaphor and imagery, and how to trust one’s own sense of what to do. Participants will read examples of literature dealing with loss, mourning and healing, share their work-in-progress with a respectful group of fellow writers, have an individual conference with the instructor, and take time for themselves.
“As it happens, this morning before I started working on my description of ‘Writing Healing Narratives,’ I worked on a healing narrative of my own - an autobiographical short story called ‘Lost Lake’ about the time my husband and I took my mother to a cabin for what turned out to be her last vacation away from the nursing home. We came home after one night. Life did not offer any particular moments of grace on that occasion, which may be why I'm now writing the story. In ‘Lost Lake,’ Miriam (me) cannot make the decision to leave after only one night, even though she knows she has to. She flees down to the lake and lies down on an old dock. ‘She was so tired. It felt as if she had been fighting a losing battle for years - well, the three years she had been taking care of her mother. She had been bailing and bailing, but still her mother was sinking, going down. If only she could rest a moment…. The worn wood of the dock felt so warm. She shut her eyes. Summer days, lost lakes, memories, her mother, everything flowed together in the soothing murmur of water all around her. Maybe dying wasn't so bad after all. After the long struggle, the holding on. But then the letting go, the floating. The sense of being held up, received… Miriam opened her eyes. How blue and beautiful the sky was, a whole lake itself! The blue of memory, the blue of forgetting, a whole blue lake of eternity where nothing ever ended, nothing was ever lost….’ Now of course in “real” life I didn't go lie down on that dock; but I did in the story. And it made me feel better. It made me feel I understood my own experience, the real, true experience underneath what had actually “happened.” I don't call that remembering, I don't call it imagining, I call it writing.”
Biography: Paulette Bates Alden is the author of Feeding the Eagles, a collection of autobiographical short stories, and Crossing the Moon, a memoir that recounts her own initial ambivalence about motherhood, embarking on a course of infertility treatment, and coming to terms with not having a child. The book also touches a wide array of other issues: aging parents; being raised Southern and female in the fifties; tradeoffs between a life of work and one devoted to nurture; coping with grief and loss. She is currently working on a "memoir in stories" about, among other things, taking care of her mother who has dementia. Her work as appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, Mississippi Review, The Antioch Review, and elsewhere.

She was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where she received her Masters in Creative Writing and taught for three years as a Jones Lecturer in Creative Writing. The recipient of numerous awards, including a Loft-Mcknight Award, a Bush Foundation Fellowship, and a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, she has taught extensively, including graduate level courses in memoir reading and writing at the University of Minnesota, where she received a distinguished teaching award, at Carleton College, at St. Olaf College, and at the Split Rock Arts Program in Duluth.

Paulette led a workshop last year for the 18th Annual Key West Literary Seminar, THE MEMOIR. We're delighted to have her back for a second year. She lives in Minneapolis, where she teaches privately and does individual manuscript critiquing via the Internet at www.paulettealden.com.

What students say about Paulette Bates Alden:

"Paulette is an excellent instructor - well-organized, welcoming, extremely competent, humorous, gentle, manages her classroom exquisitely. She generously opened her personal library to us. She's very encouraging - both by praising our efforts and taking us seriously enough to challenge us to perform more complete work. Not only was it important to her that we receive the assistance we needed for this class, but that we see ourselves as writers in that we put our immediate work into a larger context."

"Best writing workshop/course I ever attended and believe me, I've seen a few!"

"Excellent knowledge of subject area; excellent control of group; great empathy for difficult disclosures; honest feedback - astute; excellent helpful hand-outs; I feel like I'm getting help from a master writer."

"Paulette is a wonderful teacher - patient, informative, clear, articulate and helpful. She does a nice job of balancing didactic information, stimulating discussion and giving constructive feedback. She creates an atmosphere where others feel their thoughts and opinions are heard and respected."

"Paulette has been a wonderful resource and offered valuable insight and criticism which has served to deepen and significantly improve my writing. She has a gift for helping a writer identify what it is they truly want to say in a work, and helping them recognize when they are (or are not) giving voice to that message."

New Workshop
"FINDING the STORY—and NURTURING IT"

with Alan Cheuse
Web Site: http://web.gmu.edu/departments/writing/cheuse.html

Register for this workshop

Alan Cheuse
Alan Cheuse
Photo by Neil Adams
Life is not enough, or else we wouldn't be trying to write about it. In this workshop, we'll isolate and define and develop narrative strategies for creating stories from life, both fiction and nonfiction. We'll use brief exemplary examples by some recent greats, and from your own desk. Think of this as a week's excursion into one writer's studio, and an opportunity for identifying the methods for--and overcoming the difficulties of--establishing your own best approach to writing:
  1. First Meeting — Finding the uncommon story in the everyday stuff of
  2. life.
  3. Second Meeting — Details, details! Building your own story.
  4. Third Meeting — The Awful Middle. How to extract the most
  5. out of your material.
  6. Fourth Meeting — The Writers Meat Thermometer, or How to Know When Your Story is Done.
Biography: Alan Cheuse is a fiction writer and essayist, the author of three novels, among them The Light Possessed and The Grandmother's Club, several collections of short stories, and a memoir, Fall Out of Heaven. His short fiction has appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, Antioch Review, Ploughshares, and other magazines. His articles and essays have been published in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, Redbook, and The San Diego Reader, among other places. With Nicholas Delbanco, he edited Talking Horse: Bernard Malamud on Life and Work. With Caroline Marshall, he edited two short story anthologies, The Sound of Writing and Listening to Ourselves. The latest collection of his short stories is Lost and Old Rivers. His book of essays and literary reportage--Listening to the Page: Adventures in Reading and Writing, will be published in the autumn of 2001.

Cheuse lives in Washington, D.C. His experience includes work as a journalist, speech-writer, and social worker. Since 1970 he has taught literature and writing workshops at a number of colleges and universities, including Bennington, the University of the South, the University of Virginia, and the University of Michigan. He currently teaches in the writing program at George Mason University, and serves as book commentator for National Public Radio's evening news-magazine All Things Considered.

New Workshop
"CREATIVE NONFICTION:
   STYLE AND SUBSTANCE"

with Lee Gutkind
Web Site: http://www.creativenonfiction.org

Register for this workshop

Lee Gutkind
Lee Gutkind
Write your own story—or capture someone else's—in a compelling and meaningful way. This workshop will focus on the architecture of the essay, how to look at what you write with the double and different perspective or both reader and writer. Blending information and personal insight with compelling stories will be a primary objective.

Biography: Lee Gutkind, founder and editor of the popular journal, Creative Nonfiction, has performed as a clown for Ringling Brothers, scrubbed with heart and liver transplant surgeons, wandered the country on a motorcycle and experienced psychotherapy with a distressed family—all as research for eight books and numerous profiles and essays.

His award-winning Many Sleepless Nights, an inside chronicle of the world of organ transplantation, has been reprinted in Italian, Korean and Japanese editions, while his most recent nonfiction book, An Unspoken Art, recently published in the Republic of China, was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. The University of Southern Illinois Press recently re-issued Gut kind's book about major league umpires, The Best Seat in Baseball, but You Have To Stand! which USA Today called "unprecedented, revealing, startling and poignant."

Former director of the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh and currently Professor of English, Lee Gutkind has pioneered the teaching of creative nonfiction, conducting workshops and presenting readings throughout the United States, Europe and Australia. Also a novelist and film maker, Gutkind is editor of The Creative Nonfiction Reader (a series of anthologies, from Tarcher/Putnam), Emerging Writers in Creative Nonfiction book series from Duquesne University Press and Director of the Mid-Atlantic Creative Nonfiction Writers' Conference at Goucher College in Baltimore. Most recently, he has been mentoring editors and reporters at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C.

New Workshop
"SCIENCE NON-FICTION"

with Richard Panek

Register for this workshop

Richard Panek
Richard Panek
The subject of science can be a daunting one for readers and writers alike, yet few subjects are as potentially exciting and dramatic as the human mind challenging itself to figure out something altogether new about the universe. The purpose of this course will be to help hopeful science writers--whether “outsiders” or scientists themselves--learn how to make the process of exploration and discovery come alive. Since this process is often an interior one, we'll focus on two main objectives: working from the outside in to make the subject navigable for yourself; then working from the inside out to make the subject accessible to your reader. And since these are objectives familiar to any writer of creative nonfiction--journalism that uses narrative devices to tell a story with the same seemingly effortless ease as fiction--we'll also review, through in-class exercises, such fundamental skills as choosing a point of view, ordering and outlining raw material, creating character through action, and locating the telling detail. Workshop participants should submit in advance a manuscript (not necessarily on a scientific topic) of no more than ten pages, double-spaced.

Biography: Richard Panek is the author of Seeing and Believing: How the Telescope Opened Our Eyes and Minds to the Heavens, a cultural history of one scientific instrument and how it changed our understanding of our place in the universe over the past four centuries. In addition to contributing a monthly astronomy column to Natural History magazine, he has also written about science for the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Outside, Lingua Franca and World Book Encyclopedia.

Before discovering (much to his surprise) the pleasures of science writing, he was the author of Waterloo Diamonds, the true story of an Iowa minor league baseball franchise's struggle for survival, as well as a PEN Award-winning writer of short fiction whose stories appeared in Ploughshares, several newspapers and anthologies, and on National Public Radio. He's currently completing another book on a scientific topic for a general audience, The Invisible Century: Einstein, Freud and Our Search for Hidden Universes.

New Workshop
"THE WRITER, THE EDITOR, THE AGENT AND THE TEACHER"

with Tim Seldes and Susan Shreve

Register for this workshop

Susan Shreve
Susan Shreve


Timothy Seldes
Timothy Seldes
Susan Shreve and Tim Seldes have each given very successful workshops at the Seminar. This year they have agreed to teach a workshop together. Tim was Susan's agent; Tim is now Susan's husband. They know the business inside out. And even more amazing, they like working together.

We will focus on workshop submissions and discuss with writers the various ways of looking at manuscripts from the point of view of a teacher, an agent, and an editor. In the process we will also explore the ways in which writers, editors and agents interact and provide practical suggestions for manuscript improvement and placement. We do not anticipate doing in class exercises. This workshop is intended for advanced writers only, though previous publication is not a prerequisite. Applicants MUST submit 10 pages of a work in progress.

Biography: Timothy Seldes has spent most of his professional life in book publishing; beginning with 17 years at Doubleday where he was the Managing Editor of the Trade Department. He also worked at Harcourt Brace, the New American Library and Macmillan. Outside of book publishing, he was Assistant Publisher of The New York Post and the Public Information Officer of The Welfare Island Development Corp. He was Chairman of the Board of Poets & Writers for many years. Since 1972, he has been the President of Russell & Volkening, Inc., a literary agent which represents such authors as Annie Dillard, Marian Wright Edelman, Nadine Gordimer, Jim Lehrer, George Plimpton, Howell Raines, Dan Schorr, Ntozake Shange, Anne Tyler and Eudora Welty.

He is married to the author Susan R. Shreve (who was with the Seminar in 1999 for the American Novel, as a moderator and workshop leader) and divides his time between Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Biography: Susan Shreve was the founder of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at George Mason University and served as its director for three years. She has been a Professor of English Literature at George Mason for twenty-two years.She has been a Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton, Columbia, Bennington and George Washington University, as well as a Bread Loaf Writing Fellow and Staff. In addition to her works of fiction, Susan has written twenty-three books for children published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and William Morrow, among others. From 1985-1995 she wrote and delivered short documentary essays for the MacNeil Lehrer News Hour. Her novel "Daughters of the New World" was seen as a four part mini-series produced by Warner Brothers in the Fall of 1998. "A Country of Strangers" has been optioned for film and "The Visiting Physician" is in development as a new series for NBC.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • A Fortunate Madness, Houghton Mifflin, 1974
  • A Woman Like That, Atheneum, 1977
  • Children of Power, Macmillan, 1979
  • Miracle Play, William Morrow and Co., 1981
  • Dreaming of Heroes, William Morrow and Co., 1984
  • Queen of Hearts, Simon and Schuster, 1987
  • A Country of Strangers, Simon and Schuster, 1989
  • Daughters of the New World, Doubleday, 1992
  • The Train Home, Doubleday, 1993
  • Editor with Marita Golden of an anthology of essays and stories, Skip Deep: Women and Race, Doubleday, 1995
  • The Visiting Physician, Doubleday, 1996
  • Editor with Porter Shreve of an anthology of original essays on justice, Outside the Law: Narratives on Justice, Beacon Press, 1997
  • The first of a series of books, including How We Want to Live: Narratives on Progress, 1998.


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