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Madison Smartt Bell

Finding Your Feet in the First Novel: Moving from Short Form to Long

Madison Smartt Bell
Madison Smartt Bell, photo by Jerome De Perlinghi
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This workshop is now full. You can still apply to be considered as an alternate.

workshop description

This workshop is designed to help short story writers figure out how to adapt their craft skills to the full-length novel. How does one manage the telling of a story too large to be contained and completed in the unconscious, intuitive chamber of one’s mind? For writers who may be struggling to get a foothold in the long form, options of linear and modular design will be considered. This workshop is very much about adapting available techniques to the special nature and needs of the particular project. First novelists are especially invited, but since every novel requires a new beginning, more experienced novelists are also welcome to apply.


Click here to apply via Submittable

•     Please submit a brief letter about your interest in the workshop, a 10-20-page writing sample (double-spaced), and a description of the long-form work in progress or in contemplation, in whatever form is congenial (synopsis, outline, notes, drawings, etc.).

•     The cost of the workshop is $550. If you are accepted, a $100 deposit will be required to hold your place within a week of acceptance, with full payment due by December 1.

•     Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the class is full.

Financial Assistance is available to those who would not otherwise be able to attend—click here for guidelines and application.

about Madison Smartt Bell

Madison Smartt Bell is the author of twelve novels, including The Washington Square Ensemble (1983), Waiting for the End of the World (1985), Straight Cut (1986), The Year of Silence (1987), Doctor Sleep (1991), Save Me, Joe Louis (1993), Ten Indians (1997) and Soldier’s Joy, which received the Lillian Smith Award in 1989. Bell has also published two collections of short stories: Zero db (1987) and Barking Man (1990).

Bell’s eighth novel, All Soul’s Rising, was a finalist for the 1995 National Book Award and the 1996 PEN/Faulkner Award and winner of the 1996 Anisfield-Wolf award for the best book of the year dealing with matters of race. His most recent novel is Behind the Moon.

Born and raised in Tennessee, he has lived in New York and in London and now lives in Baltimore, Maryland. A graduate of Princeton University (A.B 1979) and Hollins College (M.A. 1981), he has taught in various creative writing programs, including the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. Since 1984 he has taught at Goucher College, along with his wife, the poet Elizabeth Spires.