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Joy Castro

Making the Marble: A Generative Workshop for Writers of Fiction and Nonfiction

Joy Castro, photo by Shae Sackman
Joy Castro, photo by Shae Sackman
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While sculptors can chisel away everything that isn’t the statue, we, as writers, must first make our own “marble”—generate our own new rough drafts, and plenty of them—before we can chisel away all that isn’t art. In this generative workshop, we will use powerful, proven prompts and methods that work to elicit new material. We’ll explore the possibilities of flash pieces, consider how to structure longer work, and discuss traditional and experimental forms.

You’ll have the opportunity to share one piece aloud on our final day, and you’ll leave with drafts of half a dozen new pieces in the genre of your choice. This class is for fiction and nonfiction writers and does not include workshopping of individual submissions. There will be some brief readings to complete in preparation for the discussions. The instructor will meet briefly with each student individually at a mutually agreeable time if they wish to do so.


  • This is an all-levels workshop.
  • Please submit a cover letter that states your interest in this workshop and gives an overview of your writing background and prior workshop experience, if any.
  • The cost is $675. If you are selected to participate in the workshop, a deposit of $300 is required to register, with the balance due by September 30.
  • If you are accepted into a workshop and would like to attend some of the Seminar, a space will be available to you at a reduced price of $300 (you will be notified of this option upon acceptance into the program). The Seminar runs from January 12 – 15.
  • Financial Assistance is available to those who would not otherwise be able to attend—click here for guidelines and/or to apply for a Workshop Fellowship Award.
  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the class is full.



Joy Castro is author of the literary thrillers Hell or High Water, Nearer Home, and Flight Risk; the short fiction collection How Winter Began; the memoir The Truth Book; and the essay collection Island of Bones, which received an International Latino Book Award. Her historical thriller about the 19th-century Cuban anti-colonial insurgency in Key West, One Brilliant Flame, is forthcoming in January 2023.

Castro is editor of the Machete series in literary nonfiction at the Ohio State University Press and edited the anthology Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family. She is currently the Willa Cather Professor of Ethnic Studies and English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she directs the Institute for Ethnic Studies.