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Kate Moses

Object Lessons: Uncovering the Story in Real Things

Kate Moses, photo by David Goldwasser
Kate Moses, photo by David Goldwasser
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workshop description

Level: Intermediate-Advanced

“No ideas but in things,” William Carlos Williams famously wrote, but we might also say that there can be no story without “things” – concrete, real-world details and images. In this prose workshop we will focus the magnifying lens of attentiveness on the raw material that life has entrusted to us – whether that means an iconic family heirloom, a watershed moment in history, an unforgettable work of art, or a life glimpsed through the amber of time – to discover the innate power of our “things” and the narratives they contain and invite. We will discuss examples of fiction and creative nonfiction revealed through indelible images, and use daily exercises to fan the flames of story from the kindling fires of our individually inspiring subjects.

This workshop is designed to be more generative and/or process-deepening in scope than revisionist, though writers with works in progress are welcome. All participant will have the opportunity for a one-on-one conference to discuss their projects outside of workshop hours.


This workshop is no longer available.

•    Please submit a brief letter outlining your desire to take the workshop, including a description of the “thing” you wish to explore (with photos or other documentation, if available), along with a 2-8 page writing sample (fiction or creative nonfiction).

•     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.

•     All confirmed participants will be expected to read works for discussion assigned by the instructor in advance of the workshop.

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

about Kate Moses

Kate Moses is author of the internationally acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath, published in fifteen languages and recipient of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and a Prix des Lectrices de Elle, and Cakewalk, A Memoir, chosen by NPR as one of their favorite memoirs of 2010. She is also co-editor of two bestselling, award-winning anthologies of essays on motherhood: Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood and Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race & Themselves. Both anthologies were the offspring of Salon’s popular pioneering daily feature “Mothers Who Think,” of which she was a founding editor during the internet’s infancy. The Fayum Portraits, a novel inspired by a 2,000-year-old Egyptian memorial painting, is in progress.

Moses has received a Lannan Literary Fellowship, an American Book Award, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, fellowship residencies from the Djerassi Foundation, Karuna Writer’s Residency, the Lighthouse Works, and the MacDowell Colony. A longtime editor and teacher, she now works with writers and offers workshops and retreats at Birds & Muses. She lives in upstate New York.