CWW Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat (March 14-17) Schedule Announced! Apply by February 28, 2019

Apply to the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans (March 14-17, 2019) Writing Retreat by February 28, 2019 on! Known for its Spanish and French architecture, live jazz, Cajun food, and street festivals, New Orleans offers an inspirational and one-of-a-kind experience for writers. Our retreat features multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write.

The faculty includes award-winning writers & playwrights: Stephen AubreyCarly Dwyer, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. All genres welcome. Genres include playwriting, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. This year, we will also be exploring writing for live action roleplay (LARP) theater with an expert. The cost of the retreat is $1200, which includes tuition, lodging, and some meals. Due to limited seats, early applications are encouraged. Applications are due February 28, 2019.


Deadline: February 28, 2019

Schedule & Classes:

Emotion and Suspense in Theatre, Poetry, and (Non)Fiction
with Rita Banerjee

Plato argues that human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.  And before staging Kalidasa’s The Recognition of Śākuntalā, the director challenges his actress-lover: “As though in a painting, the entire audience has had their emotion colored through your melody.  So now—what shall we perform to sustain the mood?”  In this class, we will explore how creating vivid emotional worlds between characters and within storylines can build suspense, sustain drama, and lure the reader deeper in. Whether you’re currently working on a short story, novel, screenplay, theatrical play, lyrical essay, memoir, or narrative poem this class will help you craft a unique emotional landscape

Weirding the World
with Stephen Aubrey

“My mind affects my reality.” -Farad’n Corrino (in Frank Herbert’s Dune)

Every piece of writing is an act of imagination, another world passing before you in time and space. Language is only one part of this world. The rest is space. And before we populate this space, we must create it. In this class, we will discuss the basics of world-building and, through guided exercise, explore the spaces in which our writing takes place, interrogating our own implicit assumptions and expectations of what is possible in our imagined universes.

The Situation and the Story
with Stephen Aubrey

When we write, we usually start from something: a character, a setting, a phrase, an event. And we usually have an initial sense of where things will end up (even if we’re eventually wrong about that). But to get from that establishing moment to a satisfying denouement requires an unfathomable number of decisions about structure, character, point of view, and information flow. These decisions are what carve story out from situation. This class will focus on how one can create effective narrative and character arc by tackling the important decisions every writer must make.

LARP Theatre: No End In Sight
with Carly Dwyer

Description: LARP-Theatre creator Carly Dwyer will take you through a condensed series of exercises she has devised for creating complex playable characters that inhabit the worlds of her live action role play based theatre pieces. Instead of creating characters who travel through an arc, larp writing requires developing characters with complex characteristics and details that allow the character to exist wholly in their world, but for whom their story has no predetermined ending. Combining theatre exercises with writing prompts, research and fieldwork, this class will have you on your feet, in your head, and out in the world.

Featured Faculty:

Stephen Aubrey is a Brooklyn-based writer and dramaturg. He is co-artistic director and resident playwright of The Assembly theater company. His plays have been produced at The New Ohio Theater, The Living Theater, The Flea Theater, The Collapsable Hole, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His writing has appeared in Electric Literature, Publishing Genius, and The Brooklyn Review. He teaches creative writing and literature in the CUNY system.

Carly Dwyer is an experienced director, educator and designer passionate about intersectional learning opportunities and sustainable creative economies. She uses immersive LARP theater as a way to challenge audience boundaries, to provide opportunities for audience autonomy in the story, and to explore the limits of their capabilities from within our worlds. Through collaborations with the venues and communities she works with, she helps organizations diversify their engagement and innovate the way the public interacts with their business.


Rita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018).  She is the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, March 2018),which was named one of Book Riot’s “Must-Read Poetic Voices of Split This Rock 2018”, was nominated for the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and was selected by Finishing Line Press as their 2018 nominee for the National Book Award in Poetry.  Banerjee is also the author of the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and she is a recipient of a Vermont Studio Center Artist’s Grant, the Tom and Laurel Nebel Fellowship, and South Asia Initiative and Tata Grants. Her writing appears in the Academy of American PoetsPoets & Writers, Nat. Brut.The ScofieldThe Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Tahoma Literary Review, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. She is the Director of the MFA in Writing & Publishing program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, an Associate Scholar at Harvard, and the judge for the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest. She is currently working on a novel, a documentary film about race and intimacy, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.

Diana Norma Szokolyai is a writer and Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. Her edited volume, CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, will be released by C&R Press in May 2018.  She is author of the poetry collections Parallel Sparrows (honorable mention for Best Poetry Book in the 2014 Paris Book Festival) and Roses in the Snow (first runner-­up Best Poetry Book at the 2009 DIY Book Festival). She also records her poetry with musicians and has collaborated with several composers including David Krebs (US), Robert Lemay (Canada), Claudio Gabriele (Italy), Peter James (UK), Jason Haye (UK), and Sebastian Wesman (Estonia). Diana Norma is a founding member of the performing arts groups Sounds in Bloom, ChagallPAC, and The Brooklyn Soundpainting Ensemble. Her poetry-music collaboration with Flux Without Pause, “Space Mothlight,” hit #16 on the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015, and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive. Her work has been recently reviewed by The London Grip and published in VIDA: Reports from the Field, The Fiction Project, Quail Bell Magazine, Lyre Lyre, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, The Dudley Review and Up the Staircase QuarterlyThe Million Line Poem, The Cambridge Community Poem, and elsewhere, as well as anthologized in Our Last Walk, The Highwaymen NYC #2, Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Always Wondering, and Teachers as Writers.  She is currently at work on her next book and an album of poetry & music.  Diana Norma holds a M.A. in French (UCONN, La Sorbonne) and an Ed.M in Arts in Education (Harvard).