Past Workshops

jean-cocteauManuscript Revision Workshop
with Rita Banerjee

Location: Online, Conference Class
Sundays 10 am – 12 noon EST, March 31 – May 25, 2014,

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop invites writers of all genres (poets, fiction and nonfiction writers, dramatists, essayists, technical writers, and critics) who are working on creative writing manuscripts to join our Manuscript Revision course. In the course, writers who have finished a book-length manuscript or are close to finishing one, will workshop their writing with a group.  The workshop will be limited to 8 writers, and during each week, writers will workshop one manuscript only.  Information on submissions, creating treatments for books, and engaging with literary agents will also be reviewed. Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process will be used during workshop meetings.

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thumb_salonCWW Brooklyn Literary Salon
April 13 & 27; May 11 & 25; June 8 & 22, 1-3pm
Hosted at Wild Ginger Pan-Asian Vegan Café

Hosts: Diana Norma Szokolyai, Jonah Kruvant, & special guests

“Come enjoy a cup of tea, some fine vegan cuisine, and literary talk. Meet other writers and people from the publishing & editing world. Discussion topics, writing prompts, literary games, and suggested reading lists will be provided by the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop facilitator. Participants will also be encouraged to share resources and writing with each other. Special guests will share their expertise from various sectors of the writing/publishing field. The salon is meant to be discussion-driven and is not meant to be ‘taught’ in the traditional sense. Participants in the literary salon will be encouraged to share their views, engage in lively debates, and contribute their own ideas on topics.

Sample topics of discussion:

1. What are the advantages/disadvantages to being a writer in New York City?
We will share information on local reading series, resources, literary festivals, etc. We will also share and discuss some disadvantages such as too many choices, lack of alone time, lack of nature and green space, etc.

2. How has the indie movement affected the literary world?
We will discuss small presses, DIY book tours, and self-publishing.

3. Let’s consider the “Aha! Moment” versus “writers block”
The Aha! Moment (see Jane Hirshfield on this topic in Jan 2013 P&W)
Writer’s block ( suggested reading: Around Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance by Roseanne Bane)

4. Literary Agents
We will discuss when to get one, what they are looking for, and the advantages/disadvantages of getting one.

5. New forms of writing
We will discuss new and emerging forms of writing such as flarf, flash fiction, blogs, etc.

6. Literary Brooklyn
Recommended reading: Literary Brooklyn: The Writers of Brooklyn and the Story of American City Life by Evan Hughes

We will discuss writers from Walt Whitman to contemporaries such as Jhumpa Lahiri, Jennifer Egan, and Jonathan Safran Foer who have made Brooklyn home.  We will also share and discuss literary venues and historical sites.

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fiction_course_webART OF FICTION:
Character Development and the Other
with Ian Singleton

Location: Online & Mission Creek Café, 968 Valencia Street, SF
Dates: Sundays 3-6pm PST, March 17, 2013 – May 26, 2013

Creating and developing a character, no matter how autobiographical, is difficult. Though writing down one’s experience may seem easier, in the end a writer has to look closely and objectively at her character. A writer has to treat a character as an “other,” although there may be pieces of the writer in each character. This class will introduce various aspects of character development. Students will use contrasting environments and unfamiliar situations, as well as “other” voices and perspectives to understand the deep desires and fears of their characters. Any of the exercises may develop into a longer, well-developed story for the latter half of the class. Alongside workshopping each participant’s stories, we will read and discuss the work of well-known writers, developing and using our descriptive commentary skills for constructive critique and using the class community to give each participant vital feedback about her work.

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translation_course_webTranslation and the Art of Writing
with Ian Singleton

Location: Online & Mission Creek Café, 968 Valencia Street, SF
Dates: Sundays 3-6 pm, June 9 – July 14, 2013 (6 weeks)

Translation, often a matter of taste, involves factors such as accuracy to the original word and translation of an author’s, even a text’s, style. The cultural literacy needed to understand and translate a joke or a folk saying makes translation a more complex task than plugging words into a translator. In this course students will delve into the art of translation by comparing and contrasting two different versions of five classic works and using translation to inspire and motivate new craft techniques and writing practices within their own work.

Reading transnational literature (for example, a novel with Russian-speaking characters speaking in English dialogue representing what they would be saying in Russian) will also inform this study of translation. Why does a writer use the original language here and translate a foreign language elsewhere? Transnational texts such as War and Peace and Ulysses involve several languages mixed together, or use different languages or hybrid languages and exist on the border of two cultures such as A Foreign Woman by Sergei Dovlatov and The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Notions of multilingualism and cultural perspective in translations will apply to the students’ own creative writing. Readings will be provided for all course participants.

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jadesylvanLove and Desire Across Genres
with Jade Sylvan

Location: Online
Dates: Saturday October 27 – Saturday November 24, 2012 * 1-3 pm EST

Love and desire are two of the most universal themes in literature. From Dante’s Inferno and the Tale of Genji to Casablanca and Annie Hall, love stories make up some of the world’s most enduring works of art. Let’s face it. We want to write about wanting.

This workshop will explore techniques to help us tackle these subjects from numerous artistic forms. Individual workshops will focus on page poetry, flash, spoken word, songwriting, and screenplay/teleplay. We’ll also discuss how each unique approach can help inform and improve the others, making us stronger writers all-around. Sample works include authors such as Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Robert Hass, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Quentin Tarentino, Hayao Miyazaki, Aimee Bender, Yusef Komunyakaa, Allen Ginsberg, and John Irving.

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