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The Writing By Writers Tomales Bay Workshop brings emerging writers into close community with nationally known poets and writers. Classes are limited to 12 participants for manuscript critique workshops and 15 for generative workshops to ensure an intimate setting. 

When:  October 18 - 22, 2023 at Marconi Conference Center, Marshall, California, just north of San Francisco in Marin County.

Tuition:  $1,800 (before April 1) $2,00 (after April 1) includes one four-day workshop, admittance to all panels and readings, and all meals (dinner on Wednesday; three meals Thursday through Sunday; breakfast and lunch on Sunday) and lodging for four nights. Vegan and gluten-free meals are available upon request.

Lodging:  The Marconi Conference Center is located along the east shore of Tomales Bay near the quaint community of Marshall. The location provides dramatic views of the bay and lush inland hills of the Point Reyes Peninsula. Shared DOUBLE smoke-free rooms each have a private full bath, in-room coffee, a study desk, a telephone and free wireless internet access. A limited number of single rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis for a supplemental fee of $900. We discount the price by $500 for people who stay off campus. Disability accessible and equipped rooms are available. Please let us know as soon as possible if you require these accommodations.

Format:  Workshops are held each morning for four consecutive days. The workshops allow participants to work closely with a nationally known writer, to receive constructive feedback from their peers, and to spend four intensive days dedicated to creativity. Afternoons are reserved for panels by our faculty on craft, student readings, and time to write. Evenings feature readings by faculty and special guests. 

Faculty:  Pam Houston, Toni Jensen, Patricia Smith, Lidia Yuknavitch and a forthcoming prose writer.

Faculty

Faculty & Workshops

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Advanced Prose Workshop

Pam Houston

This course will be an intensive and advanced prose workshop. We will focus on what I believe to be the real artistry of prose writing: the translation of the emotional stakes of the story onto its physical landscape; the way we dip our ladles into the bottomless pot of metaphor soup of our lived and witnessed experience and pull out what we need; the way we pick up hunks of the physical world and bring it back to the page, translated into language. My job as a workshop leader is to make and hold a safe space where we can bring our considered, compassionate and critical eye to each writer’s work and discuss how to make each manuscript even stronger. We will be aiming for sentences in which the language is always working in at least two ways at once, where metaphors dance between meanings like beads of water on a too hot grill. We will work toward demystifying some of the essential components of storytelling (image, metaphor, structure, dialogue, character, scene, among others) and turning them into comprehensible tools that are at our disposal. We will, no doubt, be humbled in the face of languages unlimited possibility and well as its limitation. At the same time we will honor (and hope for) the inexplicable flights of creativity (and madness?) that take a good story and make it great. Manuscripts are limited to 5000 words.

Pam Houston is the author of the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, which won the 2019 Colorado Book Award, the High Plains Book Award and the Reading The West Advocacy Award and more recently, Air Mail: Letters of Politics Pandemics and Place coauthored with Amy Irvine.  She is also the author of Cowboys Are My Weakness, Contents May Have Shifted, and four other books of fiction and nonfiction, all published by W.W. Norton. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level on a 120-acre homestead near the headwaters of the Rio Grande and teaches creative writing at UC Davis and at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is cofounder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing by Writers and fiction editor at the Environmental Arts Journal Terrain.org. She raises Icelandic Sheep and Irish Wolfhounds and is a fierce advocate for the Earth.

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Making the Personal Public, Making the Public Personal: A Creative Nonfiction Workshop 

Toni Jensen

In this workshop, we’ll work on how to move an essay or chapter away from the mundane in its form, language and imagery. How do we turn the mundanity of life into the extraordinary? If we’ve experienced, how do we present the extraordinary in a way readers can experience, too, in a way they can believe in? We’ll also discuss how to make the personal larger through research, formal choices, language choices, and also how to bring the broader world into our personal narratives. Manuscripts are limited to 5000 words.

 

Toni Jensen’s Carry is a memoir-in-essays about gun violence, land and Indigenous women’s lives (Ballantine, September 8, 2020). An NEA Creative Writing Fellowship recipient in 2020, Jensen's essays have appeared in Orion, Catapult and Ecotone. She is also the author of the short story collection From the Hilltop. She teaches at the University of Arkansas and the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is Métis.

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Poetry Workshop

Patricia Smith

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Patricia Smith is the 2021 recipient of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for Lifetime Achievement, presented by the Poetry Foundation, and a 2022 inductee of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.  She is the author of nine books of poetry, including Unshuttered (Feb 2023); Incendiary Art, winner of the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the 2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the 2018 NAACP Image Award, and finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize; Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler, a National Book Award finalist; and Gotta Go, Gotta Flow, a collaboration with award-winning Chicago photographer Michael Abramson.  Her other books include the poetry volumes Teahouse of the Almighty, Close to Death, Big Towns Big Talk, Life According to Motown; the children's book Janna and the Kings and the history Africans in America, a companion book to the award-winning PBS series. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Baffler, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Tin House and in Best American Poetry, Best American Essays and Best American Mystery Stories. She co-edited The Golden Shovel Anthology—New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks and edited the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir. She is a Guggenheim fellow, a Civitellian, a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient, a finalist for the Neustadt Prize, a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize, a former fellow at both Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history. Patricia is a Distinguished Professor for the City University of New York, a visiting professor in creative writing at Princeton University,  and a faculty member in the Vermont College of Fine Arts Post-Graduate Residency Program.

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Narrative Constellations: An Alternative to Linear Plot

Lidia Yuknavitch

There are a thousand (or more) ways to tell a story, but we are often funneled down one or two overused paths. In this creative lab we will explore a variety of dazzling storytelling arrangements. Shared work, discussion, generative feedback, and writing ourselves back to life in these weird times. Manuscripts limited to 5,000 words. 

Lidia Yuknavitch is the National Bestselling author of the novels The Book of Joan and The Small Backs of Children, winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award's Ken Kesey Award for Fiction as well as the Reader's Choice Award, the novel Dora: A Headcase, and a critical book on war and narrative, Allegories Of Violence (Routledge). Her widely acclaimed memoir The Chronology of Water was a finalist for a PEN Center USA award for creative nonfiction and winner of a PNBA Award and the Oregon Book Award Reader's Choice. The Misfit's Manifesto, a book based on her recent TED Talk, was published by TED Books, and her new collection of fiction, Verge, was released in 2020. Lidia’s new novel, Thrust, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books on June 28th, 2022. She has also had writing appear in publications including Guernica Magazine, Ms., The Iowa Review, Zyzzyva, Another Chicago Magazine, The Sun, Exquisite Corpse, TANK, and in the anthologies Life As We Show It (City Lights), Wreckage of Reason (Spuytin Duyvil), Forms at War (FC2), Feminaissance (Les Figues Press), and Representing Bisexualities (SUNY), as well as online at The Rumpus. Writing by and through the body, one workshop at a time. She founded the workshop series Corporeal Writing in Portland Oregon, where she teaches both in person and online. She received her doctorate in Literature from the University of Oregon. She lives in Oregon with her husband Andy Mingo and their renaissance man son, Miles. She is a very good swimmer.

Travel
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Travel

The Marconi Conference Center is located on the east shore of Tomales Bay in the town of Marshall, California, 7 miles north of Point Reyes Station.

Workshop registration is on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, from 4:30 to 5pm in Buck Hall. At 5pm we will have a mandatory orientation for all participants. The week will end on Sunday, October 22, 2023, with workshops from 9:00 – 12:00pm followed by lunch and farewells. Please plan your travel accordingly.

Airports:  The Marconi Conference Center can be reached from several Bay Area airports. Both San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Oakland International Airport (OAK) are approximately 60 miles and 1.5 hours from the conference center.  Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport (STS) is approximately 40 miles and 1 hour from the conference center.

Ground Transportation:  All three airports are served by most major car rental agencies and there is parking onsite at the Marconi Conference Center.  For door-to-door shuttles from the airport, Marconi recommends the following companies:

  • Marin Airporter Charter & Tours (415) 256-8830

  • Marin Door-to-Door (415) 457-2717

  • All West Coachlines, Inc. (916) 423-4000

  • Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation 1-800-546-6688

  • Black Tie Transportation 1-800-445-0444

Driving Directions:  Marconi provides recommended driving directions from most points on their website. Please click here.

Ride Sharing:  If you wish to coordinate rides with other workshop participants please use the comments box below.

TIPS FROM MARCONI:

  • All Marconi buildings are non-smoking.  Ashtrays are located at entrances, on decks and on patios of buildings.

  • Guestrooms have bed linens; private bathrooms with towels, soap, drinking glasses, and coffee makers/supplies; clock-radios; flashlights; telephones and free, AT&T WiFi access.

  • The Front Desk sells candy, snacks, drinks, meeting supplies, souvenirs, note cards, postage stamps and a few toiletries. A luggage cart, irons, ironing boards and hairdryers are available. The Front Desk Staff has First Aid equipment, an AED, and directions to medical services.

  • Their self-service Business Center, located in the check-in building, offers our guests two computers with Wifi internet access, two printers, and a photocopier/scanner.

  • Comfortable walking shoes, a waterproof jacket or coat, and a sweater or sweatshirt are recommended. Marconi has no TV, so reading materials are suggested.

  • Campers and motor homes are prohibited from parking at Marconi. Fires, candles, incense and pets are also not permitted.

For additional information please contact us at info@writingxwriters.org.  We look forward to seeing you in Tomales Bay

Workshop Schedule

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18

4:00 – 5:00 pm        Registration, Buck Hall

5:00 – 5:45 pm        Mandatory Orientation*

5:45 – 6:15 pm        Meet Your Workshop

6:30 – 8:00 pm        Dinner

8:15 – 9:15 pm        Faculty Reading

9:15 – 10:30 pm      Reception, Buck Hall Lobby

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19

7:00 – 9:00 am         Breakfast

9:00 – 12:00 pm       Workshops

12:00 – 1:30 pm       Lunch

2:00 – 3:30 pm         Panel Discussion

3:30 – 5:30 pm         Fellowship Winners Reading*

6:30 – 8:00 pm         Dinner

8:15 – 9:15 pm         Faculty Readings

9:15 – 10:30 pm       Reception, Buck Hall Lobby

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20

7:00 – 9:00 am         Breakfast

9:00 – 12:00 pm       Workshops

12:00 – 1:30 pm       Lunch

2:00 – 3:30 pm         Panel Discussion

3:30 – 6:30 pm         On Your Own (writing, hiking etc.)

6:30 – 8:00 pm         Dinner

8:15 – 9:15 pm         Faculty Readings

9:15 – 10:30 pm       Reception, Buck Hall Lobby

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21

7:00 – 9:00 am         Breakfast

9:00 – 12:00 pm       Workshops

12:00 – 1:30 pm       Lunch

2:00 – 4:00 pm         Open Mic Reading (250 words max)*

4:00 – 6:00 pm         Point Reyes Oyster Reception & Reading

6:30 – 8:00 pm         Dinner

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22

7:00 – 9:00 am         Breakfast and Check out

9:00 – 12:00 pm       Workshops

12:00 – 1:00 pm       Sack Lunch, book signings and farewells

*  These events take place in Buck Hall

Schedule

Application Details

Acceptance to the workshop is based upon review of a writing sample (10 pages of fiction or nonfiction/personal essay, or five poems).  Writing samples must be double spaced, using a size 11 or 12 Times New Roman or similar font.

An application fee of $25 is required. If you are accepted to the workshop, your application fee of $25 will be applied to your tuition. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Once you apply you will receive an immediate email confirmation of your application. Sometimes these go into your junk or bulk mail folder. If this happens, please add info@writingxwriters.org to your safe senders list to make sure you get our acceptance notification! If you are accepted, you will be notified of your workshop placement via email and asked to confirm your intention to attend within two weeks by enrolling and submitting a minimum deposit of 50%. The remaining balance is due August 1. Please note, there are a limited number of single rooms and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Fellowships:  WxW offers a limited number of fellowships for the Tomales Bay workshop. Fellowships are highly competitive. The WxW Board reviews each fellowship submission and awards are made on the merit of the writing sample alone. Please do not send letters of recommendation. Fellowships cover the cost of tuition, room and board, but do not cover transportation. To apply for a fellowship, please check the “Fellowship Submission” box on the workshop application. The deadline for fellowship consideration is May 1. We are always seeking funding for additional fellowships. If you would like to sponsor a fellowship, please contact us at info@writingxwriters.org.

Cancellation Policy:  If you cancel by August 1, 2023, your tuition will be refunded minus a $150 cancellation fee. Refunds for cancellations made after August 1 are contingent upon filling your place and will be made only if your place is filled. In the unlikely event that we must cancel a workshop and you do not wish to transfer to another workshop, you will receive a full refund.

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