Current & Upcoming

STLWW & R2R Workshops

Workshops: Spring 2020

STLWW—Escribir en español: si yo puedo, tú puedes. (un taller en español)


El STLWW tiene el placer de ofrecer un taller completamente en español con Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

En 1982, el Premio Nobel de Literatura colombiano Gabriel García Márquez le confesó a Plinio  Apuleyo en su libro "El olor de la guayaba" que escribir era "el oficio  más solitario del mundo", ya que "nadie puede ayudarle a uno a escribir  lo que está escribiendo". Se refería, por supuesto, al drama personal de "vivir para contarla", tal como García Márquez terminaría titulando su autobiografía.

Con todo respeto hacia nuestro querido "Gabo", un genio de las letras hispanas y universales, en el siglo XXI escribir también puede ser el oficio menos solitario del mundo, sin dejar de ser una experiencia muy personal, íntima e intransferible. Conocer, aplicar, e incluso criticar las técnicas poéticas y narrativas que conforman cualquier texto literario, sin duda nos ayudará a desbloquearnos en tanto autores, de manera que seremos capaces de expresarnos con total belleza y libertad, sin extraviarnos en los laberintos del lenguaje y sus límites.

Ayudarte a ti, en este viaje de descubrimientos deslumbrantes hacia ti mismo y el contexto que te rodea, es el objetivo de este taller de escritura en español. No estás solo. No estamos solos.

Durante seis encuentros con frecuencia semanal, cada jueves de 6:30 a 9:00 pm, te espero en la Ethical Society de Saint Louis, para analizar tus textos ya en proceso creativo, así como para debatir esas otras ideas que ni siquiera te atreves a escribir todavía. También discutiremos muchas cuestiones teóricas y técnicas que son útiles para intentar el gran salto de escritor aficionado a escritor profesional.

¡Sean todos muy bienvenidos a este espacio abierto!

Seis semanas
Miércoles, 8 abril – 13 mayo 2020

6:30 – 9:00 pm CST
The Ethical Society, St. Louis, MO, USA
Faculty: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
Enrollment Cap: 12
Tuition: $185*

(*We are delighted to offer this workshop at a reduced tuition rate of $185 through the generosity of outreach funding.)

STLWW—Between Wilderness and Clarity: Tuning Tension in Poetry

Photograph of a leaf by Michele Heather Pollock, Lost Lake Studio

Join Faculty Fellow and award-winning poet Traci Brimhall for this workshop designed to advance your poetry as well as inform and enhance your overall writing craft.  

Every writer has strengths, but we often tend to over-rely on what we already know we do well. In this workshop, we will focus on how to create a balance of tension in poems.  

We will look at poems that model a balance of tension between clarity and wilderness, narrative and music, emotion and intellect.  We will then use exercises to generate new work that balances our inherent strengths by employing vocabulary, syntax, and tonal choices we normally shy away from.  We will also diagnose our own tensions. 

If you have a natural gift for image and metaphor, what happens when you incorporate philosophy or meditation? If you tend to write simple, declarative sentences, how would your work change if you wrote a poem in a single, long, winding sentence and focused on the musicality of language rather than clarity? Sign up for a tune up!

A reading and open mic will immediately follow the workshop, so please consider sharing what you have tuned or another piece.

One-day Workshop

18 April 2020

2:00 – 5:00 pm CST

Reading & Open Mic Immediately Following

.Zack, St. Louis, MO, USA 

Faculty: Traci Brimhall, PhD

Enrollment Cap: 15

Tuition: $89

STLWW—Constructing the Story World: Exploring Craft Elements of the Short Story


"You become a different writer when you approach a short story. When things are not always having to represent other things, you find real human beings begin to cautiously appear on your pages.”  ~Zadie Smith

Join Faculty Fellow Red Samaniego for this workshop designed to advance your mastery of particular craft elements of short fiction.  Writing is a way of making the world, and in this class we will focus on how to construct entire fictional words (universes, even, if you should so choose) in short formats such as the short story and micro fiction. 

Each class will tackle a specific craft element of short fiction (such as narrative arc, the epistolary form, and endings), and will include several writing prompts as well as optional take-home assignments to experiment with our new found skills and techniques. 

Participants are welcome to bring in drafts they would like to re-envision, but the class will focus primarily on the generation of new material.  We will examine fiction by Sandra Cisneros, Roxane Gay, Octavia Butler, Toni Jenson, Annie Proulx, and Jorge Luis Borges, among others, for guidance on how to approach these shorter forms.  

Each student will have the opportunity to receive written feedback on their creative work and to leave the class with a complete draft of a new short form piece.

Five-Week Workshop

Thursdays, 23 April 21 May 2020

6:00 – 8:30 pm CST

St. Louis, MO, USA

(location details available 14 Feb)

Faculty: Red Samaniego, MFA

Enrollment Cap: 12 

Tuition: $265

R2R—Reach & Receptivity: Getting the Most Out of Writing Workshop Feedback (all genres)


"I meet people all the time who know more than I do, and they constantly tell me what it is I have written."  ~Rebecca Wells

Whether you are new to writing workshops   or you are a seasoned workshopper , join Joanna Beth Tweedy for this opportunity to learn how to maximize the workshop experience.   

The workshop is open to writers of all levels and genres who want to develop a work-in-progress or generate brand-new work.  Participants will learn how to offer and receive appreciative, constructive criticism as well as productive feedback that deepens and enhances both writer and receiver's understanding and capacity. 

In addition to learning how to give and receive feedback (more) effectively, participants will receive structured feedback from fellow writers as well as the instructor.

The workshop is designed to remain small and personalized—and to help you make the most of writing workshops.

Three-Week Workshop 

Thursdays, 5 March 19 March 2020 

5:00 – 6:30 pm CST 

Sallie Logan Library 

Murphysboro, IL, USA

Faculty: Joanna Beth Tweedy, PhD 

Enrollment Cap: 8 

Tuition: $84*

(*We are delighted to offer this workshop at a reduced tuition rate of $84 through the generosity of outreach funding.)

R2R—Texturing the Truth: Fiction-Writing From Facts


"Great stories happen to those who can tell them." ~Ira Glass

Is there a snippet from real life, an idea, or perhaps a family story, that you'd like to transform into a work of fiction? 

Join Amy Sayre Baptista for this workshop where imagination meets experience.  Offered over two nights, this workshop will cover the elements of craft (plot, setting, character, etc.) and is open to writers of all levels seeking to bring forth a work of short prose. 

Students will learn writing, research, and revision techniques in a supportive and creative environment.  Tell your story.

Two-Week Workshop 

Thursdays, 7 May & 14 May 2020 

6:00 – 8:30 pm CST 

Springfield, IL, USA

(location details available 14 Feb) 

Faculty: Amy Sayre Baptista, MFA 

Enrollment Cap: 10 

Tuition: $84*

(*We are delighted to offer this workshop at a reduced tuition rate of $84 through the generosity of outreach funding.)

Workshop Faculty: Spring 2020

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo


Photographer and writer Orlando Luis was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1971. Trained as a molecular biochemist at Havana University and the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, he is the author of five books of fiction and is also a columnist for Diario de Cuba (Madrid), El Nacional (Caracas) and Sampsonia Way Magazine.  

As an editor, he has compiled two anthologies of contemporary Cuban fiction translated into English and his writing has also appeared in Cuba Encuentro, Penúltimos Días, All Voices, In These Times, Qué Pasa, and several other international publications.   He is webmaster for the blogs Lunes de Post-Revolución and Boring Home Utopics, and he has worked for the cultural magazine Extramuros as well as several independent Cuban digital magazines, including Cacharro(s), The Revolution Evening Post, and Voces

Orlando came into conflict with the Cuban government in 2009 when he attempted to publish his short story collection, Boring Home, which was censored by the Letras Cubanas publishing house. He was arrested on three occasions and prevented from leaving the island by Castro’s secret police. Finally allowed to leave Cuba following the advent of migratory reforms launched by the government of Raul Castro, he entered the U.S., where he was a guest writer of the City of Asylum Project site in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He later organized País de Píxeles, the first independent photodocumentary festival in Cuba, and his photographic work was profiled by David González of The New York Times.  

Traci Brimhall, PhD


 Traci Brimhall is the author of four collections of poetry: Saudade (Copper Canyon Press); Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton), winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award.  Her next collection—a hybrid of essays and poems, Come the Slumberless from the Land of Nod—is forthcoming from Copper Canyon in 2020.

Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Believer, The New Republic, Orion, and Best American Poetry 2013 & 2014.  She’s received fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and the National Endowment for the Arts.  She’s the Director of Creative Writing at Kansas State University and lives in Manhattan, KS.

Red Samaniego, MFA


  Red Samaniego is a fiction writer raised near the US-Mexico border. They were a Hattie F. Walker Scholar at the Fine Arts Work Center, the 2019 Sandra Cisneros Fellow at Under the Volcano, and a Finalist for the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards in 2020. They are currently a Teaching Fellow in Fiction at Washington University in St. Louis and are at work on a novel. 

Joanna Beth Tweedy, PhD


 An ardent foreign-adventurist with chronic and gravitational home-soil leanings, Joanna Beth is the founding editor and host of Quiddity (NPR  Illinois) and a co-founder of Confluence Collaborative.  She serves as the lead writing faculty at the Center for Values-Driven Leadership and teaches at WGU.  

Joanna Beth has presented widely throughout the United States and  internationally on her research interests, which include flourishing,  leadership, publishing, linguistic dialects, and writing.  Publications include a novel and two book-length works on creative poiesis and  leadership from (respectively) Southeast Missouri University Press, Benedictine University, and the University of Delhi.   

She lives and loves in a foothilled fraction of the Ozarks steeped in the wonders of nature and the blessings of generations. 

Amy Jo Sayre Baptista, MFA


Amy is an author and recipient of numerous awards for her poetry and fiction, which have appeared in The Best Small Fictions, Ninth Letter, The Butter, and Alaska Quarterly Review, among others. 

Her collection, Primitivity, is a Black River Competition Winner (Black Lawrence Press, 2019).  

A SAFTA fellow, a CantoMundo Poetry fellow, and a fiction scholarship recipient to the Disquiet Literary Festival in Lisbon, Portugal, Amy is also aco-founder of Confluence Collaborative.    

She holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, has taught at Benedictine University as well as in a variety of outreach venues, and she currently teaches Humanities at WGU.

In the Works: Forthcoming Workshops

Jumpstarting the Novel: Key Components to Creating & Sustaining Book-Length Stories


 Have you always dreamed of becoming a novelist but you don’t know how to start? Or have you been working on a book and now you’re blocked and can’t seem to move forward? Or do you have a novel draft and you’re seeking a community of other writers with whom you can share and receive input? 

This workshop focuses on writing activities that address key components of creating and sustaining a book-length story.  Engage in writing exercises and share ideas with fellow writers to inspire greater creativity and receive reader input.

Leveraging the Writing Workshop to Boost EI & Develop Sought-After Leadership Characteristics


Research is demonstrating how writing workshops develop sought-after leadership characteristics like empathy, emotional intelligence (EI), and inclusive thinking and practices.  

Active participation in writing workshop models of reception and response also build the brain’s capacity to cohere competing functions—a state of synthesis that has been demonstrated to build new ways of thinking and more inclusive ways of thinking.  

In this workshop, participants will learn about the research and experience it through creative-writing workshop immersion, using the appreciative model of reception and response as a guide.

This workshop is ideal for senior leaders with a desire to develop individuals and inclusive practices in their organizations. 

Ecopoetics: The Poetry of Ecology


This workshop is designed for those interested in developing works about the environmental, ecology, and the interrelated connections to the whole of the natural world.  The workshop's content will explore the notion of justice, being vs. having, and the ontology of human-centric ethics.

Brand-new works and works-in-progress are welcome; these can include poetry, non-fiction, fiction, or something in between.  Participants will share and receive feedback in a group setting. 

Ekphrasis & Beyond: Writing Inspired by the Visual & Performing Arts


Ekphrasis is a term often used to to describe written work that is inspired by visual art.  

This workshop will focus on developing new and in-progress works that are inspired by the visual and/or performing arts—including but not limited to music, performance poetry, sculpture, video, multimedia arts, etc. 

The workshop will conclude with performance readings and an open mic.

In Development & On the Horizon...


More workshops are on the horizon and in development, including the following topics:

poetry, fiction, ekphrasis, publishing, poiesis, podcasting, performance poetry, writing and leadership development, and the neuroscience of writing.

We are delighted to welcome new Faculty Fellows A.D. Carson, Angie Macri, Jim Warner, John McCarthy, Jonathan Travelstead, Lisa Higgs, Meagan Cass, Millicent Borges Accardi, Red Samaniego, and Traci Brimhall.

List of Workshops & Faculty

Workshop Titles & Topics


Between Wilderness and Clarity: Tuning Tension in Poetry

Composing a Poetry Collection

Constructing the Story World: Exploring Craft Elements of Short Fiction

Creative Writing for Middle School Students

Ecopoetics: The Poetry of Ecology

Ekphrasis & Beyond: Writing Inspired by the Visual & Performing Arts

Escribir en español: si yo puedo, tú puedes. (un taller en español)

Fiction Writing for High School Students

Flash Fiction: Crafting the Short Story 

Fundamental Components of the Short Story

General Fiction Writing Workshop: All Genres Welcome

Imaginative Writing

Jumpstarting the Novel: Key Components to Creating & Sustaining Book-Length Stories

Leveraging the Writing Workshop to Boost EI & Develop Sought-After Leadership Characteristics

Leveraging the Writing Workshop’s Capacity for Brain Coherence, Inclusion, & EQ

Memoir in Miniature

Performance Poetry


Poetic Model of Response Workshop

Poetry: Formed & Free


Prose Poetry


Reach & Receptivity: Getting the Most Out of Writing Workshop Feedback

Texturing the Truth: Fiction Writing From Facts

The Art of Writing the Very Short Story

The Elements of Fiction

The Elements of Poetry

The Memoir

The Neuroscience of Writing 

Veteran Writers Workshop

Wild Writers: Environmental Writing Workshop

Writing and Leadership Development

Writing from Real Life

Writing the Long Poem


A.D. Carson, PhD
Amy Jo Sayre Baptista, MFA
Analeah Rosen, MFA
Angela Mitchell, MFA
Angie Macri, MFA
Denise Pattiz Bogard, MFA
Emily Grise, MFA
Heather Luby, MFA
Jim Warner, MFA
Joanna Beth Tweedy, PhD
John McCarthy, MFA
Jonathan Travelstead, MFA
Kimberly Lozano, MFA
Lisa Higgs, MFA
Margaux Wexberg Sanchez, MFA
Meagan Cass, PhD
Millicent Borges Accardi, MFA
Myrta Vida, MFA
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Red Samaniego, MFA
Ryan Krull, MFA
Sarah Kuntz Jones, MFA
Tina Shen, MFA
Tanya Seale, MFA
Traci Brimhall, PhD


Who are the workshops intended for?

Beginning, emerging, and established writers participate in our workshops.  The majority of workshops are designed and personalized to accommodate both exploration and mastery of the topic covered.  

Participants have included published writers, “rusty” writers, and writers who need a jump-start.  Participants come from a wide variety of backgrounds and include graduate students, teachers, lawyers, physicians, technical professionals, CEOs, musicians, retirees, and full-time parents.  We also offer special teen workshops for young writers. 

The main criteria for all participants are the desire to write, the willingness to share their voice in a workshop setting, and an openness to the receptivity of others in the setting, which will inform their work. 

Do you offer classes for adolescents and teens?

Yes, we try to offer workshops for middle- and high-school students during the summer months.  

What can I expect in a workshop?

Workshops are designed to help writers advance works-in-progress and generate new work.  Faculty offer feedback and help participants give quality, constructive criticism that deepens and enhances both the writer and receiver's understanding and knowledge.

Workshops are intended to give structured feedback to writers in a setting that is professional but also comfortable and inclusive. We are thrilled to team up with the Kranzberg Foundation in this endeavor.  

Most of our regular workshops are capped at 10-15 participants, although larger, special-event classes are occasionally offered.  The workshop description will note the enrollment cap.

How do I sign up for a workshop?

Fill out the contact form below and let us know your payment preference (online or check).  We can send you a PayPal, Venmo, or payment link.  Or you may mail a check if you prefer.  

Please note that seats cannot be guaranteed until payment is received.  One we receive your payment, we will contact you by email to confirm and send additional details.  

I signed up for a workshop but have a conflict. What should I do?

Please contact us immediately using the contact information we sent in the confirmation email you received.  There is often a waiting list for our classes, and the sooner you let us know you are dropping, the sooner we can offer a fellow writer your seat.  

If you notify us within 21 days before the first day of the class, we will refund your tuition; after this time, tuition will only be refunded if another writer is able to enroll as a result of your cancellation. Otherwise, tuition will not be refunded.

I signed up for a workshop but cannot make one or more of the workshop dates. Will you alter the schedule or adjust tuition for me?

Regretfully, no.

Do you offer one-on-one coaching or editing services?

We do not, but we would be happy to refer you to coaches or editors you can connect with to inquire about additional personalized instruction, writing development, or editorial services.  Fees vary among coaches and editors.


Registration Form

We look forward to seeing you in workshop!

To register, fill out this form.  If you prefer to pay online, we will send you a PayPal link unless you specify another online payment method.  You may also pay by check if you prefer (e-check or mail a check).  

Please note that enrollment cannot be guaranteed until payment is received.  One we receive your payment, we will contact you by email to confirm and send additional details.  

Please let us know if you have questions or need assistance with the enrollment process.