Join us for a one-day creative writing workshop!

typewriter-have-a-wonderful-dayDo you want to jumpstart your writing? Try a different approach? Lift yourself out of your rut (not that I’m assuming you’re in one)?

Fellow writer Brad Zellar and I will be teaching two one-afternoon creative writing workshops in Northfield, MN on Saturday, April 10.  We’d love to see you there. Here are the details.

Workshop #1: Writing from Place
Date and Time: Saturday, April 10, 1-5 p.m.
Location: Northfield Public Library, Division Street, Northfield, MN
Cost: $50 (includes all materials)

Recall some of your favorite books. What part did the setting and landscape play in making these books unforgettable? Is there a place in your own life that haunts you, that is inextricably bound with your memories and the experiences that made you who you are? All writing, no matter the subject or genre, is made more powerful by a powerfully-evoked setting. This oneday intensive class will help you conjure places of great meaning to you, whether beautiful or ugly, real or imagined, and translate that power onto the page.

Through a series of guided writing exercises, discussion, and analysis of both published and peer writing, you’ll come away with insights and techniques for conjuring place, whether from your own life or a fictive world. This workshop is designed for writers of fiction, memoir, poetry and essays. Open to anyone, all experience levels welcome.

Brad Zellar, a writer, editor, photographer, and former bookstore owner, is the recipient of a 2010 Minnesota State Arts Board grant. His journalism, fiction, poetry and photography have been published in a variety of newspapers, magazines, journals, and anthologies. He is the recipient of awards from The Society of Professional Journalists, The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, and the Minnesota Magazine Association. Zellar is the author of “Suburban World: The Norling Photos” (Borealis Press, 2008), which the Coen brothers used as a primary setting reference for their most recent movie, A Serious Man.

Workshop #2: The Order in Which It’s Told
Date and Time: Saturday, April 10, 1-5 p.m.
Location: Northfield Arts Guild, 304 Division Street, Northfield, MN
Cost: $50 (includes all materials)

Our clocks and calendars say we live our lives in a linear fashion, but certainly not our hearts and minds. How can you use different chronologies to create the strongest possible story? A story told from the point of view of an eighty-year old man recollecting his twelfth birthday could begin in the middle of the birthday, then flash forward sixty-eight years. Or, it might start on the old man’s deathbed and work backward. An entirely different tone will be set in the story, depending on where in time the writer places the narrative and emotional emphasis.

Through writing exercises, published examples, and discussion, we’ll work with the role of chronology in structuring a piece of creative writing. This workshop helps writers clarify how they want to use time, and the sequencing of key events in their prose writing.

Alison McGhee is a #1 New York Times bestselling writer and Pulitzer prize nominee who writes novels, essays, picture books and poems for all ages. She is the recipient of many awards, including four Minnesota Book Awards, a Best Books for Young Adults award, and three Booksense 76 picks. She is also a professor of creative writing at Metropolitan State University.

To register for either class, please email me at Each class limited to 15.


  1. beryl singleton bissell · March 15, 2010

    This sounds wonderful. I am going to try to make it!


  2. Alan King · March 26, 2010

    Here’s an essay on a young poet’s journey through craft and the lessons learned along the way. Please read it at


  3. Lucy · May 12, 2010

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s