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826michigan Writers Conference 2011
Ann Arbor, MI
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826michigan Writers Conference 2011
826michigan Writers Conference 2011
June 2-5, 2011
115 East Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

The 826michgain Writers Conference is a place for writers to examine and  explore their creative process in a supportive community. Writers will engage in critical discussion in workshops and benefit from classes led by some of the  most accomplished writers in the country. All aspects of creative writing and the writer's trade, in general, are covered. Our goal is to support and encourage writers by providing them with an affordable, sustaining learning environment and the highest in teaching excellence to deepen and enrich their art.

The 826michigan Writers Conference 2011 offers individual classes and hands-on manuscript workshops. Non-workshop conferees can attend individual classes at a cost of $25 each. Workshop conferees can submit a manuscript to be critiqued by the professional workshop faculty and by fellow members of the workshop. The cost for participating in a workshop is $340 and the cost allows workshop conferees to attend any or all of the individual classes at no extra cost. Admittance to workshops is based on manuscripts submitted and the completion of the application form available in the conference brochure. Workshops are held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10:00AM.


Daniel Mueller -- Writing About and Through Psychological Trauma  (Friday, June 3, 2:00 - 3:00 pm)

If much research supports the therapeutic value of writing about and through the traumatic experiences we undergo in life, why are they so difficult to narrate coherently and what can we learn from the study of psychological trauma that will help us as writers committed to rendering traumatic experiences convincingly and well?  In this course we will draw on one of the seminal works in the field, Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman, as well as excerpts from Maus I and II and several short works of fiction and creative nonfiction in order to see whether the symptoms of trauma, seemingly antithetical to clarity, might nonetheless serve as structural attributes in narratives in which trauma is sustained.

Betsy Lerner -- The Title  (Friday, June 3, 3:00 - 4:00 pm)

Before a reader even reads a line of your work, there is the title. Is it beautiful, dreamy, intriguing, in-your-face, or mysterious? Like a book in a store, does it make you want to pick it up? Does it sound like a hundred other titles or is it unique? Does it make a promise? Suggest a story? Hook you? And more important, what does your title mean? Is it the key to your book or ornament? When you thought of it, was it a place holder, or was it galvanizing? In this workshop, you will have the chance to fly your title up the flagpole and get real live feedback.

John Drury -- Poetry as Method Acting: Dramatic Monologues and Dialogues  (Friday, June 3, 4:00 - 5:00 pm)

What does a poet gain by impersonating someone else--or even something else, as Louise Gluck does in her poems from the point of view of flowers in The Wild Iris? How do other poets, such as Randall Jarrell, Ai, and Rita Dove, do it? How can the "method" of actors such as Marlon Brando help? What are the advantages of using the back-and-forth of dialogue? How can we learn to tell our own stories, and expand our imaginative range, through the voices of others?

Margo Rabb -- How to Plot A Novel (Or At Least Attempt To.)  (Saturday, June 4, 2:00 - 3:00 pm)

Most writing workshops primarily address short stories. How do we make the transition from writing a 20-page short story to tackling a mammoth being that can sprawl on for hundreds of pages? Is it best to outline, to improvise as one goes along, and is it wise to workshop a novel at all? Looking at genre novels as examples, we'll discuss some plotting methods that can tame the mammoth being and make it behave (or at least try to.)

Joyce Dyer -- Memories, but What Else?  (Saturday, June 4, 3:00 - 4:00 pm)

Memoir, of course, features a writer's memories. The genre relies on personal stories we tell about our pasts. But memoir is not just storytelling and anecdote. It is not merely a transcription of the stories that remain in our heads, and it is seldom a chronological narrative from beginning to end. This talk and discussion will explore other components of memoir that are relevant and necessary, including discovery (investigative memoir), reflection, and imagination. Abundant examples from nonfiction literature and from theorists will be alluded to, and specific issues of craft that support the introduction of these elements will be explained and illustrated in practical ways.

"The First Page" a MINI-WORKSHOP with Betsy Lerner $25  (Saturday, June 4, 4:00 - 5:00 pm)

The first page is like a first impression: you only make it once. Many editors and agents will know in a few sentences or paragraphs if they are intrigued enough to read further. How do you know if your first page is "working?" What do we know at the end of your first page to make us want to read more? Bring your first page and we will put ourselves in editor/agent shoes and help you determine if you've got it right or need to make adjustments.

Participation is limited to 25 people with first pages to be critiqued. An unlimited number of conference participants can observe at no extra charge.

FULL THREE-DAY PROSE WORKSHOPS -- $340 (cost includes admission to any or all of the individual writing classes)
FULL THREE-DAY POETRY WORKSHOP -- $225 (cost includes admission to any or all of the individual writing classes)                                

**Margo Rabb's Novel Writing Workshop will be conducted Thursday, June 2 through Saturday, June 4. All other workshops will be conducted Friday, June 3 through Sunday, June 5.**

Joyce Dyer -- Writing about Your Life

Participants will be asked to read and critique memoirs written by each person in our group.  These memoiristic essays--self-contained or a chapter from a book--will be distributed to group members before arrival.  Our meetings will focus on the manuscripts of our members.  We will, of course, respond to each memoir in terms of general literary concerns common to all genres--structure, voice, style and technique, image and description--but the group will also pose questions that are at the heart of this particular genre, and necessary if publication is desired.  Does the writer understand the nature of memory, and its fallibility?  Is the writer sufficiently reflective in her essay, finding out things on the page that were hidden to her when the writing began?  Does the writer think, as well as narrate?  Is the writer comfortable with a degree of uncertainty and inconclusiveness, or does she feel she needs to teach a lesson or give advice? Does the author go beyond memoir, making his essay universal enough so that readers feel it was written for them--an act of a generous ego, not a narcissist?  Does the author psychoanalyze herself sufficiently, or does she shy away from probing analysis?  Does the author begin to see the significance of the memories he recounts to some larger version of his life than he had before?  Are there additions readers think would benefit the manuscript--other stories or new information about a character? Are there any signs of fear buried in the pages--fear of what others might think, fear of telling the truth?  We will look hard, in other words, at not only what is on the page, but what is off the page, or written in a code the author alone can't decipher yet.

Margo Rabb -- How to Survive Writing A Novel (this workshop is conducted Thursday, June 2 through Saturday, June 4)

Students already working on a novel and those with only an idea for one will find help in this workshop. Through manuscript critique, students will address the various problems involved in beginning and sustaining work on a novel and develop strategies for revising and eventually completing their own novels in progress. Students may submit up to the first ten pages of a novel and. There will also be craft discussions and writing exercises. We will be working on synopsis during the class, since that's a great way to help students focus on the plot and structure of their novels.

John Drury -- Poetry Workshop

The workshop will encourage poets to try on the masks of dramatic monologues. We will pay attention to the little things that make a big impact on the reader, in particular detailed images, imaginative connections, the authority that facts convey, and the music of natural speech.

Daniel Mueller -- Casting a Long Shadow: Building Dimensionality into Short Fiction

What differentiates fiction from lyric poetry, painting, and photography is the dimension of time, and yet as fiction writers we often draw upon aesthetic principles associated with these other art forms.  In this workshop, in addition to analyzing stories in terms of structure, content, and style, we will look to image and the interiority of characters for revision strategies.



115 E. Liberty
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
United States

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Arts > Literary
Education > Classes
Education > Workshops

Minimum Age: 18
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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