Come gather and answer that clarion call to improve the world through a voice only you can offer—whether you’re writing a memoir, a newsletter, or other first-person nonfiction prose—woven through the work is a story of self-clamoring to be told.

Aug 12, 2024 - Aug 16, 2024

Levels: All
Workshop Fee: $1125
Workshop Duration: 1-week (Monday-Friday)
Workshop Location: On-campus
Class Size: 10

“To write as if your life depended on it; to write across the chalkboard, putting up there in public the words you have dredged; sieved up in dreams, from behind screen memories, out of silence– words you have dreaded and needed in order to know you exist.”

Adrienne Rich

The need to write can feel urgent. Maybe you keep pushing off your writing project into the future. Maybe a little voice admonishes that you don’t have anything original and necessary to share. Maybe today’s digital whirlpool of content has you overwhelmed. But still, you are compelled by the unmistakable sensation that writing is a necessity, not a choice. 

This class offers students a chance to write first-person driven work in a supportive environment that challenges them to find specificity and clarity in their written words. This class helps writers (from first-time students to seasoned wordsmiths) write themselves onto the page and over five days on the beautiful Maine Media campus, we will take inspiration from the course title’s namesake, Adrienne Rich, and the various forms that blend combinations of life story, advocacy, and truth to power.

Come gather and answer that clarion call to improve the world through a voice only you can offer. 

This course allows for a range of writing styles that are as varied as the sources mined for motivation. Our common denominator is the first-person viewpoint of the writing combined with a story whose time has come. Whether it’s a rear-view recollection excavated from years past with book aspirations, or a contemporary column reflecting a current worldview, this course can help catalyze, crystalize, and then actualize your voice and story.

Each of our five days I will facilitate dynamic discussions, build in significant writing time, and oversee peer-to-peer feedback in ways that strengthen and refine your work. You will be encouraged to take risks with your writing, find joy in building a community of shared storytellers, and quiet the voice of procrastination once and for all. You will learn how to be more focused as a writer, and more observant as a reader/listener. Bring your favorite writing technologies (from a pen and paper to a laptop, all are welcome!), and the only prerequisite is curiosity and care.

Student Testimonials

“I will sign up for any workshop I can that’s led by Anita. [She is] insightful, careful, sensitive and thoughtful.”

“Anita, your skills with students and content exceeded all expectations – and your ability to create a safe, confidential and caring environment — wow! I think you made each one of us shine.”

“ I loved it all and especially the luxury of so much time to just write. You are a very gifted writer and a teacher. I look forward to our paths crossing again.”

“Anita, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to take this course with you. Your knowledge and presence were an incredible gift. You are impeccable with your words and speak with focused clarity. I felt held throughout the writing journey and deeply considered as a writer in your personalized feedback. Thank you for showing up and for your teachings.”

“I have so much to be thankful to you for—our wonderful community in Maine, the encouragement I felt to start and keep writing, and your practice of thoughtfully and caringly hearing us all out.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have a project already started to attend this class? 

No, not at all. In fact, students are asked to write fresh each morning of the workshop, and not read material during feedback sessions that predates the course. Now, you can certainly come with a project underway and write new material to support that project during the week if you wish—many students have found the course to be a welcome fire under the feet to move an existing project to a new phase. 

Do I need to bring anything in the way of supplies? 

Some students write their pieces longhand, others prefer composing on a laptop. Either is fine, and each student reads their own work aloud, so there is no need for electronic copies to be passed around or printed. 

How much time during the week is devoted to writing? 

Each of the five days there is time dedicated to writing in the morning, with afternoons devoted to feedback. Days 2, 3, and 4 provide the longest stretches (over 2 hours) with Days 1 and 5 having slightly shorter writing sessions. In addition, each day there are shorter free-write sessions built off unique prompts to build the writing habit.

Have any questions about this workshop? Please email the instructor, Anita at [email protected].

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Instructor: Anita Verna Crofts

Anita Verna Crofts is on faculty at the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. Her 2016 memoir published by Chin Music Press, Meet Me at the Bamboo Table, showcased a combination of prose, illustration, and photography. Anita teaches about the interplay of culture, identity, and communication and is the 2021-22 Artist in Residence for the Communication Leadership graduate program, where she offers courses on storytelling, creativity, and the relationship between personal narrative and leadership. Her classrooms are designed to be collaborative spaces that provide substantial time for individual reflection and skill sharpening. Anita’s writings on food and identity have been published in Gastronomica, Saveur, Seattle Met, and Comestible, with a particular emphasis on the preservation of foodways in post-conflict societies as a means of preserving community identity. Her work appears in the four-volume set, Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. Anita is a German Marshall Memorial Fellow, Thomas J. Watson Research Fellow, and serves as a judge for the James Beard Foundation book awards.