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FCLA Offers Four Days of Intensive Writing Workshops

Distinguished Workshop Leaders Include a National Book Award Winner

Miami, April 2, 2009 - The 2009 Writers Institute’s creative writing workshops, presented by the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami Dade College (MDC), offers budding writers the opportunity to learn the craft and how to get published on fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir, and more taught by distinguished visiting writers. The Institute runs from May 6 - 9, at MDC’s Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami.

In addition to the intensive three and four-day workshops, there will be briefing lectures, manuscript consultations, a literary happy hour, and daily lunchtime readings. Back by popular demand is the rollicking “Pitch-o-rama,” where writers can practice the art of 30-second pitching for free before a panel of literary agents and other industry professionals. Participation in the Pitch-o-rama is free and open to the public.

A complete list of workshops being offered:

Writing Memoir with Esmeralda Santiago
Meets daily:  Wednesday, May 6 - Saturday, May 9, 9 a.m. - noon
Santiago will guide participants in the art of memoir writing. She will discuss structure, how to be your own editor, how to find your authentic voice and how to cultivate the discipline to be a writer. Be ready to write and share your stories. The participants’ works will shape the dialogue.

Opening Up the Poem with Mark Doty (this class is full)
Meets daily, Wednesday, May 6 - Saturday, May 9, 9 a.m. - noon
Developing poets often complete their poems before they’ve investigated the complexities and potentiality of their material. This workshop is designed to help poets open up their poems by practicing strategies for extension. Participants will read poems together, practice in-class writing and talking about how to extend their reach. 

Revision for Fiction and Nonfiction with Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Meets daily, Wednesday, May 6 - Saturday, May 9, 9 a.m. - noon

This workshop focuses on understanding the stories or chapters written by the participants, re-visioning them, analyzing their current structures, and then polishing them through a review of the exposition, development of characters, dialogue, setting and point of view. Students will leave the workshop with a better sense of their strengths and weaknesses, and strategies for improvement.

Understanding Plot with Lynne Barrett
Meets daily, Wednesday, May 6 - Friday, May 8, 6 - 9 p.m.
Understanding plot is a guide to the heart of your story and helps with revisions. The workshop will cover the basics of plot and structure, and then go more deeply into strategies for assessing and re-plotting the work. Students will also look at recognition, reversal, scenic development, active characters, the presentation of time, use of place, and resolution. These concepts apply to fiction, creative nonfiction, drama, and any form that uses story.

Navigating Fictive Distance with Percival Everett
Meets daily, Wednesday, May 6 - Friday, May 8, 2 - 5 p.m.
How to achieve enough distance from fact to make a story work? What is the writer’s job, and is there any debt owed to actual fact? This workshop explores the nature of story using the students’ own work and in-workshop exercises. The point will be to expand notions of narrative and story.

Writing Short Stories that Sing with Steve Almond
Meets daily, Wednesday, May 6 - Friday, May 8, 2 - 5 p.m.
This workshop focuses on how to create short stories that rise into the lyric register with a focus on pushing characters into emotional danger, those moments when they truly reveal themselves in their full human measure. Participants will discuss stories by the masters, including Tobias Wolff, Joyce Carol Oates, and Donald Barthelme. Expect a candid discussion of the mistakes young writers make, and several take-home exercises.

Hard-boiled Investigative Techniques All Writers Should Know with Pete Collins
Meets daily, Wednesday, May 6 - Friday, May 8, 6 - 9 p.m.
In fiction, facts are necessary to create a believable universe. In nonfiction, missing facts or lack of detail can sink a story. For both, you need real, multi-dimensional characters. Learn old-school journalistic and private eye techniques, including observation, interviewing, how to investigate using government and other sources, what works and doesn’t on the web. Pain & Gain will be a case study.

Daily Briefing Lectures:

You've Written a Book, Now What? With Andrea Askowitz and Anjanette Delgado
Wednesday, May 6, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Special Bonus Session! FREE
Writers welcome to attend this Daily Briefing Lecture for free. No registration required!

They say you never forget your first book. Learn what the publishing experience was like for recently published authors Andrea Askowitz and Anjanette Delgado, who will share the intimate details of how it all happened—what they loved, hated and would do differently the second time around. Plus their marketing plans, public relations strategies, guerilla tactics, book tours, and other aspects of their hot-off-the-presses careers.

Top Ten Reasons Why You Need An Editor with Emily Heckman
Thursday, May 7, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Many aspiring authors think their manuscript is revision-proof, but even the most seasoned writer can benefit from a skilled second set of eyes. Independent editor Emily Heckman—who’s worked with best-selling authors like Stephen King, Mary Higgins Clark, Ann Rule and Jeffery Deaver—shares her top ten reasons for hiring an editor. Learn what types of editing services are available in the market—from developmental and line editing to proposal development. Heckman will also share insight gained as an acquisitions editor for major publishing companies.

Recession-Era Publishing: An Agent's POV with Joëlle Delbourgo
Friday, May 8,| 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
As the economy plummets, the publishing world takes a tumble too. But how is the recession really affecting the publishing industry and what writers need to know to make sure their careers don’t follow the housing market? Seasoned agent Joëlle Delbourgo will analyze the current state of the publishing world, dole out recommendations for published and yet-to-be-published authors, and make predictions for the months and years ahead.

Workshop Fees:

• One three-day workshop: $225 (includes lunch Wednesday — Friday)
• One four-day workshop: $250 (includes lunch Wednesday — Saturday)
• Any two workshops: $400
• Daily briefing lectures: $40 each
• Manuscript consultation: $80
• The whole enchilada – any two workshops, all daily briefings, plus one manuscript consultation for $525.

Manuscript consultation fees go toward supporting the programs and initiatives of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts. MDC employees and students enrolled in a degree seeking program receive a discount on all workshops. For more information, please call 305-237-3023.

Registration for the Writers Institute is ongoing, though space is limited. Some events are on a first-come basis and some classes require early submission of manuscripts. Visit the FCLA website to view bios on the guest authors. 

For more information on fees and deadlines, call 305-237-3940 or visit the center’s website at

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
ethnicity, pregnancy, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, or genetic information.
Contact the Office of Director, Equal Opportunity Programs, ADA and Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for assistance.