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The Center @ Miami Dade College Announces 2014 Writers Institute


Miami, February 12, 2014 - The acclaimed Writers Institute, presented by The Center for Literature and Theatre at Miami Dade College (The Center @ MDC), runs Wednesday through Saturday, May 7 – 10, featuring four days of intensive workshops on fiction, nonfiction and poetry, as well as lunchtime readings  and manuscript consultations. All workshops will be offered at MDC’s Wolfson Campus, 300 N.E. Second Ave., downtown Miami.

The popular, free Pitch-O-Rama session, a rare opportunity to share work and get valuable feedback from literary agents and other industry professionals, will take place from 2 – 4 p.m., at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Participation in the Pitch-O-Rama is free and open to the public by signing up, on a first come, first served basis. Writers Institute registrants may sign up beginning at noon, on Saturday, May 10. Non-registrants may sign up beginning at 1 p.m., on Saturday, May 10. 


The Spirit and Craft of Poetry

Instructor: Richard Blanco

Wednesday through Friday, May 7 – 9, from 2 - 5 p.m.

The workshop will first focus on some of the essential elements of crafting a poem, namely: imagery, construction of the line and stanzas, rhythm, and poetic closure. In addition, it will explore the manner in which poetry is also a spiritual journey to reach oneself and others, how a poem's emotional center and spiritual reason for being affect its relative success or failure. Students will critique each other's work with a balanced focus on both the spirit and craft of poems. For all levels.

Prepping Your Novel for Prime Time

Instructor: Judy Sternlight

Wednesday through Friday, May 7- 9, from 2 - 5 p.m.

Completing a draft of a novel is a major accomplishment, but no book is finished without revision. What are the areas to refine before showing your work to agents, editors, publishers or the general public? Drawing on participants' manuscript samples and brief synopses, this interactive class will touch on the importance of the opening pages, narrative tension, pacing, dialogue, descriptive language, and more. This workshop will provide you with tools to fine-tune your manuscript. 

*Participants should submit the first ten pages of their novels as well as a 100 word description of the novel (in the style of copy that appears on the back of a paperback cover) by April 18 to Nicole Swift at

The First 20 Pages: Establishing Voice, Method and Narrative Stakes at the Beginning of Your Memoir 
Instructors: Bill Clegg and Jill Bialosky

Thursday and Friday, May 8 - 9, from 2 - 5 p.m.; Saturday, May 10, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

With people, you only get one chance to make a first impression. It’s the same with a manuscript. This workshop will concentrate on the opening pages of a memoir manuscript with a focus on establishing voice, method and narrative stakes. The workshop will include a combination of manuscript feedback and examining examples of how other writers have started their memoirs. 

*Participants should submit the first 20 pages of their memoirs by April 18 to Nicole Swift at


Nonfiction and the Craft of Storytelling

Instructor: Amy Stewart

Wednesday through Saturday, May 7 – 10, from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

The best nonfiction reads like a novel. Even when reporting facts, the writing is stronger when we understand how characters, conflict, drama, plot, and setting come together to create a story. This class borrows storytelling techniques from novelists and applies them to memoir, creative nonfiction, reported journalism, history, and other forms. We'll study examples tailored to the participants' projects and do in-class exercises to help shape their work into a compelling narrative. 

*Please submit a one-page synopsis of a current writing project by email to Nicole Swift at no later than April 21. 


Creating Fictional Art

Instructor: Robert Olen Butler

Wednesday through Saturday, May 7 – 10, from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

This workshop will focus on the creative process for beginning or advanced writers. It will cover topics such as what is art; what is distinctive about the way the artist addresses the world, the inner self, and the objects to be created; and what are the essential characteristics of fiction. These essentials are best explored — especially in short workshops — by proposing an aesthetic theory of the short short story, both as a distinct art form and as a paradigm for the crucial beginning pages of any effective work of fiction. During the workshop, the students will write exclusively in the short short form. Students must read the instructor’s book, From Where You Dream, before the workshop. 


Creatividad Periodística: El Arte de Preguntar (Workshop IN SPANISH)

Instructor: Andres Correa Guatarasma

Wednesday through Friday, May 7 – 9, from 6 – 9 p.m. Saturday, May 10, from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

MDC Wolfson Campus, 300 N.E. Second Ave. 

This Spanish-only workshop focuses on basic reporting and the art of interviewing. The interview process is a communication tool that can be valuable in many ways and across many disciplines. The workshop will serve as a platform to help anyone learn “the art of asking,” or in other words how to obtain information ethically and in an efficient way through human interaction and its diverse modalities.    



Three-day workshops are $250 (includes lunch Wednesday to Friday); four-day workshops are $300 (includes lunch Wednesday to Friday); any two workshops for $450; manuscript consultation is $80.

Early-bird registration begins April 2 (register by this date and enter a drawing to win a free manuscript consultation). Last day to register for a workshop is April 28.   

Space is limited. Register as soon as possible to secure your space. Payment must be received at time of registration and must have cleared at least five business days prior to the first day of class. Please note registration deadlines for each course.

The Writers Institute Refund Policy

Please note that because enrollment in most workshops is limited to 15 students, we must have ample time to seek and register a replacement should you be forced to cancel your registration. For that reason, the deadline to cancel your registration for any workshop or lecture and receive a full refund is Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Refunds may not be available after that date.


Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino Florin, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366,, media specialist
Kai Hill, 305-237-3359,, media specialist

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.