Master of Fine Arts in Writing
SpaldingCon: Post-graduate Writers’ Conference
November 15-17, 2018
SpaldingCon is a post-graduate writers’ conference held during the MFA program’s fall residency. The conference begins with registration and brunch at 11 a.m. Thursday, November 15, and ends about noon on Saturday, November 17. Attendees can build their SpaldingCon experience around a workshop or treat it as a writing retreat with the option of a full novel or script manuscript review. Either way, plenty of other activities are included.
- option to participate in a faculty-led workshop or a writer’s retreat with a novel or script manuscript review
- lectures by MFA faculty and guests, including profession of writing sessions
- special topic, two-hour workshop with Silas House
- Celebration of Recently Published Books by Faculty, which will include readings by Silas House, Debra Kang Dean, and Neela Vaswani
- reception with MFA faculty and staff
- lunch with alumni, SpaldingCon faculty, and MFA staff
The registration deadline is Friday, September 14. The early-bird price of $499 is available through Saturday, September 8. After that, the fee is $550. To register, fill out this form tinyurl.com/SpaldingCon2018.
Rooms may be available at the Brown Hotel for $110 per night (includes tax) and can be requested through the registration form (first come, first served). Notification of room availability will be sent by September 28.
SpaldingCon as Workshop
All workshops at SpaldingCon are open to post-graduate students from any area of concentration. Each workshop has a minimum of 5 people. Applicants will be notified by September 28 if a workshop doesn’t fill.
“Read It Again!”—A Picture Book Workshop
led by Lesléa Newman
Focal area: picture books
Format: traditional and generative workshop
Worksheet: text for 2 picture books. Picture book texts are 500-1,200 words, double spaced (unless poetry, then single-spaced with double spaces between verses), and do not include notes for illustrators. Email Worksheet to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Wednesday, October 3, with the subject line “[lastname, firstname], SpaldingCon.” Workshop Booklets will be emailed out by October 26.
What to bring to the workshop: Bring your favorite childhood picture book and be prepared to discuss what made it so memorable.
The most successful picture books inspire a child to cry out, “Read it again!” over and over. What makes a picture so beloved? In this workshop, we will explore all types of picture books: books written in rhymed verse, books written in prose, funny picture books, serious picture books, historical picture books, picture book biographies, picture books that explore social issues, etc. Each student will submit two picture book manuscripts for their workshop booklet, which will be discussed during the first half of each workshop session. The second half of each workshop session will consist of discussions of various picture books brought in by the instructor and generative writing exercises. Students are also asked to bring in their favorite childhood picture book and be prepared to discuss what made it so memorable.
Think Like a Script Doctor
led by Larry Brenner
Focal area: screenwriting
Format: generative workshop
Rewriting someone else’s screenplay is a different animal than rewriting one’s own, and it’s a skill that’s in demand. How do we approach a rewrite that is designed to address a perceived issue in someone else’s work? How do we bring ourselves as writers to a rewrite of another person’s script? We will begin this workshop by watching a movie together, then discussing ways in which the movie could be rewritten to address any perceived problems in the script. After the discussion, participants will each rewrite a scene from the movie before bringing it to workshop to share with the other participants. After the exercise, we will discuss how the techniques we used can be brought back to help our own writing.
Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other: A Mixed-Genre Generative Workshop
led by Neela Vaswani
Focal area: prose and poetry
Format: generative workshop
What to bring to the workshop: Bring between a paragraph and a page from three different pieces of your own work (of the same genre or different genres)—preferably work on which you want a different angle, something that feels stuck or lackluster or challenging to you.
Open to students of any genre(s) with an interest in cross-pollination and hybrid vigor. We will explore a sampling of mixed-genre excerpts (varied combinations of poetry, fiction, CNF, photography, biography, translation, visual art, etc.) by Teju Cole, Dorothy Allison, Zinzi Clemmons, Anne Carson, Leslie Marmon Silko, Tove Jansson, and John Berger, among others. Additionally, we’ll discuss the history/purpose of mixed-genre and try our hands at creating it. For this workshop, there is no Worksheet to turn in ahead of time; instead bring with you between a paragraph and a page from three different pieces of your own work (of the same genre or different genres)—preferably work on which you want a different angle, something that feels stuck or lackluster or challenging to you.
Flash Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Generative Workshop
led by Robin Lippincott
Focal area: fiction, creative nonfiction
Format: generative workshop
Writing short forces the writer of fiction and/or creative nonfiction to pay closer attention to language and the poetic techniques of lyrical compression, as well as to formal experimentation. During this workshop, we will focus on generating new flash pieces, as well as sharing and revising that work.
SpaldingCon as Writer’s Retreat with Manuscript Review
Alums who choose not to participate in a workshop can use their free time as a writer’s retreat. These alums may also receive a manuscript review.
FICTION: Up to five alumni may submit complete novel manuscripts for critique by Karen Mann. Karen will make margin notes, offer a written critique, and have a 45-minute conference with each participant during workshop time at SpaldingCon. The rest of workshop time can be used as a writing retreat. All other SpaldingCon sessions are open to these participants. (Manuscripts to be sent by September 14.)
DRAMATIC WRITING: Up to five alumni may submit complete scripts (screenwriting or playwriting) for critique by Charlie Schulman. Charlie will make margin notes, offer a written critique, and have a 45-minute conference with each participant. Workshop time can be used to work on writing projects. All other SpaldingCon sessions are open to these participants. (Manuscripts to be sent by September 14.)
Questions? Email Karen Mann at email@example.com.
Cancellation for SpaldingCon
100% of fee will be refunded through September 28.
50% of fee will be refunded after September 28
No refund after November 2
Cancellation policy for rooms at the Brown
Full refund through November 13, after that, full refund minus any charges made by the Brown Hotel.