July 1, 2016 § 2 Comments
Very excited to be participating in the first ever NatGeo student programs to Cuba. I’ll be starting out with the first group toward the end of their program in the province of Santa Clara, a few hours east of the capital, and then joining the second group for the beginning of their program in Havana. Traveling to Cuba, by now, feels something akin to going home for me. It’s been a few months, so I’m looking forward to checking in on the evolving situation!
I’m also excited to be traveling with student groups, because leading student groups is how I spent most of my early career in educational travel. I relish the sense of adventure that usually arises within such groups—and in my experience NatGeo students are an exceptionally positive, creative, and intellectually curious bunch. It will be hot this time of year, but that’s nothing to worry about, as we’ll be on an island surrounded by crystalline blue water!
July 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
Very much looking forward to joining a group of young American writers in just a few days as the guest novelist on this exciting international writing program. We’ll begin in Prague and then head down to southern Bohemia, where an historic castle will be the staging ground for field exercises, craft talks, hiking, stimulating conversation about books and literature, and miscellaneous fun.
Putney Student Travel is the same group that has taken me to Dublin and the small island of Inishbofin for the last two summers, and it’s a great experience. Travel and writing go so well together, and it’s always inspiring to work alongside young women and men who are passionate about writing and literature. I’ll post some pics on my FB author page . . .
May 12, 2015 § Leave a comment
Looking forward to teaching three intensive one-day seminars on critical aspects of the fiction writing craft this summer: descriptive writing, the novel opening, and point of view/psychic distance. I’m very much enjoying my association with GrubStreet, a Boston-based organization run by kind and wonderful people and frequented by many talented aspiring and established writers. If you’re within striking distance of downtown Boston, come join us!
March 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
Looking forward to a busy spring and summer of talks and appearances! If you’re attending any of these events, I look forward to meeting you there. If you can’t make any of them but are interested in similar content, there are still openings in these wonderful, intensive writing seminars at GrubStreet in Boston.
April 24 – 26, 2015: Talks on the Jungian Shadow in YA Fiction and Image Systems in Fiction. New England Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Conference, Springfield, MA
May 1 – 3, 2015: “Voice and Dialog in Historical Fiction.” GrubStreet’s Muse & The Marketplace Conference, Boston, MA
July 12 – 17, 2015: “Life Stories: Creative Adventurers, Adventurous Creators” (5-part lecture series). All-Star 2 Family Conference. Star Island, Isles of Shoals, NH July
18 – 24, 2015: Guest author, Writing in Prague program (Putney Student Travel)
March 13, 2015 § Leave a comment
It’s been a great experience working with seven talented aspiring novelists in my 10 week Novel in Progress course this winter. I find that focusing in on particular aspects of craft of fiction is immediately beneficial in terms of one’s own work, and even more so in the long term, because it leads to greater fluency and range as a writer.
For these reasons, and because I very much enjoy teaching, I’ve agreed to offer yet another 10 week Novel in Progress course on Thursday evenings beginning April 9th. If you’re near Boston and working on a novel, join us! We have a lot of fun. And if my current students are any indication, you will make great strides on your project.
If you’re interested but can’t commit to 10 weeks, your can join one these intensive, one-off classes:
Voice and Dialog in Historical Fiction (Saturday, March 28, 10-5)
Crafting the Killer Novel Opening (Saturday, April 11, 10-5)
The Lost World: Harnessing the Power of Descriptive Prose in the Novel (Wednesday, June 17, 6-9 PM)
December 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Well, I must say I had fun this fall teaching several day-long classes on the writing craft at GrubStreet. It’s nice to have an excuse to spend more time in Boston, and GrubStreet students tend to be well educated, well read, open-minded, serious about writing, and eager to learn their craft. In this environment the learning experience definitely runs both ways. There’s something wonderfully inspiring about spending a stretch of time geeking out about craft with a bunch of other literary-minded introverts, and I believe it’s essential for a practicing novelist to keep educating himself in the analytical aspects of the craft. That’s exactly what teaching these classes does for me — and if I can help other aspiring writers get closer to their goals in the process, that’s certainly an excellent bonus.
I’m very much looking to teaching two more GrubStreet classes this winter. The first is a ten-week novel-writing class, in which we’ll be discussing many different aspects of the craft, including structure, scenes, dialog, characters, language, voice, point of view, image systems, backstory, the opening, and more, in addition to generating quite a bit of in-class work of either the first draft or the revised variety. The second class is a day-long affair focused on voice and dialog in historical fiction. So, Boston area writers, if any of this intrigues you, I urge you to take the leap! (And feel free to contact me if you have questions or doubts.)
July 6, 2014 § Leave a comment
This week I am once again privileged to joining a group of young American writers on Putney Student Travel’s Writing in Ireland program. We’ll be spending time in Dublin and on the stunning, mystical isle of Inishbofin off the Connemara coast. Very excited!
As anyone who’s been following this blog knows, in my day job I travel a great deal — mostly to Spanish-speaking countries with wonderful organizations like National Geographic Expeditions and the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center — but I have to say this is a special trip, one of my favorites. There’s nothing like working and adventuring with a group of passionate young writers who are up for anything and enjoy spending all day and night geeking out about literature and craft.
We’ll do field exercises to generate new work, have some feedback sessions leading to revision, and of course mount a final reading, which will take place this year on July 12th, 2014, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., at the Irish Writer’s Centre, located at 19 Parnell Square, Dublin.
If you’re interested to see what we’re up to and what an international travel program for young writers looks like, take a look at the program blog.
July 4, 2013 § Leave a comment
Very much looking forward to joining a group of talented young writers in Dublin, Ireland, from July 5 – 12. I’ll be giving a talk on the Jungian Shadow in fiction (see this post for a preview), and we’ll all be heading off to the small island of Inishbofin near Galway. There we’ll have a chance to share our work, create some new work, explore the stark Irish landscapes with journals in hand, and no doubt participate in many lively discussions about life, love, and the writing craft. Sláinte mhaith!
April 8, 2013 § Leave a comment
A craft analysis I wrote several years ago on James Welch’s great novel The Heartsong of Charging Elk is featured at Grub Street Daily, a blog for writers produced by the wonderful people at Grub Street, a popular Boston-based organization for writers. Check it out here!
April 4, 2013 § 1 Comment
Very excited for several upcoming trips! First up is another National Geographic program to Cuba, April 18 – 24, in which I’ll be introducing a group of mostly first-time visitors to one of my favorite places on the planet and giving lectures on Cuban colonial history, 20th century Cuban history, and Hemingway’s years in Cuba.
Next up, from May 12 – 24, I’ll be returning to the Pearl of the Antilles with a small group of honors students from Keene State College. I’ve been co-teaching a class there with political scientist Prof Chuck Weed on the history of US – Cuba relations this semester, and it will be great fun to show everyone around and let them experience for themselves the vibrant and enigmatic realities of contemporary Cuba. And we’re planning some great hiking and snorkeling!
From June 2 – 10, sponsored by the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, the talented contemporary artist Eric Aho and I will be accompanying a small group of travelers to Madrid, Úbeda, Córdoba, Granada, and points between for a fascinating art-based journey in Spain. We’ll be learning a lot about the Spanish context, taking in some of the world’s greatest art from a creator’s perspective, and everyone will have the opportunity to produce some of their own art as well. Very excited to get back to Spain after a long absence! There’s still some (limited) space on this trip, so you if have these dates free and want to explore Spain in a fun and absolutely unique way, drop me a line.
From June 29 – July 12, I’ll be working with three other writers and a group of 24-30 young writers (14-18 yrs old) in Dublin, Ireland. Couldn’t be more thrilled by the prospect of another field-based writing workshop – it’s been awhile. There’s still room on this program too, so if you happen to fall into the above age range, follow the instructions on the link to apply. Don’t wait, because this one is filling up fast.
If you’re interested in Cuba and looking for a fun, informal (i.e., non-touristy), and relatively affordable way to get there, check out this fascinating art-based people-to-people program I’ll be leading in early November 2013.