This workshop is designed for people who are somewhere in the middle of a long-form nonfiction prose project (that is, a nonfiction book): a series of essays about saints and sinners, or a memoir about your prayer life or your search for your birth parents. Bring that project with you to Collegeville. Many hours of each day will be reserved for writing. Most days, we’ll also explore aspects of prose craft: revision, scene and narrative time, voice, sensory language and description, etc.
These explorations, your workshop leader devoutly hopes, will nourish your work on the saints and sinners essays, the memoir. Throughout, we’ll be companioned by this wisdom from Fanny Howe: “Revision is the path taken by an autodidact like me. In revising you teach yourself. You find your own information buried in your body.” And by this wisdom from Susan Sontag: “Writing means converting one’s liabilities (limitations) into advantages. For example, I don’t love what I’m writing. Okay, then — that’s also a way to write, a way that can produce interesting results.”
This workshop is intended for advanced writers who are working on nonfiction projects that have something to do with religious themes—people who have published one book or multiple magazine articles and essays, or who’ve taken at least two college-level (or graduate-school-level) creative writing classes. (If you don’t meet those exact criteria, but think this workshop is for you, you’re invited to make your case in your application.) Priority will be given to applicants who will be able to circulate a draft of at least 75% of their book-draft by June 15, 2019, and to applicants whose books are creative nonfiction (rather than devotional writing or academic writing).
The Collegeville Institute will cover travel expenses to and from the workshop within the continental United States, all workshop fees, and room and board. International travel costs, and travel from Hawaii and Alaska may be shared between the Collegeville Institute and the workshop participant. Those who join the workshop will be expected to reside at the Collegeville Institute throughout the entire week. Participants may share apartment space, though each person will be assigned a private bedroom. The program is limited to 12 participants.
It’s hard for me not to gush. Lauren is punctual, strong, witty, commanding, and powerful. The writing exercises were lively and creative, like little literary firestarters; her instruction on the structure and architecture of a book tied seamlessly with her instruction about words, sentences, and voice. This seems like a first-rate MFA-level seminar from a generous, masterful instructor.
—participant in “Revision, Christian Spirituality, and the Writing Life: A Week with Lauren Winner,” Summer 2017
Some advance reading may be required in preparation for the workshop.
The application deadline for this workshop has passed.