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Virtual SpaldingCon: Post-graduate Writers’ Conference

Sena Jeter Naslund-Karen Mann Graduate School of Writing

SpaldingCon takes place virtually from 2:45 p.m. ET Wednesday, November 16, through 12:30 p.m. ET Friday, November 18.

Highlights include:

  • A virtual generative workshop: Six hours of workshop over three days, led by a School of Writing faculty member. Workshop leaders: Beth Bauman, Robin Lippincott, Douglas Manuel

  • A two-hour virtual generative seminar from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET, Thursday, November 17. TBA

Workshops meet

  • 2:45 – 5:00 p.m. ET, Wednesday, November 16, and Thursday, November 17

  • 10:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET, Friday, November 18

Virtual Workshops

While workshops focus on writing in distinct focal areas, all workshops at SpaldingCon are open to post-graduate students from any area of concentration. Each workshop has a minimum of 5 people and a maximum number (indicated below). Spaces will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. If there are more than the maximum applicants, we’ll start a waiting list. Workshop places will be confirmed by September 30.

Into the Woods: Fairy Tale Retellings

led by Beth Ann Bauman

Focal Areas: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Writing for Children/YA

Worksheet: None

Delivery: Virtual, minimum of 5 and maximum of 6 students

Pre-assignment: Bring one or two fairy tales you’d like to work with and read the following:

Fairy tale lovers, join me in the enchanted wood where we’ll play with these foundational tales to create new stories, prose poems, and assorted narratives. Fairy tales offer a treasure trove of opportunity for writers with their ingrained structures and motifs, archetypal characters, and primal emotion. All kinds of stories can be dreamed up and interpreted through their lens. As we play, we might subvert or modernize the original. We might discover minor characters begging for a starring role or buried detail awaiting illumination. The elements we pull from beloved fairy tales can be melded with themes we find ourselves returning to again and again. Bring one or two fairy tales you’d like to work with.

Flash Fiction/CNF: A generative workshop based on prompts from the visual arts

led by Robin Lippincott

Focal Area: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction

Worksheet: None

Delivery: Virtual, minimum of 5 and maximum of 8 students

Pre-assignment: None

Writing short encourages the writer to pay closer attention to language and the poetic techniques of lyrical compression, as well as to formal experimentation. Picking up on (and running with) the program’s longtime celebration of the interrelatedness of the arts, we’ll explore how carefully curated prompts from the visual arts (along with occasional text) might inspire our creative writing. We’ll focus on generating new pieces of sudden work, and on sharing and discussing that work.

Cruising through Forms: There’s More Than Sonnets

led by Douglas Manuel

Focal Area: Poetry

Worksheet: None

Delivery: Virtual, minimum of 5 and maximum of 8 students

Pre-assignment: none

In a deliberative and concerted effort to respect, center, and promote minoritized and marginalized voices from America and all over the world, this workshop will not focus on traditional western forms like sonnets, sestinas, and villanelles, and instead workshop participants will be asked to write landays, ghazals, pantoums, zuihitsus, blues poems, bops, golden shovels, and duplexes. Participants will closely read and imitate the style and content of poems by Patricia Smith, Michelle Brittan Rosado, Jenny Xie, Marilyn Chin, Afaa Weaver, Camille T. Dungy, Jericho Brown, and others in hopes of generating new material and finding fresh new ways of making meaning on the page.

How to Register

The cost is $295 and the deadline to register is Monday, September 12.

To register, fill out this form. We’ll confirm your place in the workshop by September 30. Payment is due by October 15.

Payment and Cancellation for SpaldingCon

Full payment is due by October 15

85% refund through October 31.

50% of fee will be refunded November 1 through November 13

No refund after November 13

Questions? Email Karen Mann at


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