Creative Writing Master Classes

March 25, 2017 - 12:00pm to 6:00pm
442 EPB



Free, One-Shot, 2-Hour Classes Open to Everyone!

Presented by: The Nonfiction Writing Program

Reserve your spot! Register for classes at



On Walking: Old Paths to New Writing

Saturday, March 25th, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m., 442 EPB

Want to write, but don’t know what? It’s an old problem. Why not harness the power of 19th century literary hipsters and go for a stroll? In this class, we’ll hit the town like the writers of yore, gawking and writing and perfecting our strides, all while discussing how to use ordinary observations to begin exciting new projects. Join us, and learn the art of slow living.

Instructors: Landon Bates is an essayist from California with a long, graceful stride. Ethan Madore is a writer from New England. He can move very silently.


Funhouse Mirroring: Finding the Self in Unexpected Places

Saturday, March 25th, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., 442 EPB

Catch yourself off-guard and you can mesmerize a reader. This workshop is a playground for self-discovery, offering detours in order to surprise and complicate yourself on the page. Through experiments with “blind contour” drawing, “found text” collaging, and guided meditation, students will create a series of written and unfamiliar self-portraits.

Instructor: Dina Peone is studying in the Nonfiction Writing Program and at work on a memoir about a house fire that transformed her as a teenager.


Dreaming of Electric Sheep: Writing the Science in Science Fiction

Saturday, March 25th, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., 442 EPB

How do writers invent the future? How can we employ the techniques of nonfiction, with its roots in research and fact, to create believable alternative worlds? Blurring the lines between fact and fantasy, we will use real science news articles—from tales of robotic militarized bees to strange gravitational forces—as inspiration to create original and critical works of science fiction.

Instructors: Rachel Cruz is a graduate of Columbia University and is writing a book about the nature of scientific revolution. Anya Ventura was formerly the staff writer at MIT’s Center for Art, Science & Technology; her writing has appeared in Artforum, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Huffington Post, Temporary Art Review, and The Rumpus, among others.



Associative Logic and the Art of What’s Next

Saturday, April 1st, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m., 442 EPB

Because you got a C on that medieval history test, that cute person who works at the Hy-Vee is never going to ask you to the spring dance, so you won’t get into grad school, and you’ll never become Oprah’s personal chef. Sound familiar? In this class, we’ll unlock your ability to move from idea to idea freely and creatively, without anybody claiming you’re not following the rules. You’ll leave class with two new, energetic essays and a whole slew of ideas for how to see the world.

Instructor: Brittany Borghi is an essayist in the Nonfiction Writing Program who is perpetually overthinking how things relate. She is currently writing about the connections between department stores, trains, and a man without a face.



Skin Deep: The Art of the Character Sketch

Saturday, April 1st, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., 442 EPB

“Bela Bartók had the pallor of a garlic clove,” Jay Kirk wrote of a musician known for his ghostly personality. In this class, we will explore the various ways writers reveal character by using physical description. By examining these techniques and practicing them ourselves, we will enhance our abilities to evoke character and hone our powers of perception as writers.

Instructor: Max Rubin, a third-year in the Nonfiction Writing Program, has written about Iowa caucuses for the New Yorker and about Hanson for the Believer.


The Art of the Love Letter

Saturday, April 1st, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., 442 EPB

Passion makes us all blind, and that extends to the mistakes in our writing. So how do we write about our dearly beloveds (or hotly hated exes) without sounding cliché? How do we write love in a new way? Whether you work in poetry or prose, this master class will explore different tools to help approach those subjects most dear to our hearts, without letting our hearts get in the way of our craft.

Instructors: Annie Sand is a memoirist and nature writer whose work has appeared in H.O.W. and Nowhere. M.K. Brake is an essayist and poet; she is the author of The Taxidermist’s Girl (Dancing Girl Press 2016).


Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Bernice Santiago in advance at