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The Art of Being a Writer: 3 Weekend Intensives

The Art of Being a Writer: 3 Weekend Intensives


Three linked weekend intensives for writers at all stages of their writing life who'd like to create personal essays out of how we write and what makes us the kind of writers we are.

The Art of Being a Writer weekend intensives are devised out of the belief that by going deeper into our sources of inspiration, our early discoveries of language, our writing routines, cultural interests and affiliations, and the environments we inhabit, the greater our access is to the resources we have for creating new fiction, poetry, or nonfiction.

Over the three weekends, you'll create the groundwork for six personal essays about different aspects of your craft and your life as a writer.  

Each weekend will include a 2 or 2.5-hour workshop on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (see times below) where we'll look closely at personal essays by James Baldwin, Shirley Jackson, Jamaica Kincaid, Charles D'Ambrosio and Joan Didion, amongst others, and explore our own creative motivations, idiosyncrasies and stylistic choices.

You'll also get a chance to correspond with another writer as a way to develop your writer-persona. A private course blog will also be available where you can share work with the other writers on the course. Through experimentation, playful writing exercises and bold statements about your approach to writing, we'll work together towards a project you can carry through into 2023.

For the duration of the workshop, all our attention will be on creating work, writing with other writers, and looking at ways to put together a series of personal essays.

By the end of each weekend, you'll have the foundations for two new pieces and a plan to develop them into complete essays. You'll also have ideas for additional essays you can keep working on over the months ahead.

"The very nicest thing about being a writer is that you can afford to indulge yourself endlessly with oddness, and nobody can really do anything about it, as long as you keep writing and kind of using it up, as it were. . . All you have to do – and watch this carefully, please – is keep writing. As long as you write it away regularly, nothing can really hurt you." from "Memory and Delusion," Shirley Jackson

November Weekend Intensive (11-13 Nov). Style: How You Write

Language and Enthusiasm. Over this weekend we'll look at the uniqueness of your writing voice and those moments when language revealed its complexity and quirkiness to you. We'll explore cultural elements (music, books, and prayer for example) that inform your writing style, and see whether how we do other things – yoga, walking in nature, raising children, political activity, different artistic pursuits – can enrich how we write. 

December Weekend Intensive (9-11 Dec). Perspective: What Your Write

Place, Politics, and Personal Connections. During this weekend intensive we'll work towards excavating and defining the geographical, historical, romantic and familial elements you bring to your work. You'll look at the different configurations that occur when combining those aspects of who you are, and write about how your writing has drawn from these resources. As a plan for the future, you'll also consider possible new work based on the multifaceted subject matter you carry with you.

January Weekend Intensive (13-15 Jan): Source & Drive: Why You Write

Catalysts and Incentives. Over these three days, you'll write about your encounters with writers and books that made you want to be a writer, and how they have shaped the writer you are. We'll explore the specific mysteries and gratifications that keep us writing, and define the writerly knowledge and insights you've gained so far. As a new year begins, we'll look at ways to create an essay out of ambition and a fascination with what lies ahead.

Limited to 12 participants

Dates and Times: 11-13 November, 9-11 December, 13-15 January

Each intensive weekend includes three workshops at the following times:

  1. Friday, 6-8pm Central European Time
  2. Saturday, 6-8.30pm
  3. Sunday, 6-8.30pm

To check the start time where you are, please click here.

Cost: €390

The Weekend Intensives are open to all writers everywhere, all levels, all genres, all you'll need is a willingness to write together and be open to surprises in your own work. 

"Every form is difficult, no one is easier than another. They all kick your ass. None of it comes easy... An essay is not simpler, though it may seem so. An essay is essentially an argument. The writer’s point of view in an essay is always absolutely clear. The writer is trying to make the readers see something, trying to convince them of something. In a novel or a play you’re trying to show them something. The risks, in any case, are exactly the same." James Baldwin, Paris Review Interview.

    About the tutor: Shaun Levin is the author of Seven Sweet Things, Alone with a Man in a Room, and Snapshots of The Boy, amongst other books. He won the Moment Karma Short Fiction Prize for his story based on the life of the artist Mark Gertler, which later became part of his novel, Mark. His essays and short stories have appeared in over 50 journals and anthologies, including Love, Christopher Street, Modern South African Stories, and The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica. Shaun has been teaching creative writing for over twenty years, and is the author of The Writing Notebooks, a series of guides for writers taking on book-length projects.