Current Classes and Workshops

James Sallis
Date: Mondays, March 2 - April 20, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Type: Workshop
Genre: Crime Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Genre Fiction, Mystery, Novels, Science Fiction, Short Stories
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The Piper Writers Studio hosts novelist and fiction writer James Sallis for an eight-week advanced fiction workshop for individuals who are actively working on a fiction project, are looking to publish, or have already published work. During this course, students will receive:


Stories That Stand Still
Carmen Maria Machado

Date: Saturday, March 21, 2020, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Type: Craft Class, Craft Talk, Presentation
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories
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In this talk, we’ll explore the craft of writing fiction that doesn’t move—fiction contained in a single, discreet space as large as a house, and as small as a bed—and the implication it has for our understanding of gender, characterization, and plot. Stories discussed will include Angela Carter’s “The Fall-River Axe Murders,” Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers,” Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” and Nancy Hale’s “The Earliest Dreams.”


Judith Starkston

Writing Historical Fiction
Judith Starkston

Date: Thursdays, April 2 - 16, 2020, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Type: Craft Class, Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Genre Fiction, Historical Fiction, History, Mystery, Research
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Writing historical fiction requires a special skill set, including: balancing accuracy and storytelling, building historical worlds with powerful emotional effect, using primary documents for rich scenes, developing immersive setting without overburdening the story, creating engagement and believability with historical details, and composing convincing dialogue. We will integrate these topics into students’ practice by dissecting models and by generating/reworking students’ writing.

Lorin Drexler

Sound and Vision
Lorin Drexler

Date: Saturdays, April 4 - 18, 2020, 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Flash, Poetry
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As Rumi once wrote, “I can’t stop pointing to the beauty. Every moment and place says, ‘Put this design in your carpet!” In this exploratory three-week generative class, we will engage multidisciplinary modes of creativity to guide inspiration for writing poetry and/or flash fiction.

Robert Ostrom

Lyric Poetry
Robert Ostrom

Date: Saturday, April 25, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Poetry
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From Sappho to Claudia Rankine, in this workshop we will observe how conceptualizations of lyric poetry have changed, paying close attention to what about these poems stirs, provokes, and excites us. Then, by excavating personal memory, emotions, and dreams through a variety of in-class writing exercises, we will experiment with the lyric in our own practice. During our time together, we will conduct procedures to beckon the muse by unearthing our distinctive inner-symbols and metaphors, exploring image and music-making, and employing leaps.


Date: Saturday, May 9, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Type: Craft Class, Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Children's Books, Creative Practice, Editing, Fairy Tales, Writing Process
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Join James Riley, the New York Times bestselling author of the Story ThievesHalf Upon a Time, and The Revenge of Magic series as he leads a workshop on writing for children, including: how to come up with an idea; how to come up with another idea when the first one doesn't work; why first drafts are always bad; looking into the abyss and waiting for it to look back; dealing with existential angst about never achieving your dreams; achieving those dreams anyway; and the editing process.