The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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The Piper Writers Studio

Serving writers of all backgrounds, genres, and levels of experience

Beyond our annual creative writing conference, the Piper Writers Studio is the educational arm of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University, offering creative writing classes, workshops, and other educational opportunities in in-person and online formats for writers of all backgrounds, genres, and levels of experience.

All classes are non-credit, and are intended for and open to the public. You do not need to be an ASU student to attend.

Each student who completes a class receives an electronic certificate. Students also have the opportunity to read at our annual Piper Writers Studio Showcase.  

To learn more about the Piper Writers Studio, you can visit the about page or view upcoming classes below. You can also meet our instructorsview past classes, or even teach a class yourself.

For other educational opportunites, you can learn about our Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference.

For for-credit classes, you can contact the Creative Writing Program at Arizona State University

Find Upcoming Classes and Workshops

Character Therapy
Tracey Baptiste

Date: Thursday, February 20, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre, Novels, Short Stories
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Join New York Times bestselling author, Tracey Baptiste for an in-depth workshop designed to generate deeper characters, find their unique voice, discover what their motivations are within the story, and see how they interact with other story characters. Designed for writers who are having difficulty with a current draft, or connecting to their characters in a way that enhances the plot. 


Photograph of TC Tolbert
Date: Thursday, February 20, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Type: Advanced Workshop, Generative Workshop, Lecture, Workshop
Genre: Experimental, Hybrid, LGBTQIA, Poetry, Sexuality
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Instead of only turning to Trans, Non-binary, and Queer+ (TNBQ+) writing to learn something about being TNBQ+, in this generative, experiential workshop, we’ll push further to consider and practice a variety of craft choices while immersing ourselves in the vast brilliance of TNBQ+ poetry. Come to read, write, and build community. And expect to be challenged and filled with delight.


Date: Thursday, February 20, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Type: Advanced Workshop, Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Poetry
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In this generative poetry writing workshop, we will attempt to enter the creative space by removing ourselves from the written work, thus allowing the poetic image to speak for itself. In this way, we can get outside our drives for individual gain and into areas of articulation that may help us discover something that binds us together.


Date: Thursday, February 20, 2020, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Type: Advanced Workshop, Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Poetry
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What does an image do? How do images move or surprise us? In this writing workshop, we will examine how images shift, transform, and ultimately, move a reader. We will take our “go-to” images and explode them, looking at etymology, mythology, context and association. Finally, through writing prompts & workshop, we will read, write, and workshop poems that use recurring imagery to create tension and surprise.


Cultivating Chaos
Cristina García

Date: Thursday, February 20, 2020, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Type: Advanced Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Creative Practice, Mixed Genre, Writing Process
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How can we encourage our work to unspool in unpredictable, organic ways? To welcome what surprises and disturbs us? To harness wildness without domesticating its energies? To embrace what we only dimly perceive? In Cultivating Chaos, we'll discuss strategies for coaxing the strange, ineluctable, jagged-edged power of the wonderfully, dangerously unexpected into making a lasting, vivid difference in our writing.


Photograph of Jim 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:


Photograph of 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.

Photograph of 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.

Photograph of 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.