Do you daydream of becoming a skillful writer or writing a book? Turn those daydreams into evenings or weekends of action and learn the craft of writing well from Vermont’s talented wellspring of active published authors and illustrators.
This fall the Writers’ Barn welcomes former Shelburne resident Eric Rickstadt to teach a yearlong workshop where fiction writers can come to grips with strategies for character development, dialogue, plot, voice, and narrative story arc. Bright ideas, rough drafts, or nearly-completed work will benefit from this year-in-focus with an experienced author, writing guide, and story doctor. Rickstadt’s book “Reap” was named a New York Times Noteworthy Novel. Significant writing time is granted between classes in order for participants to have sufficient time to move stories forward and work on revisions in a supportive environment. If writers do not have a good and quiet space of their own to write, the Writers’ Barn now offers punch card passes or monthly memberships for affordable shared workspace and daytime studio writing hours (Mon.-Fri. 9 am-2 pm).
Another new face at the Writers’ Barn will be author, VPR commentator, and editorial columnist Deborah Lee Luskin. She is the author of the award-winning novel “Into the Wilderness,” a love story set in Vermont in 1964. Luskin will share indispensable writing short (500 words or less) tools for scripting radio commentaries, newspaper articles, blogs, or even holiday newsletters that will rivet readers’ attention in one Saturday intensive. She will also offer a Saturday Nov. 16 wake-up call to make those sometimes snooze-y holiday letters better and more fun to read.
Several of our community’s well-loved authors and instructors are back at the Barn this September too. After a hiatus this spring, Flying Pig Bookstore co-owner, and award-winning children’s book author Elizabeth Bluemle will prompt and jog writers’ memories so that they can think like a kid again and create children’s picture books with lively, engaging stories to tell. Her picture books include “My Father the Dog, How do you Wokka Wokka” and “Dogs on the Bed.” Want to write the story and illustrate it too? Bluemle’s workshop will be followed by Sarah Dillard’s three-part workshop for creating a children’s picture book illustrator’s storyboard. Dillard is an illustrator of more than 20 children’s picture books, including “10 Wishing Stars,” “Tightrope Puppy,” and her own, “Perfectly Arugula.” Requested back for his fourth session at the Writers’ Barn is Vermont’s Pablo Neruda Prize winning poet Daniel Lusk. In Lusk’s guided practice workshop series, participants share their own original drafts in a supportive environment, poets discover new ways to find subjects for new work, and join in conversations about what makes the poems of our best contemporaries effective. Lusk is a senior lecturer emeritus of English at the University of Vermont and his most recent books include “Meditations: Lake Champlain” and his newest collection of poems, “Kin,” will be released by Wind Ridge Books of Vermont this September.