DISQUIET offers core writing workshops in Fiction, Poetry, Memoir and Nonfiction, and Playwriting, as well as the Writing the Luso Experience workshop. These core workshops meet three times per week (M/W/F). In addition, each year we offer unique workshops such as The Fernando Pessoa Game, Performance and Storytelling, Adventures in Form, and others. These workshops meet formally twice per week (T/R).


Short-short Forms with Sally Ashton

This cross-genre workshop will focus on writing in the short-short forms, whether lyric essay, prose poem, flash fiction, or happy combinations. Are the boundaries distinct? Are they even important? We’ll talk about this as we critique new work written in response to your Lisbon experience. Writers who prefer may choose to focus on works in progress.


M/W/F, 10:00 AM -12:30 PM

Fiction with Alexander Chee, Noy Holland, Stefan Kiesbye

These workshops will follow the traditional creative writing workshop model in which students discuss, and critique each other’s work in small groups led by the instructor.

Description of Alexander Chee’s Workshop, Tactics for the Novel: This fiction workshop will focus on building and revising long fiction. Whether you are reviving an old novel or beginning, and creating plots out of just a character and a scene, writing autobiographical fiction, or a stylist, focused intensely on language and the sentence, we will test some best practices, write, read, and workshop selections from students’ long fiction manuscripts.

Description of Noy Holland’s Workshop: Fundamental to this workshop is the belief that aesthetics are political, that to abide by the norm is to submit to an erasure of self. We will turn together robustly toward the countless possibilities of language. I will ask that you turn, individually, toward an originating difference, toward the constellation of experience, character, circumstance, and disturbance that inclines you to speak as you do. Our time is short but my hope is that you will take up the chance to produce new work while you are in Lisbon, that you will let the gift of being here send you elsewhere anew.

Description of Stefan Kiesbye’s Workshop: We’re going to discuss your short stories, novel chapters and fiction/non-fiction hybrids. But this is Lisbon, so we’ll explore the city and its people through writing assignments focusing on place, atmosphere, and character. Lisbon gives us the opportunity to find out what we can imagine without knowing, and how being a stranger in a foreign land leads us to discover and come back to ourselves.

M/W/F, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura

Poetry with Erica Dawson

These workshops will follow the traditional creative writing workshop model in which students discuss, and critique each other’s work in small groups led by the instructor.

Description of Erica Dawson’s Workshop: In this workshop, we will spend time discussing the poems you submit before coming to Lisbon and the poems you’ll write during your ten-day stay.  We will talk about the importance of spontaneity and examine place as inspiration. Each session will begin with a look at a contemporary poem embracing travel, whether to a far-off land or simply the space of a new idea.

M/W/F, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura

Memoir & Nonfiction with Leslie Jamison

These workshops will follow the traditional creative writing workshop model in which students discuss, and critique each other’s work in small groups led by the instructor.

M/W/F, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura

Playwriting with Stephanie Timm

Playwriting is open to playwrights of all experience levels and to writers seeking to write a play for the first time. Playwriting meets six times for 2.5 hours per day each MWF of the program. Students have the option of submitting up to 30 pages of original work a month before the program to be workshopped during the program. However, students are not required to submit pages. During the program, we will critique pre-conference submitted work, discuss the elements of playwriting, do writing exercises and give students the opportunity to write their own short play or begin a new full-length piece.

M/W/F, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura

Writing the Luso Experience with Katherine Vaz

A multi-genre workshop for writers of Portuguese descent

M/W/F, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura

The Fernando Pessoa Game with Cyriaco Lopes, Terri Witek

For writers and artists in any genre. A poet who engages visual arts and a visual artist whose medium is often the materiality of language issue prompts that send workshop participants out into Pessoa’s beloved city. Includes a visit to the Berado Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art that will be open to all DISQUIET participants. No special skills or equipment are required except something to write with and a phone or camera to take pictures. Please bring a small piece of writing describing a place where you have lived for the first move in the game.

T/R, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura

Lisbon is our Muse: Writing for Stage and Screen with Elaine Avila

From the café to the miradouro, the spires of churches to the dance club, we will visit sites throughout Lisbon to inspire scenes or short plays/films. We will then workshop and develop our pieces, exploring what makes writing for stage and screen unique.  We will delve into adaptation, the site inspired and the site specific, the power of the ancient and the ultra modern, such as the pod play/phone theatre/multi platform online diary. On our last class, we will return to our sites of inspiration to perform staged readings for each other and to make multi phone camera recordings.
 Please bring about $20 US/Canadian or 15 Euros for a café beverage/admission to a historic site, and if you have them, your phones/cameras/i pads/recording devices.

T/R, 10 am - 12:30 pm

Performance and Storytelling: The Oral Tradition on the Stage and the Page with Arthur Flowers

Storytelling. From the dawn of humanity to the Nobel Prize, storytelling as cultural narrative has been one of the primal functions of the human condition; gathering folk around the sacred fire and passing on essential cultural knowledge. It is through narrative, through storytelling, that we make sense of our lives and our world – and the primal principles of storytelling are still central to literary achievement. From doing dramatic readings to performance poetry and narrative innovation, this seminar will explore the dynamics of effective presentation and performance, the relationship between performer and audience, and the role of storytelling on the stage and in the text.

, 10AM to 12:30PM Centro Nacional de Cultura

* All workshops are subject to enrollment considerations. Workshops may be canceled if adequate enrollment is not reached.

** Instructors sometimes drop out or reschedule, and, in this unlikely scenario, DISQUIET will replace them and notify participants.

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610 S. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002 Tel (813) 257-5028

DISQUIET is a project of US-based Dzanc Books and the Portuguese Centro Nacional de Cultura with support from the Luso-American Development Foundation and many other organizations that make it possible for DISQUIET to offer, if we don’t say so ourselves, an incomparably immersive experience in literary and cultural Lisbon.

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Centro Nacional de Cultura

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Fundacao Luso-Americana


DISQUIET is made possible by the generous contributions of our sponsors.

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