DISQUIET offers core writing workshops in Fiction, Poetry, Memoir and Nonfiction, Writing for Young Adults, 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, Playwriting, and others. These workshops meet formally twice per week (T/R).


Fiction with Maaza Mengiste, Padgett Powell

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 Maaza Mengiste’s Fiction Workshop, (re)Visions: I want this workshop to push you in directions that you didn’t expect. I want your character and scenes to disrupt and surprise. In short, I want to use our time together to shake things up in your writing. I don’t think this comes from what you imagine you want to do. It comes from what you haven’t thought of yet. It comes from a blank page, from setting aside what you think you know and plunging ahead into the unknown. It comes from something slightly radical, even revolutionary. This doesn’t happen without hard work, but it can happen. It comes through focused attention on the particulars of a story: POV, characters, setting, structure, etc. It comes from setting aside ego and fear. If you are willing to make the leap, I believe that you will move towards a richer, more complicated story that only you could tell.

More workshop leaders and detail descriptions coming soon!

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

Poetry with Erica Dawson

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 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 Molly Antopol

Description of Molly Antopol’s Workshop, Finding Your Form: Exploring Storytelling through Fiction and Memoir

The techniques of powerful storytelling are similar in all varieties of the stories we tell — whether in fiction or memoir. In this workshop, we’ll explore how to choose the form that’s best suited to your material, and we’ll use exercises, published stories and essays to explore elements such as image, voice, and narrative arc, that are essential to all storytelling. You’ll leave Lisbon with a new story or essay.

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

Writing for Young Adults with M. T. Anderson

The “young adult” genre is really many genres in one, comprising in miniature all of the subdivisions that the publishing industry tends to partition: nonfiction, “literary” fiction, light romance, heavy science fiction, and so on. These are exciting times for the “young adult” genre, but also confusing times. A new visibility raises questions which we’ll explore while we’re looking at each others’ work. What does it mean to write for younger people? Is it different, in substance, from writing for adults? But most importantly, this workshop will address the questions that any workshop would: What is your own voice, and how do you speak most strongly with it? How do you write what is true?

M/W/F, 10:00am to 12:30pm Centro Nacional de Cultura

Playwriting with Elaine Avila

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.

T/Th, 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.

T/R, 10 am - 12:30 pm 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

In Partnership With

Fundacao Luso-Americana


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

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