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).


Parody and Satire with Christopher Cerf

We’ll use your submitted work as the springboard for four sessions devoted to the how-tos and what-fors of writing satire and parody – exploring the similarities and differences between the two genres, and how they frequently overlap.  We’ll exchange first drafts (one-to-five pages maximum as a starting point) before our first meeting in Lisbon. You should write in one of these general categories:

  • A pastiche of a famous (or infamous) author or poet;
  • A satiric essay or short story (Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” or Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” are notable examples);
  • A “fake news” article or other spurious document (à la The Onion or Andy Borowitz);
  • A script for a satiric comedy sketch (think Tina Fey skewering Sarah Palin, or the Pythons’ incomparable “Semaphore Version of Wuthering Heights”);
  • A parody or satiric song lyric (there are plenty of excellent models out there, from Tom Lehrer, Randy Newman, and the Muppets, to Weird Al and beyond).

We’ll draw upon some of the most inspired and outrageous works in each of these categories (sharing, I suspect, more than a few laughs as we do so), all in the service of helping your project reach its greatest comic/satirical potential.  (You won’t be confined to your initial category if you decide to change it during the course.  The workshop is designed for you to leave with a second, polished draft that will either continue as a work-in-progress or feel complete.)


Tuesdays and Thursdays

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

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

Adventures in Form with David Caplan

In this workshop, we will study poetic forms as a means of exploration and adventure. We will try unusual forms and see how more familiar forms might be used in new ways, whether in conjunction with new subjects or in new combinations.  Each session will consist of discussing examples and writing exercises based on what we notice. This workshop is open to poets and non-poets alike.

T / Th, 10:00 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.

Explore Disquiet International


Keep up to date on news and events.


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.

Brought to You By

Centro Nacional de Cultura

In Partnership With

Fundacao Luso-Americana


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

Design © 2014