DISQUIET offers core writing workshops in Fiction, Poetry, and Memoir and Nonfiction, as well as the Writing the Luso Experience workshop. These core workshops meet three times per week (M/W/F). In addition, we will offer additional optional events to be announced.

Below are our workshops for 2024 – please note that workshop descriptions are still subject to change, and more descriptions are coming soon!

2024 Core Workshops

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

Outside-In, Inside-Out: A Workshop on Character with Kevin Moffett

We’ll take a close look at how we conceive and conjure the lives of others in our writing, from whole-cloth invention to resuscitated autobiography. Conventional literary wisdom—the notion that character is fate, that you should know more about your characters than you evoke on the page—will be entertained, examined, revised, and perhaps debunked. Possible fodder for discussion might include dialogue, point of view, imagery, voice, cliché, as well as the subtle art of manufacturing pressure and volatility in your work. Workshop discussion will revolve around your own individual projects, touching on how best to render what O’Connor calls the mystery of personality, but we’ll also look more generally at questions of craft as we closely read and discuss your work in tandem with occasional brisk writing exercises. Supplementary texts may include short work by Tolstaya, Lydia Davis, Chekhov, Joy Williams, medical oral histories, local news stories, and other oddments.

The Final Drafts: Revising Your Fiction with Jonathan Escoffery

You’ve written a draft of short or long form fiction. Now what? In this course, you’ll learn techniques for polishing your prose and further defining your narrative arcs. In particular, we’ll work in service of your story’s intention to locate its strengths and weaknesses, and create a plan for taking your draft to a place of completion. We will, of course, read each other’s writing and offer helpful, well thought-out, well intentioned critiques, and we will engage with all of our in-class texts from the perspective of the writer-in-learning.This course will operate as both workshop and seminar, as we explore (published) contemporary short stories and novel excerpts, reading, not (solely) for literary analysis, but as curious, careful writers of fiction. Emphasizing revision, this class will focus on craft topics, including opening/ closing pages, character development, narrative voice, plot, time, point of view, suspense, and sentence-level execution. In addition to craft discussions, you’ll receive in-class writing exercises to sharpen your revision skills. By the end of this course, you’ll come away with tools for revising your future work, as well as a concrete plan for revising your workshop submission.

Help, My Character Refuses to Leave the House: Building Tension and Conflict with Novuyo Tshuma

“In daily life, a writer may practice conflict avoidance, but in fiction a writer must welcome conflict and walk straight into it.” – Charles Baxter

Tension and conflict are indispensable to great stories. Whether through good old-fashioned action or unbearable inner turmoil, our characters need a solid sense of stakes in our writing. This can be notoriously difficult to do in fiction, especially as we draw from our own lives and the world around us for inspiration. In our daily lives, we may, rightly, avoid conflict, but in our fiction, we need to embrace it, and even actively search for it. We’ll look at how to successfully build and follow through tension and conflict in our writing. What are some of the ways we can welcome (more) tension into our stories? How do we build meaningful, rather than superficial, conflict in our writing? How do tension and conflict contribute to successful characterisation? We’ll look at how these crucial craft elements function in the best writing and plumb our own pages for insight and lessons. Expect fruitful, lively discussions of participants’ works-in-progress and experimentation with technique through a series of craft exercises.

The Power of Perhaps: Speculative “Nonfiction” with T Kira Madden

Terms like surrealism and magical realism are most often used to describe works of fiction, but what about the inherent magic, wonderment, and time travel of our true, lived experiences? In this generative class, we will discuss alternate realities, hypothetical what if’s and ways of perhapsing into the surreality of our everyday lives. We will focus on isolation and compression, and on finding the narrative heat and emotional potency in our memories, our selves, and all the selves we’ve been. We’ll talk magical objects, the electricity of sensory experiences, and forge new pathways and connections between seemingly disparate ideas. The scaffolding behind short published work (sent in advance) will serve as blueprints for our discussion and in class writing exercises.

Nothing Is One Thing: Creative Nonfiction with Chris Feliciano Arnold

One of the most alluring aspects of creative nonfiction is how it grants writers the freedom to experiment with shape and form in the service of telling the truth. We will explore how writers of creative nonfiction blur the lines between past and present, narrative and lyric, memory and history, beauty and pain, society and the self. Some of the most unforgettable writing in the genre leans into this sense of possibility, generating new hybrid forms that blend personal memoir, lyric essay, reportage, cultural criticism, travelogue, epistolary and more. Through close reading of short published works, discussion of our own works-in-progress, and in-class writing and revision exercises, we’ll explore how the form of an essay reflects and refracts its meaning, seeking new and unforgettable shapes for true experiences.

Intimacy of the Sentence: Prose Poetry and Lyrical Prose with Diana Khoi Nguyen

The word lyric has roots in the Greek stringed instrument, lyre, and thus the lyric mode necessitates musicality and sound in its expressive forms–be it emotive poetry, prose, or any other artistic form. For our two weeks together, I am thinking of “workshop” like a woodshop, that is, a space of sawdust, raw materials, craft, and conversation. We will begin by paying close attention to what happens when lyric is embroidered in a block of prose and how this transforms the nature of syntax, of the sentence at an elemental level. This will entail close reading passages across genres from writers such as Monica Youn, Jo Ann Beard, Jenny Erpenbeck, and Jane Wong, to name a few. Based on our discoveries, we’ll extract tools to craft lyrical sentences and pieces of our own of our own. Along the way, we’ll also hold “open studios” in which each writer will share a sample of what they have been working on, guiding our group’s interaction with their creative thinking, process, and work. This workshop is hybrid- and interdisciplinary-friendly.

Poetry with Solmaz Sharif

Description TBA

Writing the Luso/a Experience with Katherine Vaz

Disquiet provides the unique opportunity for those of us with roots in the Portuguese diaspora on all continents to gather with the common artistic goal of finding and expressing our individual voices, in whatever form that might take. Through the years, this group at the very heart of the Disquiet experience has elevated the work discussed to an exhilarating degree while creating familial-style bonds. We’ll study content and form, helping one another take our pages to the next level, while gaining inspiration from the city that radiates the culture and the stories many of us hold in our own pasts and hearts.


What When Where

* 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.