Wilkes University


Norman Mailer Writers Colony to Offer Workshops During Wilkes University’s Pennsylvania Writers Conference, July 29-Aug. 10

The Norman Mailer Writers Colony, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Writers Conference, will offer creative writing workshops at Wilkes University. Workshops will cover fiction, nonfiction, memoir, poetry, screenwriting, publishing and self promotion. One session will run from July 29 to Aug. 3 and a second session will be offered from Aug. 4 to Aug. 10.

The Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony offer workshops that explore what Mailer called "the spooky art of writing" and the unique ways writers apply their art to their own creative narratives. Each one-week course will meet for approximately 12-15 hours, spread out over five days and include workshop sessions, lectures, group discussion and individual instruction.

In February, the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Wilkes University announced a partnership with the Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony. Through this collaboration, the summer writing workshops will be held permanently at Wilkes.

The 2018 summer writing workshops will bookend the Pennsylvania Writers Conference, presented by the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Wilkes University. Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Andre Dubus III will be the keynote speaker. During the conference, attendees will participate in over 40 workshops, panels, presentations and plenary sessions.

The cost for each workshop is $605. This cost includes registration for the Pennsylvania Writers conference and the dinner and keynote address on Saturday, Aug. 4 at 7 p.m.. Applicants must provide a one-page letter of intent, 10 pages of poetry or 10 to 20 pages of prose or a screenplay. If applicants wish to take a workshop in both sessions, a second application must be submitted. Applications can be found online at nmcenter.org/2018-workshops. Those accepted into the workshops will be contacted no later than June 1.

Scholarships are available. Applicants wishing to apply for scholarship must provide a one-page statement outlining their need. The statement should be sent to normanmailercolony@gmail.com. Scholarships to these workshops are based on need and other resources for writing. Food, travel and housing to and from the workshop’s location are not included.

For more information, please call 570-408-4547. For conference registration, visit www.wilkes.edu/PWC.

Norman Mailer Writers Colony Workshop Descriptions:

Session One: July 29 – Aug. 3


Discover the life-changing potential of memoir in a workshop designed to take the writer deeper into their hearts and pasts.

Instructor: Beverly Donofrio

Beverly Donofrio has published three memoirs, Riding in Cars with Boys, Looking for Mary, and Astonished, as well as one middle-grade and two picture books. Her essays appear in anthologies and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, O, Marie Claire, More, Allure, Spirituality and Health, The Village Voice, Huffington Post, and Slate.

Elements of Fiction:  Crisis Conflict Character

This fiction workshop will focus on the foundational elements of compelling fiction.

Instructor: Marita Golden

Marita Golden, co-founder and president emeritus of the Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Foundation, is a veteran teacher of writing and an acclaimed award-winning author of over a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction. She is the recipient of the Writers for Writers Award presented by Barnes & Noble and Poets and Writers and the Fiction Award for her novel After awarded by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.


This course will give students a hands-on insider’s look at the way publishing companies work.

Instructor: Philip Brady

Philip Brady is a distinguished professor of English at Youngstown State University and executive director of Etruscan Press. An award-winning poet, essayist and editor, Brady's latest book is To Banquet with the Ethiopians: A Memoir of Life Before the Alphabet. His essay collection, By Heart: Reflections of a Rust-Belt Bard, was a Gold Medalist at Foreword Magazine in 2008.


Students will discuss the various concepts of producing poems. Poems will be edited, newly written and workshoped.

Instructor: Rashidah Ismaili AbuBakr

Rashidah Ismaili AbuBakr writes poetry, plays, fiction and conducts workshops. She is currently finishing a new novel in linked stories in her Lower East Side trilogy, An African in New York. She continues to be active with PEN and PEN Voices International Festival.

Creative Nonfiction: Types and Techniques

The class will review the wide variety of forms that can be fairly called creative nonfiction and discuss the craft elements of imagery, voice and poin of view, character, setting and story.

Instructor: J. Michael Lennon

J. Michael Lennon, is the vice president emeritus for academic affairs, professor emeritus of English and co-founder of the graduate creative writing program at Wilkes University. Lennon is the author of the biography of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author Norman Mailer, Norman Mailer: A Double Life, published by Simon & Schuster. His work has appeared in Paris Review, TLS, NYRB, Playboy, Hippocampus, New Yorker, New England Review, Creative Nonfiction, and Provincetown Arts.

Marketing Planning for Writers, Online and Off: Promotion, Publicity & More

In this session, students will learn the basics of building a marketing plan, from setting smart goals to analyzing success.

Instructor: Donna Talarico

Donna Talarico is an independent writer and content marketing consultant, and the founder of Hippocampus Magazine and its books division and annual conference, HippoCamp. She has more than two decades of experience in marketing, communications, writing and media.

Session Two: Aug. 4 – 10

The Closer Class: A Workshop on How to Finish Your Book

This workshop helps students complete a fiction project and discover what to do next on the path to publication, without sacrificing artistic integrity or neglecting the need to have a life outside of writing.

Instructor: Jacquelyn Mitchard

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the author of 21 books of fiction and non-fiction for adults, young adults, and children, with more than 4 million copies in print worldwide, in 31 languages. Her novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was an Oprah’s Book Club pick. She was editor-in-chief and curator of Merit Press, a realistic young adult imprint under the auspices of Simon & Schuster, and is now a professor of fiction and non-fiction in the MFA programs in Creative Writing at Miami University of Ohio and Wilkes University.

Writing Book Reviews and Breaking into that Market

Students will explores some of the pathways to book review publication and discuss the intellectual background and the skills that it takes to write a worthwhile review.

Instructor: Maureen Corrigan

Maureen Corrigan is a book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air, is a critic-in-residence and lecturer at Georgetown University. She is an associate editor of and contributor to Mystery and Suspense Writers (Scribner) and winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Criticism, presented by the Mystery Writers of America. She also served as a juror for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in fiction.


Through a variety of exercises, students work through the nature of images, then shift into the structure of storytelling through images and the creation of characters.

Instructor: Ross Klavan

Ross Klavan's work spans film, television, radio, print, live performance, and visual art. He has performed his work in numerous theaters and clubs. He has acted and done voice work in TV and radio commercials and has lent his voice to feature films as well as worked as a newspaper and radio journalist in New York City and London.


Repeating from session one


Repeating from session one


Participants will work with prompts and exercises that can access the space and energy in writing when the flow of creative process gets stuck. The workshops will focus on writing that is meant to be heard.

Instructor: Juanita Rockwell

Juanita Rockwell is a writer and director of over a hundred projects including plays with and without  songs; opera; puppetry; audio theater; solo performance; translation; installation; and multi-author collaboration. Awards include a Marion International Fellowship; Baltimore’s Ruby Award; NEA; Fulbright; Maryland Arts Council Award in Playwriting; and artist residencies including Djerassi and Ucross.