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The Rose O'Neill

Literary House

Creative Writing Workshops

Our motto is “Write Your Truth.” Creative writing workshops at the Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference are designed to help you discover the stories that matter to you. What is your truth? What is the voice you will use to tell it?

POETRY WORKSHOP, with Leslie Harrison

Emily Dickinson said that she recognized poetry this way: “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” What is it about these small engines of language that, figuratively at least, can blow someone’s mind? How do we create poems that work that way? We are going to spend our time reading exciting poems and generating new drafts in search of this feeling—of a mind opened and expanded into the world via the serious fun of exercises, experiments, revision and conversations about craft.

FICTION WORKSHOP, with Julie Iromuanya

Friends and foes, monsters and angels. One of the great mysteries of human nature is the stubborn coexistence of good and evil. Fairy tales, folklore, and myths offer larger than life illustrations of what psychoanalytic theorist Carl Jung calls the “shadow.” In this four-day intensive workshop, we’ll map the ways that villainy and heroics, monsters and angels operate in the construction of character and conflict in contemporary literary fiction. Through a combination of reading and writing exercises, we’ll develop a set of practices to help us write compelling and engaging character-driven fiction. 


Creative nonfiction is sometimes known as ‘the fourth genre’ to distinguish its various forms from the genres of poetry, drama, and fiction. This class will give us ample opportunity as creative nonfictionists to sample and incorporate elements from a range of literary genres into our unique personal essays, lyric essays, and memoirs. Over the four days of workshop, we will read and write about topics as rich as personal identity, family lore, and the self in relation to the larger world.