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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 Sandra Beasley

Poems plumb the depths of human nature—our loves and losses. But the emotional interior is just one available landscape. What about writing poems that want to venture beyond the self? In this workshop, we’ll celebrate poems that map external landscapes: poems that survey the bright particulars of a world shaped by animals, food, travel, and science. In each class, we’ll begin with a guided close reading of texts to foster understanding of how a poem works. We’ll integrate practical craft tips on how to expand imagery, break lines, and use sound to spark curiosity and provide closure. Every workshop will include a generative prompt, connected to the theme at hand, and in-class drafting. We’ll have time to share this work, or other poems brought in by participants, for informal critique.


FICTION WORKSHOP, with Rahul Mehta

Complex Characters, Compelling Stories. If you think back over the stories and novels that you love, often it’s the characters you have fallen in love with. Characters are the heartbeat of most good fiction. When we finish a book we love, we miss them. During this four day workshop, we’ll focus on creating characters that are compelling and complex. We’ll look at some great characters from contemporary fiction, and we’ll practice various techniques for getting to know our own characters and learning to trust them. Along the way, we’ll touch on other elements of craft like dialogue, setting, theme, and plot.



Creative nonfiction is the umbrella term for memoirs and essays that go far beyond the academic or five-paragraph form. In this class we will explore a wide variety of different forms of creative nonfiction – memoirs and personal essays, but also lyric essays (which often use inventive structures like lists or recipes or instruction manuals to explore their thinking) and graphic/cartoon essays as well playful ways of keeping a diary to feed your creative nonfiction work. We will read and discuss examples of these forms and try our hand at writing them ourselves. Come with a sense of exploration and play, leave with a fresh understanding of creative nonfiction as well as drafts of new work.