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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?




JANINE JOSEPH: Backtracks & Backtalk: A Generative Workshop

This workshop takes its inspiration from the diptych: two adjoined panels that, together, form a single work for contemplation. What happens when a poem is fused with another—its twin, doppelgänger, or even nemesis? In our time together, we will explore and experiment exclusively with pairs of poems, discovering what might be possible when we pay homage, refract an image, embody a different tone, or make space for contradiction. Our process will include both individual and collaborative writing exercises as we develop practices to support a lifetime of writing.



Cara Blue w Frame

RAUL PALMA: Story & Storyteller

In this generative workshop, we will look at the relationship between story and storyteller. To do so, we will primarily re-imagine stories in order to better understand narrative desire: the purpose/rational for telling a story in the first place. We will also look at mentors in craft (various writers across the genres) to investigate how narrators exert dynamic energy upon the stories that they tell. Through we’ll read a few short excerpts of published work, this will ultimately be a workshop where we write in order to explore and learn. There will be opportunities to share work and insights with the class, along with opportunities to reflect on (and at times, experiment with) project that students are currently working on. 


Jensen with frameSUSAN MUADDI DARRAJ: Mosaic Writing

Like a mosaic, linked stories allow you (and the reader) to craft individual, stand-along stories that, when examined collectively, present a larger picture or theme. The mosaic structure yields a lot of benefits for the reader, especially in terms of quick pacing, a feeling of connectivity, and diverse viewpoints. For the writer, writing in a mosaic style can truly liberate your book from a heavy, chronological structure that may be weighing it down or getting in the way of finishing your drafts. In this workshop, you may find that you can tell the “big story” by focusing on smaller, more specific ones.



JASON FAGONE: Reporting a Major Incident in Real Time

On March 28, 1979, at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in central Pennsylvania, one of the reactor cores melted down, releasing radioactive gases and exposing 2 million residents to small amounts of radiation. It was the most serious accident of its kind in U.S. history -- Chernobyl in miniature -- and it altered the course of energy policy and the economy in ways we're still feeling today. In this workshop, we're going to report on the nuclear meltdown “in real time,” using actual video footage, audio clips, press conferences, and other materials to cover the disaster from multiple angles. Starting at "T-minus Zero," the exact moment of the meltdown, we'll write breaking-news stories, features about plant workers and affected residents, and explainers about radiation and the nuclear industry. The goal is to develop journalistic skills that can be applied to a broad range of unexpected, complex, and traumatic events.