starts today!

November 15, 2019

The International Writing Program (the IWP) at the University of Iowa is offering a new course, “Hidden Meanings: Creative Fiction, Non-Fiction, & Facts.” This course will be given as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) FREE of charge and can be taken on your own schedule, with scheduled programming beginning today, November 15, and continuing through December 31, 2019.

In November 2019, the world will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. At the same time, there is a continually growing global spread of misinformation and disinformation campaigns. This course takes a creative fiction and non-fiction approach to understanding and recognizing information, misinformation, and disinformation. You as participants will work with iconic pieces such as The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells and Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Jorge Luis Borges as well as more recent fiction and non-fiction texts, technically exploring how elements of information are used, and experimenting with these elements in your own creative fiction and non-fiction responses, contributing to the identification and strengthening of the roles of mythbusters, debunkers, and individuals in countering disinformation.

The course content includes writers who are both native and non-native English speakers, and we welcome those of you who are working on your own English language skills. Reading and listening to writers from a variety of backgrounds, and locating your own voice and and recounting your own experiences through creative writing, are strong language practice techniques.

No previous writing experience is required and even poets are welcome to participate!

More information and registration here.

bye bye, Glimmer Train

October 11, 2019

And speaking of longevity… the Portland, Oregon, based literary fiction print journal Glimmer Train has been publishing (and paying writers) steadily since 1990. After nearly 30 years, Susan and Linda have published their final issue, number 106, and plan to “begin a new phase of our lives with our husbands and families — still sisters and next-door neighbors, still avid readers looking back in history and forward, wondering, and trying to figure out how we can best make ourselves useful in these strange times.”

We salute them for their vision and contribution. Thank you!

Visit the Glimmer Train website to learn more about the journal, current and past issues, and online resources.

writing fiction

October 7, 2016

How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women!

While most of our posts focus on poetry, there’s certainly a lot of overlap between poets and writers of other genres. So we include here this notice of a University of Iowa Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that begins on Tuesday, October 11, 2016: How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women, taught by Professors Christopher Merrill and Margot Livesey.

Open to all genders, this course is centered on female voices. Participants will tackle two crucial elements of fiction writing: character and structure. The course will include a diversity of perspectives and advice on principles and processes from an amazing group of contributing authors (see graphic).

The course is free of charge and it’s not too late to enroll. Writers of all levels are welcome; no experience is necessary! To learn more, visit the University of Iowa How Writers Write Fiction page.

Moveable Feasts

A Moveable Feasts Workshop
February 23-25, 2014
A guest post by Nance Van Winckel

Our workshops are for people who already have graduate degrees in creative writing. Patricia and I see this as an opportunity for participants to try out new writing on a very smart group of readers. We also offer suggestions about the literary marketplace — book publishers, agents, literary journals, and the like. Many who took our workshops ten years ago have published books now!

Patricia Henley and I have taught together many times, and in such interesting places as Abiquiu, New Mexico (at Georgia O’Keefe’s former place), and lovely St. Augustine, Florida. We keep our groups to 8-9 people in each workshop, and even over meals with participants, we continue conversations about writing: the process, authors we love, how to keep the writing practice front and center in our lives.

I love our participant readings too. The Seattle session will feature several of those — another opportunity for writers to share works in progress. While our workshop hours are very focused and intense, our times outside of workshop are full of fun conversation, good food and drink, and a sense of celebrating one another. I like this balance. I know our participants return home refreshed and eager to get back with increased vigor to their writing projects.

Poetry workshops will discuss three poems by each participant. I’m suggesting people contribute one primarily narrative poem, one primarily lyric poem, and one prose poem. Just a suggestion. My idea was we might discuss differences and expectations of these genres. Fiction writers may submit up to 25 pages of a short story or novel excerpt.

Both workshops are already about half full, and with superb writers. E-mail Nance or Patricia (see addresses at the bottom of the poster) with questions and for enrollment information.

. . . . .
Nance Van Winckel ( has two new books out in 2013: Pacific Walkers, her sixth collection of poems (U. of Washington Press), and Boneland, her fourth book of linked stories (U. of Oklahoma Press). The recipient of two NEA Poetry Fellowships and awards from the Poetry Society of America, Poetry, and Prairie Schooner, she has new work from a (text-based photo-collage) novel forthcoming in Kenyon Review and Hotel Amerika. She teaches in the low-residency MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her text-based collage work may be viewed at:

Patricia Henley is the author of two chapbooks of poetry, three short story collections, two novels, a stage play, and numerous essays. Her first book of stories, Friday Night at Silver Star (Graywolf, 1986), was the winner of the Montana First Book Award. Her first novel, Hummingbird House (MacMurray & Beck, 1999), was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent publications include an essay in Smithsonian Magazine and short stories in Glimmer Train, Seattle Review, and The Normal School. She taught for 24 years in the MFA Program at Purdue University and now lives in Cincinnati with her two dogs, Jack and Alice. Her website, which has more info about her books, is:

The Independent Writers Studio (IWS) (Bellingham, WA) will offer a two-evening fiction workshop with Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner. Only three seats remain, so don’t delay if you’re interested. The workshop will be held subsequent Wednesdays, March 21 and 28. With a goal of better writing, the two sessions will explore the author’s views and experience creating stories. Details here.

Rachel Ballard - A Long-Forgotten Truth - book cover2008 Walk Award winner Rachel Ballard received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. Her work has been published in Pass the Fire: Stories about Service in America and Jeopardy Magazine. She lives in Bellingham.

A Long-Forgotten Truth, published by Rozlyn Press, is her first novel.

Here’s what Rachel has to say about the intersection of poetry and prose in her writing:

“Poetry is integral to my fiction writing — writing poetry, but also reading it. Lately I’m pretty focused on writing fiction, but I still return to some of my favorite poets over and over for inspiration. To me, integrating poetry into my prose isn’t about flowery language, but about having the discipline to find the right word, the right image. If I didn’t read poetry regularly, I don’t think I would have the tools to do that.”

Visit Rachel’s website, read an interview with Rachel on the Rozlyn Press website and be sure to check out all her readings and book-release events listed on the NW Lit Scene page.

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