Writers'
Workshop

For more than 20 years, Williston’s Writers’ Workshop Series has brought celebrated authors to campus to teach, share insights on the writing process, and inspire the next generation of writers. We’ve hosted screen writers, poets, editors, novelists, journalists, and memoirists, including multiple winners of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. For students in the Writers’ Workshop class, the trimester involves the study of a visiting author, culminating in a master class and community-wide reading. Read an article about the 20th anniversary of the Writers’ Workshop.

2022-23 Writers' Workshop Presenters

  • Bianca Stone

    September 26

    Bianca Stone is a writer and visual artist. She was born and raised in Vermont and moved to New York City where she received her MFA from New York University in 2009. She is the author of Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Tin House, 2014), Poetry Comics From the Book of Hours (Pleiades, 2016), The Mobius Strip Club of Grief (Tin House, 2018) and the children’s book A Little Called Pauline, with text by Gertrude Stein. She collaborated with Anne Carson on the illuminated Antigonick, a book of Carson’s translation of Antigone (New Directions, 2012). Her poems, poetry comics, and nonfiction have appeared in a variety of magazines including The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review and many others. She has returned to Vermont with her husband and collaborator, the poet Ben Pease, where she is director of programs for The Ruth Stone House, a literary nonprofit artist residency, letterpress studio, and community poetry center.

  • Major Jackson

    October 24

    Major Jackson is the author of five books of poetry, including The Absurd Man (2020), Roll Deep (2015), Holding Company (2010), Hoops (2006) and Leaving Saturn (2002), which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems. His edited volumes include: Best American Poetry 2019Renga for Obama, and Library of America’s Countee Cullen: Collected Poems. He is also the author of A Beat Beyond: The Selected Prose of Major Jackson, edited by Amor Kohli. A recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Major Jackson has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. He has published poems and essays in American Poetry Review, The New Yorker, Orion Magazine, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Poetry London, and Zyzzva. Major Jackson lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University. He serves as the Poetry Editor of The Harvard Review.

  • Martín Espada

    November 7

    Martín Espada has published more than 20 books as a poet, editor, essayist, and translator. His new book of poems from Norton is called Floaters, winner of the 2021 National Book Award. Other books of poems include Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (2016), The Trouble Ball (2011), The Republic of Poetry (2006), and Alabanza (2003). He is the editor of What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump (2019). He has received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the PEN/Revson Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Republic of Poetry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The title poem of his collection Alabanza, about 9/11, has been widely anthologized and performed. His book of essays and poems, Zapata’s Disciple (1998), was banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona, and reissued by Northwestern. A former tenant lawyer in Greater Boston, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

  • Kelly Link

    December 5

    Kelly Link is the author of the collections Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, Pretty Monsters, and Get in Trouble. Her short stories have been published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Best American Short Stories, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. She is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow and has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She and Gavin J. Grant have co-edited a number of anthologies, including multiple volumes of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and, for young adults, Steampunk! and Monstrous Affections. She is the co-founder of Small Beer Press and co-edits the occasional zine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

    Link was born in Miami, Florida. She currently lives with her husband and daughter, dog, and chickens in Northampton, Massachusetts.


A Selection of Past Presenters

Colum McCann

Irish-born journalist and novelist Colum McCann discussed his National-Book-Award-winning novel Let the Great World Spin with classes, and made the case for reading’s being a gateway to empathy.

Anita Shreve

The late best-selling author of The Pilot’s Wife and The Weight of Water—a parent of two Williston graduates—Anita Shreve spoke to students about her stories that describe “life intensely felt.”

Jennifer duBois

Award-winning writer Jennifer duBois ’02 has twice led workshops at Williston, first with her acclaimed debut novel A Partial History of Lost Causes, and then for its follow-up, the “psychologically astute” Cartwheel.

Nic Stone

Nic Stone

New York Times best-selling author Nic Stone discussed her debut novel Dear Martin, whose protagonist opens a literary dialogue with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Her second novel is Odd One Out.

Mo Willems

Mo Willems P’19 told his Williston audience that he writes “incomprehensible books for illiterates,” which was his way of saying that the pigeon and other iconic characters he’s invented are co-created by his readers.

Richard Russo

Richard Russo’s Pulitzer-Prizing-winning novel Empire Falls is “grounded,” says New York Times reviewer A. O. Scott, “in the New England bedrock of class-bound fatalism.”

  • Past Visiting Writers by Year

    2021

    Rachel Cerrotti
    Ross Gay
    Colson Whitehead
    Chen Chen

    2019

    Debra Immergut
    Jim Shepard
    Manuel Gonzales
    April Bernard

    2018

    Dr. Roger Reeves
    Naomi Jackson
    Jen Acker
    Karen Shepard

    2017

    Madeleine Blais P’00, ’04
    Timothy Donnelly
    Colum McCann
    Nic Stone

    2016

    Steve Bloom
    Keri Smith
    Laura Tillman
    Andy Ward

    2015

    Ian Cheney
    John Katzenbach P’00, ’04
    David Maraniss
    Debra Monroe

    2014

    George Colt
    Jennifer duBois
    Anne Fadiman
    Joan Wickersham

    2013

    Elinor Lipman P’00
    Rebecca Makkai
    Patricia McCormick
    Mary Jo Salter

    2012

    Christopher Benfey
    Jennifer duBois ’02
    Anita Shreve
    Mo Willems

    2011

    Lynne Barrett
    Andre Dubus III
    Nikky Finney
    Alison Pace

    1998-2010

    Anita Shreve
    Anthony Giardin
    Arthur Golden
    Augusten Burroughs
    Bill Littlefield
    Bret Lott
    Cammie McGovern
    Cathleen Schine
    Chic Eglee
    Chris Bohjalian
    Curtis Sittenfeld
    Daniel Jones
    David Huddle
    David Stern
    Deborah Monroe
    Elinor Lipman
    Elizabeth Alexander
    Frederick Reiken
    Gregory Maguire
    Helen Fremont
    James Tate
    Jill McCorkle
    Joan Wickersham
    Jodi Picoult
    John Edgar Weideman
    John Katzenbach
    John Marks
    Jonathan Harr
    Joseph Ellis
    Joseph Nocera
    Kevin Sweeney
    Kurt Brown
    Laure-Anne Bosselaire
    Les Standiford
    Madeleine Blais
    Mameve Medwed
    Martín Espada
    Mary Jo Salter
    Meg Wolitzer
    Nora Raleigh Baskin
    Pam Houston
    Peter Smith
    Philip Caputo
    Richard Russo
    Robert Meeropol
    Roland Merullo
    Seabastian Stuart
    Stacy Schiff
    Sue Miller
    Susan Snively
    Suzanne Strempek Shea
    Thomas French
    Tom Perrotta
    Tracy Kidder
    Wally Lamb
    Wyn Cooper

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