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.
A Selection of Presenters
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.
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.”
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.
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 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’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.”
Writers' Workshop Series Presenters
Read a news story about this year’s presenters.
October 15 and 16: Dr. Roger Reeves, award-winning poet (his collection, King Me, was published in 2013), and assistant professor of poetry at the University of Illinois, Chicago
November 1 and 2: Naomi Jackson, award-winning novelist (The Star Side of Bird Hill, 2015)
December 3: Jen Acker, founder and editor-in-chief of The Common, an award-winning literary magazine and Amherst College lecturer
January 14: Karen Shepard, novelist (The Celestials), writer of short-stories (Kiss Me Someone) and nonfiction, and teacher of writing and literature at Williams College
Visiting Writers from Past Workshops
Madeleine Blais P’00, ’04
John Katzenbach P’00, ’04
Elinor Lipman P’00
Mary Jo Salter
Jennifer duBois ’02
Andre Dubus III
John Edgar Weideman
Mary Jo Salter
Nora Raleigh Baskin
Suzanne Strempek Shea