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.


A Selection of 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

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.”


Writers' Workshop Series Presenters

  • 2018-19 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

    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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