Writers’ Workshop Authors Have a Story to Tell


The 22nd Writers’ Workshop Series at Williston Northampton School presents four authors whose work spans a spectrum of genres and forms. The Writers’ Workshop course is an honors two-trimester class where students study fiction and nonfiction. Students also engage with these visiting authors, who attend classes, discuss their creative process with the broader community, and then teach a master class in writing.

Sarah Sawyer, chair of the English Department, organizes the event with English teacher Matt Liebowitz. “The visiting writers this year present an amazing and diverse mix of styles, narratives, viewpoints, and approaches to the act of writing,” Liebowitz said. “Their words—to me, already, and hopefully to the students soon—change the way one sees the world. It’s a remarkable opportunity to experience this at the high school level.”

Debra Immergut, on campus October 14, is the author of The Captives, a finalist for a 2019 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, published by Ecco/HarperCollins. Her next novel, You Again, is forthcoming from Ecco in 2020. Immergut is a MacDowell and Michener fellow and has an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She has published literary work in American Short Fiction and Narrative, and journalism in the Wall Street Journal, the Boston GlobeNew York magazine, among other places. She lives in western Massachusetts, where she teaches writing in a variety of settings, including libraries and prisons. Immergut talks about her work here.

On October 28, Jim Shepard will be on campus. He has written seven novels, including The Book of Aron, which won the Sophie Brody Medal for Jewish Literature, the PEN/New England Award for Fiction, and the Clark Fiction Prize, and five story collections, including Like You’d Understand, Anyway, a finalist for the National Book Award and Story Prize winner. Seven of his stories have been chosen for the Best American Short Stories, two for the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and two for Pushcart Prizes. He’s also won the Library of Congress/Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction and the ALEX Award from the American Library Association. He teaches at Williams College. Read an interview with Shepard here.

Manuel Gonzales is the author of the novel The Regional Office is Under Attack! and the story collection The Miniature Wife, winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and the John Gardner Fiction Book Award. A graduate of the Columbia University Creative Writing Program, he teaches writing at the University of Kentucky and the Institute of American Indian Arts. He has published fiction and nonfiction in Open City, Fence, One Story, Esquire, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and The Believer. Gonzales lives in Kentucky with his wife and two children. He’ll be at Williston on November 5. An interview with Gonzales is here.

April Bernard grew up in New England, where she was educated at Harvard University. Upon receiving her bachelor’s degree, she moved to New York City to work in publishing, eventually serving as senior editor of Vanity Fair. Bernard left publishing in order to pursue a Ph.D. in English literature from Yale University. Her first book, Blackbird Bye Bye (Random House, 1989), earned the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Other books of poetry include Brawl & Jag (W. W. Norton, 2016), Romanticism (W. W. Norton, 2009), Swan Electric (2002), and Psalms (1995). She is the author of a novel, Pirate Jenny (W. W. Norton, 1990). Bernard is the recipient of many honors, including a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship. She has taught at Amherst College and Baruch College, and she now teaches at Skidmore College and in the low-residency MFA in Writing program at Bennington College. She lives in Saratoga Springs, New York. Read a profile of Bernard here. She’ll give a reading on campus on February 17, 2020.

The public is invited to attend these free readings by the authors from 7–8 p.m. in the Dodge Room, in the Reed Campus Center on the Williston campus. See a campus map here.