Writers in the Mountains
Writers in the Mountains (WIM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the literary arts in the Catskill Mountains (Upstate New York) and beyond. The organization serves a diverse community of writers and readers, from native-born residents to the summer visitors who migrate to the region from all over the world. In addition to offering a variety of creative writing workshops, WIM hosts numerous literary events and partners with other organizations in the community for the enjoyment of the written word.
Writers in the Mountains (WIM) is a (501) (c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation and sharing of creative writing.
Founded in 1992 by Shelley A. Barre, the organization serves the entire Catskill region and Hudson Valley area, and offers a variety of creative writing workshops and other events year-round. The quality of our workshops and their affordability attract a wide range of participants from native-born residents to the summer visitors who migrate to the Catskills from all over the world. Our writers come from all backgrounds and levels of experience, and write in various genres and styles. Some are New York Times bestselling authors, and others have never written before.
In 2014 WIM ventured into yet another arena: it launched an annual literary festival for authors and publishers in the Catskills and Hudson Valley area called Writers Unbound (formerly known as “Meet the Authors”). The festival takes place every year in April at Union Grove Distillery in Arkville, New York, and features poetry readings, a publishing panel, an illustrators’ moment, a segment dedicated to fiction writing, and a new release. The keynote speaker in 2020 is Beth Lisick. She is a writer, actor, and the author of five books, including the New York Times bestseller Everybody Into the Pool. Her work has been published in various magazines and journals, including Best American Poetry. She co-founded San Francisco’s Porchlight storytelling series, traveled the country with the Sister Spit performance tours, and received a Creative Work Fund grant for a chapbook series with Creativity Explored, a San Francisco studio for artists with developmental disabilities. Beth has appeared in films that have screened at Cannes, Sundance, and the San Francisco International Film Festival. Her first novel Edie on the Green Screen was just published by 7.13 Books. She is a resident of Brooklyn and West Hurley. Her website is bethlisick.com.
LISTEN TO THE KAATSCAST LITERARY PODCAST TO LEARN MORE
ABOUT WRITERS IN THE MOUNTAINS
Kaatscast is produced by Silver Hollow Audio and promotes the culture of the Catskills
Hear more in this WIM episode from Kaatscast,
a Catskills podcast from Silver Hollow Audio.
What People Are Saying
Creative Nonfiction Workshop with Anique Taylor
“I’m excited to take this course. Anique provides interesting reading assignments, meditations, writing exercises, and examples that can be applied to your work in progress. The class also offers an opportunity to share your writings and gain valuable feedback from Anique and fellow classmates. It’s a warm and supportive environment. I highly recommend this course.”
- Heather Marsten, Woodstock
Melisse Seleck, Phoenicia
Take A Class
Our workshops are geared toward all styles, genres, and experience. All that is required is a love of language and the desire to tell a story. Those who take our workshops are assured a supportive environment, providing a better understanding of the pleasure of creative writing process. All of us are capable of intellectual and imaginative things, and WIM offers a variety of programs to help you to express your creativity.
In addition to creative writing workshops, WIM hosts the popular Writers Unbound Annual Literary Festival, and the informal Random Context Quarterly Literary Salon, which offers writers in every genre the opportunity to read their work to a welcoming audience in a cozy setting, and network with fellow publishing professionals.
POETRY FORMS with William Duke
September 11 and 18, 2021
1 - 3 pm
In this class you will learn and review the major forms of poetry. There will be a discussion of how forms came into being and why they continue to hold an important place in contemporary poetry. Learn to enjoy and employ syllabic forms: haiku, tanka, and cinquains as well as the major metric forms: limericks, sonnets, villanelles and sestinas. Concrete poems and free verse are also discussed. At the end of the first Saturday session there will be a collaborative writing exercise where the group writes its own villanelle. The second Saturday is devoted to sharing and critiquing poems written in form by the class during the week (homework).
Class Fee: Early Registration $45 | REGISTER HERE
WHEN SPACE SPEAKS with Sarah Blakely-Cartwright
September 21, 2021
1 - 4 pm
In this class, students will explore vignette, ellipses, and space breaks, as we interpret the unsaid and sharpen our ear for silence. We will look at how the elliptical form can provide exhilarating leaps of energy—and explore how cutting one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page can in fact sharpen meaning, leaving only prose that shines like a diamond.
Class Fee: Early Registration $35 | REGISTER HERE
CREATIVE NON-FICTION FALL
with Anique Sara Taylor
September 23, 30
October 7, 14, 21, 28
November 4, 11, 18
December 2, 9, 16
January 6, 13
9 - 11 am
Bring the compelling and dramatic to your personal stories, essays, memoirs with the study of craft techniques of poetry, fiction and playwriting. Join us in a journey into mood, metaphor, viewpoint, dialogue and tone. Explore memory, risk, danger, dreams, your own version of reality or the perceived truth of the real world around you. We’ll combine free-writing, class exercises, short assignments, supportive class feedback and the study of non-fiction work by famous authors to hone and deepen the art of your Creative Nonfiction.
Class Fee: $220 | REGISTER HERE
MICRO-MEMOIR with Linda Lowen
October 1 -
November 5, 2021
10 am - 12 noon
Memoir doesn't have to cover decades to tell a story. Sometimes a single moment, vividly depicted, illuminates a life. If you’ve wanted to write memoir but are overwhelmed at the immensity of the task—or you’re already writing but need a fresh approach—consider micro memoir. The smaller format can be freeing, allowing you to focus on an event that serves as a microcosm of the larger experience. In this workshop you’ll write short 200-word pieces and discover less is more. Weeks 5 and 6 we’ll focus on Tiny Love Stories, relationship tales of 100 words or less, and you’ll come away with one piece suitable to submit to the New York Times column of the same name.
Class Fee: Early Registration $120 | REGISTER HERE
MODERN LOVE with Elizabeth Koster
October 13 -
November 17, 2021
1 - 3 pm
In this class, you will have the opportunity to complete an essay that you can submit for consideration in the New York Times Modern Love column. Through prompts and exercises, supportive feedback, a study of published essays, and discussions on tips and pitfalls, you will be able to sculpt and hone the story that you need to tell and the world needs to read.
Class Fee: $120 | REGISTER HERE
FADE IN. FADE OUT. AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN - SCREENWRITING WORKSHOP with Stephen H. Foreman
DATES AND LOCATION TBA
In this class participants will discuss how the screenplay has unique rules that make it radically different from the other forms of literature. Perhaps a screenplay isn't really literature after all. It might be beautifully written, even brilliant, still, it's merely a blueprint for the movie to come. Many writers see the movie and do not recognize a single scene they had written and written over and over and over into infinity. Topics to be covered: the mechanics of a screenplay; word is subordinate to the image; think visually but choose your words cautiously and economically; proper form (there is one: Final Draft); plot; dialogue; camera angles: close-up, over the shoulder two shot, long shot, difference between a fade and a dissolve, how to set up a specific, actual shot that doesn’t look like a shot but really is; unusual but easily recognizable characters; most of all, story, story, story. The backbone, the spine. Story. The beginning and the end.
Upcoming In Person Classes
Dates and Location TBA
WRITE THROUGH THE AMHERST WRITERS AND ARTISTS (AWA) METHOD with Sharon Israel
DATES AND LOCATION TBA
Never written before? Want to write but haven’t yet been able to put words to paper and reach your creative core? Are you already a writer but need to further access your authentic voice and develop your style?
Poet Sharon Israel will conduct a generative workshop for poets and writers to help participants dive deep through exciting visual, musical and tactile prompts as well as compelling written prompts and exercises. Be in the moment, find the space between thought and feeling, access what may be just below the surface. Your voice will reveal itself and your craft will grow in an environment where you can nourish what you unleash. Receive and give positive commentary on newly created work. Once you revise, bring your work in for further review and discussion, again in a safe and supportive environment. This workshop will make you want to write more and more, not less and less.
HOW TO SELL YOUR NONFICTION BOOK PROPOSAL with Leslie T. Sharpe
DATES AND LOCATION TBA
In three information-packed hours, Leslie will effectively detail what it takes to write a winning nonfiction book proposal, illustrated with several handouts. In the second half of the seminar, she will invite writers to present their projects for evaluation and input in order to best shape their own top-notch “winning” proposal.
In addition to its diversity of forms, nonfiction also offers writers (which literary fiction usually does not) the possibility of having an incomplete manuscript accepted by an agent or editor— accompanied by a strong proposal. The proposal—including elements such as an Overview of the book, Annotated Table of Contents, Author’s Platform and Market Analysis—is usually submitted with two or three chapters of text and is, first and foremost, a writing sample as well as a sales tool. What agents/editors look for in a proposal is strong writing with a clear and cogent presentation of the book’s subject and/or narrative arc, depending on the form, and a persuasive rationale for why the book should be published, and why the author is the best possible person to write it.
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