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Writers in the Mountains

The Catskills - Upstate New York
Imagination Unbound 
Est. 1992

Imagination Unbound

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est. 1992

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.  

2020 Literary Festival
POSTPONED - new dates to be announced soon

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Our News

Our Story

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.

Classes

MINI-ESSAYS AND SHORT STORIES with Jane Seitel

January 7 -

February 11, 2022

Fridays

(six sessions)

12 - 2 pm EST

ONLINE 

Mini, micro, flash, personal essays and short shorts may be small, but they’re mighty! Whether you choose to write fiction or nonfiction, the way you express yourself can be crafted into a literary jewel you can pass down to preserve family history, or hone for publication. In class we’ll consider possible enhancements to your pieces, how to make the words sparkle. We’ll read and discuss stellar examples which show the craft. We’ll work on mini warm-up exercises in class that you can use to start your piece at home. We’ll share our new efforts in a nurturing place. We’ll offer appreciations and insights. We’ll suggest possibilities to enhance your essays and stories. By the end of our time together, you’ll have polished work that will delight you.​

Class limited to ten students. 

Class Fee: $120 | FULL CLASS. REGISTRATION CLOSED. 

CREATIVE NON-FICTION with Anique Sara Taylor

 

to be announced 

 

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.

MICRO-MEMOIR with Linda Lowen 

March 9 -

April 13, 2022 

Wednesdays

(six sessions)
10 am  - 12 noon EST

ONLINE 
 

 

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: $120 | REGISTER HERE

THE ANIMALS IN OUR LIVES - POETRY WORKSHOP with Lynn Domina  

April 5 - May 10, 2022 

 

Tuesdays

(six sessions)
6  - 8 pm EST

ONLINE 

Remember that gerbil you had as a child, how you took him outside one morning, how he ran off, and how anxious you were until you found him? Or think about that hummingbird you saw whirring outside your window last summer—what metaphors could you use to describe that hummingbird? Or, how is the hummingbird a metaphor for you and your life? When you hear the word “animal,” do you first think about all of the animals that are gone from our lives through extinction?

In this workshop, we’ll write poems in response to animals—the cuddly and the fierce, the awesome and the ugly, those here now and those here no more. We’ll focus particularly on how concrete imagery and figurative language can improve our craft. The instructor will provide optional prompts as well as many sample poems.

Class Fee: $120 | REGISTER HERE


The Zen of Revision with Melissa Holbrook Pierson

Saturday and Sunday, April 9 - 10, 2022 

1 - 4 pm EST

ONLINE

Once you’ve produced the collection of words, you’re only halfway to writing something. Revision is a critical part of the creative process. It’s also a thorny one: a major difficulty all writers face is being too close to their own work. Zen—“a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than conscious effort”—perfectly describes the ideal state of mind in which to revise. So many of its core principles relate perfectly to the task of shaping our own work. By adding a “pause” before considering a change we resist reaction in favor of thoughtful response; we seek detachment from the superficial attributes of our own work in order to commit the necessary murder of “our darlings”; by trusting intuition, we imbue our work with greater authenticity and integrity; by seeking to remain present to “what is” we can envision the best our writing can be. Even the minimalist aesthetic associated with Zen can be fruitfully applied to revision, since almost any work is strengthened by a “less is more” approach.   

 

In this weekend workshop, we will consider how we can use the various tools of Zen practice in the service of fluidity and clarity. We will sharpen our scissors, and learn to love the paradox of deleting to add power. And we will play around—to get serious about revision.

Class limited to ten students. 

Class Fee: $65 | REGISTER HERE


MODERN LOVE with Elizabeth Koster 

May 6 -

June 10, 2022 

 

Fridays

(six sessions)
1 - 3 pm EST

ONLINE 

 

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 limited to ten students. 

Class Fee: $120REGISTER HERE


INTERMEDIA LAB POETICS with Sam Truitt 

June 4 - July 16, 2022 (skipping Independence Day Weekend)

 ​

Saturdays 

(six sessions)

1 - 3 pm EST
 

HYBRID

This class will explore the practicalities of an intermedia poetics and what is possible in the interstices between word, sound and vision. While we will look into how mixed media is used as a poetic vehicle and its philosophical underpinnings, most of our time together will be dedicated to free-writing, exercises and short assignments directed toward making intermedia works. This course incorporates the use of free, easy-to-learn, editing programs, with some of our time together devoted to its practical understanding. Our last meetings will take place at Green Kill, the peer-to-peer art space in Kingston, where we will rehearse and, in our final session, perform publicly via livestream the works we have each made.

Class Fee: $120 | REGISTER HERE

MODERN LOVE II with Elizabeth Koster 

June 17 - July 29, 2022 (skipping July 22)

Fridays

(six sessions)

1 - 3 pm EST

ONLINE 

Modern Love II is open to students who have taken a Modern Love course. In this class, participants will continue to study published essays and work weekly on sculpting and refining work to submit to The New York Times Modern Love column, and other publications. 

Prerequisite: this class is offered to students who have taken a Modern Love class before 

Class Fee: $100 | REGISTER HERE


FICTION WRITING with Thaddeus Rutkowski 

Saturday and Sunday, July 9 - 10, 2022 

1 - 4 pm EST

ONLINE

Everyone has a story to tell. Your story may be true or it may be fictional, but you can tell it in a compelling way. You can make your story come alive by using dramatic elements of the writer’s craft. Whether you’re a journeyman polishing a piece or a beginner learning the craft, this workshop has something for you. We will focus on elements of prose writing—plot, character, setting, voice, and beginnings and endings—through prompts and detailed critiques. Exercises and works in progress will be reviewed in class, in a friendly supportive atmosphere. Each writer will receive one-to-one attention. The class is open to everyone. No manuscript submission is required.

Class limited to twelve students. 

Class Fee: $100 | REGISTER HERE

Upcoming In Person Classes

Dates and Location TBA

FADE IN. FADE OUT. AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN - SCREENWRITING WORKSHOP with Stephen H. Foreman

DATES AND LOCATION TBA 

IN PERSON

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.

WRITE THROUGH THE AMHERST WRITERS AND ARTISTS (AWA) METHOD with Sharon Israel

DATES AND LOCATION TBA 

IN PERSON

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 PERSON

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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