To write, we need to read; every time we read, we become better writers. Classic literature, translated work, poetry, plays — all of it can inform our writing. Even if we don’t like what we’re reading, we can learn what doesn’t work. Participants will be encouraged to tap back into the joy they felt in childhood, coming home from the library with a stack of books. As adults, how can we make more space for reading in our lives? Listening to audiobooks while doing chores, having a “read in” on a snow day or when a child is home sick, putting “Read” on your daily to-do list, retyping or reading aloud favorite stories or poems: such habits will bring writing to the forefront of your life and, inevitably, provide inspiration and insight. During the second half of the workshop, the teaching artists will lead a discussion on how we can make better choices as writers by looking at elements of other authors’ work, including structure, dialogue, rhythm, voice, concision, metaphors, verbs, character development, and transitions. Participants are encouraged to bring a favorite passage or poem that inspires them to read aloud. What can we learn from these passages?
About the Teaching Artists:
Janice Deal’s short stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Harvard Review Online, The Sun, Fiction, and The Moth. She is the author of the short story collection, The Decline of Pigeons, and the novel, The Sound of Rabbits, forthcoming from Regal House Publishing in 2023. She is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award for prose.
Sandra M. Jones has worked as a business journalist and serves as editor of the alumni magazine at Aurora University. She is a winner of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers Award for Enterprise Reporting. A lifelong advocate for literacy, she has held leadership positions at nonprofit organizations focused on teaching children and adults to read and write.
Katherine Shonk is the author of the story collection The Red Passport, and the novel Happy Now? Her writing has appeared in Tin House, Best American Short Stories, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. She works as a writer and editor for Harvard University and is at work on a novel about motherhood and immigration in the Trump era.