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Craft Workshops

Fall Worshops 2023
LitArts RI craft workshops are open to all levels of writers across various genres and mediums. You must be 18+ to attend.

contact Staff if you wish to pay in person by cash or check to avoid Eventbrite fees.​​

Fall 2023 Workshops

Thursday evenings, Sept 14, 21 + 28  6-8pm at LitArts RI
With Ethan Gilsdorf

Pain, loss, messy relationships, heartbreak, childhood, iIllness, death, trauma, abuse, addiction, and other life-changing experiences: these are tough subjects to write about well, but the effort often yields powerful results. How do you write about painful, emotional and deeply personal experiences in a way that's not too sentimental, self-indulgent, insular, or raw? How can giving narrative shape to these experiences through essay or memoir be a restorative practice? In this workshop you'll explore writing the risky personal narrative through craft exercises, discussion of texts by writers like Jaquira Diaz, Cheryl Strayed and T Kira Māhealani Madden, and presenting your work for group feedback, all in a safe, supportive and respectful environment. Open to writers of all levels, ages 18+. This is a three-week class; please be sure you can attend all sessions.


Ethan Gilsdorf (he/him) is a writer, critic, essayist, teacher and the author of the memoir Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Esquire, Boston Globe, Wired, Salon, O (the Oprah Magazine), National Geographic, Electric Literature, Brevity, Poetry, The Southern Review, and twice has been named "Notable" by The Best American Essays. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from Louisiana State University and leads GrubStreet's Essay Incubator program.
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Saturday, October 21 12-2pm at LitArts RI
With Kate Tarker

How do you tell impactful, unforgettable, and visceral stories about the body onstage? How do you write text designed for actors to fully embody in real space and time? We will read and discuss a diverse selection of scenes from contemporary playwrights such as Virginia Grise, Ryan J. Haddad, Martyna Mayok, and Suzan-Lori Parks, in which writers found uniquely theatrical ways to center the politics, pleasures, and pains of embodiment. Then we will write our own scenes with the help of guided writing exercises and a discussion of playwriting craft. Open to writers of all levels, ages 18+.


Kate Tarker (she/her) is an American playwright who grew up in Germany. She writes countercultural plays for smart, curious audiences that ask questions about language, gender, bodies, and national identity. Her plays include Montag (Soho Rep.), Thunderbodies (Soho Rep.), Dionysus Was Such a Nice Man (The Wilma), and Laura and the Sea (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble). The press has called her work "brilliant + highbrow" (New York Magazine), "staggeringly original" (San Francisco Chronicle), and "screamingly funny" (NYTimes).
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Thursday evenings, November 2 + 9 6-8pm at LitArts RI
With Luke Dani Blue

For decades, only a few sorts of bodies have appeared in American literature. For writers with "other" bodies, this can cause us to either exclude our experiences from our work or to flatten them to be easily understood by editors and readers. Metaphor and the surreal can help us evade this double-bind, while also being a playful and exciting way to blend fiction and non-fiction across varied genres. Through discussion, structured writing exercises, and close readings of texts by Megan Giddings, Hilton Als, Therese Mailhot, Chelsea Desautels, Rachel Yoder, Chelsea Vowel, Mona Awad, and April Daniels, this workshop will guide participants through techniques they can use to introduce or enhance the use of metaphor and mystery in their work. Open to writers of all levels, ages 18+. This is a two-week class; please be sure you can attend all sessions.


Luke Dani Blue (they/them) is the author of Pretend It’s My Body (Feminist Press 2022), a Kirkus Best Fiction Books of 2022 pick and semifinalist for the Story Prize. Luke holds an MFA with distinction from San Francisco State University and their creative honors include awards, scholarships, and notable mentions from Tin House, the Nelligan Prize, and Best American Short Stories.

Spring 2024 Workshops

Coming March 2024
With Amanda DeGrace

Monsters matter—almost always we dread their entrance and cheer their downfall. This workshop will briefly review the classic rules of monster theory (their “social purpose”) and how we craft stories that fight against them. Employing works like Cohen’s Seven Theses of Monstrosity, Lovecraft Country, and Ballad of Black Tom, as inspiration, we will use in-class prompts suitable for writers, comic artists and sketcher alike to consider the current trends of “injustice as monster” and how our heroes are helping us heal from it. Open to writers of all levels, ages 18+. This class is a 2-hr workshop.

Coming April 2024
With Morgan Johnston

Why does it feel comforting to write in second person? What tense will make it possible to talk about that difficult event for the first time? How does a specific chord express the sadness that never seems to come out right when trying to tell a friend, and what is it about writing and sharing songs that gives us goosebumps and makes our eyes water? In this workshop, songwriting is the healing. As music and lyric techniques are paired with mental health theories and coping skills, participants will uncover how the creative process and therapeutic process are synonymous. Open to writers of all levels, ages 18+. This is four-week class, with 1.5-hour sessions each week.

Coming May 2024
With Erin Vachon

When we deeply observe the body and its rhythms, what shape does our story take? If we tell the story of bodies in pain, does the story shape change? In this workshop, we will embrace metaphor through hybrid forms, experimenting with hermit crab forms, erasure techniques, and image-text writing while revamping our drafting toolkit with photography, tarot, and medical diagrams. As we map our stories through body-conscious writing, we will follow their shapes into deeper empathy, particularly when writing through sites of pain. Open to writers of all levels. This is a two-week class, with a 2-hour session each week.


All workshops will meet in person at LitArts RI’s wheelchair-accessible literary arts center at 400 Harris Ave, Unit E in Providence, unless otherwise noted. LitArts RI is actively committed to cultivating a community that values and reflects diversity, equity and inclusivity and to providing programming that is accessible to all attendees. Please let us know about any accommodations we can make to allow you to participate fully in these workshops.

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