Summer Writer’s Workshop Offers Tutelage from Award-winning Authors

OXFORD, Miss. – Ever have an interest in writing a novel? How about learning how to write nonfiction more creatively? The 2010 Yoknapatawpha Summer Writers’ Workshop features many respected writers providing readings, critiques and insight into the art of creative writing.

Sponsored by the University of Mississippi Division of Outreach and Continuing Education, the three-day intensive writers’ workshop is set for June 18-20 at the Ole Miss-Oxford Depot. Tuition is $325 per person and covers all lectures, panel discussions, workshops and an evening reception at Taylor Grocery in Taylor.

Along with improving writing skills, the workshop will allow hopeful writers not only to hone their craft, but also to network and meet more people in the writing industry, said M.O. Walsh, instructor of writing at Louisiana State University and a Yoknapatawpha workshop instructor.

“The workshop benefits aspiring writers in about a bazillion ways: whether it be from hands-on instruction about things like sentence writing, character development and plot, to providing an atmosphere where developing writers are encouraged to express their opinions and questions openly, to simply doing the stuff that not many people talk about, which is creating contacts in the business,” Walsh said. “Every participant will leave the workshop knowing writers who know editors who know agents who know publishers, and so on. It’s extremely helpful to those who are ready to try publishing now or perhaps down the road.”

Acclaimed author and Oxford resident Neil White, who will provide instruction on writing nonfiction, said the workshop is invaluable for anyone serious about writing.

“Aspiring writers will learn techniques to make scenes cinematic,” White said. “They will receive instruction on using concrete detail to convey universal themes. The attendees will explore the difficult balance between the art and the craft of writing. They will also get a glimpse into the writing life, which is not nearly as glamorous as it sounds.

“In addition to great instruction on writing, editing and revising, writers will get an inside look at how to find an agent, writing book proposals, handling publicity and marketing, and dealing with publishers.”

Besides Walsh and White, other instructors include fiction authors Sean Ennis and Scott Morris, and publicist Stella Connell.

The instructors are selected based not only on their expertise, but also on their interest in helping others, Walsh said.

“Besides increased writing skills, the thing that people will leave the conference with is new friends,” he said. “It happens every year. The Yoknapatawpha faculty is chosen not only for their writing skills and publishing successes, but also for their sincere and genuine interest in people as well. What this means is that the participants aren’t the only ones who learn new things and make new friends every year. The faculty does, too. That’s part of what makes the conference so great.”

To register for the workshop, contact Barbara Thompson at 662-915-5811. Registrants must submit a brief sample of writing (no more than 12 double-spaced pages) that will be discussed during the workshop sessions. Submissions should be e-mailed to Thompson at by June 7.

Check-in is set for 9-10 a.m. June 18. Workshop sessions run 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The workshop concludes at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

For more information on lodging, transportation and program details, or for assistance related to a disability, go to or contact Thompson.