Creative Writing Workshops
The Amherst Writers & Artists Method
The Genership Institute is a recently created enterprise undertaken by I-LEAD, Inc., a non-profit established in 1995 which engages in leadership training and workforce development and provides an alternative path to higher education for low-income residents of SE Pennsylvania.
The work of the Genership Institute is aimed at creating and hosting opportunities for civil discourse on divisive topics, fostering creative collaboration between individuals who are developing community, and training in the art of genership. Genership encourages both groups and individuals to transcend restrictive definitions of leadership and unleash the powerful force of human creativity to achieve satisfaction and success in all aspects of life.
The creative writing workshops offered through the Genership Institute, designed on the model developed by Pat Schneider, founder of Amherst Writers and Artists, are offered in the spirit of facilitating the creative process of the writer within. The workshop model is not hierarchical — the workshop leader is present to help writers generate material that may or may not ever be used for the purpose of publication. In the workshop, the emphasis is on creating a safe space for the creative process to blossom.
The AWA Method
“Whether your purpose for writing is artistic expression, communication with friends and family, the healing of the inner life, or achieving public recognition for your art the foundation is the same: the claiming of yourself as an artist/writer and the strengthening of your writing voice through practice, study, and helpful response from other writers.”
– Pat Schneider, Writing Alone and With Others
The Amherst Writers & Artists philosophy is a simple one: every person is a writer, and every writer deserves a safe environment in which to experiment, learn, and develop craft. The AWA method, which is fully described in founder Pat Schneider’s book Writing Alone and With Others (Oxford University Press, 2003, and available at www.patschneider.com), provides just such an environment.
These practices, along with keeping all writing confidential, responding to just-written work with positive attention on what is strong in the writing, create an environment that is non-hierarchical, honest, and safe. Accomplished and beginning writers learn from one another in a generous atmosphere that works seriously to develop craft and holds personal respect for the value of every voice.
The AWA method has been used successfully with experienced writers as well as beginners, writers who have confidence as well as those who are uncertain. It has been equally effective in helping those whose voices have traditionally been silenced by poverty, discrimination, illness, age or other obstacles to achieving the powerful combination of language and confidence needed to overcome social barriers. While the AWA method is not therapy, it has great healing potential for writers from all backgrounds. Writers who have used the AWA method have published major works and taken top prizes and awards in the U.S. and Ireland, and over a thousand have completed the AWA training program in workshop leadership.
“A writer is someone who writes. Creating with words is our continuing passion.”
– Pat Schneider
- We write during the workshop, in response to exercises or our own ideas.
- We read our first-draft writing to each other if we wish.
- We respond as listeners with what we remember, what we like, how the writer surprised us, and how he or she made us care.
- We develop our work further if we wish.
- We comment more extensively on later drafts by fellow writers in manuscript form.
- We learn to recognize, cultivate, and trust our individual voices.
Workshop Schedule and Prices
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
– Anais Nin
October 25 – December 13 | 8 week workshop | 7 PM – 9 PM | $350
December 9 – 10 | Weekend Intensive | 9 AM -3 PM (lunch incl) | $220
January 18 – March 8 | 8 week workshop | 7 PM – 9 PM | $350
March 11 – 12 | Weekend Intensive | 9 AM – 3 PM (lunch incl) | $220
Dates to be determined | Poetry | 7 PM – 9PM
Dates to be determined | Memoir | 7 PM – 9PM
Ann is a certified Amherst Artists and Writers (AWA) workshop leader. She has led writing workshops in private, in the CT State Prison system, in nursing homes and middle schools. Ann earned her A.B. in English from Smith College and a Master’s from Wesleyan University. Her writing has been published in The Sun: A Journal of Ideas as well as numerous small literary journals.
Jim Warner‘s poetry has appeared in various journals including The North American Review, [PANK] Magazine, and Hobart, and is the author of two collections of poetry (PaperKite Press). His third book, actual miles, is scheduled to be released in late 2017 by Sundress Publications. Currently, Jim is the host of the literary podcast Citizen Lit and assistant editor of Frogpond. He teaches poetry for the MFA program at Arcadia University.