Literary Non-Fiction Workshop, July 23-30

led by Kim Cross

This week-long workshop is designed to provide professional journalists and writers the opportunity to learn and practice the craft of long-form literary nonfiction. Unlike other writing workshops that offer group feedback on existing stories, this immersive program requires active, hands-on practice in a real-world environment. Think of it as Spring Training for the sport of storytelling.

Here's how it works: Participating writers (no more than 12) stay at the Spur Hotel. Each day begins with an interactive discussion about a specific element of the craft (for example, dialogue), guided by our Writer in Residence. Well before noon, writers are dispatched into the town of Archer City to practice that element (in this example, by recording and writing a short scene involving dialogue). By suppertime, the group reconvenes to read and workshop their assignment and discuss what they learned in the process. The Writer in Residence and at least one mentor are available throughout the day to field questions.

The point of this workshop is not necessarily to publish. It's to learn and grow as storytellers. The program exists to give working writers a chance to practice the craft and experiment without the pressure of publishing. If individuals desire to create a publishable piece through the exercises, we support that. But it is not an expectation. In fact, we want to liberate our writers for one full week from the burden of expectations.

This program would not exist without the vision of George Getschow, founder of the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference and the Archer City Writers Workshop (a graduate-level college course by the University of North Texas). A mentor of generations of writers and a fine author himself, George created a "Tribe of Storytellers" that includes the best and brightest contemporary writers of literary nonfiction. Through this program, books were born, careers were launched, and lifelong friendship established. In 2014, George passed the responsibility for organizing this workshop to author Kim Cross, who wishes to carry it forward with his enthusiasm and spirit and make it available to professionals nationwide.

To be eligible for a professional spot in this workshop, applicants must be 21 or older and posses a strong command of the fundamentals of writing. Ideally, they have at least five years of professional experience in journalism, publishing, or creative writing. Reporting experience is recommended, but not required. Graduate students in journalism or creative writing will be considered based on writing samples and recommendations. Even more than clips or experience, we're looking for candidates with a strong desire to learn, grow, and venture outside their comfort zone. 

The workshop fee is $1,000, which includes tuition and 7 nights' lodging (a modest room with private bath) at the Spur Hotel. Participants are responsible for their meals (Murn's Cafe is right across the street. There's a small grocery store in town and hotel kitchen available for use). This workshop is limited to 12 participants, and $400 deposit required to hold a spot.  Cancellation policy: 100% refund before May 1; 75% by June 1; 50% by July 1; no refund after July 2.

Participants are selected by nomination. Read more about Kim on our coaches page. For more information, contact Kim Cross at kimhcross (at) yahoo (dot) com.