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Go There: Fierce Writing from Exactly Where You Are

When: Friday, December 1st, 6:00pm-7:30pm 

Saturday, December 2nd, 9:30am-3:30pm (Lunch break at noon)

Sunday, December 3rd, 9:30am-3:30pm (Lunch break at noon)

Where: Des Moines Social Club, 900 Mulberry St, Des Moines, IA

Cost: $265 ($235 early bird pricing through September 1st)


If you want a great procrastination tool, insist to yourself that you’ll write when you find the perfect place to write about. Well, guess what? You’ve got plenty to work with in the places you’ve already been. 

In this class, we’ll learn how to capture in writing the places and the people we know intimately in order to create the specificity that all readers desire. We’ll reexamine familiar places for new inspiration, look for the totems they offer us to work with, and inhabit the characters of these settings by writing from their points of view. For outside inspiration, we’ll read authors who have mastered the art of place. It’s time to see the extraordinary in the ordinary and start writing with purpose and urgency, right here and right now.
This workshop is designed for all levels, fiction or nonfiction. Whether you’re working on a story about that summer you spent in Poughkeepsie or just wanting to explore in writing the place you love down by the Raccoon River, we’ve got a seat for you. Before the class, spend a little time in or thinking about an ordinary place you return to in your mind again and again (your childhood home, your college dorm, the backseat of that one guy’s Fiero, a field during detasseling season). This place should be vivid to you—good or bad—and ripe for harvesting color, texture, objects, flavor, and scent. Feel free to snap some pics on your smartphone to bring to class to give you even more material to work with. 


Jennifer Wilson has been writing for 20 years for magazines like Esquire, National Geographic Traveler, Better Homes & Gardens, Budget Travel, Bon Appetit, Parents, Midwest Living, Iowa Outdoors, the Chicago Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, (the dearly departed) Gourmet, and many others. She’s published two books: Running Away to Home (St. Martin’s Press), a memoir about returning with her young family to live in the Croatian mountain village of her ancestors (Best Nonfiction Award 2012 from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Emerging Iowa Author Award 2012), and Water, a hyperlocal environmental novel published in partnership with RAYGUN. She is currently a national magazine editor at Meredith Corporation and earning her MFA at Bennington College in Vermont. 


I’ve traveled all over but I’ve found the most power in my own backyard. Fierce writing from the Midwest in particular (where nobody’s a poser and the work ain’t easy—Bonnie Jo Campbell, John Williams, Daniel Woodrell, Toni Morrison, Sherwood Anderson, Marilynne Robinson, Jeffrey Eugenides) is an inspiration. Well, that and bourbon.


Everyone has a story to tell. If you are financially unable to attend this workshop, scholarships may be available through our generous partners and donors. Apply here


Helping another person attend a workshop is helping them achieve their dreams. Thank you for making our world a better place.


All course information is sent to participants upon registering including confirmation of workshop times, location, and materials. Our workshop cancellation policy can be found here:

Earlier Event: November 15
The Power of Reframing