The Cedar Ridge Writers Series (CRWS) evolved several months after I completed an MFA through the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Accustomed to the rhythms of that low-residency program, I was used to working alone at home between on-campus stints, but I missed the periodic contact with professors and peers. The structure of workshop-style learning, with its valuable feedback, was also something I knew I wanted to re-create and share with an intimate group of other writers.
The Series takes place on a rambling 18th century farm with a comfortable main house, cottage, and spacious multi-use barns and outbuildings. Participants spend a full day digging into the broader elements of craft in a beautiful setting by using prompted generative exercises combined with an array of topic-related readings. Peer and professional feedback plus other techniques depending on the topic—like mapping, using the five senses, and exploring hybrid forms—help writers look at their work from fresh points of view. Each workshop always provides ample time for free-writing, free time to wander the farm’s thirty acres, and opportunities to read and hear feedback on your work, either within the group or in a private session with one of the instructors.
Since its inception in summer 2017, CRWS has presented workshops in flash nonfiction (sponsored by Tiferet Journal); a craft workshop in Place and Setting, and a daylong writing retreat (upcoming in February 2018).
In June 2018, we will host a memoir writing and editing workshop, “Creating Memoir from Memory: How to tell the right story about the story you need to tell,” featuring Allison K. Williams, (author, speaker, editor and writing coach and the social media editor of Brevity: a Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction).
Lisa Romeo-—my colleague and CRWS main instructor-—brings many years of expertise to the table. She is on faculty with the Bay Path University MFA program, has taught at several other universities and regional writing organizations, and maintains a thriving private writing coaching and manuscript editing service. Lisa is the author of Starting with Goodbye: A Daughter’s Memoir of Love After Loss (University of Nevada Press, May 2018), and hundreds of short works in mainstream and literary venues. She is frequently found making presentations and leading workshops at writing conferences, holds an MFA from the Stonecoast program at University of Southern Maine, and a journalism degree from the Newhouse School, Syracuse University.
When I designed CRWS, I knew I wanted to give writers a lot of value while keeping the price affordable. In addition to instruction, time, and personal individual attention, attendees receive folders stuffed with readings, links, contacts, and writing info, and to make it fun, there are always door prizes and giveaways. On the agenda each time too: a judgment-free zone of friendship and support, plus healthy homemade food.
So far, our participant writers seem to like this combination of expert guidance combined with an intimate atmosphere. (You may read what they have to say here.)
Please make sure you sign up for our mailing list, so we can notify you of all the good workshops to come.