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Off Campus Writers' Workshop - OCWW

PLEASE NOTE: Workshops are in Central time. All sessions are recorded and available to view for the week following the session; links to the recordings are e-mailed to all registrants. It's not necessary to notify us if you wish to change your  attendance to either REMOTE or ONSITE; all registrants receive both the link to the session and the link to the recording.

Meaningful Conflicts Anthology e-book

Come to the official e-launch of Meaningful Conflicts during
Peter Hoppock's workshop!

Upcoming events

    • June 01, 2023
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
    • REMOTE

    Memoir is a strange animal, living somewhere between fiction and autobiography. Life doesn’t unfold in neat little plot packages, and a novelist’s toolbox is required to bring our stories to life. Through short readings, generative exercises, and observation, we'll work together to stretch toward the universal by illuminating the particular. 

    Kelly McMasters is an essayist, professor, and former bookshop owner. She is the author of the forthcoming The Leaving Season: A Memoir (W.W. Norton, 2023) and co-editor of the forthcoming Wanting: Women Writing About Desire (Catapult, 2023). Her first book, Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town, was listed as one of Oprah's top 5 summer memoirs and is the basis for the documentary film “The Atomic States of America,” a 2012 Sundance selection. The anthology she co-edited with Margot Kahn, This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home (Seal Press, 2017), was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Her essays, reviews, and articles have appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostMagazine, The Paris Review DailyLiterary HubThe American Scholar, River Teeth: A Journal of Narrative NonfictionTin House, and more. Her writing has been supported by the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Katharine Bakeless Nason scholarship to the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers' Conference. She is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Publishing Studies at Hofstra University in NY. 

    Kelly will accept the first 10 manuscripts for critique. Visit Manuscripts on our website for details.

    • June 22, 2023
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • REMOTE

    Peter Hoppock will lead a discussion of Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff, selected by Richard Russo for inclusion in “The Best American Short Stories of 2010.” 

    Delicate Edible Birds follows five WW2 war correspondents as they flee the German army overtaking Paris. It is written in third-person omniscient point of view—according to Richard Russo, the least favorite of modern writers, while being the most difficult to master. Based on the story and accompanying materials we'll explore craft issues like: how point-of-view helps create the “voice” of the story; how shifting from one character’s pov to another creates a kind of rhythm which carries with it the expectation of change; and how pov choice influences other craft elements like dialogue and setting.  

    Groff, a frequent contributor to the New Yorker, is the author of four novels and two acclaimed short-story collections. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award and won numerous other accolades, among them the PEN/O Henry Award and multiple Pushcarts. 


    Peter Hoppockan OCWW Board Member has published numerous short stories and two novellas in a variety of literary online and print journals. His novella Mr. Pegg to You was a finalist in the Press 53 Novella Competition. He has also published articles on teaching and coaching in professional journals for both skiing and soccer,  in which he has held advanced national educational credentials for more than 40 years.

    Hoppock co-edited OCWW's anthologies,  
    Meaningful Conflicts (2023) and Turning Points (2021).  Join Peter's session to participate in the e-launch of Meaningful Conflicts and help us hit #1 in our category! 

    HOSTED BY: Sam Farler

    • July 20, 2023
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • REMOTE
      • Join Tonya Coats in a discussion of Maya Angelou’s essay, A House Can Hurt a Home Can Heal, from her book Even the Stars Look Lonesome.  Workshop participants will explore the themes of resilience, hope, and healing revealed in Angelou's piece.

    Come to share your thoughts and experiences and leave inspired to apply what you have learned to your own writing! As we delve into the poignant essay, we will discuss such craft ideas as weaving, metaphor, object writing and more. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a beginner, this workshop promises to be a safe and supportive space to explore your craft as we journey through the inspiring words of one of the greatest writers of our time. 

    Maya Angelou was an American memoirist, popular poet, and civil rights activist. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim. She also published   three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees.  


    Dr. Tonya Coats, OCWW's Onsite Production Director is a native Chicagoan and semi-retired Family Physician who creates in broad mediums. She has completed two novels available for publication that she is adapting to screenplays. Her poetry has placed 1 st in the Social Science category of the 2021 Poets & Patrons of Chicagoland contest.  She has published two short pieces in OCWW anthologies: The Healer, in  A Reason to Be Here (2019) and When I Was Five, in Turning Points (2021). In addition, she has placed essays in the New York Times, Riverteeth Journal and an upcoming anthology Black Memoir Matters, by Memoir Magazine. 

    HOSTED BY: Paula Mikrut

    • August 17, 2023
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • REMOTE
      • Paula Mikrut will lead a discussion about Stray Dandelions by Mehdi M. Kashani, which was published in The New Quarterly.

    Stray Dandelions is the story of a woman who watches as her husband tries to monitor and control his sister’s life, and who begins to see uncomfortable similarities to her own relationship with her husband.  It was  the subject of Decline/Accept, a feature in Carve Magazine that discusses stories that were rejected by Carve and later published elsewhere. Decline/Accept gives us a rare glimpse into the selection process of the editorial staff of a respected literary journal.

    In this session, we will examine issues such as: the relevance of the title, the effectiveness of the choice of narrator/POV character, the power of the beginning and ending, and other topics of interest to participants, partly in conversation with the published comments of Carve’s editorial staff.


    Paula Mikrut  is an OCWW Zoom Goddess and serves as our Associate Treasurer. She has been published in Black Moon Magazine, Clever Magazine, and Pendemic, and she won the Manny Award for creative nonfiction from the Midwest Writers Workshop.

    HOSTED BY: Della Leavitt

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