Why The Kenyon Review Novel Workshop Is THE Workshop for Emerging Novelists

Monday, July 07, 2014
I am pleased and privileged to announce that I was one of nine participants selected to attend The Kenyon Review’s Novel Workshop at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. From June 27 to July 3, I worked with two high-quality writing instructors, Nancy Zafris and Man Martin, and eight other dedicated participants, to improve my novel-in-progress.

Although I have attended other wonderful workshops that were filled with dedicated writers and instructors, this workshop was hands down the best and most useful writing workshop I have ever attended. Let me tell you why.

Focuses Solely on Novel Writing
My passion is novel writing, and all other fiction writing workshops I’ve attended allowed participants to submit short stories or a brief selection from a novel-in-progress. But this workshop asked applicants to submit 100 pages of a novel-in-progress, ensuring that all selected participants were dedicated to novel writing. The instructors provided individual feedback and whole group lessons specifically tailored to the challenges of novel writing.

Superior Quality of Instruction
As a writing instructor and adult education doctoral student, I am qualified to say that Nancy Zafris and Man Martin are not only talented novelists, but also superior-quality writing instructors. What immediately impressed me was that Nancy and Man had thoroughly read and considered each of our 100-page submissions and intimately knew each of our novels, characters, and settings—sometimes better than we knew them. They facilitated multiple active-learning lessons and used graphic organizers to assist our different learning styles in addition to conducting the traditional-style writing workshops. You can read Man’s opinion of Nancy’s talent as a writing instructor on his blog.

Individual Attention
Because the workshop was limited to nine participants, each of us got hours, literally hours, of individual attention every day from both instructors. Nancy and Man ate meals with the group to continue conversations about writing and the writer’s life.

Kenyon’s Campus and Facilities
Kenyon College is a small liberal arts school in the middle of farm-country, Ohio, and was rated as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the world. The campus has all the modern amenities—free Wi-Fi, AC in all buildings, state-of-the art swimming pool and recreation center—in addition to historic buildings and miles of running and bike trails nearby. During lunch breaks, I liked to lounge in an Adirondack chair in a quiet spot on campus. Many participants enjoyed evening walks to watch the fireflies. So although the workshop was intense, and we worked from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. or later every night, we were comfortable and content, and had opportunities to enjoy our surroundings.

Before applying, my biggest hesitation was the price, which was just over $3500. But I took a blind leap of faith and trusted in the reputation of Kenyon College and The Kenyon Review. And it paid off. I now have a clear plot and direction for my novel-in-progress, I have tools I can use to redeem the unpublished novels lingering on my hard drive and tools to set in motion my future novels, and I have a growing network of other writers who are dedicated to the craft of novel writing.

If you're interested in writing a novel—whether you’ve graduated from an MFA program or have never taken a creative writing course—you will improve your novel tenfold or more by attending this workshop. And you don’t need to take a blind leap of faith to apply: if you are interested but hesitant, I welcome any questions you have. Ask questions in the comments section or send me an e-mail at anne@wow-womenonwriting.com.

Written by Anne Greenawalt, writer and writing instructor, 2014 Novel Workshop participant

2016 Update: Nancy Zafris and Geeta Kothari have gone independent with the novel workshop. See the Zafris-Kothari Novel Workshop website for details. 


Sioux Roslawski said...

Anne-The workshop sounds idyllic. I'm all set to sign up--all I need is a "Sugar Daddy" (perhaps a "Sugar Writer-Daddy" in this case).

Good luck with your manuscript(s).

Anne Greenawalt said...

Thanks for the luck!
I know the price can be off-putting, but it was worth every penny and more.

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