|Vermont Writers Roundtable
Take your creative nonfiction
June 22-24, 2018
This summer Peter is co-founding a new nonfiction writers workshop in his native Vermont. Peter will be drawing on his talents from 30 years of teaching creative writing workshops.
Authors are pushing the envelope in this genre like never before—the dry, boring nonfiction of the past has been replaced with dynamic, vibrant texts that incorporate the best storytelling elements of fiction while staying true to the facts.
Vermont Writers Roundtable will conduct small-group critique sessions (five writers per instructor), roundtable discussions, one-on-one time with instructors Pete Lourie, Steve Swinburne, and Laura Backes, and discussions with agents and editors. VWR is for the writer who wants to take her or his creative nonfiction work-in-progress to the next level and make it competitive in today’s vibrant children’s book market.
Adventure Writing Assembly and Workshops
I take students on adventures around the world and show them the passion that lies at the heart of travel and writing. In this lively multimedia adventure presentation, I take children into cloud-forested jungles to look for Inca treasure, up Mayan and Aztec temple walls, into the Arctic world of Eskimos and polar bears, out to prehistoric early human excavations in East Africa, down historic rivers and waterways, and deep into the history and foreign cultures studied in elementary and middle school. This Adventure Assembly helps children understand the process of a writer—researching topics, collecting journals, and perfecting the writer's craft.
Optional follow-up writing workshops and peer critique residencies help teachers and students bring adventure to the page as they perfect their writing skills.
When I am at one school for a day, I can speak to a large audience (Adventure Assembly), from 100 to 400 students, grades 1-2, 3-6 or 7-8, or any combination of those.
This assembly requires a cafeteria, gym or auditorium, and takes a good solid hour (for the little guys I often shorten it to 50 minutes). I need a room that can get dark and quiet (please, no skylights! no blowers!).
During the presentation, I will show slides and take students on many adventures and to many countries, or I can focus mostly on the Hudson River, taking kids down one of America's great rivers, telling stories along the way. (If within driving distance of my home in Vermont, I'll bring my canoe!)
After the assembly I usually need about a half hour to put my gear away and then grab another bag of writing and journal materials in order to either continue in the same space or go to a smaller and more intimate space, like a library, where I can meet 25 to 100 students for one or two writing workshops (I've done these "workshops" as mini assemblies, too, but smaller groups work best, and a library is always better than the cafeteria or a gym). After or between workshops, I can sign books and eat lunch, drink coffee, whatever.
The workshops are not workshops in the strict sense of the word. My goal in this 50- to 60-minute session, aside from answering specific questions, is to inspire young writers to embark upon the writing process. "Okay," I'll tell students, "you've just seen one adventure, but now let's talk about the long and sometimes laborious and yet rewarding and exciting process of getting from an idea to a book, a three-year process of research, journal-keeping, drafting, revisions, and publication."
In this session I'll cover details about research, which is another word for EXPLORATION. I'll talk about the pitfalls of the internet and the joys of interviewing experts. I will share my own problems as a reader and writer when I was young, and how I overcame those problems. I'll also talk in depth about various forms of journal-keeping. As with the assembly, I try to convey information through stories, focusing on my most recent travels.
For schools in the vicinity of the Hudson River, I have a presentation that specifically talks about my river journey from one end of the Hudson to the other.
To inquire about fees and availability, please contact me.
“Thank you for coming to our school.
"The students' comments hit the nail right on the head: 'He was funny, amazing, and we learned a lot.' The faculty loved it too. Happy adventures!" (Maripat, Sandfordville School, Warwick, NY)
“I've enclosed letters from my fourth grade class. You made a tremendous impact on them, and I thank you. Not only did you inspire them in the area of writing, but you also made them look for areas where they can be courageous as individuals. I look forward to seeing your presentation again next year.” (Jenny Stack)
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