Instructor: Susan Conley
Date & Time: Wednesdays, April 26 to June 28 | 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Location: USM’s Glickman Library, Portland
Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Maximum Attendees: 12 Full/Wait List Only
Fee: MWPA Member $450 | Nonmember $600

This ten-week master class in creative nonfiction will prop up the hood on writing about the incisive stories of our lives. How do we arrive at a nuanced, mediated voice that gets the reader to go along for the ride with us? We don’t even have to own a car, but in creative nonfiction writers need a burning curiosity for things and people that live outside ourselves.

This workshop will help crack open attendees’ writing in authentic and surprising ways to arrive at prose that blooms into full cinema, with moments of reflection and knowledge earned. The class will look closely at the twin elements of structure and tension, which allow writers to tell the story they most want to tell. All the while, attendees will learn how to create and sustain a regular writing practice.

The workshop will begin with innovative writing prompts to generate new material. Then we will move to in-class workshops of each student’s work. Each session will take time to discuss specific craft aspects such as: beginnings, endings, and the weaving of multiple story lines. Attendees will also read published work by accomplished creative nonfiction writers, such as: Megan Daum, Joan Didion, Roxanne Gay, Leslie Jamison, Tobias Wolff, Charles D’Ambrosio, David Sedaris, and others.

CREATIVE NONFICTION This workshop is open to those writing in all forms of creative nonfiction, including memoirs and essays.

DATES The workshop will meet every Wednesday between April 26 to June 28, unless unforeseen scheduling issues should arise.

PAYMENTS MWPA members may pay for this workshop in one payment, or may pay in three installments of $150, due at the first of each month. *PLEASE NOTE If you have selected to pay for this multi-week workshop on the installment option, once you begin attending the workshop you are responsible for paying all of the remaining installments. If you should, for any reason, leave the workshop once it has begun, you are still responsible for paying all of the remaining installments.

CEU The MWPA is proud to offer Continuing Education Units (CEU) for this workshop. The CEU is a nationally recognized method of quantifying the time spent in the classroom during non-credit learning. Ten hours of instruction equal one (1) CEU. (*Please note that by definition, CEUs are non-credit continuing education and therefore not transferrable as academic credit.)

Conley HeadShotSusan Conley’s most recent book is a collaboration of photographs and prose about childhood and motherhood entitled Stop Here This is the Place (Downeast Books 2016). Her novel Paris Was the Place (Knopf 2013) traces the lives of an American teacher and refugee girls in Paris during the late 1980’s. Her memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune (Knopf 2011), follows the years her family lived in Beijing. Susan was awarded the Maine Arts Commission Literary Fellowship in 2016 and has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Breadloaf Writers Conference, and the Massachusetts Arts Council. She’s on the faculty at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA Program and has taught workshops at Colby College, Emerson College, The University of Maine at Farmington and The University of Massachusetts at Lowell, where she was the Jack Kerouac Visiting Writer. She’s also a founder of The Telling Room, a nonprofit creative writing lab in Portland that believes children are natural storytellers who deserve an audience. VISIT

All MWPA workshops require advanced registration. We accept registration by phone, mail, and online via PayPal. We cannot guarantee registration in the final 24-hours before a workshop, and can rarely accommodate day-of registration.

Call 207-228-8263 and register with your VISA or MasterCard.

If you prefer to pay by mail, please print this registration form (downloadable PDF) and mail it to the MWPA with a check or credit card information.



The MWPA is proud to offer one full scholarship to this workshop for members-only. Scholarships are awarded on a combination of need and merit. Application Due in the MWPA office on April 7 at 9:00 a.m.

Registration in any MWPA workshop, program, or event constitutes your agreement to our terms and conditions.