Writers Institute Offers Free Community Writing Workshops

image Each semester the New York State Writers Institute sponsors residencies of varying lengths by authors who have distinguished themselves both for their writing and their teaching. In tandem with these residencies free writing workshops are offered on a competitive basis to members of the community. The Institute will sponsor three creative writing workshops during the Spring 2009 semester.

Fiction and nonfiction writer, poet and screenwriter James Lasdun will conduct two six-week workshops: “The Art of the Short Story”, and “The Self and Other Nonfiction Workshop”. The latter workshop will focus on the craft of the personal essay.

Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Sheila Curran Bernard will conduct an eight-week workshop on “Intermediate/Advanced Dramatic Screenwriting.”

All three workshops will be held on the University at Albany uptown campus and are offered free of charge for non-credit. Admission to the workshops is based on the submission of writing samples. For complete information on the workshops and submission guidelines go to http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/workshop.html#jla. For further information call 518-442-5620.

Sheila Curran Bernard , Director of Media Programs for the Writers Institute, is an Emmy and Peabody award-winning media professional with experience developing, producing, and consulting on projects for national and international broadcast, theatrical release, and museum and classroom use. She specializes in applying dramatic storytelling techniques to documentary material, and is the author of Documentary Storytelling (Focal Press/Elsevier, second edition 2007), a unique guide used by students and filmmakers worldwide. A second volume, Archival Storytelling: A Filmmaker’s Guide to Finding, Using, and Licensing Third-Party Visuals and Music (Bernard and Kenn Rabin, Focal Press), is due out in September.

Born and raised in England, James Lasdun has received awards and critical praise for his work on both sides of the Atlantic. Critic James Wood has said, “James Lasdun seems to me to be one of the secret gardens of English writing . . . When we read him we know what language is for.” Lasdun’s recent short story, “An Anxious Man,” received the 2006 United Kingdom National Short Story Prize. A new collection, It’s Beginning to Hurt: Stories, is forthcoming in July of 2009. Lasdun is also the author ofThe Siege and Other Stories (1999). The title story of that collection provided the basis of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1998 film,Besieged.