WRITING WORKSHOPS

With

Aaron Hamburger was awarded the Rome Prize by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his short story collection The View from Stalin’s Head (Random House). His next book, a novel titled Faith for Beginners (Random House), was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Subtropics, Details, Michigan Quarterly Review, Boulevard, and The Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, as well as residencies from Yaddo and Djerassi. He has also taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and George Washington University.

Explore ways to create a vivid sense of setting and bring the world of your writing to life, adding a vibrant, essential element to your storytelling in both fiction and non-fiction. Three Tuesdays: May 23, 30, June 6, 6 to 8 p.m.

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With

Mathina Calliope has taught writing to all ages, from elementary school through college to adults. Her own journalism and essays have appeared in the Washington Post's Outlook section and Magazine and her commentaries have aired on NPR's Morning Edition. Her memoir, My People Didn't Dance, tells the story of her divorce and subsequent immersion in D.C.'s salsa dancing scene. Mathina's MFA in creative nonfiction is from Goucher College.

This five-session course will help you write your memories into scenes by responding to writing prompts, by workshopping essays and excerpts, and by studying Mary Karr's Art of Memoir. Five Tuesdays: May 30, June 6, 13, 20, 27, 10:00 a.m. to noon Sold out!

To be placed on a wait list for this class, please include your name and the title of this class in an email to classes@politics-prose.com.

With

Sara Burnett is a writer, educator and consultant. Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Poet Lore, The Cortland Review, PALABRA, and elsewhere. She holds a MFA in poetry from the University of Maryland and a MA in English Literature from the University of Vermont. She is working on a full-length collection of poems as well as a chapbook, and has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference to support her writing. A former public high school teacher, she also writes on education equity and designs curriculum. She lives in Silver Spring, MD.

Writing about family can raise a wide variety of questions, from asking to permission to shaping one’s perspective; students in this class will receive new prompts to jump-start their own poetry and examine different aspects of craft. Five Thursdays: June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

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With

Leslie Pietrzyk is the author of two novels, Pears on a Willow Tree and A Year and a Day. This Angel on My Chest, her collection of linked short stories, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was named one of the Kirkus Review’s best short story collections of 2015. Her short fiction and essays have been widely published andshe has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Pietrzyk is a member of the core fiction faculty at the Converse low-residency MFA program and teaches in the MA Program in Writing at Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia. For more information: www.lesliepietrzyk.com

Explore your creative side with this evening of guided writing exercises focused on daily life and its simple beauty. No experience necessary! Session 1: Thursday, June 15, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. OR Session 2: Tuesday, June 20, 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

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With

Martin Walker is well-known for his Bruno, Chief of Police series, where his creation, Bruno Walker, Chief of Police, solves mysteries in a setting rich with sun, wine, and ambience. He’s also a respected journalist and historian, and has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, and many other national and international publications, including The Guardian where he served as bureau chief in Moscow and the U.S. His collection of nonfiction works, include The Cold War: A History; The President They Deserve; The Rise, Falls and Comebacks of Bill Clinton; The Waking Giant: Gorbachev and Perestroika, which was translated into 11 languages, and Martin Walker’s Russia, which became the BBC series. His most recent books are Makers of the American Century and The Iraq War.

Do you struggle to keep certain core elements straight while trying to construct a compelling plot? Martin Walker understands. This class is here to help. Monday, June 19, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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With

Aaron Hamburger was awarded the Rome Prize by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his short story collection The View from Stalin’s Head (Random House). His next book, a novel titled Faith for Beginners (Random House), was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Subtropics, Details, Michigan Quarterly Review, Boulevard, and The Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, as well as residencies from Yaddo and Djerassi. He has also taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and George Washington University.

This class aims to refresh writers' conviction and creativity by loosening up and enjoying some reminders that writing can be a hell of a good time. Tuesday, June 27, 6 to 8 p.m.

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With

Jennifer Close is the best-selling author of Girls in White Dresses, The Smart One, and The Hopefuls. Born and raised on the North Shore of Chicago, she is a graduate of Boston College and received her MFA in Fiction Writing from the New School in 2005. She worked in New York in magazines for many years, and now, she lives in Washington D.C. and teaches at George Washington University.

This fiction workshop will jumpstart the creative process for new writers, and focus the skills of more experienced writers looking to improve. Five Wednesdays: July 5, 12, 19, 26, August 2, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sold out!

To be placed on a wait list for this class, please include your name and the title of this class in an email to classes@politics-prose.com.

With

Alicia Oltuski is the author of Precious Objects, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her work has appeared in Tin House magazine, W magazine, on NPR Berlin Stories, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University, where she received a David Berg Foundation Fellowship, and a BA and MA from the University of Pennsylvania.

In this “gentle bootcamp,” writers at all levels will explore the art of dialogue-writing in a fun and eclectic environment. Four Tuesdays: July 11, 18, 25, August 1, 1 to 3 p.m.

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With

Aaron Hamburger was awarded the Rome Prize by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his short story collection The View from Stalin’s Head (Random House). His next book, a novel titled Faith for Beginners (Random House), was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Subtropics, Details, Michigan Quarterly Review, Boulevard, and The Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, as well as residencies from Yaddo and Djerassi. He has also taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and George Washington University.

Students in this two-session class will discuss different modes of food writing and use in-class tastings as a basis for writing exercises. Two Tuesdays: July 18, 25, 6 to 8 p.m.

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With

Mary Hall Surface is a teaching artist, playwright, and theatre director and producer. She is on the faculty of Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom and presents workshops nationwide in creative writing and drama as a Kennedy Center teaching artist. Her plays have been produced at theatres, museums, and festivals throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Taiwan and Canada, including 17 productions at the Kennedy Center. She has been nominated for nine Helen Hayes Awards, receiving the 2002 Outstanding Director of a Musical. Mary Hall has published 12 plays, 3 original cast albums, 2 collections of scenes and monologues, an anthology of her plays and numerous articles. She was the founding artistic director of the DC’s Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival and is a member of Arena Stage’s 2017 Playwrights’ Arena. The National Gallery of Arts’ Writing Salon was recently featured in the Washington Post Magazine.

Discover a rich lens for exploring character, setting, and narrative by stepping inside of three very different paintings in a new course presented by the instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon. Three Thursdays: July 27, August 3, 10, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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With

John DeDakis is a former Senior Copy Editor on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" and the author of three novels, Fast Track, Bluff, and Troubled Water – all part of John’s Lark Chadwick mystery-suspense series. Bullet in the Chamber, the fourth novel in the Lark Chadwick series, will be released in October. This story deals, in part, with the death of John’s 22-year-old son Stephen in 2011. During John’s nearly 45-year award-winning career in journalism (25 years at CNN), he has been a White House correspondent and interviewed such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. He has taught journalism at The University of Maryland – College Park and novel-writing at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. In addition to leading writing workshops around the country and abroad, he edits book-length manuscripts. For more information, visit www.johndedakis.com.

A one-session primer that will help demystify the novel-writing process, examining each step along the way—from generating ideas, writing them down, publishing, and finally, finding readers. Wednesday, August 2, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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With

John DeDakis is a former Senior Copy Editor on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" and the author of four novels, Fast Track, Bluff, Troubled Water, and Bullet in the Chamber – all part of John’s Lark Chadwick mystery-suspense series. Bullet in the Chamber deals, in part, with the death of John’s 22-year-old son Stephen in 2011. During John’s nearly 45-year award-winning career in journalism (25 years at CNN), he has been a White House correspondent and interviewed such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. He has taught journalism at The University of Maryland – College Park and novel writing at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda.  In addition to leading writing workshops around the country and abroad, he edits book-length manuscripts. For more information, visit www.johndedakis.com.

A one-day, step-by-step workshop meant to deconstruct and demystify the novel-writing process for struggling and/or aspiring writers. Saturday, August 5, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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POLITICS & PLACE

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Heba F. El-Shazli is an Egyptian-American and an avid lover and reader of literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She is an assistant professor of political science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. Heba teaches courses on governments and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, international relations, and the role of civil society and social movements in democratization. She has a Ph.D. in Government and International Affairs from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs and a Master’s degree from Georgetown University. She was the Director of MENA programs at the Solidarity Center (2004-2011) and the Deputy MENA Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) from 2001 until 2004. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

This class will continue its exploration of Middle Eastern literature and politics by reading several works of Naguib Mahfouz (1911–2006), who is the only Arab writer to have been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Five Fridays: April 21, May 5, 19*, June 2, 16, 1 to 3 p.m. Sold out!

To be placed on a wait list for this class, please include your name and the title of this class in an email to classes@politics-prose.com.

With

Ari Roth is a producer, playwright, and educator. As of December 2014, he is the Founding Artistic Director of Mosaic Theater Company of DC. Previously, he served as artistic director of Theater J from 1997 to 2014, building the theater into the largest and most respected Jewish theater in North America. Roth's plays have been nominated for five Helen Hayes Awards, including two for subsequent productions of his script Born Guilty, originally commissioned and produced by Arena Stage in 1991 under the direction of Zelda Fichandler, and then produced at Theater J in repertory for its sequel, The Wolf In Peter, 11 years later. Roth is a two-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ playwriting grants, four-time recipient of commissions from the Foundation for Jewish Culture, and two-time recipient of the Avery Hopwood Award. He has taught at the University of Michigan since 1988, currently teaching for their Michigan in Washington program.

Led by a producer, playwright, and educator who is the Founding Artistic Director of Mosaic Theater Company, this class will discuss the social and political themes currently playing out on DC stages. Over six weeks, participants will hear directly from directors, designers, and actors who have experience holding a mirror up to turbulent societies. Six Tuesdays: May 2, 9, 16, 30, June 6, 13, 7 to 9 p.m.

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With

Susan Green, a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, is the daughter of a law professor and a labor arbitrator. She grew up debating Supreme Court cases at the dinner table. Susan has spent her legal career advocating for working women and men in court as well as in the legislative and executive branches, including three years as Chief Labor Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy and several years at the U.S. Department of Labor. Translating legalese into English is one of her favorite activities.

This course will examine the history of American law affecting women from the 17th century to the present. Four Tuesdays: June 6, 13, 20, 27, 1 to 3 p.m.

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With

Rhonda Shary was an adjunct professor of English in New York for over ten years, teaching courses at Marymount College of Fordham University, New York Institute of Technology, and SUNY New Paltz in contemporary issues and literature, women’s writing, film and graphic narratives, and Native American literature. A published writer and poet, her work has appeared in several anthologies and journals, including P&P’s District Lines III, Water Writes: An Anthology in Honor of the Hudson River Quadricentennial, A Slant of Light: Women Writers of the Hudson River Valley, and The Shawangunk Review. After moving to D.C. in 2014, she joined the staff at Politics and Prose as a bookseller and coordinator of the Book A Month program, and is now a freelance writer, editor, and teacher.

Read Margaret Atwood’s masterpiece again, or for the first time, and come together for a night of uplifting literary analysis and insightful social/historical critique. Monday, June 19, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

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With

Elisabeth Griffith, PhD, loves to teach women’s history because it is full of gutsy women who fought to secure the equal rights we now take for granted. Her biography of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, In Her Own Right (Oxford), won accolades from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and inspired Ken Burns’ documentary, “Not For Ourselves Alone.” Betsy served as Headmistress of The Madeira School from 1988 to 2010. In between the women’s marches on Washington D.C., she is working on a history of American women from 1913 and 2017. Before pursuing her PhD, Betsy won the Vogue “Prix de Paris” prize and considered becoming a fashionista.

From fashion’s ability to confine women to stereotypes to its ability to symbolize the fight for equality, this class will explore the intersection between feminism and fashion. Two Wednesday: June 21, 28, 7 to 9 p.m.

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With

Elisabeth Griffith, PhD, loves to teach women’s history because it is full of gutsy women who fought to secure the equal rights we now take for granted. Her biography of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, In Her Own Right (Oxford), won accolades from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and inspired Ken Burns’ documentary, “Not For Ourselves Alone.” Betsy served as Headmistress of The Madeira School from 1988-2010. She is working on a history of American women from 1913 and 2017, between the women’s marches on Washington, D.C.

Who were the best-known women in the United States 100 or 200 years ago? Have they been lost to history? This class will explore biographies of American women and discuss the challenges of writing about them. Three Mondays: June 26, July 10, 24, 1 to 3 p.m.

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LOSE YOURSELF IN FICTION

With

Melanie (Penny) Du Bois did her undergraduate and graduate work at Harvard, has lived in Europe, and taught literature at universities there and here. She has directed a reading group in Washington since 1989, and taught at Politics & Prose throughout 2016, leading a series of three courses on Henry James' stories and novels.

Tolstoy's classic will be revisited and reassessed in this four-session course, which will dovetail with a discussion of Vasily Grossman's Life & Fate later this year. Four Wednesdays: May 24, 31, June 14, 21, 1 to 3 p.m.

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With

Rhonda Shary was an adjunct professor of English in New York for over ten years, teaching courses at Marymount College of Fordham University, New York Institute of Technology, and SUNY New Paltz in contemporary issues and literature, women’s writing, film and graphic narratives, and Native American literature. A published writer and poet, her work has appeared in several anthologies and journals, including P&P’s District Lines III, Water Writes: An Anthology in Honor of the Hudson River Quadricentennial, A Slant of Light: Women Writers of the Hudson River Valley, and The Shawangunk Review. After moving to D.C. in 2014, she joined the staff at Politics and Prose as a bookseller and coordinator of the Book A Month program, and is now a freelance writer, editor, and teacher.

A Nobel Prize-caliber body of work does not have to mean consistently intimidating, difficult prose; sometimes, as with Thomas Pynchon and Siri Hustvedt, the author creates a novel that is accessible, constantly entertaining, and dazzlingly literary. Start your summer off right with Vineland, one of Pynchon’s family-oriented paranoid fantasies, and The Blazing World, Siri Hustvedt’s Man Booker Prize-nominated novel. Four Tuesdays: May 30, June 13, 27, July 11, 1 to 3 p.m.

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With

Nicole Miller’s prize-winning essays have appeared recently in New Letters and Arts & Letters magazines. Her fiction has been published twice in The May Anthology of Short Stories, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks. She received an M.Phil in Victorian Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford; a PhD in English at University College, London; and an MFA at Emerson College, Boston, where she held the Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary, she has served as a scholarly reader for British Dialects since 2002. She edits faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English Department and teaches 19th- and 20th-century British literature at Politics & Prose in Washington D.C.

She also leads fiction workshops at Grub Street in Boston, and is an emerging writer in residence at Kingston University, Kingston-upon-Thames, U.K.

Additional information about this instructor can be found at her website, www.inthesmallhours.com.

Join instructor Nicole Miller for a thoughtful reading of two works that began George Eliot’s career as a novelist and gave form to her deep studies of character, moral choice, religion, and social issues in rural England at the brink of the 19th century. Four Thursdays: June 22, 29, July 6, 20, 1 to 3 p.m.

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With

Nicole Miller’s prize-winning essays have appeared recently in New Letters and Arts & Letters magazines. Her fiction has been published twice in The May Anthology of Short Stories, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks. She received an M.Phil in Victorian Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford; a PhD in English at University College, London; and an MFA at Emerson College, Boston, where she held the Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary, she has served as a scholarly reader for British Dialects since 2002. She edits faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English Department and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century British literature at Politics & Prose in Washington D.C.

She also leads fiction workshops at Grub Street in Boston, and is an emerging writer in residence at Kingston University, Kingston-upon-Thames, U.K.

Additional information about this instructor can be found at her website, www.inthesmallhours.com.

This summer, be swept away by the drama of an empire in the unmaking by exploring Paul Scott’s post-war masterpiece: The Raj Quartet. Four Thursdays: July 27, August 10, August 31, September 14, 1 to 3:30 p.m.

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With

Melanie (Penny) Du Bois did her undergraduate and graduate work at Harvard, has lived in Europe, and taught literature at universities there and here. She has directed a reading group in Washington since 1989, and taught at Politics and Prose throughout 2016, leading a series of three courses on Henry James' stories and novels.

Both Tolstoy and Grossman wrote long novels to show the lives of human beings living in Russia during times of war and violent social reorganization; after a discussion of War & Peace in the spring, this class will delve into Grossman's epic postwar novel, which found inspiration in Tolstoy's masterpiece. Four Wednesdays: August 23, 30, September 6, 13, 1 to 3 p.m.

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THE WRITING LIFE

With

Colman McCarthy, a former Washington Post columnist, directs the Center for Teaching Peace. For 33 years, he has been teaching courses on nonviolence at local schools and universities, including Georgetown University Law School, American University, the University of Maryland, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and Wilson High School. His books include All of One Peace and I’d Rather Teach Peace.

Examine alternatives to violent forms of resolution with a former Washington Post columnist and author while taking a close look at the writings of Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr., Gene Sharp, Joan Baez, and other peacemakers. Six Wednesdays: June 14, 21, 28, July 5, 12, 19, 1 to 3 p.m.

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With

Phyllis Theroux began her career in Washington, D.C. writing essays for the Washington Post and the New York Times. That segued into a memoir, which led to a career as an author, columnist, and teacher. As the founder of Nightwriters, she is currently working on a biography of her late mother, who was the inspiration for many of her essays. She lives with her husband, Ragan Phillips, in Ashland, Virginia, where she runs the Politics & Prose/Ashland Writer's Cottage that hosts other writers needing time and creative space for their work (http://www.politics-prose.com/writers-cottage). 

Explore the rules and rewards of keeping a worthwhile journal with author Phyllis Theroux, who will share how the habit of recording one’s observations leads to a more thoughtful life. Saturday, June 17, 10 a.m. to noon Sold out!

To be placed on a wait list for this class, please include your name and the title of this class in an email to classes@politics-prose.com.

With

Martha Ertman is the Carole & Hanan Sibel Research Professor at the University of Maryland Carey Law School. She teaches courses related to contracts, commercial law, and families, and writes about the reach of contract to unexpected places like family relationships and human bodies. In addition to scholarly articles exploring contract’s reach into unexpected arenas, she co-edited Rethinking Commodification with Joan Williams (NYU Press, 2005). Her latest book, Love’s Promises: How Formal & Informal Contracts Shape All Kinds of Families (Beacon Press 2015), braids a memoir about three gay parents raising a child together with legal stories about other families. A 12-minute video of Professor Ertman reading an excerpt of the memoir from the book is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEnFoPgsBrU

Writing about oneself inevitably impacts others. How do we ethically and legally portray stories and other people in our memoirs? Wednesday, July 12, 1 to 3 p.m.

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With

Sara Burnett is a writer, educator and consultant. Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Poet Lore, The Cortland Review, PALABRA, and elsewhere. She holds a MFA in poetry from the University of Maryland and a MA in English Literature from the University of Vermont. She is working on a full-length collection of poems as well as a chapbook, and has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference to support her writing. A former public high school teacher, she also writes on education equity and designs curriculum. She lives in Silver Spring, MD.

Explore and celebrate the creative self-expression of writing in a one day class designed to empower the voices of young women. Saturday, July 15, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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