Writers House Sets the Scene for Cooper Street Writing Workshops

By Tom McLaughlin

Rutgers University–Camden alumni and students of the master of fine arts (MFA) program in creative writing will lead a series of workshops for aspiring writers this fall.

writershouseThe MFA program will host the “Cooper Street Writing Workshops,” which are open to the public, in the newly opened Writers House at Rutgers–Camden, located at 305 Cooper Street on the Rutgers–Camden campus.

Tim Lynch, a 2016 graduate of Rutgers University–Camden, will present “Poetry for Everybody” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays during Sept. 12 to Oct. 17.

In this six-week course, Lynch will explore the questions of what constitutes poetry and equip participants with the tools to answer these questions for themselves and their own poems. Among the topics that he will cover, Lynch will explain the differences between lyric and narrative poems, look at various poetic forms and how practicing these forms can help poets hone their skills, and explore how poetry fits into one’s life.

A resident of Haddon Township, Lynch has published poems with Connotation Press; Mead; War, Literature, and the Arts; HEArt Online; Apiary; and Radius, the latter of which nominated his poem for a Pushcart Prize. He was awarded a 2015 Piper Global Writing Residency in Southeast Asia and has directed creative writing and storytelling workshops for young writers.

Kevin Dorn will present the “How to Tell a Story: Fiction Workshop” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays during Sept. 14 to Oct. 19.

Dorn, a 2016 graduate of Rutgers University–Camden, will introduce writers to the elements of story, character, structure, and style. The class will read established writers, studying the craft of writing and creating original works. Participants will have the chance to enjoy in-class writing, technique-specific practices, reading and group discussion, and much more.

A Philadelphia resident, Dorn serves as the associate editor of StoryQuarterly, produced under the auspices of Rutgers–Camden’s MFA program in creative writing. He is the winner of the Nina Mae Kellogg award for fiction and was recently short-listed for the Seán Ó Faoláin Prize. His writing has appeared in Southword Literary Journal and he is currently working on his first novel.

Shelby Vittek will present “Food Writing” from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, and Sunday, Oct. 23.

cooper-street-writing-workshopVittek, a candidate to graduate from the Rutgers University–Camden MFA program, will explain that food writing is a significant and popular literary genre that goes far beyond recipe writing and restaurant reviews. She will lead discussions on writing about food in various forms, such as blogging, the personal essay, cultural commentary, and journalism. The class will read and analyze classic and contemporary models, as well as critique and workshop participants’ writing.

With food as the context, participants will also work on writing technique, paying particular attention to voice, storytelling, and narrative structure, as well as observation and reporting. Time permitting, the class will also discuss markets and outlets for publishing food writing.

A Philadelphia resident, Vittek is a noted food, wine, and travel writer, who has earned several awards from the Association of Food Journalists and contributes regularly to The Record’s food section. Her writing has also appeared in other publications such as The Washington Post, Table Matters, The Smart Set, and the Philadelphia Daily News.

Keri Mikulski, a 2015 graduate of Rutgers University–Camden, will present “Writing Young Adult Fiction” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15.

Mikulski will lead a discussion on participants’ ideas and construct an interesting plot utilizing three-act structure. The class will then create believable characters, explore the “young adult voice,” and discuss dialogue and what makes young adult characters come alive.

Participants will then explore young adult novels and discuss what makes these novels sell – leaving with a solid idea and the beginnings of a manuscript, an understanding of the young adult genre, and the tools on how to land an agent, find a publisher, and market a piece. Aspiring writers are encouraged to take the next step toward publication and join in writing, revising, and exploring this popular genre.

Mikulski, a native of Maple Shade who now splits her time between Cherry Hill and the Jersey Shore, is the author of the young adult novels Head Games, Stealing Bases, Making Waves, and Fifteen Love. Following and prior to her four-book deal with Razorbill/Penguin, she sold short stories, poetry, and creative nonfiction to Current Health 1, Current Health 2, Highlights for Children, LiveStrong, RWR, and many other publications. She is also a writing arts faculty member at Rowan University and holds a master of arts in teaching degree from the College of New Jersey.

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