The Art of the Short Story Workshop
A six week workshop for short story writers and novelists of color in New York City with Kweli Founding Editor and Publisher, Laura Pegram
The Art of the Short Story Workshop is a safe space for writers of color, at all levels. We will meet every week for six weeks on Saturday afternoons, from 2:30pm - 4:30 pm at Poets House. The workshop will include seminars focused on craft and in-class writing exercises. There will be reading assignments and a study of works by well-known writers. Writing will begin on the first day of workshop. Peer review sessions will take place during the final three weeks of workshop.
The enrollment is limited to 15 participants.
Class Dates: September 14, September 21, September 28, October 5, October 12, October 19
Workshop Fee: $325
Register for the workshop with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Payment in advance secures your seat.
For more information, please email email@example.com or call 646-709-7026.
I came to the Art of the Short Story workshop because I’d been feeling stagnant in my writing process and I kept hearing how powerful the class was. So I signed up. Yo! I wasn’t ready. This is the workshop I’ve been looking for, for years. It was part literature appreciation class, part boot camp with a gentle, loving touch. I fell in love with the short story again. Both as a reader and as a writer. Along the way, I even breathed new life into a story idea that I’ve been wrestling with for a while. This workshop is a much needed space for writers of color at all levels. Thank you, Laura!
Summer 2018, The Art of the Short Story
The Art of the Short Story workshop with Laura Pegram was an extremely profound investment and is sure to have a lasting influence my creative journey. Laura reminded me of the immense skills of Louise Erdrich, Sandra Cisneros, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Junot Díaz and introduced me to new literary heroes Edward P. Jones, Chinelo Okparanta, and Anthony Marra. Through Laura's careful and thoughtful guidance we grappled with such issues as war, racism, sexism, homophobia, longing, love, and hope (to name a few) and many of their hypocrisies and intersections. In analyzing key portions of these diverse texts, Laura guided us in intelligent conversation about the craft involved in bringing the content to life and the ways in which the repetition of themes, images, and words served to lead to a conclusion that was both "surprising and yet inevitable." In doing this Laura has taught me to be a much slower reader, considering both the "large" and "small" decisions made by a writer in the crafting of their art. I would absolutely return for another workshop and would encourage anyone interested in shaping their writing craft to do the same. It is only through learning to become a better reader that I've become a better writer and for that I am truly grateful!
Winter 2016, The Art of the Short Story
Laura Pegram is one of the most intuitive editors I’ve ever met during the course of my writing career. Her workshop helped me hone my dialogue and descriptive skills through rigorous exercises and close readings of some of my favorite authors, including Sandra Cisneros and Louise Erdrich. Through Laura’s astute observations and never ending encouragement, I was able to shape the first chapter of my novel into a more cohesive piece. As a testament to her deft editing, the Pushcart Prize committee selected the stand-alone chapter for special mention in the 2014 Pushcart Prize XXXVIII: Best of the Small Presses.
Estella Gonzalez, author of Angry Blood
2014 Pushcart Prize Special Mention
I just finished a course with Laura Pegram of Kweli. The class was everything I had hoped for, and more. Laura was born to teach, not just fiction writing, but life and art. She is full of knowledge, yet humble. Her instruction largely consisted of detailed discourse on the works of great short story writers. It also included writing feedback, which was detailed, smart, and insightful. I would have to say that Laura's superpower—or one of them—is her ability to connect with her students in a way that allows their creativity to flourish. Laura fosters an atmosphere of kinship that inspires all to express themselves. I witnessed my peers grow in front of my eyes and I anticipate the same for anyone who makes the wise decision to study with her.
Winter 2016, The Art of the Short Story
Finding a skilled editor and storyteller to share their time and feedback with a writer is not easy, but it is invaluable. I am so thankful to have taken Kweli’s Short Story class, because Laura Pegram is that editor and storyteller. I left the eight week course with an incredible gift: a deepened understanding of the form and possibilities of the short story, and of structure and symbolism. This understanding has helped me to bring a new eye to the stories I’m working on. During the workshop, Laura gave generous attention and consideration to each person. I remain thrilled and amazed by how closely she read my work and the detail and acuity of her comments. She allowed me to see my story more clearly and pointed me towards my next draft. Her knowledge and compassion are immense and I am beyond appreciative for her guidance. My short story Still Life was developed in workshop and will be published in the June 2016 issue of Kweli.
Cecca Ochoa, author of Still Life
2018 Pushcart Prize Special Mention
Managing Editor, Apogee Journal
Winter 2016, The Art of the Short Story
My mom use to tell me that when you hear the same thing from three different people, pay attention. Well, three of my favorite writer sister friends told me about Laura Pegram’s The Art of the Short Story Workshop. When they explained to me how much they learned and how much their writing improved I was convinced. However, I really didn’t get it until I was in Laura’s class. From the beginning the exercises allowed us to understand the complex elements of story. Laura guided us in learning how to read as writers and analyze the choices writers make. From day one we were held accountable to begin writing our stories with checkpoints along the way. Using a writing lens to read and analyze stories independently and through discussion changed the way I write. Somehow in this process of reading and writing and more reading and writing, the arc of these stories seeped in, and I began to understand openings, and endings, and conflict in new ways that came alive in my own writing. The process of closely analyzing the choices master writers make and talking through my choices as a writer allowed me to go deeper into my work in ways that I wasn’t able to before taking this course. I felt affirmed, encouraged, and also held accountable to do in-depth, meaningful writing and revision that lifted the level of my writing.
Diana Quinones, author of The Maze
Spring 2018, The Art of the Short Story
“Kweli taught me more about how to read closely and write fiction than I've learned in any other workshop. I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to any writer, whether they're just dipping their toe in the water or already doing breast strokes in their manuscript."
Melissa Rivero, author of The Affairs of the Falcóns,
Maya Angelou said, "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Having someone stand behind you, someone as soft, powerful, and nurturing as Laura Pegram, allows you to find that bird song lodged in the ribcage. Laura gave me the tools to let that belly song out and to see my work with fresh eyes and a focus on craft. She introduced writers I came to love, like Sherman Alexie and Edwidge Danticat, and reintroduced the ones that planted the writerly seeds in me, like Louise Erdrich and Sandra Cisneros. Most importantly, Laura saw the spirit and emotional resonance in my work, pushed and challenged me to refine it, and gave me the time and published space to honor it. I'm greatly indebted to Laura’s workshop. It's an MFA program in itself, but more intimate, more nuanced. Walang Hiya, Brother, my first published fiction, appeared in Kweli in March 2013 and was later nominated for a Pushcart. Walang Hiya, Brother was later submitted to Glimmer Train's Fiction Open and went on to win first place, a $2,500 cash prize and publication in their August 2014 print magazine. In July 2014, I attended Kweli's Annual Writers Conference. From the lovely Dawn Davis, I learned an agent's name who would be interested in my Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) stories, and when our session was finished, she called me back on stage and said, "I read your first paragraph, Melissa, and I loved it. Make sure you tell XXX that I sent you, and I'd be interested in publishing your manuscript."
Melissa Sipin, author of Walang Hiya, Brother
Kweli Journal was one of the first major publications to accept my work. The editor, Laura Pegram, went above and beyond the acceptance letter. We worked on the edits over the phone for hours and revised draft after draft through email. When “Straight Dollars or Loose Change” was finally published in Kweli, I was proud of the story that emerged from so many hours of work with the Kweli staff. When I received that acceptance email from Kweli, I had received so many rejections that I was just about to give up on publishing altogether. That acceptance and the journal’s belief in my work was just what I needed to push through as a writer. To believe in myself as a writer.
LaToya Watkins, 2015 Pushcart Prize for The Mother
author of Straight Dollars or Loose Change
This workshop is made possible through the Poets House Literary Partners Program
REGISTER TODAY. Secure your seat.
You can make your payment via check or money order. Please mail your payment to the following address.
PO Box 693
New York, NY 10021
You can also make a payment online with PayPal.