2022 Writer’s Studio

Rebecca Rolland


A white woman in her forties, with brown hair and eyes.




Rebecca Rolland is the author of The Art of Talking with Children (HarperCollins, 2022), as well as three books of poems and many short stories. She won the Dana Award for Short Fiction and has published in Slice, Michigan Quarterly Review, and North American Review. She is a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is on the faculty at the Harvard Medical School. She also serves as an oral and written language specialist in the Neurology Department of Boston Children's Hospital and as an advisor in curriculum development for the World Bank. As a nationally-certified speech-language pathologist, she has worked clinically with populations ranging from early childhood through high school and has provided teacher professional development. She lives in Boston with her husband and two conversation-loving kids.

Read more on her website.

SESSION: On Writing About Children

It can be a challenge to write about children--your own, or others. Whether you're writing nonfiction or poetry, there are many questions that can arise: how many personal details to reveal, how to include dialogue, how to find a tone that is neither earnest nor overly sarcastic, and how to get past the tired tropes of parenthood. Through exercises, guided discussions, and readings, this session will get you excited about writing for children, help identify your goals, and pinpoint your strengths and challenges in this area of your writing life.

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William Martin


William Martin




William Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels, a PBS documentary, book reviews, magazine articles, and a cult-classic horror movie, too. His first novel, Back Bay, established him as "a master storyteller." He has been following the lives of the great and anonymous in American history ever since, taking readers from the Mayflower in Cape Cod to Ford's Theater in The Lincoln Letter to the South Tower on 9/11 in City of Dreams. His latest, Bound for Gold, sweeps readers back to California in the legendary year of 1849 and "solidifies his claim as king of the historical thriller" (Providence Journal). He will publish December '41, a World War II thriller, in June. He was the 2005 recipient of the New England Book Award, given to an author "whose body of work stands as a significant contribution to the culture of the region." In 2015, the USS Constitution Museum gave him the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, for "patriotic pride, artful scholarship, and an eclectic interest in the sea and things maritime." And in 2018, the Mystery Writers of America (New England Chapter) gave him the Robert B. Parker Award. He serves on the boards of many of Boston's historical and cultural organizations, has taught writing at the Harvard Extension School and the famed Maui Writes Conference, lives near Boston with his wife, and has three grown children.

Read more on his website.

SESSION: Finding the Fiction in History and the History in Fiction

You have an idea for a historical novel. It might be a thriller, a Michnerian chronicle, a biographical novel, a historical romance, perhaps even a mystery about, say, ancient Rome. But no matter the genre you choose within a larger historical context, you will face unique challenges and enjoy unique advantages when you set your story in the past. First off, remember that you’re writing a novel, not a work of history. All the demands of plot, character, pacing, prose style, and point-of-view that challenge the authors of contemporary novels will challenge you. But you’ll have to be a historian, too, or nobody will believe what you’ve written. William Martin will give you insights on how to navigate these narrative waters and draw creative strength from them. He’ll guide you from the first inspiration and the grand design through all the elements of craft that you will employ as you write. He’ll consider the role of research, the use of setting and specific detail, and the techniques of creating believable but historically accurate dialogue. He’ll discuss the larger question of how to draw upon historical events and situations to create individual scenes that help to create the narrative structure itself. And most importantly, he’ll show you how you employ these elements to achieve a sense of verisimilitude in the lives of characters who walked the earth a decade, a century, or a even a millenium before you decided to write about them…


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SJ Sindu


A light-skinned South Asian queer femme with short curly hair and red lipstick, in her early-thirties, wearing a black blouse.




SJ Sindu is a Tamil diaspora author of two literary novels, two hybrid chapbooks, and two forthcoming graphic novels. Her first novel, Marriage of a Thousand Lies, won the Publishing Triangle Edmund White Award and her second novel, Blue-Skinned Gods, was published in November 2021. A 2013 Lambda Literary Fellow, Sindu holds a PhD in English and Creative Writing from Florida State University. Sindu teaches at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Sindu’s newest work, a hybrid chapbook titled Dominant Genes, was published by Black Lawrence Press in February 2022. More at her website or @sjsindu on Twitter/Instagram.


SESSION: Manipulating Time in Narrative

Time is one of the most important elements of narrative. Whether it's fiction, nonfiction, or even poetry, the way that time functions in a narrative greatly affects reader experience. In this lecture and Q&A, we will explore how time and chronology function in narrative, and how time can be manipulated through order, stretching, and condensing, to change tone, characterization, plot, focus, energy, and more. We will learn several time shapes and structures that are common across many stories, and learn techniques to control the flow of time in our own work. Participants will also have a chance to write from a brief prompt, share their work if they choose, and discuss how to apply the techniques learned to their own manuscripts.

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Krys Malcolm Belc


A white transmasculine person with a close-shaved buzz cut, large plastic-framed glasses, and reddish beard.




Krys Malcolm Belc is the author of the memoir The Natural Mother of the Child (Counterpoint) and the flash nonfiction chapbook In Transit (The Cupboard Pamphlet). His essays have been featured in Granta, Black Warrior Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Krys lives in Philadelphia with his partner and their three young children and works as an educator in a pediatric hospital.

Read more on his website.

SESSION: How I Made This: The Natural Mother of The Child

Muse Fellow in Nonfiction


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Crystal Maldonado


A fat, Puerto Rican woman in her mid-thirties with long, dark, curly hair, black cateye glasses, and wearing a small smile and a star-speckled navy and gold dress.




Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author who writes inclusive stories about fat, brown girls. Her debut novel, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, is a 2021 New England Book Award winner, a Cosmopolitan Best New Book, and a POPSUGAR Best New YA Novel. Her newest novel, No Filter and Other Lies, explores teenage life in the social media age—and the lies we tell to ourselves and others. By day, Crystal works in higher-ed marketing, and by night, she is a writer whose work has been published in Latina, BuzzFeed, and the Hartford Courant. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and journalism, with a minor in women’s studies, from the University of Connecticut. She currently lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog. Follow her everywhere @crystalwrote or visit her website.


SESSION: Be the Main Character: How to Use Your Own Life to Inspire Your Craft

What does it mean to write what you know, and how can you use your own personal experiences, memories, and senses in your craft to develop your story’s voice? In this workshop, we’ll explore how to draw from our own life experiences to successfully create inspiring, authentic, and heartfelt narratives, while tapping into your best resource: you.

We’ll examine passages from young adult authors Julie Murphy, Adib Khorram, Aiden Thomas, and Laura Taylor Namey. Please come prepared with one memory from your youth that you’d like to work with in this session. Though this class will focus on YA voice, the exercises can be applied to writing for any age group.

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Sanjena Sathian


Indian American cisgender woman, black hair, green sweater, leaning against a tree.




Sanjena Sathian is the author of Gold Diggers, which was named a Top 10 Best Book of 2021 by the Washington Post, longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, chosen as an Amazon Best of 2021 pick, a Good Morning America Buzz pick, and more. She is working on the television adaptation with Mindy Kaling’s production company, Kaling International. Her award-winning short fiction also appears in The Atlantic, Conjunctions, Boulevard, and more, and she’s written nonfiction for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, TIME, and more. She’s a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, from which she received a Michener-Copernicus Fellowship, and where she was supported by the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.

Read more about Sanjena on her website.

SESSION: Locating Strangeness in Realist and Unreal Fiction

A man wakes up as a giant bug. A nose earns a promotion. A woman suspects her husband has been replaced by his doppelgänger. A 'hysterical' wife is consumed by her wallpaper. In art, anything can happen. And adding elements of unreality, absurdity, artifice, magical thinking, or the "Protean," as Salman Rushdie has put it, can sometimes allow us to *better* articulate reality than reality itself. How does this work, and why is it true?

Sanjena Sathian, who writes both real and unreal fiction, will discuss modes of accessing strangeness while maintaining access to true, concrete, physical reality in fiction. Drawing on the Russian formalist Viktor Shklovksy's notion of estrangement, she'll discuss how to balance the strange and the real in realist and nonrealist writing alike.

Together, we'll do a guided writing exercise inspired by the techniques of cartoonist and novelist Lynda Barry. Afterward, we'll look at published writing in-class as part of a craft lecture. No preparation is required, but participation is encouraged.

While this class is focused on techniques of fiction, the writing exercise is genre-agnostic, and the practice of estrangement may be useful to writers who write nonfiction or poetry as well. In-class texts will include poetry and non-fiction (think Sylvia Plath and Joan Didion).


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Calvin Kasulke


Calvin Kasulke




Calvin Kasulke is the author of the novel Several People Are Typing and the recipient of a Lambda Literary fellowship in playwriting. His writing and reporting have been published by VICE, MEL Magazine, DC Comics, and others.


SESSION: Writer's Studio Sessions

Writer's Studio Sessions


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Anjali Enjeti


Brown-skinned woman in late forties with dark brown and white layered straight hair that falls past shoulders. Brown long sleeve v-neck shirt, brown pearls. In the background, a woods with bare trees.




Anjali Enjeti is a former attorney, organizer, and journalist based near Atlanta. She is the author of Southbound: Essays on Identity, Inheritance, and Social Change, which the Washington Post called "a nuanced and much-needed journey into exploring what it means to be American," and The Parted Earth, which was recently selected as a 2022 Book All Georgians Should Read. Her other writing has appeared in Oxford American, Boston Globe, Poets & Writers, Harper’s Bazaar, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and elsewhere.

Anjali has received awards from the South Asian Journalists Association and the American Society of Journalists and Authors, multiple Pushcart Prize nominations, and two notable mentions in The Best American Essays series. A former board member of the National Books Critics Circle, she teaches creative writing in the MFA program at Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia.

Read more about Anjali on her website.

SESSION: Writing with a Social Justice Lens

What does it mean to write with a social justice lens? In any kind of storytelling, whether fiction, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, or poetry, writing with a social justice lens involves creating vivid three dimensional characters, settings, and riveting storylines that evoke authentic conflicts and worlds. We’ll take a look at how the philosophies behind movement journalism, community organizing, and decolonization can be applied to every genre of creative writing, and how interrogation of the self and rigorous critique can shape fresh and compelling narratives. We’ll discuss the role of imagination in disrupting language and formulaic storylines rooted in white supremacy and the function of authenticity editors.


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Maurice Ruffin


Maurice Ruffin




Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the author of The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You, which was published by One World Random House in August 2021. It is a New York Times Editor’s Choice and a finalist for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. His first book, We Cast a Shadow, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the PEN America Open Book Prize. It was longlisted for the 2021 DUBLIN Literary Award, the Center for Fiction Prize and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. The novel was also a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Ruffin is the winner of several literary prizes, including the Iowa Review Award in fiction and the William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Award for Novel-in-Progress. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the LA Times, the Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Kenyon Review, and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America. A New Orleans native, Ruffin is a professor of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University, and the 2020-2021 John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.

Read more about Maurice on his website.

SESSION: Fiction Writing Generative Jumpstarter

This session will feature a short lecture on motivating yourself through writers block as well as some generative writing prompts.
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Ann Hood


Ann Hood




Ann Hood is the author of the bestselling novels The Knitting Circle, The Obituary Writer, and The Book That Matters Most; and the bestselling memoirs Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love and Food,  and Comfort: A Journey Through Grief which was a NYT Editors Choice and named one of the top 10 non fiction books of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly. She has written The Treasure Chest series for middle readers and three YA novels, including Jude Banks, Super Hero. Hood has won two Pushcart Prizes, two Best American Food Writing Awards, and a Best American Travel Writing Award. Her essays have been among the 100 Notable Essays of the Year more than a dozen times and her books have been translated into twenty-two languages. She is the founding director of the low residency Newport MFA. Her most recent book is the memoir FLY GIRL, about her years as a TWA flight attendant.

Read more about Ann on her website.

SESSION: The Art of Revision: Welcome to the Party

The poet William Matthews said, “Revision isn’t cleaning up after the party. It IS the party.” Yet too often writers resist, rush, ignore, or avoid revision, even though it’s an essential part of writing. In this session, I will give tips on how to revise, discuss why it’s so important, and even share my own revision travails. You will leave equipped with ideas and tools to revise your own stories, essays, novels, and memoirs.


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