Writing Creativity & Publishing Workshop

Saturday, September 16, 2017
Pleasant Home library
217 Home Avenue, Oak Park

NOTE:  Registration for the workshop is now closed.  This page is left up as an archive of the event.

The Speculative Literature Foundation is pleased to offer a creativity / publishing workshop this September.  Novelist Mary Robinette Kowal, New York SF/F editor Diana M. Pho, and author / professor Mary Anne Mohanraj will guide you through a writing-focused day designed to unlock your creativity and ground you in publishing basics, hosted at beautiful Pleasant Home.

Pleasant Home is a Prairie Style house museum located in the heart of Oak Park, and is accessible via public transit (Green line or Metra).


9:00 – 11:30 – Creativity Workshop – Unlocking the Writer Within. A series of exercises and conversation designed both for beginners and more experienced writers looking to jump-start their writing. A great way to get out of the summer doldrums and start writing! Fiction, poetry, and nonfiction are all welcome; no experience necessary.

Intros and Language Warm-ups — A series of language exercises, from Le Guin’s Steering the Craft_ (Presented by Mary Anne Mohanraj.)

Spoken and Non-Verbal Dialog — When people converse, they do so with more than just words. Body language, tone of voice, and societal context all play a role in understanding what a person really means. In this workshop, we’ll use in-class exercises to explore how to get the most out of dialog when you are confined to text on the page. (Presented by novelist Mary Robinette Kowal)


11:30 – 12:30: Lunch break — bring your own brown bag lunch, or step out to one of the many local cafes and restaurants.


12:30 – 3:00: Publishing Boot Camp — an overview of self-publishing (Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, and more), small presses, big presses, literary agents, and more. Learn what your options are, and how to best approach different avenues for publishing your work.

Publishing Boot Camp: Science Fiction & Fantasy
A discussion about the current rise of science fiction and fantasy in popular culture, what tools a writer can consider when delving into the speculative world, and an editorial perspective on strong storytelling from Diana M. Pho, editor at Tor Books.Pitches 101
For writers of all experience levels, a run-down on what an author pitch is and how to create an effective one for your book. Presented by Diana M. Pho, editor at Tor Books.Publishing Panel:  Q&A with Mary Robinette Kowal, Diana M. Pho, and Mary Anne Mohanraj***

Morning session: $50 ($30 student / senior)
Afternoon session: $50 ($30 student / senior)
Full-day: $85 ($50 student / senior)


Questions?  Contact Mary Anne at mohanraj@mamohanraj.com or 708-434-5069.


Instructor Bios:

Writing Morning:  Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of historical fantasy novels: The Glamourist Histories series and Ghost Talkers. She has received the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, three Hugo awards, the RT Reviews award for Best Fantasy Novel, and has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. Her stories appear in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, and several Year’s Best anthologies. Mary, a professional puppeteer, also performs as a voice actor (SAG/AFTRA), recording fiction for authors including Seanan McGuire, Cory Doctorow, and John Scalzi. She lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. Visit maryrobinettekowal.com

Publishing Afternoon:  Diana M. Pho is an editor at Tor Books and blogs for Tor.com. She is also an academic  scholar, activist, performer, and general rabble-rouser elsewhere.  In the steampunk community, she is best-known for running Beyond Victoriana, an award-winning, US-based blog on multicultural steampunk. She has published numerous articles on science fiction and its community, and written introductions to The Anatomy of Steampunk, Steampunk World, and The Best of Spanish Steampunk, and interviewed about fandom, including on CBS’s Inside Edition, MSN.com, BBC America, the Travel Channel, HGTV, and the Science Channel.  Follow her on Tumblr at writersyndrome.tumblr.com and Twitter at @writersyndrome.

All-day:  Mary Anne Mohanraj is the author of Bodies in Motion (HarperCollins), The Stars Change (Circlet Press) and eleven other titles. Bodies in Motion was a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards, a USA Today Notable Book, and has been translated into six languages. Mohanraj founded the Hugo-nominated science fiction magazine, Strange Horizons, and serves as editor-in-chief of Jaggery, a South Asian literary journal (jaggerylit.com). She received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and was Guest of Honor at WisCon. She serves as Director of two literary organizations, DesiLit (www.desilit.org) and The Speculative Literature Foundation (www.speclit.org). Mohanraj holds an MFA and a Ph.D. in creative writing and English, and is Clinical Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She lives in a creaky old Victorian in Oak Park with her mathematician husband, their two small children, and a sweet dog. She is currently working on a breast cancer memoir, a science fiction novel, and a collection of poetry. http://www.maryannemohanraj.com