Our 2024 – 2025 Academic Calendar is now available.
What role do one’s faith values and rituals play in creative writing that is not explicitly “Christian”? How can we cultivate a writing life that flows from the spiritual core of who we are rather than remains a compartmentalized professional interest? In this course, students navigate these questions for themselves, aided by a variety of readings, exercises, and discussions. The goal is that students develop for themselves a richer foundation of practices, strategies, and values to help them be and become more faithful and self-aware stewards of their creative vocation moving forward. The course instructor, Nicole M. Roccas, herself an author of multiple books, has worked with several writers and authors to more meaningfully navigate the spiritual and emotional implications of writing for nearly ten years.
Jonathan Pageau, icon carver and symbolic thinker, teaches a mini-course on how to build a world for your fiction using symbolic thinking. All genres, even realistic fiction, have a requirement that many writers don’t fully realize. In order to immerse the reader in a novel, that novel must have a fully realized, internally consistent, and intrinsically coherent world in which the characters can live and breathe. This is much more difficult than most people realize, especially considering how many people no longer have a coherent worldview of their own, even in daily life. Jonathan’s course helps writers practice their own symbolic thinking, apply it to thorny questions of technical worldbuilding, and ultimately create fully immersive worlds for their readers.
Rewilding Your Words
Paul Kingsnorth‘s four-part course focuses on “rewilding” your writing. With an emphasis on stepping out of our often over-civilised selves and reconnecting with the wild world, we will learn to see the world from the perspective of wild things, take our writing out into the landscape and see what we find, think and write mythically, and generally loosen and uncivilise our pens in search of the wild essence of Creation.
Critique Groups: Giving and Receiving Feedback
Feedback on creative work is a tricky thing. How do we know what kind of feedback to accept? When do we decide to trust our intuition instead? And how can we offer productive feedback to others? Throughout the fall semester, students are invited to submit and receive feedback from Deacon Nicholas Kotar. In the spring semester, students are encouraged to form peer support critique groups. Led by Dr. Samira Kawash, this workshop intensive helps students learn how to productively offer and receive feedback so they can form core critique groups that support their writing work for years to come.
Techniques of Fiction Writing
Unlike what many amateurs think, writing fiction is not all about inspiration or talent. Writing fiction is an artisanal craft. And like all crafts, it is subject to rules and techniques that have been honed, developed, and perfected by masters over centuries. The good thing is that these rules are not prescriptive, but helpful. They provide a frame within which to write your best work, and, used properly, they inspire creativity without squelching it. Led by Nicholas Kotar, this course studies the masters of the fiction form and gleans from their writing some of the most enduring tools and techniques for writing powerful, publishable fiction and narrative nonfiction.
Characterization & Self-Editing
Senior editor Katherine Bolger Hyde teaches a workshop intensive on the multifaceted process of perfecting your work, including ways to gain objectivity about your manuscript and what to look for at various levels, from macro to micro. The goal of this course is to help students prepare their manuscripts before submitting them for publication. In addition, Katherine offers office hours for 1:1 developmental editing throughout the spring semester.
The Track to Publication Success
In the Workshop’s final course, Deacon Nicholas Kotar synthesizes current market trends in both traditional and self-publishing marketplaces to help students understand the steps they need to follow to succeed in their ideal publication venue.
Acceptance into the St. Basil Writers’ Workshop is only the beginning of belonging to an engaged community of writers who continue to write together, learn together, and share insights and ideas while enjoying ongoing mentorship in the craft and business of writing even after completing the workshop.
Several of our St. Basil’s graduates are successful writers. Allow us to introduce you!
Vesper Stamper writes and illustrates novels which tell stories of history’s rhymes. Her debut illustrated YA novel, What the Night Sings, was a National Book Award Nominee, a National Jewish Book Award Finalist, a Morris Award Finalist, Golden Kite Honor Book and Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner, and was named one of the Best YA Books of 2018/9 by YALSA, the Wall Street Journal and Kirkus. Vesper also authored A Cloud of Outrageous Blue and Berliners, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Book and a Horn Book Best of 2022 “Fanfare” book.
Samira Kawash has a PhD in literary studies from Duke University and is a professor emerita at Rutgers University.
She is the author of Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure and Dislocating the Color Line and founded the website Candyprofessor.com. She is a regular contributor to First Things, and her essays have also appeared in The Atlantic, Compact Magazine, and beyond. Kawash lives in Brooklyn.