Young Writers Workshop

We’re so excited to announce that the Great Smokies Young Writers Workshop will return this summer with an online 2-week session, once again led by Eric Steineger and Jamie Ridenhour!

  • Who can participate? Rising 9th graders through rising first-year college students. 
  • When is this happening? July 6-10 and 13-17.
  • How long will the program meet each day? We will hold an hour of poetry in the morning from 10:00-11:00, take a 30 minute break, and hold fiction from 11:30-12:30. 
  • How will it meet? The session will meet online each day via Zoom. Enrolled students will be emailed invitations to join once we get closer to the first day of the program, so stay tuned! 
  • What is the tuition? Tuition for the full 2-week workshop is $150.
  • I’m interested! Where can I sign up? Sign up today via our online registration

Questions? Email or call Lilly Augspurger: / 828.251.6099. And don’t forget to check out our Facebook for photos from the 2019 session!

2020 Course Descriptions & Instructor Bios


Jamieson Ridenhour

With this year’s theme: “One Thing After Another—How to Create a Compelling Plot,” we will focus on plotting your story or novel. Specifically, we’ll talk about using character to drive plot, how to plan and still leave room for improvising, and how pacing affects story. We’ll give you all the tools you need to keep readers turning pages.

Jamieson Ridenhour is a playwright and novelist. He is the writer and producer of the popular audio drama Palimpsest, and has written books about werewolves, academic studies of vampire films, and plays about punk rock. His new play, Bloodbath, opens in Asheville in October of 2020.


Eric Steineger

This class uses art as a lens to explore poetry. If you are inspired by art and have ever wanted to write poems, then this class is for you. Students will locate art in different poems, then try their hand at writing ekphrastic poems (poems that are responses to art). Class will consist of short lectures, writing exercises, group activities, and more to get the student to consider using art as a vehicle for their poetry. All skill levels/experience levels are welcome, and you do not have to be an art aficionado to enjoy this class.

Eric Steineger teaches English at Mars Hill University. He is the Managing Editor and Senior Poetry Editor of The Citron Review, while his work has been featured in Waxwing, Tinderbox, The Los Angeles Review, Asheville Poetry Review, and other journals. In 2018, Plan B Press published his poetry chapbook From a Lisbon Rooftop, which is a collection of persona poems based on Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet. Steineger lives in Asheville with his wife and daughter, and occasionally curates readings at Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center.



2019 Course Descriptions & Instructor Bios

Jamie Ridenhour

Fiction Writing: Are you a literary star in the making? Or maybe just love making up stories? This workshop will use students’ own writing as the raw material to learn the basic building blocks of writing fiction. We’ll cover effective description, plot development, and drafting/revising as well as focused work on using dialogue to develop character.

Jamieson Ridenhour is the writer and producer of the popular audio drama Palimpsest, the author of the werewolf murder-mystery Barking Mad (Typecast, 2011) and the award-winning short horror films Cornerboys and The House of the Yaga. His ghost play Grave Lullaby was a finalist for the Kennedy Center’s David Cohen Playwriting award in 2012, and his latest play, Terry Tempest: The Final Interview debuted at the Magnetic Theater in Asheville, NC in March of 2017. Jamie’s short fiction and poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Andromeda Spaceways Magazine, TheNewerYork, Across the Margins, Mirror Dance, and Architrave, among others, and has been podcast on Pseudopod, Cast of Wonders, and Radio Unbound.

Eric Steineger

This class examines poetry—where it has been, where it is going, and the options one has when writing a poem. Students will be introduced to poems written in form, free verse poems, and poems that do not fit the usual criteria. The focus: To have fun while learning about poetry, and to be challenged in a welcoming, low-stress environment. Students will practice writing poems early in the week, and there will be opportunities for workshop.

Eric Steineger teaches English at Mars Hill University. He is the Senior Poetry Editor and Managing Editor of The Citron Review, while his poetry/prose have been featured in Rattle: The Poets RespondWaxwing, The Los Angeles Review, Tinderbox, and other journals. His chapbook, From a Lisbon Rooftop, was published by Plan B Press in 2018 and chronicles themes from Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet. He lives in Asheville with his wife and daughter.