Young Writers Workshop: Summer 2021

We now have limited scholarship opportunities available! The Cori Gross Scholarship for the Young Writers Workshop will award three $200 scholarships to young writers attending the 2021 session. The deadline for all applications is July 8. Learn more and apply here! 

Click here to register for the workshop!

  • When will it meet? Mon. – Fri. from July 12-23, 2021, from 10:00-12:30 each day.
  • Who can participate? Rising 9th graders through rising first-year college students. 
  • How will it meet? The session will meet online each day via Zoom. 
  • What is the tuition? Tuition this year is $200. We will be offering an “early bird special” rate of $150, for applications received between April 19 and April 30.

Our featured classes this year are Black Poets of the 20th & 21st Century, and Writing for Audio Drama. If you would like to join our mailing list, please email or call Lilly Danzis: / 828.251.6420.


Black Poets of the 20th & 21st Century
Eric Steineger (10:00-11:00)

Black poets have always been an integral part of the poetic landscape. This course examines their unique and powerful contribution to poetry and focuses on poets from the Harlem Renaissance to present day. Students will learn more about poets like Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Yosef Komunyakaa, Terrance Hayes, and many others. At times, students will be expected to write a poem that is inspired by Black poetry through a response poem or a poem in the style of one of the poets studied.

Eric Steineger teaches English at Mars Hill University. He is the Senior Poetry Editor of The Citron Review, while his work has been featured in such places as The Los Angeles Review, Waxwing, Rattle: The Poets Respond, The Night Heron Barks, and Tinderbox. His chapbook, From a Lisbon Rooftop, is based on themes from Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet and is available at Plan B Press. Each summer, he teaches poetry to high school students in the Great Smokies Young Writers Workshop. Occasionally, he curates poetry events for Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center.

[We will take a 30 minute break between sessions.]


Writing for Audio Drama
Jamieson Ridenhour (11:30-12:30)

Welcome to Night Vale, The Magnus Archives, Limetown, The Bright Sessions, Wolf-359. Audio drama—serialized fiction told in podcast form—has experienced an explosion of popularity in the US during the past decade. Even the most popular actual-play podcasts (The Adventure Zone, for instance) use elements of fiction writing to make themselves compelling. And none of the great acting, thrilling sound effects, and killer soundtracks matter without a well written story at its heart. This class will give the you the basic building blocks of writing audio drama, including planning, writing for actors, and building suspense in a serialized story. We’ll also talk about what it takes to produce an audio drama beyond the writing—with practical examples of recording, using sound effects, and working with actors.

Jamieson Ridenhour is the writer and producer of the popular audio drama Palimpsest, which critics have called “audio drama’s best foray into the Gothic.” He is also the author of the werewolf murder-mystery Barking Mad (Typecast, 2011) and writer and director of 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. 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.  His new play, Bloodbath: Victoria’s Secret, premieres in 2021. He has taught writing and literature for over twenty years, currently at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC.


Past Course Descriptions

One Thing After Another–How to Create a Compelling Plot (2020)
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.

Exploring Ekphrastic Poetry (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.

Fiction Writing (2019)
Jamieson 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.


Poetry Workshop (2019)
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.