In addition to encouraging our alumni to come back to Goddard for free, public events at our residencies (which include the readings by our faculty and visitors), we also open the workshops given by our visitors to our alumni who are in the area or happen to be on campus for the alumni conferences. (This year’s Lighthouse Conference participants, we are looking at you!) Any MFAW alum from either home campus is invited to sit in.

This residency, we are thrilled to welcome back alumna Sarah Townsend, and to bring Nisi Shawl to Goddard. Nisi has recently been in the news to respond to the publication of American Dirt. They are an award-winning novelist, as well as a specialist on representation and diversity in fiction. For these two readings, please consult our events in the sidebar or at this link. For more details on the workshops:

Visiting Alumna Sarah Townsend Workshop:

Intimate Voice

2/17/2020 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

A recent New York Times article refers to a new wave of literary works drawing on the intimate. While intimacy of voice is not new, readers continue to seek deep human connection through books. Together, we will read excerpts of writers who hold their readers close, including Sarah Manguso, Warsan Shire, Lisa Taddeo, and Ta-Nehisi Coates. Through close readings, freewriting, and analysis of craft, participants will experiment with technique to enhance a new or existing project.

Find out more about Sarah at her website: or:
Literary Mama

KPFA (NPR) UpFront with Cat Brooks (0:17)
Chicago Review of Books

Visiting Writer Nisi Shawl Workshop:

Dialogue and Dialect

2/20/2020 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Our characters tell readers so much about themselves when they speak. But if a character’s speech patterns depart from our cultural defaults, how do we show that? Differences can enrich readers’ understanding of our characters and stories, yet we risk alienating our audience when we draw attention to those differences in the wrong ways. Examples and exercises deepen our understanding of how to best represent nonstandard speech.

And, if you want to know more about Nisi, you can check out their website: as well as some recent news links where they are discussing the issues of writing inclusive, representative and diverse fiction.

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