Workshops & Faculty Bios

Please proceed to the “Schedule” page to see the daily and weekly schedule. Please proceed to the “Online Registration” and “Payment” pages to register. If you have any questions, please contact Jim Frost at the Atlantic Center for the Arts at jfrost@atlanticcenterforthearts.org.

We are proud to host acclaimed authors Andre Dubus III, Dani Shapiro, and Nick Flynn in this distinctive natural setting for exciting week-long workshops in the Florida sun. Participants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis, with a limit of thirteen positions available with each of the three faculty. The free-flowing schedule will offer daily 2.5-hour workshops in the mornings, with afternoons of open studio time for writing and craft discussions on a range of topics. Each evening will feature a reading by one of the faculty. We will close on the final night with an open mic for participants to share their work with the group at large. All of the evening events are open to the local community.

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Workshop Descriptions

Andre Dubus III – Fiction

Do Not Think, Dream
Master novelist and short story writer, Richard Bausch says: “Do not think, dream. If you think you’re thinking when you’re writing, then think again; you’re working with the dreaming side of your mind, so dream, dream, dream it through.” I could not agree more. I also believe this holds true whether you’re writing fiction or creative non-fiction/memoir, for when we explore our lives through the subjective lens of our own memories, we’re still dreaming our way back. But how – technically speaking – does one dream fully and honestly with mere words? Come to this workshop, and I’ll try to lay this out with a bit of lecture, in-class creative writing exercises, and a constructive critique of what comes out of you, one honest word at a time.

Dani Shapiro – Memoir

The Deeper Story: Getting Beyond What Happened
Memoir at its best isn’t about having a great story to tell. It’s about understanding and shaping the deeper story that lies beneath what you already know. “It’s all in the art. You don’t get credit for living,” as V.S. Pritchett once wrote. It doesn’t matter whether your story is big and dramatic – say, a murder, a hijacking, a crash-and-burn addiction – or an elliptical, sensitive childhood tale, or an incremental fall-out of a friendship. The subject matter is the least of it! What does matter is that the memoirist enters the story in the deepest possible way, fearlessly, with a willingness to get at the emotional “truth” (as opposed to the “facts”) of a lived life. In this workshop we will explore tools and techniques that will help you approach the page, get out of your own way, and locate what’s most essential about your story. Bring a few pages of whatever you’re currently working on to class, and we’ll explore that work, along with generative exercises designed to help focus your attention on what lies beneath.

Nick Flynn – Poetry

Poetry as Bewilderment
Frost once said that “poems are about what you don’t mean as well as what you do mean.” In our week together I would like to examine this idea by thinking about the concept of “bewilderment” and how it gets acted out in our poems—either through syntax, our access to the duende, leaps into the unconscious realms, or simply circling around what is unsaid, unknown, unrealized. Or, as Aristotle puts it, “The mind in the act of making a mistake. . .” We will look for those moments we begin to stutter and stumble when talking about our poems, or in the poems themselves, for these are the thresholds beyond which is unknown, beyond which is the white space on the map. Over the course of our week together we will attempt to push a little deeper into this shadow world. The workshop will be generative, in the sense that we will deepen work we have already done, and so come with 10-20 pages of work in progress.

Faculty Bios

Andre Dubus III – Fiction
Andre Dubus III grew up in mill towns on the Merrimack River along the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border. He is the author of six books including three New York Times bestsellers. House of Sand and Fog was a #1 New York Times bestseller, a fiction finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Booksense Book of the Year, and was an Oprah Book Club Selection, and was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated motion picture starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly. The Garden of Last Days is soon to be a major motion picture. His memoir, Townie, was a #4 New York Times bestseller and a New York Times Editors Choice. Dirty Love was chosen as a Notable Book and Editors’ Choice from the New York Times, a Notable Fiction from The Washington Post, and a Kirkus Starred Best Book of 2013. Mr. Dubus has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Magazine Award for Fiction, Two Pushcart Prizes, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. 

Dani Shapiro – Memoir
Dani Shapiro is the bestselling author of three memoirs: Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, Devotion, and Slow Motion; and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Shapiro’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times, and has been broadcast on “This American Life.” Her recent essays on the lures and dangers of the internet and social media have stirred up controversy and gone viral, and are now being taught in many universities. She is co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy and a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure. 

Nick Flynn – Poetry
Nick Flynn is the author of three memoirs, The Reenactments, The Ticking is the Bomb: A Memoir of Bewilderment, and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, which has been made into a film, Being Flynn, starring Robert DeNiro as Flynn’s father, Julianne Moore, and Paul Dano. He is the author of four books of poetry, My FeelingsThe Captain Asks For a Show of Hands, Some Ether, which won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and Blind Huber. He has been awarded fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Library of Congress, The Amy Lowell Trust, and The Fine Arts Work Center. His poems, essays, and non-fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, National Public Radio’s This American Life, and The New York Times Book Review.

Manuscript Consultations