Workshops & Faculty Bios

We regret to inform you that, due to circumstances beyond our control, the BFA Fall Writers’ Conference has been cancelled. 

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

We are proud to host acclaimed authors Eileen Myles, Terrance Hayes, and Lesley Nneka Arimah 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.


Workshop Descriptions

Eileen Myles – Memoir

 Fantastic Experience

In this workshop I will be encouraging you to find the most direct way to assemble a conventional or unconventional memoir plus fantasy. The primary goals here will be to think more broadly about what the elements of your imagined book could be, write at least one of those chapters in the time of the workshop and generally be more fearless about what sorts of reading materials go next to each other in a work of nonfiction

Writers are sometimes intimidated by the imagined rigidity of genre. I’m proposing that just like in movies or all those cable series the dazzling quality of what’s next to each other moment by moment in terms of location and sorts of story-telling and voice-over and descriptive surges are exactly what most effectively moves a work ahead. We’ll be reading and talking about some excerpts from writing by Thomas Bernhard, Rene Gladman, Clarice Lispector and Bruce Chatwin by means of which we’ll widen the road of how to produce readable, awe-inspiring, moving and totally original writing. In this workshop you’ll initially come up with a list of imaginary chapters, focus on one, we’ll discuss the readings and each day we’ll produce a couple of pages of your chapter which you’ll share with the group.

Terrance Hayes – Poetry

This workshop will offer concrete strategies for writing when the only teacher available is a book. We will explore the ways “reading to write” can result in new poems. During the week we will look at how an assortment of poems “shadow,” imitate, and are in conversation with other poems and other forms (music, film, journalism). Most importantly, inventive imitations and transformations will be generated in response to the reading. Portions of work generated in the course will be shared and workshopped.

Lesley Nneka Arimah – Fiction

Making Fiction True: Adding Texture and Meaning
The best stories render worlds that read as though they existed before the story started and continue after the story ends. How does one create the impression of a continuous world? This happens with the judicious use of details to create texture and meaning. In this workshop, we will learn how to add dimension to stories so that they become multifaceted. We will create layers within the narrative so that our characters move through authentic worlds, whether those worlds are realistic or fantastic. Every story has a central question, but around this central question is an entire narrative ecosystem. This workshop will consider how to craft this narrative ecosystem with authenticity and complexity.

Faculty Bios

Eileen Myles – Memoir
Eileen Myles the author of more than twenty books, including Afterglow (a dog memoir), Chelsea Girls, and I Must Be Living Twice: New & Selected Poems 1974-2014. Myles’s many honors include four Lambda Literary Awards, the Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing, the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, Creative Capital’s Literature Award as well as their Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant. Myles lives in Marfa, Texas, and New York City.

Terrance Hayes – Poetry
Terrance Hayes is the author of How to Be DrawnLighthead, which won the 2010 National Book Award for poetry; Muscular Music, which won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award; Hip Logic, winner of the 2001 National Poetry Series, and Wind in a Box. He is a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania.

Lesley Nneka Arimah – Fiction
Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK to Nigerian parents and grew up wherever her father was stationed for work, which was sometimes Nigeria, sometimes not. She is the author of What Happens When a Man Falls from the Sky (Riverhead, 2017), which was named one of the most anticipated books of 2017 by Time Magazine, Elle, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, the Millions, Nylon, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Winner of an O. Henry Prize and the Africa Regional Winner for the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, She has been published in The New Yorker and Granta. Her story ‘Light’ was winner of the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa, and she has twice been shortlisted for the Caine Prize, 2016 and 2017.

Manuscript Consultations
Emma Sweeney Agency LLC was formed in 2006 and is a boutique literary agency based in New York City. We’ve had eight New York Times bestsellers, including At the Water’s Edge, In The Shadow of the Banyan, How It All Began, Water for Elephants, Ape House, Meddling Kids, Making Rounds with Oscar, and The Joy of Living. Our authors have won The Booker Prize and the American Book Award, been shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and are Guggenheim Fellows as well as the recipients of NEA grants. We specialize in general fiction, historical fiction and narrative nonfiction projects including memoir, history, science, and religion. Emma Sweeney is a member of the AAR (Association of Authors’ Representatives) and WMG (Women’s’ Media Group) where she was president in 2003. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in English Literature. Emma is also a writer whose own books include Tulipa (Artisan, 2000) and As Always, Jack (Little, Brown, 2002; Back Bay Books, 2003; Axios Press 2012).