Celebrated authors to give master classes for aspiring writers

Published 3:47 am Sunday, September 10, 2023

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Book Festival is excited to announce the faculty for the 2023 writing workshops: André Dubus III, John Dufresne, Fatima Shaik, and Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith. The faculty includes an author whose novel was made into an Academy Award-nominated film, a recipient of the Louisiana Writer Award, and writers whose works have been recognized with an Indie Book Award and named Best American Mystery Stories.

The half-day writing workshops, known as WordShops, will be held Friday, October 27, at the State Library of Louisiana in Baton Rouge. The courses – including one on flash fiction – are designed for people who write fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. They are open to writers of all levels of experience.

“We try to inspire the next generation of storytellers by bringing together diverse voices and perspectives during the annual WordShops,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “These workshops nurture a thriving literary community, adding to the literary heritage of Louisiana and beyond.”

“Participating in the WordShops program is a unique way to learn about the art of writing under the guidance of accomplished authors,” said Interim State Librarian Meg Placke. “Whether you are a beginner wondering how to start or an experienced writer who wants to refine your skills, these workshops will provide you with the tools and insights to elevate your storytelling ability.”

Teresa Tumminello Brader’s debut novel, Letting in Air and Light, will be featured during this year’s Louisiana Book Festival. She previously attended several WordShops and says the sessions helped her as she worked on her first book.

“Led by successful and generous writers as diverse as Rick Bragg, Julie Kane, Bill Loehfelm, T. Geronimo Johnson, and Steph Post, the workshops were not only of the highest quality, but fun too,” Brader said. “I’ve never hesitated to attend a WordShop that focuses on a genre outside my own. The insights gained from others’ writing practices are immeasurable. Even with my first book out, I wouldn’t hesitate to take another.”

Classes taught by these award-winning and bestselling authors will cover a wide range of topics, including techniques on how character development leads to a story writing itself, how to use the environment around you to write compelling short stories, how research can improve historical non-fiction writing, and how fiction techniques can be used to write poetry and prose.

The WordShops schedule includes two concurrent sessions in the morning and two in the afternoon.

  • 9 a.m. – Noon
    • Flash! Writing the Very Short Story – John Dufresne
    • Bringing History Home – Fatima Shaik
  • 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
    • Surrendering to the Mystery of Story – André Dubus III
    • What’s Good for Fiction Is Good for Poetry: Show Us, but Please Don’t Tell Us – Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith

Full WordShop descriptions, as well as faculty biographies, can be found in the attached document and on the Louisiana Book Festival WordShops webpage.

Registration for each WordShop is $50; for anyone attending two WordShops, the cost is $90. Space is limited. Registration payments are due by October 23. After that date, registration will be accepted as space allows. To register, call (225) 219-9503 or visit the WordShops webpage.

Each of the instructors will participate in the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, October 28. For more information about the Book Festival, visit LouisianaBookFestival.org and follow us on Facebook.

The Louisiana Center for the Book was established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994. Its mission is to stimulate public interest in reading, books, literacy, and libraries and to celebrate Louisiana’s rich literary heritage. It is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.