In anticipation of the 28th Annual Antioch Writers Workshop (July 6-12), we've asked some of this summer's faculty to talk about why they're excited, what participants can expect from this summer's workshop, and to give some writing advice. This installment features AWW first book speaker, Jen Violi. Jen is an AWW alumni, a book coach, and author of Putting Makeup on Dead People, published by Hyperion. Her YA novel has won awards as well as critical acclaim. Learn more about Jen at www.jenvioli.com.
Why are you excited about being part of this summer’s Antioch Writers’ Workshop?
I’m always excited to return to Yellow Springs, a place dear to my heart. I lived in Dayton for eleven years and have many fond memories of day adventures in John Bryan State Park, getting ice cream at Young’s, shopping for books at Sam & Eddie’s, bringing students to retreats at Glen Helen, and of course, being a participant at the AWW myself. Being able to return as a published writer feels like one of those rare and lovely full circle moments. On top of all of that, I get to come and do what I love, which is encouraging and supporting other writers as they unleash their own stories. I’m so grateful to have been invited.
What can participants look forward to in working with you?
My signature blend is the sacred and the silly. I bring both to the table. I have great reverence for the mysteries of life and the wonders of stories that crack our hearts open. I also love the Partridge Family and can be expected to launch into ridiculous interpretive dance when the situation calls for it, which happens to be often, in case you were wondering. Writing is a serious and sacred endeavor, and it’s also a tremendously playful act of creation. In my work with writers, I honor and make room for both the solemn and the lighthearted. Speaking of making room…I’m not interested in helping writers tell the stories I want them to tell, but I am invested in helping writers tell the stories they yearn to and must tell.
In the spirit of the 28th annual Antioch Writers Workshop, what is the best advice you can give to writers in 28 words or less?
The best we have to offer in life is the best we have to offer in writing. When writing, bring your whole, beautiful, messy self to the table.
Visit our website for more information about 2013 Summer Faculty, available programs, and registration information. We look forward to seeing you soon at the 28th Annual Summer Antioch Writers' Workshop!