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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Writers Toolkit 2010

The WV Division of Culture and History in collaboration with the WV Library Commission is presenting their annual Writers Toolkit event on February 13, 2010. The event will take place at the Cultural Center in Charleston. The event is free and open to the public.

Below are the workshop descriptions, schedule and bios of participating authors.

Workshop Descriptions: Writer’s Toolkit 2010

Registration 9am

Morning Session – 10am – 12 noon
Afternoon Session 1pm – 3pm

Frank X Walker
Morning: Demystifying the Poetic Process"
Walker will lead beginning and immediate writers through the creative process from original concept to published poems. Participants will practice and conquer new editing & revision techniques, try on persona poems, and generate new work in a community of writers.

Irene McKinney’s Non-Fiction Workshops:

Morning: IN SHORT.
Brief creative non-fiction pieces of 1-3- pages are currently seen everywhere. Such pieces may be short chapters or sections of a longer work or stand on their own as magazine pieces or radio commmentaries. Any subject is permissable and can yield fortunate surprises. We will use exercises to trigger writing.

Writing memoir might be termed a "vale of soul-making," as Keats termed the writing of poems. We create meaning in our lives by feeling our way along through past events while providing the same journey for a reader. We will begin with exercises to trigger the writing.

Anthony Viola’s Fiction Workshops:

Morning: Creating Three-Dimensional Characters through Unreliable Narrators.
An unreliable first-person narrator is one that masters the art of exaggeration, skews the facts of a story so that they cater to his or her needs. They can become truly gifted storytellers because they are truly human and unconsciously embrace and clearly display (to the reader) the idea that they are bound by their limited point of view. One way to create an unreliable first-person narrator is to carefully place contradictory elements, details, etc. within the narrative, which may or may not be expressed overtly, however will always remain on the surface for the reader to interpret as contradictory. By including specific elements and details, writers indirectly create three-dimensional characters in their narrators even if these narrators aren’t unreliable narrators.
In this session, participants will study, explore, and attempt to create an unreliable narrator. An exercise sheet and sample will be provided. Participants will be encouraged to share their work with others.

Anthony Viola’s Fiction Workshops:

Afternoon: Embracing Brevity by Writing a Story in 120 Words
Character, conflict, rising action, and climax are traits often associated with the short story genre. However, one complexity is that stories must be short; therefore a writer must achieve the most in the least amount of space. Brevity is the one unquestionable characteristic of the short story genre and many writers often have difficulty writing a complete story in such a compact space. By focusing on brevity, writers indirectly base their stories on single events and limit timeframes, settings, and characters, avoiding unnecessary clutter and underdevelopment. In this session, participants study, explore, and attempt to craft a complete story in 120 words. An exercise sheet and sample will be provided. Participants will be encouraged to share their work with others.

Rob Whetsell’s Historical Writing Workshops

Morning: This session will explore historical writing styles and techniques used to interpret history and make it more meaningful to the public. Presentation will focus on interpretive writing techniques, developing research skills, types of historical resources available to writers and how they can be applied. Mr. Whetsell will share his experiences as a historical writer and interpreter and his approaches to writing for a variety of formats and audiences.

Afternoon: The class will conduct an on-site visit to the WV State Archives to learn basic techniques of historical research and use of archival resources. Plans also include a short tour of West Virginia State Museum to analyze and discuss the effectiveness of interpretive writing and illustrate the different techniques and formats used to engage the public.

Kaite Hillenbrand’s Poetry Workshop

Afternoon: Whether you have an idea for a poem in mind or not, this workshop will help you figure out how to express your thoughts and feelings in a unique way. In my workshop, we will read a few poems, paying attention to imagery, figurative language, and other elements of craft. Each workshop member will make a list of images that have caught their attention recently and, with the help of a "sensory call," each person will freewrite on one of those images, keeping in mind the five senses. We will then compose a poem or two based on that image, using a line-by-line guide that I will provide. I will give you some time to revise before you read it to the rest of the workshop! In honor of Valentine's Day, we may also savor some Hershey's Kisses and write with love in mind.

Author Bios: Writer’s Toolkit 2010

Frank X Walker Walker is the award-winning writer and founder of the Affrlachian Poets, the author of four collections of poetry including the soon to be published I Dedicate This Ride: A Portrait of Isaac Murphy and the editor of PLUCK! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. He teaches in the Department of English at the University of Kentucky.

Additional bio information and photos if necessary are available under the press kit link at
Irene McKinney is Poet Laureate of the State of West Virginia and the author of 6 books of poetry, most recently Unthinkable: New and Selected Poems (2009). Her personal and deeply insightful non-fiction essays are regularly heard on West Virginia Public Radio.
McKinney is Professor Emeritus at West Virginia Wesleyan College, and has also taught at Western Washington University, the University of California-Santa Cruz and Hamilton College. She is currently serving as Writer-in-Residence at Lynchburg College in Virginia. When she isn’t travelling, she lives on the Barbour Co. farm that has been her family’s home for generations.

Dr. Anthony Viola is an Assistant Professor of English at Marshall University where he teaches creative writing, literature, and composition. He received a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Ohio University in 2003, was a postdoctoral fellow in Creative Writing at Ohio University, and was a postdoctoral scholar in Creative Writing at the University of Kentucky while serving as the Associate Director of the Writing Program. He has been published in Pleiades, Gulf Coast, and Calliope, has had a short story nominated for a Pushcart Prize and another short story listed in “100 Other Distinguished Stories,” Best American Short Stories 2007. In addition to completing a collection of interrelated short stories, he has completed a full-length novel and two screenplays.

Rob Whetsell has 20 years of professional experience in interpreting West Virginia history. A former US Forest Service historian and archeologist, he currently works as an architectural historian for a large cultural resource contracting firm. Mr. Whetsell has a B.A. in History/Political Science from Davis & Elkins and dual M.A.s (in History and Public History) from WVU.

Mr. Whetsell is the author of the book Elkins, West Virginia: The Metropolis Revisited (1994) and has also completed three documentary films: A Good Place to Work: Myles Lumber Company (2008); The ‘CC Boys: A West Virginia Legacy (2006); and The Cliff-Scaling Soldiers of West Virginia (2003). Rob is also a 2006 recipient of the West Virginia History Hero Award and has received several other awards for his cultural resource work and interpretive skills, including the US Forest Service’s Eastern Region, Century of Service Award.

Kaite Hillenbrand is Assistant Editor in Chief of Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, and she teaches English at Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, PA. She lives in Morgantown and is a native of Charleston, WV. She earned her MFA in Poetry from the University of California, Riverside, and she earned her MA in Literature from WVU. She feels rooted in West Virginia’s landscape, and her lyric narrative poetry reflects that. Her poetry was most recently published in Kestrel, and a recent interview with her appears online at The Bees Knees.