A monthly newsletter with news of the WWW community, writing wisdom, 
prompts, and information on upcoming events.

February 2013


Don't miss this


 Sat. Feb. 19

9 a.m. to 12 noon 


In This Issue
Meet Our New Intern
Cindy Zhao 
Cindy Zhao
We are thrilled to welcome our new marketing and operations intern Cindy Zhao.  A Cornell graduate, Cindy is currently in Suzanne Hoover's Fiction Writing: Crafting Your Novel workshop and hopes to get published as a fiction novelist.  She enjoys traveling, reading, listening to Cole Porter, and of course writing!


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 Across the Table



I have often been asked why the 
Westport Writers' Workshop 
doesn't offer online workshops or teleseminars. 
Surely, it is pointed out, today's technology makes any kind of learning possible, either in the form of cyber workshops, "cloud" file sharing, live video conferencing, or downloaded video or audio lessons. I've been urged to consider the potential revenue impact of offering workshops in a "virtual" format as a way of expanding our reach nationally, or even globally.


Aside from expanding into new geographic markets there are, to be sure, other arguments in favor or offering online workshops. Many of our writers are forced to interrupt their workshop schedules because of travel. Many temporarily drop out altogether, with reluctance, due to winters spent in warmer climates.  What often happens is that when the workshops stop, so does the writing.

Distance is a factor too.  We are gratified by how far a surprising number of our writers drive to attend our workshops. But just as often, a writers call to express regret that they are just too far away to attend a weekly workshop. We would love to open our doors to these writers. 


Has the time come to offer online workshops? When it comes to the future, I never say "never."  But for now, the Westport Writers' Workshop is staying with our tried-and-true model. What we are is this: a small group of writers around the table, eye to eye, reading and responding to each other's work, guided by an experienced workshop leader who keeps the sessions constructive, educational, and on schedule.   


Here's why.  As writers ourselves who have participated in myriad workshops, and as workshop leaders, we have come to believe that there is simply no substitute for value of a face to face workshop.  It's hard to imagine that the kind of trust and intimacy that occurs around our workshop tables can exist in cyber-space. Or that anyone could possibly maintain the same depth of focus on each other's work, or learn and truly absorb the writing craft, when faced with the distractions of one's desk at home, competing Internet pages, pop-up ads, and the intermittent pings and flashing icons that announcing arriving email or IMs.


That is why we are what we are, and we do what we do. This is, for now, the only the way we do it.  


We hope you will continue to do it with us. Because we love seeing you across our tables.


   JB Signature


Jessica Bram 

Founder/ Director


News of Our Writers


Christine Pakkala

We have a national winner!! We are thrilled to announce that our very own Christine Pakkala has been named the winner of the 2013 Ladies Home Journal Personal Essay contest.  Competition for this award is fierce; each year the magazine receives thousands of submissions, many written by agented professionals. The award carries a $3,000 prize and publication in the June issue. Christine is a talented writer who has for years worked hard at her craft, weathered defeats and rejection, and soldiered on.  Her recognition is well-deserved.  And couldn't happen to a nicer individual.
Christine Pakkala will soon be a published author as well, currently working on the third title of her debut middle-grade fiction LAST BUT NOT LEAST LOLA series which will be published by Boyd's Mill Press in 2013.  
A longtime Westport Writers' Workshop writer, Christine now leads our workshops as well.  On Saturday, April she will once again lead our   Writing for Children: An Introduction for the Absolute Beginner workshop. She also the Writopia Lab
workshops for teens and young children at WWW as well as other Writopia Lab workshops in Connecticut and Westchester.


Congratulations to Lorri Danzigwho was asked to be a guest blogger for The Intima Journal for Narrative Medicine.  Last fall her poem "The Gurney" was published in this prestigious journal. 


Sandy Weiner, a former participant in Jessica Bram's Creative Nonfiction workshop, also shared some exciting news on the blogging front.  She reports, "I am honored to be a regular blogger for the Huffington Post." Known as the "Chief Love Officer" at her company Last First Date, Sandy Weiner is a dating coach, blogger and host of her own radio show "Courageous Conversations" on BlogTalk Radio 


Coincidentally, Marcelle Soviero's essay "Popular", written for WWW's Examined Life workshop, will also be included in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood.  
Brain Child Winter Several items this month from  Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers, whose owner and editor-in-chief is our own workshop leader Marcelle Soviero:
Last month we neglected to tell you that Brain, Child's winter print edition included two original cartoon drawings (think: New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast) by multi-talented writer/artist Christine Juneau, a longtime participant in Marcelle's Writing About Your Life Workshop.
Next month we'll be have more to tell you about Randi Olin who has two essays appearing this spring in NYMetroParents and Brain, Child.
Finally, Brain, Child's newly launched online winter edition included Jessica Bram's essay "Beauty Calls" which was originally published as a New York Times Magazine HERS column.


 Spring 2013 Workshops




Spring 2013 



Workshops begin April 1


New One Time Workshops


Business Writing

In a major new development, the Westport Writers' Workshop now offers Business Writing workshops.

business writing certificate

This spring the Westport Writers' Workshop launches the first of it Business Writing offerings for people who want to boost their career advantage by sharpening their business writing skills.  Please help us spread the word to those in your non-literary spheres who might benefit from this workshops through Facebook and Twitter.


Beginning with Effective Business Writing on March 2 and repeated April 1), we will offer professional workshops that cover how to write effective emails, PowerPoint presentations, reports, and executive summaries, as well as grant writing.

Are you thinking of writing a nonfiction book?
Ready to get your project off the ground?

Whether you have only an idea for a book, or already have a project underway, this spring's Narrative Nonfiction (N310) will give you the structure and motivation of a workshop to get you to the finish line. 


Narrative Nonfiction will be lead by workshop leader Cathryn J. Prince, journalist and former adjunct journalism professor with three published nonfiction books to her credit.

First Comes Research

Narrative Nonfiction
will take place Wednesdays from 1:30 to 3:30 beginning April 3. Space is limited to 6.

Coming Next in the
Essentials for the Fiction Writer Series

Essentials Endings

Essentials for the Fiction Writer is a series of high level, craft-oriented workshops for fiction writers. Each delves deeply into critical elements of fiction writing, with emphasis on the novel.  


Register now for the next Essentials for the Fiction Writer talk by Suzanne Hoover, Ph.D. 



All About Scene will take place 
Saturday, April 6, 2 to 4:30 pm.



CD Recordings of her previous lectures  
are available for purchase 


CD #1: Structuring Your Story

CD # 2 Developing Your Story

CD #3: The Short Story

CD #4: Character Creation

CD #5: Point of View 

CD #6: Irony: Twists, Turns and Reversals

CD #7 : Beginnings


Not yet available, but may be pre-ordered:


CD #8: All About Scene 
CD #9: Endings




Price: $19.95 each, or $49.95 for a set of 3

Makes a great gift!


(Online price includes sales tax)



Essentials for the Fiction Writer:  

All About Scene 

Saturday, April 6, 2013 

2-4:30 pm 




Read This Great Review of

We were delighted to welcome
Westport Hamlet Hub'
s Sally Allen as a participant in Fran Dorf's The Healing Art of Writing
workshop - especially when we found that she wrote a glowing, detailed review of the workshop in Westport Hamlet Hub. This special half-day workshop focuses on those trying to write either fiction or memoir about their own trauma, loss, grief, or illness.
In her article Sally wrote:
"Exacting and also kind, Dorf shared examples of writing that works and, more importantly, knew how to explain why
it worked. I couldn't help but wonder how much would be accomplished in one of Westport Writers' Workshops eight or ten-week sessions."
The Healing Art of Writing(N320), will be offered for the first time as an 8-week workshop in the Spring 2013 session. Lead by author and psychotherapist Fran Dorf, the new workshop will take place on Wednesdays from 2 to 4 pm, beginning April 3. 


Come Write With Us 



There is nothing quite like the miracle of putting pen to paper and after a little while finding a page filled with words... 


Come experience this miracle with us every Monday at


Mondays 12-1 pm 

Now FREE for
Westport Writers' Workshop Members


We start with a brief meditation, lead by naturopathic doctor and writer Dr. Paul Epstein.   Our minds now quiet, we are offered a prompt or quick, inspirational "assignments" to awaken our creativity and get our fingers moving. Then we write.


Material is not shared. What we write doesn't matter. What matters is that we are using our writing muscles


Join us!


Bring laptops or pen and paper.  Bring your lunch if you'd like as well; we provide coffee and tea.



Ten-week session: $195 or $170 for WWW Members 
or $20 per session walk-in


for Westport Writers' Workshop Members


Open Mic Nights

What have you been writing?
We want to know.

Join us the last Monday of every month for
at the

Mondays at 7:30 pm


Next open mic nights: 

February 25
March 18
April 29 

Only $5 or free for WWW members


All genres including fiction, memoir and poetry are welcome. Read a selection of your work to an audience of your peers and other interested listeners.  Or just come to listen and be inspired.   


Note : The purpose of this Open Mic night is to allow writers to share written work or work-in-progress.  It is not a storytelling, spoken word, or performance event. 


You Are Invited


Please come to an
Author Meet & Greet with Jessica Bram


Fairfield University Book Store
Saturday, Feb. 23, 12 noon to 3 pm

Address: 1499 Post Road (downtown location). Book Cover

Jessica Bram, author of Happily Ever After Divorce: Notes of a Joyful Journey (Health Communications, Inc. 2009) will speak and sign her book at an Author Meet and Greet.   


Westport Writers' Workshop

3 Sylvan Road South 

Westport, CT 06880


What We're Reading...


This month we invited Cindy Zhao to provide a book recommendation.  She has chosen Haruki Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart (Vintage; Reprint edition (April 9, 2002)).

 "I closed my eyes and listened carefully for the descendants of Sputnik, even now circling the earth, gravity their only tie to the planet. Lonely metal souls in the unimpeded darkness of space, they meet, pass each other, and part, never to meet again. No words passing between them. No promises to keep."  --K in Sputnik Sweetheart 



While he's known for his surrealist novels, Haruki Murakami writes about the universal concept of loneliness in a nonsensical world in Sputnik Sweetheart.  The narrator, K, finds himself going to the Greek islands to help solve the mystery of the disappearance of Sumire, his love interest.


The prose-- light and ambling at the start-- becomes more pensive and desperate as the story progresses.  Murakami takes no easy way out and provides us with a tale both moving and identifiable.  While I'm often hesitant to read translated works, here his prose sounds as natural as though it was never translated at all.

What are you reading? Please share your book reviews or thoughts with us at info@westportwritersworkshop.com


Rhode Island Writers' Retreat 2013
Only two spaces left!

We are now accepting registrations for our Watch Hill, RI Writers' Retreat scheduled for May 7-13, 2013 at this gorgeous oceanside estate in Watch Hill, RI.  
Seven writers will gather for five days/four nights of writing at your leisure in a private room, on the gorgeous ocean-front porch or in one of the main rooms.  Weather permitting, take an ocean walk along the beach for inspiration. Includes daily gourmet meals, and stimulating evening workshops with retreat leaders Suzanne Hoover and Jessica Bram to share your work.  
Open to fiction or nonfiction writers. 


There is still time to send in your deposit for one of the remaining spaces. Call (203) 227-3250 or email  info@westportwritersworkshop.com to register.

Well Said


When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them - then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.

-Mark Twain     
Letter to D. W. Bowser, March 20, 1880  
Coming Soon:
WWW Community Blog


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Please feel free to forward this newsletter WORD-for-WORDS to your friends and fellow writers. Visit our website to sign up for newsletters. You can also read past archived issues here
For questions or more information about our workshops, events, or Westport Writers' Workshop membership go to www.westportwritersworkshop.com  or call (203) 227-3250 or