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NYFA Artists’ Fellowships awarded to W&B staff member and instructor



Writers & Books is proud to announce that our Director of Adult Programming Albert Abonado has been awarded a NYFA Artists’ Fellowship for Poetry. Writers & Books instructor and host of the Teen Poetry Slam, Rachel McKibbens, also received an Artists’ Fellowship in the same category.


To view all of the 2014 Artists’ Fellowship awardees, click here.

From the NYFA website:

For the past 29 years, NYFA has awarded Artists’ Fellowships of $7,000 to individual originating artists living in New York State and/or Indian Nations located in New York State.

NYFA is committed to supporting artists from diverse cultural backgrounds at all stages of their professional careers. In 2014, NYFA awarded 90 grants to 93 awardees with 3 collaborations totaling an amount of $630,000.

Artists’ Fellowships, awarded in fifteen different disciplines over a three-year period are $7,000 cash awards made to individual originating artists living and working in the state of New York for unrestricted use. Artists’ Fellowships are not project grants but are intended to fund an artist’s vision or voice, regardless of the level of his or her artistic development.

NYFA’s Artists’ Fellowships are administered with leadership support from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency.


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Classes & Workshops Starting in February!

Enrollment for February workshops is now opendownload!

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, perhaps it’s time to rekindle a love for writing and reading–or nurture a love that isn’t going anywhere!

Let’s look at what’s coming up this month at Writers & Books:

*Online: Where Writing and Motherhood Meet – Instructor: Sally Bittner Bonn
Start Date – February 1st
Motherhood can be joyful, lonely, hysterically funny, maddening, heartbreaking, beautiful, and of course exhausting! Join other moms from near and far as you share your stories of motherhood. This supportive online forum will allow busy mothers to fit their writing time into their week at any hour of day or night!

Stand-Up Comedy – Instructor: Carol Roberts
Start Date – February 3rd Time – 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Stand-up comedy is the art of writing jokes blended with the art of performing them. In this 6-week supportive experiential workshop, students will learn the basics of comedy writing and performing. Students will develop original material outside of class and perform each week for one another in a supportive atmosphere.

Reading Seminar: Langston Hughes – Instructor: David Sanders
Start Date – February 3rd Time – 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
This short seminar will offer a representative sampling of Hughes’s verse, and participants will be encouraged to propose their own favorites for discussion. No prior knowledge of Hughes or special expertise in reading poems is required.

Intermediate/Advanced Fiction Workshop – Instructor: Matt Kotula
Start Date – February 5th Time – 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
A fiction workshop designed for writers looking to push their short, flash, or long form fiction to the next level.

Your Wild and Precious Life – Instructor: Marijana Ababovic
Start Date – February 7th Time – 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
This yoga and personal writing workshop will help you explore your personal goals and create a plan for the new year.  The workshop includes guided personal writing, gentle yoga, and meditation, cWinter 2015 Catalog coverreating an environment of quietness to help you focus on what is really important to you.

Beginning PoetryInstructor: Charles Cote
Start Date – February 9th Time – 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
In this Poetry Workshop and Readshop, students will read a number of contemporary poems, work on writing and revising their own poetry, and explore and discuss essays by renowned poets on the  “what” and “how” of poetry—image, metaphor, sound, rhythm—so that they might become more comfortable with the reading and writing of poetry. This class is geared to those who have not written much poetry, or are now eager to return to writing poetry after some time away from writing.

Reading Seminar: The Age of Miracles – Instructor: Karen vanMeenen
Start Date – February 10th Time – 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Join “If All Rochester Reads the Same Book…” coordinator and RIT instructor Karen vanMeenen for a 3-week in-depth discussion of this year’s program selection The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker in advance of her visit to Rochester.

Writing from (and with) Photographs – Instructor: Louise Wareham Leonard
Start Date – February 14th Time – 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
In this 2-day workshop we will explore using photographs in our writing, with readings about this technique by W.G. Sebald, Susan Sontag, and James Woods, among others. We will consider the power of the photograph and how it is thought of in other cultures. A brief field trip will depend on time and weather.

It’s Valentine’s Day: Do You Feel Like Being Easy? Comedy Improve Workshop – Instructor: Carol Roberts
Start Date – February 14th Time – 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Do you love to do comedy improv? Or would you love to try comedy improv? What better day than Valentine’s Day to treat yourself to this easy workshop where we play easy comedy improv games.  Comedy improv games, like those seen on the TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” are the art of getting suggestions from the audience and spontaneously plugging them into pre-existing skits and games.

Writing the Feature…How Would Billy Wilder Do It? Instructor: Johannes Bockwoldt
Start Date – February 19th Time – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
The goal of this class is a better understanding of dramatic and screenplay structure and the completion of a first act of a feature screenplay. The work of the American director Billy Wilder will be used as a model for sound classic story structure. Wilder immigrated to the US from Berlin in the 1930s and who had a long and productive career spanning six decades, excelled at comedy and drama alike, and his scripts are enduring examples of the craft of storytelling.

Write Your 10-mifilepicker-DxTtiQ82QpCEfRuyNLpz_Pennute Play – Instructor: Paula Marchese
Start Date – February 21st Time – 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Explore and experiment with this short dramatic form.  From Chekov to Mamet, the one-act (short and longer) remains a challenging and powerful way to tell a story. Learn dramatic structure, internal/external conflict, and the 3-act structure employed in all good stories, packed into an intense time and space.

Writing & Revising for Clarity – Instructor: Arseniy Gutnik
Start Date – February 21th Time – 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Do you want to communicate your thoughts effectively in writing?  This workshop is designed to help you practice defining your ideas organizing content, and making productive revisions, by examining writing as a process with distinct, manageable components.  We will begin with brainstorming and proceed to rough draft writing and revision, introducing useful techniques for each step through mini-lessons, followed by writing time and discussion.

Beginning Story Writing – Instructor: Steve Huff
Start Date – February 24th Time – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
You’ve always wanted to write fiction but have not known where to begin. This class will examine the basic principles and techniques of fiction that everyone new to fiction writing needs to know: point-of-view, dialogue, plotting, and character development.

Writing the Short Screenplay – Instructor: Johannes Bockwoldt
Start Date – February 24th Time – 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Writing the Short Screenplay is for those who always wanted to turn their ideas into a short film screenplay and for those who want to learn about the basics of screenwriting. At the end of the class you will have written a complete screenplay for a 10-15 minute film and you will have been thoroughly introduced to the fundamentals of screenwriting.

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Deadline Approaching: Teen Writers’ Master Workshop

Cortney2-copyWe are very proud and excited to announce the launch of our Teen Writers’ Master Workshop, a brand-new 2-week intensive program for teens who are serious about their writing. The workshop will run two weeks; July 13th through the 24th from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Below is a detailed overview of the course as well as information on the application process for enrollment:



  • Each student will be assigned a workshop group and primary instructor with whom you will meet every morning from 9-noon. These morning sessions will provide intensive lessons on craft, a wide variety of generative creative writing prompts, professional workshop experience, and instruction on revision and editing. A strong emphasis will be placed on the importance of reading as a writer. Reading and writing assignments will be expected to be completed at home over the course of the two weeks.
  • The afternoons will be dedicated to specific subjects within the world of writing including intensives in poetry, fiction, slam poetry, playwriting, ekphrasis (writing from visual art), plus one-on-one conferencing with your primary instructor.
  • In addition instructors will give evening readings of their own work. The whole program will culminate with a final student reading on Friday night and a published anthology of student work from the workshop.



Students are admitted to this program by application only, which includes a personal statement, a sample of writing, and a letter of reference. Deadline is April 1, 2015. Selected students will be notified no later than the end of April.

Application can be found here: TeenWritersMasterWorkshopApplicationFinal


For more information on partial and full scholarships and with questions regarding the Teen Writers’ Master Workshop , contact Sally Bittner Bonn, Director of Youth Education and Community Outreach at or by phone at 473-2590 ext 109


More information can be found at


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Classes & Workshops starting in January!

Enrollment for January workshops now openWinter 2015 Catalog cover!

It’s a brand new year, time to let the creativity flow!

  • Legal Issues for Self-Publishing Authors
  • Creative Writing
  • Writing your spiritual authobiography
  • and more!

Let’s look at what’s coming up this month at Writers & Books:

Transformational WritingInstructor: Anais Salibain
Start Date – January 14th Time – 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
This class will start with journaling and poetry exercises designed specifically to explore inner territory, gain new insight, and find topics and themes. You can use these structured exercises for the rest of your life to help you think about and process life issues. The second half of class will focus on crafting effective writing. Read more here.

English Composition 101: The Foundations of Non-fiction WritingInstructor: Wendy Low
Start Date – January 14th Time – 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Here—for those who missed it, need a review, want a preview, or just want to strengthen their ability to get their ideas across—is the one class that is required of every college freshman to help them prepare to read, research, write, and argue effectively. Read more here.

Great Love and Great Suffering: Writing Your Spiritual AutobiographyInstructor: Leah Ruekberg
Start Date – January 15th Time – 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
In a safe space, we will write about what Carl Jung called, “the incalculable paradoxes of love.”  If you are experiencing that ancient call to a deeper life, come join the caravan. Read more here.

Women and Words: The Courage to Write – Instructor: Sharon Knapp
Start Date – January 15th Time – 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Come with an open mind and an empty notebook.  Leave with courage and ideas. Whether you’re a poet, a published novelist, an essayist, or a solitary writer whose words live exclusively in a journal, you’re welcome here.  Come to free yourself.  Come to grow. Read more here.

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*Online Workshop: Advanced PoetryInstructor: Stevie Edwards
Start Date – January 15th 
Here is the class that will pick up where earlier workshops left off, where you will hone and focus your skills. Read more here.


*Online Workshop: Beginner/Intermediate Poetry – Instructor: Tom Fugalli
Start Date – January 17th 
A comprehensive class for beginner or intermediate writers looking to develop their creative writing in a supportive environment. Read more here.

Creative Writing 101 – Instructor: Gregory Gerard 
Start Date – January 28th Time – 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
So you’ve always wanted to write but never made the time. Or you’re not sure how to start. Or you’ve got lots of things started, but nothing’s good enough to share. This is the course for YOU.  Read more here.

An Art of Individuals: Manifestos, Artist’s Statements and the Aesthetics of Planting a Flag – Instructor: Nate Pritts
Start Date – January 29th Time – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
In this class, open to all genres, we’ll look at the rich history of project aesthetics – manifestos, artist’s statements, brief notes, and long diatribes: what writers say about their writing and what artists say about their art. Read more here.

Coming to Know: Meeting Your Characters – Instructor: Sharon Knappfilepicker-DxTtiQ82QpCEfRuyNLpz_Pen
Start Date – January 31st Time – 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
In this seminar, we’ll explore what it means to really see your characters and learn how to listen to them.  We’ll find out what revs them up and what drives them crazy.  This is an interactive class.  Come prepared to write and explore. Read more here.

An Introduction to Legal Issues for Self-Publishing AuthorsInstructor: Vanessa Hanks
Start Date – January 31th Time – 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
This workshop provides a basic overview of copyright law and registration; questions of fair use; trademark, privacy, and state laws that need to be considered; what to do if your work is infringed on; and when an attorney should be consulted. Read more here.

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New Year, New Fire

Teen Poetry Slam at the GreenHouse Cafe with Writers & Books

teen slam-page-001It’s 2015, time to express yourself in a new way. What story have you been waiting to tell? What words are itching to get out of you and into the world? If you’ve got the fire, we have the solution.

January 2015 marks the beginning of the final Teen Poetry Slams. Previous experience with slam poetry is not required. Come and observe, or better yet, come at 6:00 PM for the Free Poetry Workshop.

The entire event is hosted by Rachel MCKibbens. The evening includes the FREE poetry workshop, an open mic, followed by the slam.

A final team will be selected at the end of the slams to travel to Atlanta to participate in Brave New Voices, a national youth slam competition.


Dates: January 9th & 23rd, February 13th & 27th, March 13th & 27th, April 10th and the Grand Slam on April 24th.

Location: Greenhouse Cafe  – 2271 East Main Street

Cost: FREE


If you have questions or would like more information, contact Al Abonado at or Sally Bittner Bonn at