Word Works: Writers on Writing

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For those who sit and stare in wonder at a sentence, a turn of phrase, or a particularly great execution of a literary device, marveling at how they could come about, Word Works talks show writers at their most revealing.

These craft talks by novelists, essayists, poets, and memoirists focus on writing as process rather than finished product, examining how language works to inspire and provoke new ideas through live close readings of the writer’s own or others’ work. These talks are designed to apply to writers of all genres as well as illuminate well-known works for avid readers. The talks are followed by an interview with a noted editor, writer, or critic.

Guest writers for the Word Works series often teach a class in conjunction with their talks. These classes require a separate registration. For more information on our classes, visit the class page.

Past Word Works Attendees

◾ Min Jin Lee
◾ Charles Johnson
◾ Kevin Young
◾ Maggie Nelson
◾ Ruth Ozeki
◾ Terrance Hayes
◾ Sarah Manguso
◾ David Shields
◾ Luis Alberto Urrea
◾ Lidia Yuknavich
◾ Karen Russell
◾ Major Jackson
◾ Ada Limón
◾ Mary Ruefle
◾ and others!

The 2020–2021 Season

All Word Works events this season will be held online. If there’s a possibility that the event can be held in person, ticket holders will be notified in advance. Either way, all events will be available to watch online.

Porochista Khakpour on Writing Toward & Against Identity
December 4, 2020  |  6 pm PST

Lauren Groff on the Long Sentence
February 5, 2021  |  6 pm PST

Melissa Febos: In Praise of the Confessional
April 9, 2021  |  6 pm PDT

Russell Banks: Memory, Abandonment, and Betrayal
May 14, 2021  |  6 pm PDT

Jericho Brown: Nonsense and Senselessness
June 11, 2021  |  6 pm PDT