WESTPORT, CT—The Westport Writers Workshop (WWW) is offering a combination of online and in person classes this winter at their brand new space, located at 25 Sylvan Lane, Unit J, Westport, CT just down the road from their former location. Executive Director Liz Matthews stated that their new location features a gallery-like space with a large workshop/community space that enables them to collaborate with other local arts organizations.
Their Winter Workshops begin the week of January 10th and open registration is being held now through January 10th. Classes are limited to even participants to allow for helpful critiques from instructors and fellow writers. With over 100 workshops a year to choose from, WWW welcomes writers of all skill levels and genres with classes and workshops that are designed to suit any schedule, with options in the morning, afternoons, and evenings. Saturday-only workshops and one-week writing-intensive programs are also held at various times throughout the year.
Several of their winter workshops include playwriting, screenwriting, fiction, memoir, poetry, and the classes listed below:
Veteran writer Christine Pakkala will teach Writing About Your Life: Memoir for beginner to intermediate writers which focuses on the craft of writing about our own lives in either the personal essay or memoir form. They’ll explore the elements of storytelling that apply to fiction and memoir, as well as memoir’s unique role in making sense of life experience through reflection. Writers will receive feedback in an encouraging atmosphere.
“Our aim is to create a community of writers who support one another by practicing deep listening, compassionate responses, and thoughtful feedback. We recognize that writing is a risky endeavor and that sharing what we write in a workshop setting requires courage. As a community, we support one another in that endeavor by offering rigorous support and a gentle critique,” Pakkala said.
Intro to Screenwriting with Kate Montgomery introduces aspiring writers to the unique craft of screenwriting. Attendees will learn formatting, story structure, character development,dialogue, pacing, and the three secret ingredients to every successful screenplay. Each class is a fun, fast-paced mix of short lectures, group and individual writing exercises, and table reads with course materials you cna keep to reference later.
For those who are into poetry, Charles Rafferty offers students the opportunity to learn about the genre from a poet whose work was published in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and O — Oprah Magazine. Each week, participants will share a poem, and the instructor will lead a discussion of the manuscript, highlighting what is working well and suggesting ways to improve it.
For more course offerings this winter and to register, visit the Westport Writers Workshop website. The Westport Writers’ Workshop is an independent literary arts center offering enriching, supportive creative writing classes, as well as literary readings to the local public in Connecticut. Their organization also provides free writing workshops to underserved populations in their own communities. To learn more, visit the WWW SCHOLARSHIPS and SUPPORT US pages.
Since 2003, the Westport Writers’ Workshop has been offering workshops for every level of writer, from novice to published! Our instructors offer friendly, supportive writing workshops designed to encourage, inspire, and spark your imagination.
With over 100 workshops a year to choose from, we welcome writers of all skill levels and genres. Our workshops are designed to suit your schedule, with options in the morning, afternoons, and evenings. We also host several Saturday-only workshops and one-week writing-intensive programs throughout the year. You can learn more about our workshops by visiting our WORKSHOP page. Let Westport Writers’ Workshop help you discover and develop your own unique writing talent and voice.
Our Philosophy: You can expect a supportive group led by an experienced instructor. You’ll write, read, and learn from each other. Focus is always on the quality of the writing – not on the subject matter. Writing begets writing. The more you commit to your writing, to showing up for your writing group, the more you will write. By joining a community of writers, you will become a stronger writer and influence others to refine their craft. Our philosophy and practices are inspired by Amherst Writers & Artists and Pat Schneider’s book, Writing Alone and With Others.
Our Mission: The Westport Writers’ Workshop is an independent literary arts center offering enriching, supportive creative writing classes, as well as literary readings to the local public. Our organization also provides free writing workshops to underserved populations in their own communities.
Our History: In 2003, Jessica Bram founded Westport Writers’ Workshop. In 2010, Jessica moved the workshops into the second floor of the historic building on 3 Sylvan Rd. South in Westport. In 2013, Valerie Leff bought WWW and became the Director. In 2014, Valerie created a Board of Directors and transformed the business into a nonprofit with a mission to offer enriching, supportive creative writing classes, as well as literary readings to the local public, and free writing workshops to underserved populations in their own communities. In 2018, Michelle Bradley came on board as the Executive Director, and in summer 2019 when Michelle’s family was transferred to Chicago, Liz Matthews took over as the Director. In March of 2020 with the onset of COVID-19, the workshops transitioned to the Zoom platform and were offered remotely. The organization grew to include writers and instructors outside of our immediate community.
A Ridgefield mom and business owner tells the story of how her unique writing program helps youth in the community to hone their craft.
RIDGEFIELD, CT — Our Small Business Spotlight shines a light on local businesses that we may not know that well. This feature highlights Ridgefield Mompreneur Brittney Richardson who is the founder of the newly launched Muse Squad, a youth writing program.
To a beginning writer, finding a time and place to channel creativity is key. With that in mind, Brittney Richardson designed the online course for aspiring young writers. By the end of completing her unique program, Richardson said, students should have the start of a novel, a short story, or several standalone pieces to put in their writing portfolio.
- Business: Muse Squad
- Owner: Brittney Richardson
- Website: https://musesquad.godaddysites.com
- Address: Virtual/Ridgefield
How did you come up with the name?
Coming up with a name was a bit of a process. I wanted it to appeal to kids without being childish, and it was very important to draw in all genders. My incredibly talented husband did the logo.
Why start a business in this town?
We moved to Ridgefield five years ago, and obviously, fell in love with the town. I was researching creative writing for kids and couldn’t find much in our area. That’s when I got the idea for the program. I’ve always loved kids, and I’ve always loved writing. I knew that if something like this was offered when I was a teen, I definitely would’ve been a part of it!
What business are you in?
I think of Muse Squad as more of a writing club than a business. That being said, I intend to pass on and make accessible, the literary techniques and wisdom of outstanding teachers. I also plan to demonstrate several of my own unique strategies for generating inspiration. I can say firsthand, that the people I met in workshops during grad school, were some of the most gifted individuals I’ve ever come across, and I found mentors in my instructors. So why not offer this experience sooner than college?
What’s the most difficult moment or challenge you’ve faced as a business owner?
Writing is kind of a niche hobby for middle schoolers, because it doesn’t really become mainstream until they get older. But that doesn’t mean kids this age aren’t just as talented or creative as students in MFA programs. The most difficult challenge is having to do this online, rather than in person like I was intending. There is a certain energy when a group of creative people are in a room together, and I will do my best to achieve this same experience in a virtual world.
Were there any challenges that made you second guess your decision to be an entrepreneur?
I consider myself more of a tireless writer, and an advocate of kids. So no, I never second guessed it. Once I came up with the idea, I had to follow through.
What’s been your proudest achievement since opening?
The overwhelmingly positive feedback I have received, and the anticipation of our winter launch, which begins January 27th, 2022.
How does your business give back or get involved in the community?
I hope Muse Squad can be the start of a local community for young writers. This innovative class is not about graded assignments; it’s about honing your craft. My goal is to run meetings where kids can tune into their creativity and bounce ideas off their peers. This program will give
anyone who joins a chance to showcase their ability and express their point of view, and supply them with the space, tools, and confidence to explore their artistry.
Photo: Brittney Richardson.
Muse Squad business logo by Brian Richardson.