Travel Writing Conference Morning Class Descriptions


Long-Form Narrative Story Intensive Workshop, taught by Tim Cahill
Please note that admission to the morning session offered by Tim Cahill, Long-Form Narrative Story Intensive Workshop, will be based on acceptance only. All interested participants must submit a travel essay or article of no more than 2500 words; a very limited number will be accepted. Submissions will be reviewed by Conference Chair Don George, and we will contact participants as soon as decisions have been made. Please email your submission to Kathryn Petrocelli, Conference Coordinator, at Please use "Advanced Writing Essay" as your subject line, and paste your submission into the body of the email rather than as an attachment. Please note: there is no official deadline for submission, but the class will be closed when it is determined to have reached its desired composition.

Book-Length Memoir Workshop, taught by David Farley
“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect,” Paul Theroux once wrote. Whether you agree or not, one thing is certain: travel has the ability to not only change our worldview and our inner being but it inspires, educates, and overwhelms. Would we expect anything less from a word that is derived from “travail,” which comes from “tripalium,” an ancient Roman torture instrument? And so this gives all the more reason to want to document our travels and our world-spinning travails. Book-length memoir will show how to take your story and run with it (and be entertaining along the way). It will focus on narrative arc and pacing, chapter selection and nuts-and-bolts writing. In-class writing exercises will help unearth memories and show how to be more creative with your word choice and structure. It will be both glamorous in the moment and in retrospect.

Short-Form Essay and Memoir Workshop, taught by Larry Habegger
The best travel stories are really stories about life, with lessons for the writer and reader about ourselves and the people and places in our still magical world. My intention in our morning sessions is to help you develop powerful stories with simple tools. We will explore the craft of the personal essay and memoir through a combination of lectures, discussion, writing exercises, and sharing our work. The concepts we cover apply equally to brief essays, short personal stories, and longer works. We’ll start by discussing and exploring different aspects of the genre: learning to conjure up inspiration; adding emotion and weight to your work; learning how to write vivid, powerful prose; the best structure for your story; and finding a home for your work. Each day you’ll have a brief assignment to complete for the next day, and we’ll read and critique them (reading your work for critique is not required, but it’s always beneficial).

Writing for the Web, taught by Jim Benning & Pam Mandel
This course will cover the ins and outs of travel storytelling for the internet, from writing personal essays and service-oriented articles to blogging and multimedia production. Topics will include essay structure and themes, best travel blogging practices and using social media. It will include an introduction to producing audio slideshows and video. It will look at the business of travel writing online (we’ll touch on the business of writing for print, too) and include strategies for promoting oneself as a writer, establishing professional credentials and reputation, and making money in this challenging environment.

Writing for Newspapers, Magazines and Beyond, taught by Spud Hilton
This workshop is designed to guide you through the process of writing a newspaper or magazine travel story from start to finish: where to go, pre-trip research, strategies for gathering information while traveling, composing a story editors will love and marketing your work. I’ll cover writing both destination narratives and service pieces, and I’ll explain what editors are looking for today, with special attention on the evolution of print, online and digital and its effect on your work. I'll also talk about writing a tight, delete-button-proof lede, editing your own work and, perhaps most importantly, how to tell a strong story and avoid the dreaded diary rehash. There will be hands-on writing assignments and exercises. Consider this time to smooth out that piece you've been working on for months or start one from scratch. Also learn how to maximize earning potential from your writing by tailoring it to multiple platforms.

Travel Photography, taught by Robert Holmes & Andrea Johnson
Over the course of three mornings, the travel photography session will address:  Researching the destination; preparation; what’s in the bag; looking at the big picture; capturing a sense of place; looking at light ~ time of day, weather, and the impact of color; choosing the right lens; showing motion; creating a sense of scale; understanding elements of composition; the decisive moment. On the final morning, there will be a group critique with the photography faculty.

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