The Centrum Writing Studios

July 8-15, 2018
Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA

The Centrum Writing Studios, happening the week before the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, features intensive core morning workshops (one in each genre) and retreat time for yourself as a writer. During the week, there will be craft lectures—one from each faculty member—but no afternoon workshops or public evening readings. This Studios week is for writers looking for a blend of workshop and residency time, and happens the week before the Conference itself.

The Studios provide a week of craft and a lifetime of connections to make breakthroughs in your work.

Tuition, room, and board ranges from $745 to $1,520. Scholarships are available.


Mornings: Core morning seminars put you together in a small class of twelve with your faculty member in fiction (Robert Lopez), nonfiction (Rebecca Brown), or poetry (Gary Copeland Lilley).

Afternoons: The afternoons feature both panels and workshop offerings in special topics led by the morning faculty members and visiting writers.

Evenings: open-mike readings by participants and faculty.

The Daily Schedule

  • 8:15-8:45—Breakfast
  • 9-11:30—Morning workshop
  • 11:45-12:45—Lunch
  • 1-2:00—Craft lectures
  • 5:30-6:30—Dinner
  • 7—Open-Mike readings of work in progress.



Robert Lopez (register)
“Beginnings and Endings: Finding Your Way Into, Through, and Out of a Story.”

How stories begin and end are always the most critical elements of a fiction. In this class we’ll examine various entry points into a story, finding the unexpected way in, through a back or side door. The beginning of a story makes certain promises and sets expectations. We’ll discuss and find strategies to fulfill these expectations and confound them. Endings have to feel at once surprising and inevitable and have to feel more like an opening than a closing. Meaning the world we have created has to seem different, changed, but with myriad possibilities for our character(s) moving forward, even if our story ends in death. We lay the groundwork for the way out on the way in. Each of us will come up with three possible beginnings and from there we’ll find one to make a story out of … from this one beginning on through to an artful ending. 

Novelist and short story writer Robert Lopez, the author of such books as “Kamby Bolongo Mean River,” who lives in Brooklyn New York. His fiction has appeared in various of journals, including Bomb, The Threepenny Review, Vice Magazine, New England Review, New Orleans Review, American Reader, Brooklyn Rail, Hobart, Indiana Review, Literarian, Nerve, New York Tyrant and Norton Anthology of International Flash Fiction. He teaches at The New School, Pratt Institute, Columbia University and Pine Manor College. He was co-editor of avant literary magazine Sleepingfish. In 2010 he was awarded a Fellow in Fiction fRom the New York Foundation for the Arts. 



Rebecca Brown (register)

“Write what you know,” is the old cliche. Easier said than done! How do you know what you know, anyway? What if what you know doesn’t fit together right? Or only exists in fragments?  How much research should go into figuring out what you know? Or knew? How many peoples’ stories are you writing even when you’re just writing your own? How much can you make up?

I doubt we’ll answer any of those questions definitely in this l non-fiction writing class, but we will certainly talk about them, and take  guidance from previous writers who have struggled with them before. We will explore different forms of nonfiction writing (personal essay, Japanese and American haibun, collage memoir, lyric essay, prose-poem memoir, etc.), looking at published examples as ways to inspire our own new writing and help us think about nonfiction is and has been. This is not a workshop designed to critique work you may have already before, but a   a class about generating new work. However, it is also designed to give you new ways to approach material you may have written before. We will meet five mornings for two and half hours to read, write and discuss, and you will have afternoons free to write. I’ll provide numerous handout of published examples to read, learn from and be inspired by. We will have in class prompts and “homework” and share our work aloud with one another for specific, rigorous, respectful response. We will write and write and write.

Rebecca Brown’s diverse oeuvre contains collections of essays and short stories, a fictionalized autobiography, a modern bestiary, a memoir in the guise of a medical dictionary, a libretto for a dance opera, a play, and various kinds of fantasy. Brown has been referred to as having “a uniquely recognizable voice, writing as she does in a stark style that combines the minimalism of Ernest Hemingway with some of the incantatory rhythms of Gertrude Stein.” She is based in Seattle and was the first writer in residence at Richard Hugo House and co-founder of the Jack Straw Writers Program. One of her best-known works is perhaps her novel “The Gifts of the Body,” winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Rebecca Brown is also a faculty advisor in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.



Gary Copeland LilleyGary Copeland Lilley (register)
“The Fun and the Grind of Writing (Creating and Putting in the Work)”

This is a generative workshop with a focus on fun with literary techniques, poetic strategies, and critical analysis.  We will use daily prompts and exercises to spark the new poems, and will have the mapping of Orr’s four poetic temperaments: imagination, music, structure, and story to guide further development of the poems. This workshop will open the possibility of sensory images and will take a practical approach to making decisions about details and language to strengthen a poem’s composition and flow. The goal is that you will return home from the workshop with a set of poems and an abundance of ideas for keeping your writing fresh and resonant.

Gary Copeland Lilley is a North Carolina poet living, writing, and teaching in the Pacific Northwest. His publications include four full-length collections, the most recent of which is The Bushman’s Medicine Show, from Lost Horse Press (2017), and three chapbooks of poetry. He is a graduate of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program, and been faculty at Warren Wilson College, the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. and the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and has been a visiting writer at the University of Arizona, Colby College, and the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a Cave Canem Fellow.