If you were at the Port Townsend Writers' Conference in 2008, you remember the scene: lively workshops, great conversations, the vibrant readings and lectures series, the central gathering places–the bookstore, the lounges, the wide open lawns, the bluff at sunset.
And it's all happening again in 2009, with more readings, craft lectures, and afternoon workshops than ever before–and it's happening three times.
It all starts May 7-10, with a new offering that we're rolling out. Called "The Literature of Witness," it's a two-track workshop–one in poetry, and one in fiction–that focuses on how to write about devastating experiences–both global and personal.
Throughout history, it has been writers who have borne witness and testimony to global and personal upheaval—from transmigration, armed conflict, racial conflict, and environmental degradation to personal experiences of maltreatment and exploitation.
The poetry track will be guided by Carolyn Forché; novelist Micheline Aharonian Marcom will lead the fiction side. These workshops will serve to help participants develop skills in writing about things that you have witnessed or experienced–how to go to difficult places, and, through depth of craft, how to shape and convey that experience.
Marcom grew up in Los Angeles and Beirut, before the Lebanese Civil War. Her first novel, “Three Apples Fell From Heaven,” (2001), praised for both its beautiful prose and the candor with which it depicted the horrors of the 1915-17 Armenian genocide, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. She has since published three other novels: "The Daydreaming Boy," "Draining the Sea," and "The Mirror in the Well."
Register for all 2009 workshops online, or call the Centrum registrar at 360.385.3102, x114.