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Adult Workshops

Austin Bat Cave offers adult writing classes for writers of all skill levels. Because we want our programming to be accessible to writers of all backgrounds and income-levels, we are pleased to offer participants support through scholarships and payment plans. Apply for a scholarship here. For more information on payment plans, please email emily@austinbatcave.org. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, all classes meet virtually. Class times are listed in Central Time (CT). 

Please note: The fees from ABC’s adult writing workshops subsidize our free writing programs for kids and pay our adult workshop instructors. A major factor in determining tuition rates is the instructor’s time and preparation outside of the classroom. Classes that provide students with highly-personalized feedback, such as long-term workshops, will generally be priced higher than courses that meet only once. If you have the means, we encourage you to consider donating to Austin Bat Cave and help arts education and literacy continue to thrive during these challenging times.

All classes are non-refundable but are transferrable to another person or to another class of equal or lesser value.

2020 Instructors include Kristen Arnett, Manuel Gonzales, Rion Amilcar Scott, Rachel Heng, Jenny Tinghui Zhang, Roohi Choudhry and more. Select recordings from our Spectacular Summer Seminar Festival are available for purchase here

Fall 2020 Classes 

Politics, Desire, & the Politics of Desire with Michael Chang

Tuition: $395.00

Online Open Genre Workshop 

Time & Date:
Wednesdays, 6:00pm — 9:00pm
September 16th — October 21st

Register here!

Is all poetry (writing) political? How, then, do politics shape desire and the poetic self? As James Baldwin wrote: “My memory stammers, but my soul is a witness.” We live in a clarifying time. Falsehoods, deceptions, and longstanding abuses have been (and continue to be) exposed.

Despite these weighty topics, this generative workshop is upbeat, low-pressure, and for all-comers (meaning writers of all skill levels and backgrounds). We will consider aspects of diaspora dislocation, estranging inheritance, the decentering of self, distance, rupture, and restlessness. We will study how political systems routinely fail those they purportedly serve. We will interrogate desire, longing, sex, shame, and everything in between. We will study how to write about sex and shame in fresh, compelling ways. We will investigate the love and romance between partners, families, friends, neighbors, and others as well as unabashed self-love.

As Littlefinger said: “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” Together we will create poems that make literary magic, poems where readers discover jouissance and hidden vulnerabilities juxtaposed with unapologetic declarations. We will leverage experimentation and chaos to create hybrid poems that challenge conventions. Drawing from graphic and other design practices, we will study how form and structure can highlight, impact, and amplify content. The binary-slaying, submission-ready poems we create will defy genres and boast distinctive visual elements. We will introduce new resources and reference materials, offer fresh insights, and study curated readings that guarantee novel perspectives. The goal is for participants to come out with meaningful feedback and at least 3 submission-ready poems. Instructor will cultivate a generous and supportive environment for all-comers, including one-on-one feedback sessions (time permitting) and/or written feedback. This workshop’s clear bias is creation: we will generate work through in-class sprints, prompts, and exercises. Participants leave with new tools for honing their creative practice as well as a fuller appreciation for the sheer breadth of creative writing today.

About the Instructor:

A Lambda Literary fellow, MICHAEL CHANG (they/them) was awarded the Kundiman Scholarship at the Miami Writers Institute in addition to fellowships from Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Brooklyn Poets, & the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Their writing has appeared in the Cincinnati Review, Summerset Review, Vassar Review, Minnesota Review, Santa Clara Review, Ninth Letter, Hobart, Harpur Palate, Poet Lore, The Nervous Breakdown, & more. A finalist in contests at BOMB, NightBlock, & many others, their poems have been nominated for Best of the Net. Their collection <golden fleece> was a finalist for the Iowa Review Award in Poetry.

Poet Study with Susan Niz

Tuition: $350.00

Online Poetry Workshop 

Time & Date:
Thursdays, 6:00pm — 8:00pm
September 24th — October 29th

Register here!

Develop your voice and style through Poet Study

Just as visual artists sit in a museum and sketch, imitating the line, color, form, or mood of a Van Gogh, so too can student poets emulate the work of master poets, one element at a time. In this class for all levels, we will look at the voice of one poet each week, reading closely and noticing their craft. Then, brainstorming many options for jumping-off points, we will draft new poems emulating one small spark (or big spark!) from their work. As we move week to week, your ears will become tuned to what poets accomplish in their work, as well as develop your own unique poetic voice. You will come away with an introduction to many new poets, an increased understanding of craft, and many new drafts.

About the Instructor:

Susan Niz’s first poetry chapbook is Beyond this Amniotic Dream (Beard Poetry, Minneapolis, 2016). Her second chapbook is Left-Handed Like a Lightning Whelk (Finishing Line Press, November 2019). Her chapbook Limestone in the Belly was a semi-finalist in the 2020 CutBank Chapbook Contest. Her short work has appeared in Wanderlust Journal, The Write Launch, Ponder Review, Chaleur Magazine, Typishly, Tipton Poetry Journal, Carnival Literary Magazine, Crack the Spine, Blue Bonnet Review, Two Words For, Belleville Park Pages, Ginosko, Cezanne’s Carrot, Flashquake, Opium Magazine, and Summerset Review. She has been featured in live poetry shows in Minneapolis and Austin. Susan writes across genres. Her novel Kara, Lost (North Star Press, 2011) was a finalist for a Midwest Book Award (MIPA) for Literary Fiction. Susan has a Master’s Degree in Education. She lives in the Austin, Texas area with her family.

Upside Down: Writing the Familiar into Strange with Roohi Choudhry

Tuition: $395.00

Online Open Genre Workshop 

Time & Date:
Tuesdays, 6:00pm — 8:30pm
October 13th — November 17th

Register here!

If you’re feeling sapped of creativity and craving escape from the mundane, inspiration is right in front of you. This is a generative writing class about unearthing strange stories inside familiar rooms. We’re accustomed to searching for ideas in the outside world — sketching from nature or capturing family drama or scribbling down overheard conversations on the street. In this class, we turn inward. We’ll mine the drips and drabs from everyday objects and incorporate magic, fantasy and horror to turn the banal into the babadook. Using discussions, readings, prompts and games, we’ll spot the spooky stories hiding within familiar rooms, books, songs and memories.

The one-day Writing the Familiar into Strange session will focus on fresh insight into the mundane through prompts and discussion. This six-week workshop will be a deeper dive, including weekly readings from fantasy and speculative genres and discussions about how to use these genres to inject weirdness into ideas of plot, description, character, and setting. The six-week class will also include an optional take-home prompt each week to practice further as well as the opportunity for a short one-on-one “office hours” session with Roohi at the end of the class. You’ll come away with favorite writers to read, craft questions to ponder and best of all: a notebook stuffed with story beginnings.

This is a class for anyone who wants to jumpstart their writing, from absolute beginners to seasoned writers who might be stuck for ideas.

About the Instructor:

Roohi Choudhry was born in Pakistan and grew up in southern Africa and the middle east. As a creative writer who worked for a decade in data analysis and social research, she is passionate about helping people use structure and systems alongside creative intuition. Awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in 2015, her writing has appeared in Ploughshares, Callaloo, Longreads and the Kenyon Review, among others. She holds degrees in Economics and marketing research as well as an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan. She now teaches fiction, memoir and creative writing in New York City and online. Find out more at brooklynstani.com.

Who Mothers the Writer? Reconnecting with the Craft in Trying Times with Szilvia Molnar

Tuition: $300.00

Online Open Genre Workshop 

Time & Date:
Sundays, 4:00pm — 6:30pm
October 18th — November 22nd

Register here!

“So, who mothers the mothers / who tend the hallways of mothers / the spill of mothers / the smell of mothers / who mend the eyes of mothers / the lies of mothers scared / to turn on lights in basements…” (from Chorus by Catherine Barnett)

The pandemic has brought additional strain and stress to our everyday lives making it extremely challenging to sit down and write. But we know that writing is all we would like to do. So, how do we nurture our writing during trying times? Where do we find time, energy, or even just the desire to write when so many other obligations stand in our way? And how do we connect with other writers who are also caregivers during this isolating time?

This six-week workshop will give creative parents who have been having a difficult time nurturing their own writing the freedom to fully and simply play (i.e write).

We will engage in several exercises that can reignite our need and desire to write. We will discuss structure, accountability, community and what resources that may need to be in place in order to get started. The group will also explore how nostalgia, repetition and collection can be valuable tools to get us writing again. For further inspiration, we’ll read and discuss short excerpts from works by Sophie Calle, Rachel Cusk, Camille T. Dungy, Marie Darrieussecq, Lucy Ellmann, Bernadine Evaristo, Vivian Gornick, and Hannah Sullivan, who all incorporate motherhood into their work in their own unique ways.

I will provide you with the space to be creative again, support and inspiration, and the opportunity to connect with others in times of isolation.

By the end of the course you will have generated multiple new works that can be expanded into future short stories, novels or prose poetry.

About the Instructor:

Szilvia Molnar is a writer, mother and the foreign rights director at Sterling Lord Literistic, a New York-based literary agency, where she also represents the Kathy Acker Estate. Her writing has been published in Guernica, Lit Hub, Triangle House Review, Two Serious Ladies, The Buenos Aires Review, and Neue Rundschau among others. She is also the author of a chapbook titled Soft Split (published by Future Tense Books) and is currently working on a novel. Originally from Budapest, Hungary, and raised in Sweden, she lives in Austin, Texas, with her family. www.szilviamolnar.com

Making it Happen: A Scriptwriting Workshop with Amy Jordan

Tuition: $325.00

Online Scriptwriting Workshop 

Time & Date:
Thursdays, 7:30pm — 9:30pm
November 5th — December 10th
(no class November 26th)

Register here!

Are you stuck in the idea phase of writing? Do you need that extra push to get your story written? Join Amy Jordan for Making it Happen, a 5-week scriptwriting workshop to help you get your idea out of your head and onto the page. We will work on the structure of your play or movie and break it down into manageable pieces. Then, we’ll get it started!

By the end of this course, you will have your piece outlined, you will have a few scenes written, and you will be ready to finish your story. After the class, a finished scene you wrote will be read by actors in a final recital video.

About the Instructor:

Amy Jordan has been working in live entertainment for over 20 years. From stage manager to performer to producer to instructor, she has worked in all aspects of theater and its production. Amy has been teaching improv and sketch comedy in Austin for the past 10 years. She currently spends her time as a private instructor, public speaker and emcee as well as the producer and host of Yes But Why Podcast. Amy is also Founder and Co-Owner of the HC Universal Network family of podcasts as well as Co-Owner/Head of Booking for HC Productions, a live A/V production and labor company in Austin, TX. When not recording episodes or teaching workshops, she enjoys providing one on one consultations to podcasters as owner and consultant for Podcast Cadet. Connect with Amy via podcastcadet.com and yesbutwhypodcast.com.

more coming soon!

If you are interested in leading a writing workshop for adults, please email emily@austinbatcave.org.

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