University of Iowa

Skill Levels/Choosing a Workshop

Most workshops in the Festival are designed to be appropriate for writers across a range of skill levels and literary practice. They vary, though, in terms of locus in the writing process. When choosing a workshop, resist the temptation to place yourself as a writer. Rather, place the work you want to focus on in your time here.


If you’re dealing with issues that arise in later drafts, you might look at workshops that explore aspects of revision or structure, or workshops with an emphasis on providing feedback on pages participants bring from home. If you’re starting a new project, or your project has stalled out, or you’re returning to the page after a long silence, or you’re crossing genres, a course that is devoted to generating new work through guided exercises and assignments (with perhaps light discussion of the new writing you generate) could give you a jumpstart.


If you find choosing among so many workshops dizzying, you might ask yourself:


“What do I want to accomplish in my week/weekend in Iowa City? What do I want to carry home and into my writing next year?”


Your answer is the most accurate map to the workshop that’s best for you. If you get lost in the weeds, call the Festival office at 319-335-4160, and we’ll help you clear a path.


You will help us guide you by studying the descriptions and narrowing your selections before we speak.