Writers: Run Wild with Lisa Kastner and Her Band of Authors

From the desk of Lisa Diane Kastner:

Don’t miss our upcoming 2010 courses from Running Wild Writers.  Pennwriters members receive discounts on classes. Click on the links below for workshop details.

February – April 2010

Fiction Writers Workshop with Lisa Diane Kastner
Thursdays, February 4 – April 10 at 7:00 PM

This ten-week course is designed to allow fiction writers an opportunity to obtain feedback on their prose as well as hone their own reviewer skills. Attendees will be given two opportunities to submit up to 5,000 words of writing to be reviewed by the group. The instructor will provide personalized feedback for each participant’s submission.

Course Requirements:
Participants must submit at least one piece of up to 5,000 words within the ten week timeframe. Participants are expected to actively participate in discussing the pieces submitted in the framing of craft. The instructor will provide a basic guide to assist participants in assessing the pieces submitted for craft elements.

Interested? Click here –> http://shop.runningwildwriters.org/product.sc?productId=5&categoryId=1
Pennwriters Member? Click here –> http://shop.runningwildwriters.org/product.sc?productId=2&categoryId=1

March 2010

Telling Tales: Elements of the Short Story with Mecca Jamilah Sullivan
Tuesdays, March 2 – March 30 at 7:00 PM

This five-week course will allow beginning, intermediate, and advanced writers to explore the genre of the short story, providing participants with the tools to create engaging, original worlds in short fiction. Focusing on several key aspects of fiction (character, setting, voice/point-of-view, structure, and plot), the course will help students craft their own stories, respond to one-another’s stories, and identify strengths and techniques in the works of established writers they admire.

Course Requirements:
Each writer will submit one short story of 5-10 pages to be read and discussed by all workshop participants. Writers will also submit a one-page response to every story submitted, discussing the author’s use of key craft elements. Each writer will act as discussant for one story, sharing their perspective on that story and opening conversation among the rest of the workshop participants. If scheduling permits, we’ll have a closing reading and reception, where we’ll share our work with each other, as well as with invited guests.

Interested? Click here –> http://shop.runningwildwriters.org/product.sc?productId=6&categoryId=1
Pennwriters Member? Click here –> http://shop.runningwildwriters.org/product.sc?productId=7&categoryId=1

Writing The Epic Quest with Jack Hillman
Saturday, March 20 beginning at 1 PM.
With so much of the focus in writing today on character based stories, what could be more timely than a discussion of the art form that transforms some mild mannered individual into a something totally outside their nature, and not always to the good.  Epic quests are not limited to fantasy and science fiction, but have been part of literature since writing was invented.  All genre’s have their favorite epic quest: the romance of Gone With The Wind, the tragedy of Moby Dick, the excitement of the chase in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the dark power of The Maltese Falcon.  All really good novels have a part of the epic quest in their making.  We will discuss the breakdown of the various characters that make up the quest- the fellowship- and how each one may play many, and often conflicting, parts as the story unfolds.  We will also discuss how the protagonist (not necessarily a hero) is becoming more prevalent in today’s literature and how this affects the tone of the quest.

Along with the standard writer’s pen and paper, it is suggested that you come prepared with at least a general idea outline for your story, including the genre, the setting, and at least some of the main characters of your story.

Interested? Click here –> http://shop.runningwildwriters.org/product.sc?productId=10&categoryId=1
Pennwriters Member? Click here –> http://shop.runningwildwriters.org/product.sc?productId=11&categoryId=1

What’s a Pennwriter?  Click here –> www.pennwriters.com
Want to learn how to Run Wild?  Click here –> www.runningwildwriters.org

Instructor Biographies

Jack Hillman
A lifelong Pennsylvania resident, Jack began a love of books sitting amid the mystery of hospitals and medical paraphernalia. Mythology of all cultures and a fascination with martial philosophies led to King Arthur, the knights of the round table and an array of science fiction and fantasy authors that had a strong impact on his life. Real life got in the way of a writing career to start, but thirty years in the life and medical insurance field led Jack to a job as a stringer for local newspapers and writing for medical and insurance journals. In addition to years in the insurance field Jack also has fifteen years experience as a journalist and freelance writer, and has even won a Keystone Press Award (1998) for his journalistic efforts.

Jack has written on a wide variety of subjects and keeps his hand in medical and insurance matters on a daily basis. In addition to newspaper reporting and magazine articles, Jack has written articles for a variety websites–some under his own name and some as a behind-the-scenes contributor. Jack’s first short fiction piece, a novella, was serialized in an old BBS site in 1992, with the first hard copy magazine story arriving in 1993. Four dinner theater plays written by Jack have been produced and performed for local theater in Eastern Pennsylvania.

His novels are now coming to light with the release of There Are Giants In This Valley published by Archebooks Publishing. With experience as a journalist, short story writer, playwright and novelist, Jack often speaks at writer’s conferences, to writer’s groups and to school gatherings. If you are looking for a speaker on esoteric subjects, Jack probably has something tucked away in a folder for the occasion.

Lisa Diane Kastner

Lisa Diane Kastner, fiction writer, creative non-fiction explorer, and former journalist writes fiction from Philadelphia and draws inspiration from her experiences. Kastner promises that her flaming red head tendencies will neither detract nor overly add to the commentary. If anything, it will bring a bit of flavor, like cinnamon.

A former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theatre Review and Features Editor for the Picolata Review, Kastner currently writes freelance and by invitation in literature and the arts. Her literary interviews include Charles Baxter (Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature 1997) and Lee Martin (Pulitzer Prize Nominee 2006).

Her short stories have been appeared in magazines and journals.  In 2007 Lisa was featured among up-and-coming Philadelphia writers in Fresh Lines @ Fresh Nine, a public reading hosted by Gross McCleaf Art Gallery.

She is an alumna of The Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Squaw Valley Writers Workshop, Kenyon Writers Workshop, University of Pennsylvania’s Conference for Writers, Chautauqua Institute, and the Rittenhouse Writers Group (RWG).  She is the Founder of Running Wild Writers Community, LLC and President of Pennwriters, Inc. (www.pennwriters.com) , a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to assisting the novice to the award winning and multipublished writers to learn and succeed in the craft. She is the founder of the Pennwriters King of Prussia and Philadelphia Critique Groups, and can be found throughout the region leading workshops on business communications, and occasionally performing on the local stage or such theater companies as CelebrationTheater.

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan
Mecca Jamilah Sullivan is a writer from Harlem, New York. Her fiction has appeared and is forthcoming in a number of journals and anthologies, including Best New Writing 2010, Crab Orchard Review, Bloom, Lumina, Philadelphia Stories, What I Know is Me (Harlem Moon/Doubleday), Baby Remember My Name (Carroll & Graf), X-24 Unclassified (UK, Lubin & Kleyner), Amistad (Howard University), Woman’s Work (Girlchild Press), Black Ivy (Yale University), Roots and Culture (Columbia University), In/Vision (Temple University), Homeboy Review, and Baobab South African Journal of New Writing.

She has also published nonfiction pieces and critical reviews in American Visions and GLQ. A 2006 Best New American Voices nominee, Mecca has several received honors and awards for her fiction, including Crab Orchard Review’s 2008 Charles Johnson Student Fiction Award for her short story, “A Strange People,” the Future Faculty Fellowship in Fiction and the 2005 William Gunn Fiction Award from Temple University, as well as a noted writer distinction from the Boston Fiction Festival for her fiction excerpt “She Woke Up With the Words in Her Mouth” (later re-titled “Saturday”).

Most recently, her short story, “Wolfpack,” was shortlisted for the 2009 Eric Hoffer Award from Best New Writing. Her short fiction collection manuscript, Blue Talk and Love, was named a finalist for the 2009 Sol Books Prose Series award. Mecca’s one-act plays have been staged at the Hallie Flannegan Theatre and Theatre 14 at Smith College in Northampton, MA., and at the New World Theatre in Amherst, MA, where her play “Peel Away” won the 2001 James Baldwin Memorial Playwriting Award. In 1999 she won the National Gold Medal in Playwriting in the NAACP ACT-SO competition for her play “Lovely Day,” and in 2002 she was awarded a Smith College Praxis Grant to stage her longer one-act, “Love Coming Soon” at the Harlem Theatre Company in New York City.

Most recently, her first full-length play, “Two Rings,” which explores the intersections of race, sexuality, spirituality, and class on contemporary relationships and imaginations, was named a finalist for the 2009 Downtown Urban Theatre Festival in New York City.

Winner of Temple University’s 2005 “Rookie of the Year” award for Critical Writing instruction, as well as Temple’s 2006 Certificate of Merit in Teaching, Mecca has designed and led courses in Critical Writing, Fiction Writing, and Poetry Writing at Temple University, the Community College of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, and TreeHouse Books in North Philadelphia. Focusing on the inter-genre and interdisciplinary aspects of writing, her writing courses encourage students of all ages to consider the connections between reading and writing of various kinds.

Mecca has been invited to read with and participate in several writing communities, including the Bread Loaf Summer Writers Conference, the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania, the Key West Literary Seminars, the Pan-African Literary Forum in Ghana, and the New York State Summer Writers Institute, where she received a 2005 Smith-Shonubi Scholarship in fiction.

She holds a B.A. in Afro-American Studies from Smith College and an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Temple University. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where her dissertation research focuses on the connections between identity and literary form in black women’s fiction, poetry, drama and film.

She is also completing edits on her first novel, tentatively titled She Woke Up With the Words in Her Mouth. Set largely in Harlem in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the novel explores the relationships between race, class, body image, and love in contemporary American families.


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