I’m teaching a free writing workshop in Ferguson, MO on Jan 24.

Everyone has a story they want to tell, whether that’s from fiction or from part of your life.

As I’ve been watching the news roll out from Ferguson and then in waves across the nation, I’ve been struck by how much grass-roots reporting has differed from the mainstream media narrative.

While facts and data are important, we respond most to the anecdote, to the personal story. This is why, anytime someone says, “But it’s just fiction” I want to laugh and laugh at their naive little brains. Stories are what shape the world.

For some people, getting a story out is more difficult than for others. This isn’t about talent, it’s often about opportunities and privilege. Because of the intersection of class and race in the United States, many of the people whose stories are the ones we most need to hear, are also not in a position where they can afford the time and money to take a writing class. So, I’m partnering with the Ferguson Municipal Public Library to offer a free writing workshop.

When: Saturday, January 24th 12:00-4:00pm CST
Where: Ferguson Municipal Public Library
35 N Florissant Rd
Ferguson, MO 63135
What: In this 4 hour workshop, I’ll use a combination of lecture and in class exercises to walk you through how to write short stories. The session will cover economical prose, effective use of point-of-view and how plot works in short form.

Class requirements

An interest in writing and a willingness to learn are all you need to participate in this class. Bring your preferred writing tools, whether that’s a laptop computer, notepad and pen, or a typewriter. If you don’t have anything handy, paper and pens will be available.


Why do I need to register if it’s free?

It tells us how many chairs to set up. But if you don’t know until the last minute, that’s okay.

We can do fiction or non-fiction stories? Really?

Yes, with one caveat.  This workshop is focused on stories, not journalism or articles. So if you want to tell a story that is based on real life, (narrative non-fiction) the tools are the same as those for things that are made up.

Can people who aren’t from Ferguson come?

Yes, of course. While this was created for the community, the people of Ferguson are not the only ones who have stories to tell.


Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of The Glamourist Histories series of fantasy novels. She has received the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, three Hugo awards, and the RT Reviews award for Best Fantasy Novel. Her work has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. Her stories appear in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, and several Year’s Best anthologies. Mary, a professional puppeteer, also performs as a voice actor, recording fiction for authors such as Seanan McGuire, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi. She lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. Visit maryrobinettekowal.com

Register via the page for Short Stories Explained on Eventbrite.

Did you know you can support Mary Robinette on Patreon!

7 thoughts on “I’m teaching a free writing workshop in Ferguson, MO on Jan 24.”

  1. Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin)

    I wish I could attend. I applaud you for doing this,to help others tell their stories.

  2. I just made a donation to Ferguson Library- the workshop may be free, but someone has to buy the coffeee!

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