Room for all writers. 

Cooper Street is for everyone, whether you’re just beginning to explore a genre or have been writing for years. Our workshops are taught by published and award-winning authors, seasoned teachers, and professional editors. Our instructors strive to create a comfortable, encouraging, and supportive classroom environment where writers of all backgrounds and skill-levels can improve their craft and share their work with others.

Making even more room.

The Writers House is pleased to announce that beginning Spring 2017, all Cooper Street workshops that enroll at least five paying participants will automatically award five scholarships to participants residing in the city of Camden. Please contact Leah Falk for information. 

Spring 2017 Workshops 

Turning Life into Fiction

Instructor: Cherita Harrell 
Three Tuesday sessions: February 21, 28, and March 7
6:30-8:30 pm 

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All stories, in some way, originate from real life. But how does a writer determine if these experiences are appropriate for fiction writing? How can a writer use details from his or her life to shape creative ideas?

In this workshop, we’ll explore how fact informs fiction, and discuss how to blur the lines between the real and the imagined. We’ll read published work, take a closer look at how an author uses story, character, structure, and style, and experiment with our own stories. Participants will complete in-class writing exercises and develop a short story for review.

Chercherita-harrell-picita Harrell is a Rutgers-Camden MFA alumna. She was the recipient of the Rowan University Excellence in Writing Arts award in 2013, and she is a VONA/Voices Fellow. She has worked as a fiction editor for Glassworks literary magazine and Cooper Street and currently teaches composition at Rutgers-Camden. Her fiction has appeared in Decades Review, Minetta Review, and The Bleeding Lion, and she is currently working on her first novel. 

Giving Context to the Personal: Weaving Research into Your Memoir

Instructor: Micaiah Johnson 
Six Thursday sessions: February 2-March 9, 6:30-8:30 pm 

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micaiah-picWhat is Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis without the Iranian Revolution? Or Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me without the larger cultural conversation surrounding gender? How would Angela’s Ashes have begun if Frank McCourt had not sought information about his parents’ early life? Whether it’s clarifying events that happened in your lifetime or corroborating family stories from generations past, seeking information beyond your own memory can be essential to memoir writing. Incorporating details about time, place, and surrounding events can provide context essential to recreating the world as you remember it. But how best to mine for this information? And once that’s done, how do you select facts that enhance the work without needlessly complicating it? This class will focus on those issues by closely studying examples of writers who have successfully married research and memoir. Additionally, we will use a workshop and revision method to help you incorporate these informative details into your work in a way that is neither clunky nor disruptive. 

From Panel to Production: An Intro to Comic Creation  

Instructors: Pete Gambino and Leah Mena 
Saturday, March 25, 10 am-4 pm 

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This one day workshop is intended for beginners and will instruct students on the essentials of creating their own comics. Topics will include narrative structure, story script, storyboarding, page layout and presentation, as well as materials, character designs, backgrounds, and production. Time will be provided for students to produce original comics that will be  presented to the class as a culminating activity. Students should come with paper, pencils, erasers, pens and a ruler. All ages are welcome. No previous workshop experience required.

leah-menaLeah Mena is a senior undergraduate at Rutgers-Camden. After getting her Associate’s degree at Camden County College, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art at Rutgers. Leah has had a passion for drawing and creating graphic novels since she was in third grade, and hopes to make this into a career. Her comic book Luminescent Stranger was self-published and sold at Camden Comic Con 2016. 

peter-gambinoPete Gambino works as a filmmaker, drama teacher, and adjunct. Last May, he won Montclair University’s Best Film and Projection award for segments he directed in Troupe 213’s rendition of The Tempest. In addition to having three of his children’s plays produced, he has two young adult novels seeking publication. Pete lives outside of Philadelphia with four guinea pigs, an impressive Bill Murray DVD collection and an addiction to peanut butter cups.