University of Iowa

Mieke Eerkens

Mieke Eerkens is a Dutch-American writer who grew up between Los Angeles and The Netherlands. She earned a B.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, an M.A. in English from the University of Leiden in The Netherlands, and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. She has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Magid Center Undergraduate Writing Program and currently teaches creative writing for UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program in Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Rumpus, Los Angeles Review of Books, Pen America, Pank, Guernica, and Creative Nonfiction, among others. Her work has further been anthologized in Best Travel Writing 2011; Norton’s Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, “Found” Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts; and A Book of Uncommon Prayer, selected as a “notable essay” in Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015, and has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. All Ships Follow Me, a book about her parents’ experiences in WWII and the inheritance of war trauma, is forthcoming from Picador.

Instructor Events

You want to write. But you sit at your desk, and nothing comes. All of us need a little push now and then to get the creative juices flowing. This course will give you that push in a fun, low-pressure atmosphere. In each session, we will discuss short examples of published work to inspire us, followed by one or more specific writing prompts we’ll respond to in class. The emphasis will be on really letting go and releasing our creativity to get the words on the page.

Writing a book is a lot of work. Often, after investing years on a project, writers fail to find a publisher for their finished work. Others struggle to find their way to the page as they juggle day jobs and writing time. What if you could sell your idea for a book long before you’ve finished writing it, secure in the knowledge that it will be published? What if you received an advance for your idea that helped buy you the time you need to write? This happens all the time in the publishing world, when books are sold on proposal.

This fun weekend promises to stock you with enough fresh material for ten essays, stories, or even a book, to flesh out after our time together in Iowa City. In an invigorating, supportive, no-pressure environment, we’ll use tested and effective writing prompts to get some beginnings down on paper. We’ll have time to discuss and share our writing at the end of class each day and get feedback on how to proceed with the work we’ve started. You’ll also receive a list of prompts to help you generate new writing when you return home. Ten prompts.