University of Iowa

Venise Berry

Venise Berry (M.A., The University of Iowa; Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin) is the author of three national bestselling novels: So Good, An African American Love Story; All of Me, A Voluptuous Tale; and Colored Sugar Water. A book of essays, Driven: love, career and the pursuit of happiness, is currently with her agent. Berry’s co-edited anthology, Black Culture & Experience: Contemporary Issues, was published by Peter Lang. She is also the co-author of two nonfiction books on film, The Historical Dictionary of African American Cinema (Scarecrow Press) and The 50 Most Influential Black Films (Citadel). Another co-edited anthology, Mediated Messages and African-American Culture: Contemporary Issues, won the Meyers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America in 1997. Berry is the recipient of the Creative Contribution to Literature Award from the Zora Neale Hurston Society and the Honor Book Award (for All of Me) from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Additional work, including short stories, journal articles, and book chapters appears in a range of creative and academic publications. Berry’s research focuses on media, African Americans, and popular culture. She is an associate professor of Journalism and African American Studies at The University of Iowa.

Instructor Events

How do you create a strong and exciting plot in your novel? How do you connect the plot with various subplots? How do you place plot points effectively throughout your story? This workshop will help you develop or strengthen your novel’s main plot. It will also help you better understand the use of subplots and the purpose of plot points. To write a great novel it is crucial to recognize how the plot, subplots and plot points create the main sequence of events and determine the best way to use them to move your story from beginning to end.

This workshop offers you an opportunity to expand your knowledge of scene writing and enhance your ability to write more compelling scenes. Through a variety of exercises, we will explore how to use elements like color, tradition, food, music, seasons, environment, horoscopes, and more to create powerful and memorable scenes. Each day, participants will complete various scene exercises outside of class and share this new writing in workshop with the group.

Weekend July 21 to July 22 2018

A book proposal is your introduction to an agent or editor. It should answer two primary questions: Why will this book be successful? Why are you the best person to write it? This workshop will focus on helping participants begin the process of writing a proposal for various nonfiction genres, such as memoir, history, essays, autobiography, anthology, resource, self-help, how-to, humor, and more. Aspects of the proposal we will discuss and develop in our time together include: the title, hook, market, promotion, author bio, and outline.