University of Iowa

The Workshop Method

Courses in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival are primarily based on the workshop method. Although your workshop leader may include some study of published material, in most cases the main text is your own creative work. Some workshops are devoted to critiquing work you’ve brought from home, some to generating new work through guided exercises and assignments, and some incorporate a combination of both approaches. Please read the descriptions carefully.

The workshop is a dynamic community that reads, and responds to, what’s brought to it. We approach each work-in-progress on its own terms, in a spirit of critical appreciation for that work’s own intentions. We’re on its side. In workshops devoted to critiquing work, your writing will be read and discussed by your fellow writers, giving you the benefit of a careful, supportive readership. You are expected to give the same considered feedback to others on their work.