The University of Iowa

Writing the Places of the Heart

Weekend June 27 to June 28 2020

A green meadow bursting with fragrance, the electricity of a crowded sidewalk, a somber room weighed down by old furniture: when we craft a setting, we create a place that both reflects and shapes our characters’ lives. Setting is rooted in point of view, but how do we use the power of setting to write about the places most close to our hearts? The secrecy and imagination of a child exploring a creek, the haunting sunlight that enters an ex-lover’s bedroom, the soaring vista where we stand on a precipice and feel both joyous and afraid: to write about the places of the heart is to honor them and ourselves, our vitality and our vulnerability. In the places of the heart, setting is more than simple description or a container for action. It is where we encounter ourselves and discover what matters most. In this workshop, we will read examples of settings that glow with intimate meaning, and then we will write our own. This workshop is open to all writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.


In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; provide feedback on writing you produce in our weekend.

Short Story
Young Adult