The University of Iowa

Writings on Illness and Health: A Multi-Genre Workshop

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020

Whether we are healthcare providers, patients, parents, children, loved ones, or loving ones; elements of illness, loss, birth, and healing underlie our days at each age and stage. In this generative, week-long workshop, we will read and write in short forms with the unifying theme of illness and health. These forms will include short stories, lyric essays, memoir, poems, and creative works that incorporate elements of all of those. Our emphasis will be on a collaborative, inclusive, multi-genre approach, both in the sense of our source readings and as reflective of the multi-dimensional roles in and measures of health and care each of us holds.


This course is appropriate for writers from beginning to advanced. In our week together, we will read, we will discuss the readings, you will write from reading-inspired prompts that I will provide, and we will discuss what we’ve written. While you will be encouraged to try new forms, you will have the option to write in the forms that feel most familiar to you. You will also have the option but not requirement to a) suggest a short reading in any literary genre related to health that we’ll discuss in the course of our time, and b) share something brief that you’ve penned or tapped out on this theme prior to our week together for our workshop discussion.


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

Hybrid Forms
Short Story