Stephanie Dowrick and The Writers’ Workshop

From 28 April to 21 June, Dr Stephanie Dowrick will, for the first time, be teaching for the prestigious Faber Academy at their Sydney base. Here is an article prepared by the Faber Academy about Stephanie Dowrick’s exciting and welcoming new course, The Writers’ Workshop.

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Writing is well known as one of the most satisfying means of self-expression, but Stephanie Dowrick, one of Australia’s most successful writers, says it can also bring a greater sense of liveliness, confidence and well-being to the whole of a writer’s life. And this in turn, she says, “will bring an immediate improvement to whatever each writer hopes to create and achieve”.

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In a groundbreaking new course, The Writers’ Workshop, best-selling writer Dr Stephanie Dowrick will focus as much on each individual writer as on their writing. Craft (content, clarity, the realization of intention) will be front of stage throughout, but so will those vital attitudes to writing that can make or break a writing commitment. They will include the way that the writers think about and encourage themselves, how they learn to value one another’s work, how they revise and progress their own work, cope with setbacks, and come to understand what best motivates and sustains them.

Dr Peggy Marks Wahlhaus is a successful poet and a retired academic and speech therapist. She has participated in two of Stephanie Dowrick’s residential writing retreats in Japan and says, “Stephanie Dowrick doesn’t just teach us writing. She teaches us to be writers.”

Even the most experienced writers must learn to bear some degree of disappointment or rejection. With that in mind, Stephanie Dowrick particularly emphasises the intrinsic rewards of writing: self-discovery, increased depth of appreciation, deep seeing, greater fluency, boldness and confidence. These principles apply whether the writer’s chosen form is fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction. “Through discussion, exercises and teaching,” says Stephanie Dowrick, “each participant will discover how to be the best writer they can be at this time, how to get more pleasure from their writing, and how to commit to it more effectively alongside their other very real personal and professional demands.”

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The Writers’ Workshop will be taught in seven three-hour evening sessions, plus a concluding whole-day workshop. On each of the Monday meetings, Stephanie Dowrick will offer a mix of teaching on the evening’s topic along with discussion, exercises, and a rotating focus on participants’ work, always involving the whole group in how to listen with interest and generosity, as well as how to meet craft and content challenges, self-edit and re-write. Vital questions of craft will be explored, while also investigating and growing participants’ ideas about what they can discover and achieve through their writing. The concluding full-day Saturday workshop will support the writers to sustain the skills and commitment they’ve developed while on the course.

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Writers of non-fiction, fiction and poets will be accepted for The Writers’ Workshop. The course is suitable for published writers seeking a high level of encouragement and insight, as well as those with some writing experience who are keen to discover a greater depth and fluency in their writing life.

The course runs from 28 April to 21 June 2014. Numbers are strictly limited to allow maximum time for each participant.

Faber Academy courses are offered at the offices of twelve-times publisher of the year, Allen & Unwin, at their Crows Nest building in Sydney. To book for The Writers’ Workshop, please go to www.allenandunwin.com/faberacademy or email faberacademy@allenandunwin.com

About Stephanie Dowrick, PhD

Dr Stephanie Dowrick has written 14 widely praised, commercially successful books for adults, both fiction and non-fiction. Five have been No.1 bestsellers. Her most influential books include Intimacy and Solitude, Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love, Choosing Happiness, The Universal Heart and Seeking the Sacred, as well as her earliest novel, Running Backwards Over Sand. Her doctoral research was on the visionary poet, Rainer Maria Rilke (about whom she wrote In the Company of Rilke); she is also the author of the immensely practical and popular Creative Journal Writing. Her most recent book is Heaven on Earth. She has also written for children, most recently The Moon Shines Out of the Dark. Stephanie Dowrick is published in Australia by Allen & Unwin and in the United States by Tarcher/Penguin.

Stephanie Dowrick came to writing after a celebrated publishing career, including founding the prestigious independent London publishing house, The Women’s Press. She has worked closely with many significant writers including Alice Walker, Janet Frame and Gillian Mears. She was Allen & Unwin’s Fiction Publisher in the early 1990s, was the “Inner Life” columnist for the Good Weekend from 2001-2010, and continues to contribute to all our major media outlets, plus creating a strong presence on social media.  A trained psychotherapist and vastly experienced workshop leader, Stephanie Dowrick has taught writing in a number of settings for many years. She brings to her teaching an inclusive, highly responsive and undogmatic style and regards writing as “a privileged voyage of discovery” for every genuinely committed writer.

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