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On various Saturdays and some weeknights, Queens writers will study and practice craft with some of the best writers from our area. These classes focus on a particular theme, craft technique, or element of poetry, memoir, essay, or fiction writing and include reading, discussion, and lots of writing time. These classes are not critique groups and no one will tell anyone what they were doing wrong with their writing—these classes are a chance to be inspired, to meet fellow writers, and to write, write, write. They are free and open to everyone, no matter their experience with writing or number of publications.

Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, in-person Newtown Literary classes are postponed until further notice. We do have instructors and classes on deck through the end of the year which will likely all take place online. 


Click through our free writing class offerings below to RSVP and receive instructions on how to join. Stay safe and WRITE ON!

Unleashing the Details! A Prose Writing Class

July 11, 2020

2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

How can you bring your story to life? How do you excavate details that will make your story fly, swoop, and hover? How can you weave in sensory details that will allow the reader to see what you see, feel what you feel? In this writing workshop, you will draw upon your own experiences, summon memory lists, examine pictures and excerpts, so you can give your story the life it deserves.

Instructor: Catherine Kapphahn’s Immigrant Daughter: Stories You Never Told Me received The Center for Fiction’s Christopher Doheny Award. It was also shortlisted for a Del Sol Press Prize. She has received artist grants from the Queens Council on the Arts. Her writing has appeared in Astoria Magazine, the Feminist Press Anthology This is the Way We Say Goodbye, CURE Magazine, and SalonZine. She earned an MFA in writing from Columbia University and BA from Hunter College. Catherine is an adjunct lecturer at City University of New York at Lehman College in the Bronx, where her students’ brave stories continue to inspire her.  She grew up in near the mountains in Colorado and now lives between two bridges in Queens, New York with her husband and two sons.

Missives: A Poetry Craft Class

August 08, 2020

2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Poems can be written, and read, as letters. The epistolary form is one way to put it, yes, but the sound of the term "missives" holds and delivers a certain longing to the ear. Something is unresolved that needs our attention. There is the hope of a response, but no guarantees. We'll read letter-poems while employing the letter form as a lens for reading work that is both urgent and thrilling in its plea for a reply. We’ll read work by Emily Dickinson, Lucille Clifton, and Rhina P. Espaillat and then dive into some writing exercises. Expect to leave with a prompt: a letter, unwritten.

Instructor: Safia Jama was born to a Somali father and an Irish American mother in Queens. A Cave Canem graduate fellow, she has published poetry in Ploughshares, RHINO, Cagibi, Boston Review, Spoken Black Girl, and No Dear. Her poetry has also been featured on WNYC’s Morning Edition and CUNY TV’s Shades of US series. Jama was a semifinalist in the Pleiades Press Editors Prize for Poetry and she is the author of Notes on Resilience included in the New-Generation African Poets chapbook box set, an African Poetry Book Fund project, edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani, released through Akashic Books (2020).

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Newtown Literary is committed to providing accessibility for people with various dis/abilities. Please email us at least two weeks before an event if you have any accommodation requirements.

Community Partnerships

These classes brought to you in partnership with Queens Library and is made possible, in part, with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 

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© 2019 by Newtown Literary Alliance, Inc.