2018 Workshop Archive

2018 Writing Retreat & Festival

Tuesday June 5th through Thursday, June 7th RETREAT: At Fort Robinson State Park

Friday, June 8th FESTIVAL: At Chadron State College

  • For our most recent RETREAT and Festival (June 2018) check out this public photo album: Story Catcher 2018 Images  (you don’t have to be signed in to Facebook to view them).

Click HERE for FINAL Program (4MB)

Against the breath-taking backdrop of the Northwest Nebraska Pine Ridge Region, we will gather in the historic buildings and scenic spots around Fort Robinson State Park and will lodge in the 1890 Brick Officer Quarters—and conclude with a Festival on the Chadron State College campus, celebrating the work of the participants.

At the Fort Robinson Retreat, our University of Wyoming Writers-In-Residence will lead morning sessions focused on crafting and improving our writing, followed by afternoon sessions designed to give participants a chance to create new work and receive personalized feedback. This inspirational setting fosters a wonderful writing community focused on exploring the wild terrains of our lives.

Jeffrey A. Lockwood — Nonfiction Writer-in-Residence

Jeff Lockwood was hired as an insect ecologist at the University of Wyoming in 1986.  But over the course of 20 years he metamorphosed into a Professor of Natural Sciences & Humanities, with a joint appointment between the Department of Philosophy and in the MFA program in Creative Writing.  He teaches courses in natural resource ethics, environmental justice and the philosophy of ecology, along with creative non-fiction writing workshops.  His essays have been honored with a Pushcart Prize, a John Burroughs Award, the Albert Schweitzer Sermon Award of the UUA, and inclusion in Best American Science & Nature Writing.  His most recent books are Behind the Carbon Curtain: The Energy Industry, Political Censorship, and Free Speech (University of New Mexico Press); The Infested Mind: Why Humans Fear, Loathe and Love Insects (Oxford) and Poisoned Justice (Pen-L; fiction) Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War (Oxford) and Philosophical Foundations for the Practices of Ecology (Cambridge).

Nina S. McConigley — Fiction Writer-in-Residence

Nina McConigley is the author of the story collection Cowboys and East Indians, which was the winner of the 2014 PEN Open Book Award and winner of a High Plains Book Award. It also was on the longlist for the 2014 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. She has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for The Best New American Voices. Her story “Curating Your Life” was a notable story in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010 edited by Dave Eggers. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Orion, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Salon, American Short Fiction, Memorious, Slice Magazine, Asian American Literary Review, Puerto del Sol, and Forklift, Ohio. She was the 2010 recipient of the Wyoming Arts Council’s Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Award and was a finalist for the 2011 Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award. She currently serves on the board of the Wyoming Arts Council. She teaches at the University of Wyoming and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.

H. L. Hix — Poet-in-Residence

L. Hixwas born in Oklahoma and raised in various small towns in the south. After earning his B.A. from Belmont College (now Belmont University) and his Ph.D. (in philosophy) from the University of Texas, Hix taught at the Kansas City Art Institute and was an administrator at the Cleveland Institute of Art, before joining the faculty of the University of Wyoming, where, after a term as director of the creative writing MFA, he now teaches in the Philosophy Department and the Creative Writing Program. His poetry, essays, and other works have been published in McSweeney’sGeorgia ReviewHarvard ReviewBoston ReviewPoetry, and other journals, been recognized with an NEA Fellowship, the Grolier Prize, the T. S. Eliot Prize, and the Peregrine Smith Award, and been translated into Spanish, Russian, Urdu, and other languages. His most recent book is Rain Inscription (2017). Others of his recent poetry collections include American Anger, First Fire, Then Birds: Obsessionals 1985-2010Incident Light, Legible Heavens, and Chromatic(a finalist for the National Book Award).


Story Catcher Festival Faculty

Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center—CSC –Free and Open to the Public

Markus Egeler Jones — Mari Sandoz Featured Writer

Markus Egeler Jones was born in a small town in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. His family traveled back and forth between the hollers of Appalachia and the hills of Southern Germany, so he wouldn’t forget his German grandparents. He moved to Kentucky to earn an M.F.A. at Eastern Kentucky University’s Bluegrass Writers Studio. He continued west one state at a time, teaching, until he landed in the Northwestern corner of Nebraska. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Chadron State College. When not writing or teaching writing he moonlights as a stone mason, or a house husband, or sometimes even, because it makes his wife happy, a bird watcher. The author of numerous published stories, his first novel, How the Butcher Bird Finds Her Voice (Five Oaks) has just been published.

Renee M. Laegreid — Mari Sandoz Featured Writer

Renee Martini Laegreid specializes in the history of the American West, with a focus on gender and culture in the late nineteenth to mid- twentieth century. Her current research projects involve cultural and social analysis of western iconography, examining how symbols of the West have been created and shaped over time, and across international boundaries. She is the author of Women on the North American Plains (2011), co-edited with Sandra Mathews,  Riding Pretty: Rodeo Royalty in the West (2007) and numerous book chapters and essays.

She is Professor of History at the University of Wyoming where she teaches Women and Gender in the American West, as well as the history of the American West in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and between the World Wars (1918-1941).

Jennifer Ippensen — Mari Sandoz Emerging Writer

Jennifer Ippensen is an MFA candidate in creative writing through the University of Nebraska–Omaha and will graduate in August 2018. Her fiction is forthcoming in The Flatwater Rises: An Anthology of Short Fiction by Emerging Nebraska Writers and the Summer 2018 issue of Midwestern Gothic. She facilitated and hosted the 2017-2018 Visiting Writers Series at Shickley High School.

She earned a BA in theatre from Doane College and spent several years performing, stage managing, and directing before completing the transition to teaching program and later earning an MAEd in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in English through the University of Nebraska–Kearney. She has been teaching English/Language Arts classes since 2005 and has served as an adjunct instructor with Northeast Community College and Peru State College.

 


Tuesday, June 5th — WRITER’S RETREAT DAY ONE

Fort Robinson State Park

MORNING SESSION
Buffalo Soldier Barracks Squad Room

  • 9am to 9:30 am Check-In & Continental Breakfast
  • 9:30 to 11:30 AM Poetry Craft Lecture “Shadow Genre”
    • With Poet in Residence H. L. Hix
      • Prose writing is sometimes praised for being “lyrical” or “poetic,” and poetry is often given additional, modifying labels, as for example when we speak of “narrative poetry.”  In this workshop, we’ll entertain one way (I’ll call it “shadow genre”) of thinking about those facts, a way that offers us aid in our writing and revision, whatever genre we’re working in.  We’ll look together at several examples of “shadow genre” at work, and consider ways in which shadow genre might be generative and useful in our own writing practices.

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN
The Fort Robinson Inn/Restaurant in the Main Lodge is open from 6:30 AM to 9pm daily, and starts serving lunch at 10:30 AM. A list of other dining options in nearby Crawford is included in your packet.

AFTERNOON SESSION

  • 1:00 to 3:00: Writing Time (on your own)
    • This time has been set aside for participants to work on their individual writing projects or respond to the prompts from the morning session. Weather permitting: field trips will be available to one of our nature retreats for those interested in an inspirational setting.
  • 3:00 to 5:00: The Story Catcher Workshop (Buffalo Soldier Barracks Squad Room)
    • This time has been set aside for participants to share their work and get feedback from other writers and from our writers in residence.

EVENING SESSION

  • 5:00 to 6:00: Move-in to Officer’s Quarters 19B “Bricks”
  • 6:00 to 8:00 PM Reception and Dinner (BBQ in the Brick’s courtyard)
    • Special Reading by Markus Egeler Jones
      • Markus will read from his novel How the Butcher Bird Finds Her Voice

 


Wednesday, June 6th — WRITER’S RETREAT DAY TWO

Fort Robinson State Park

MORNING SESSION

  • 8 to 9 am Breakfast at the Main Lodge
    • You may make use of the kitchen in our old building, or gather for breakfast at The Fort Robinson Inn/Restaurant in the Main Lodge before our morning session.  (Pay your own way—full breakfasts are from $5 to $8).
  • 9:30 to 11:30 AM Non-Fiction Craft Lecture (“Bricks 19B Main Floor)
    • With Non-Fiction Writer-in-Residence Jeffrey A. Lockwood
      • The workshop will begin with a brief, playful overview of the short form, which manifests in varied and wonderful ways in the genre of non-fiction.  Through a series of prompts and exercises, participants will develop several complete pieces (e.g., a 6-word memoir, an epitaph for a deceased project, and a 30-word essay) that would be ideal for websites, social media, or even business cards.  But be forewarned—few words often entail many struggles

LUNCH
Meet at “Bricks” Officer’s Quarters 19B for complimentary  lunch.

AFTERNOON SESSION

  • 1:00 to 3:00: Writing Time (on your own)
    • This time has been set aside for participants to work on their individual writing projects or respond to the prompts from the morning session. Weather permitting: field trips will be available to one of our nature retreats for those interested in an inspirational setting.
  • 3:00 to 5:00: The Story Catcher Workshop (“Bricks” 19B Main Floor)
    • This time has been set aside for participants to share their work and get feedback from other writers and from our writers in residence.

DINNER ON YOUR OWN  We encourage participants to gather for Dinner at the Fort Robinson Lodge Restaurant (Pay your own way—full dinners are from $12 to $20; Sandwiches $5 to $8; soup and salad bar also available.

EVENING PROGRAM (“Bricks” Officer’s Quarters 19B) 

  • 7:00 to 8:00 PM Special Reading
    • With the Mari Sandoz Emerging Writers.

Thursday, June 7th — WRITER’S RETREAT DAY THREE

Fort Robinson State Park

MORNING SESSION

  • 8 to 9 am Breakfast at the Main Lodge
    • You may make use of the kitchen in our old building, or gather for breakfast at The Fort Robinson Inn/Restaurant in the Main Lodge before our morning session.  (Pay your own way—full breakfasts are from $5 to $8).
  • 9:30 to 11:30 AM Non-Fiction Craft Lecture (“Bricks 19B Main Floor)
    • With Fiction Writer-in-Residence Nina S. McConigley
      • Full description of the session TBA

LUNCH
Meet at “Bricks” Officer’s Quarters 19B for complimentary  lunch.

AFTERNOON SESSION

  • 1:00 to 3:00: Writing Time (on your own)
    • This time has been set aside for participants to work on their individual writing projects or respond to the prompts from the morning session. Weather permitting: field trips will be available to one of our nature retreats for those interested in an inspirational setting.
  • 3:00 to 5:00: The Story Catcher Workshop (“Bricks” 19B Main Floor)
    • This time has been set aside for participants to share their work and get feedback from other writers and from our writers in residence.

EVENING ON YOUR OWN

(Here are some options):

  • Dinner at Fort Robinson Lodge Restaurant or in historic downtown Crawford (see dining options in the program).
  • Hayrack Steak Cookout 6 to 8 pm (Reservations that day at information booth, $12 each)
  • High Plains Homestead/Drifter’s Cookshack (30 min. north of the Fort, near Toadstool State Park. Reservations required: highplainshomestead.com)
  • From 8 to 9pm there will be a rodeo in the arena just north of our Building, which is free and open to the public.

NOTE: All participants must be checked out of the Officer’s Quarters by 9am on Friday.  (We recommend departing by 8:30 AM to insure travel time to the Festival Location at Sandoz Center on the Chadron State College Campus.)


Friday, June 8th — STORY CATCHER FESTIVAL

CHADRON STATE COLLEGE CAMPUS:

Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center Atrium—Open to the Public

MORNING SESSION

  • 9 to 9:30 AM Morning Check-in and Continental Breakfast
    • Free & Open to the Public (no pre-registration required—sign in at the door). Story Catcher Retreat participants are already registered for this event.
  • 9:30 to 11:00 AM: Short & Sweet: Writing Shapely Stories
    • With the Mari Sandoz Featured Writer Markus Egeler Jones
      • Participants of this workshop will engage in drafting their own flash fiction. Elements of subtext, narrative, dialogue, and general scene building will be discovered through sample pieces of flash fiction, and by the end of this workshop everyone should have a working draft of a short but shapely story.

LUNCH (on your own)

AFTERNOON SESSIONS

  • 12:30 to 1:45: Hooks, Lines and No Stinkers
    • With the Mari Sandoz Featured Writer Renee M. Laegreid
      • Finding the right words to draw a reader into your work is as important for non-fiction as it is fiction. In this workshop and writing session we will consider effective storytelling techniques found in history writing that have been used to create effective titles and opening passages that can be applied to each writer’s work.
  • 2:00 to 3:15: Symbolic Sound and Syntax
    • With the Mari Sandoz Emerging Writer Jennifer Ippensen
      • The language we choose and ways in which we piece language together can aid us in evoking understanding that goes beyond properly constructed English grammar. It can become symbolic. In this workshop and writing session, we will explore the ways in which sound devices and grammatical structure can be employed to convey more than what the words alone communicate.
  • 3:30 to 4:45: OPEN MIC
    • Writers will have an opportunity to share their work from the retreat & festival. Audience members may also sign up to read short pieces.

EVENING SESSION

  • 5:00 to 6:00: Reception
    • Light Refreshments Served
  • 6 :00 to 7:30 PM  Special Keynote Presentation: Writing in the Remote 
    • Readings from our 2018 Writers-in-Residence
    • Jeffrey A. Lockwood, Nina S. McConigley and H. L. Hix will share a panel presentation where they each read selections from their work relating to the theme “Writing in the Remote.” This will be followed with a roundtable discussion where the authors explore the unique challenges and opportunities of living and writing in isolated and remote spaces, and respond to questions from the audience.

       Book Signing To Follow