Workshops and Registration

We hope you are excited to work with a range of incredible writers who will be here for Get Lit!

Register at Brown Paper Tickets by clicking the provided links below each workshop description. There's no need to print tickets if you don't want to, as we will have a list of those registered and will check names off as you arrive on the day of the workshop. If you have any questions about how to register, email

All writing workshops will be held on Saturday, April 12 at The Spokane Convention Center. The cost for any student with a current ID is $20 each. Student ID must be presented to the registration desk at the event. For all others, the cost is $30 each. Registration will open starting March 21st. Space is limited to 25 people per session, so pre-registration is recommended. (However, we will also allow day-of registration, as space allows.) Choose from the following options:

AM SESSION   9:30-11:30 am

Rants, Odes, and Images with George Bilgere

With William Carlos Williams' famous dictum, "No ideas but in things," in mind, this workshop will address the importance of constructing a poem around a central, physical image.  We’ll read a couple of poems by contemporary masters like Tony Hoagland and Dorianne Laux and examine the techniques these poets use to write so effectively. Using their poems as models, we’ll then do a couple of in-class writing exercises, after which I’ll ask students to share their poems with the class. One poem will be a “rant,” based on a Hoagland poem and the other will be an ode, based on a Laux poem. I have found both prompts to be exceptionally effective in getting students to “write their way into poem.” If time permits we’ll end the session with a discussion of strategies for getting poems into print. Event # on 613848
Room: 203, Spokane Convention Center, 2nd level
Registration: To pre-register for this workshop, click here 

Storytelling is Neat: Life is Sloppy with Perry Glasser

Whether you write fiction or memoir, the literary experience promises closure to readers. That is to say, storytelling must, in some way, seem to conclude. However, all of us know that in our lives, events and people seldom make perfect sense. We share the sure knowledge that life is a mess, filled with contradictions, coincidences, and multiple streams of events, and that Art allows us to perceive order where there may  be none. In the space between the Chaos of life and the Order of art, the writer practices literary art. Indeed, it is likely that many of us practice our art precisely because of our need to make sense of what seems insensible. Every writer needs to ask herself how she can create an illusion of life for her characters or memories, when all the time she knows that to be “lifelike” truly means being chaotic. What are the strategies that cast the illusion? Which will work for you and the story you want to tell? How can you make your work neat, compelling, and lifelike? This talk will include writing exercises, questions, group interaction, and far-ranging discussion. Come prepared to share your insights and learn from others!
Room: 202C, Spokane Convention Center, 2nd level
Registration:   To pre-register for this workshop, click here


Mining Language for Meaning with Alice Derry Cancelled. Unfortunately our workshop leader has had to cancel this workshop because of a death in the family. Questions? Email

“Words, words, words,” says Hamlet, when the nosy Polonius asks him what he is reading.  Words are what poems are made of; one purpose of poetry is to explore words and mine them for their wide and connotative meanings.  Poetry helps us humans, whose life is built on language, understand our mode of connecting with the world in more depth.  Poetry forging ahead to the frontiers of language enables us to better understand the meanings and mysteries of our lives.  While a poem often begins with a scrap of language, what we want to say (our intention) can overwhelm how we say it.  In this session, we’ll look at a number of shorter poems by well-known writers.  Then, using intuition as a guide, we’ll select about ten words from one of the poems.  Putting the well-known poem aside, we’ll use the words and their artificial order to jolt us into new ways of thinking. Event # on  613876
Room: 202 B, Spokane Convention Center, 2nd level

Hands-On Poetry Workshop with Brooke Matson    Cancelled. Unfortunately our workshop leader has had to cancel this workshop. Questions? Email

Are you an educator who is interested in bringing poetry into your classroom or helping your students engage with it in new ways? Join us for a clock-hours eligible workshop that will provide activities and methods to engage student interest in poems, help them analyze poety word choice for connotations, and discover patters, theme, and more. We'll discuss how to overcome students’ fears and intimidation of poetry by using engaging, hands-on methods that will appeal to your most kinesthetic learners. Learn interactive methods to help students analyze poetic word choice for connotations, helping them discover theme, pattern, and author’s purpose. The workshop will also cover activities that allow students to interpret a poem’s connotations using visual art and modern technology. Finally, participants will learn about educational poetry resources available to teachers. About the workshop leader:  Brooke Matson is a National Board Certified Teacher (ELA/AYA) who teaches at Mead Alternative High School, where she teaches multiple subjects. She has an M.A. in Educational Administration from Gonzaga University and is the author of The Moons, a poetry collection published by Blue Begonia Press. *Please note: workshop will run from 9:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m., and is clock-hours eligible through ESD 101. Forms will be available on site.
Room: 202A 


PM SESSION   3:30-5:30 pm

Sense of Place and Setting in Fiction with David Abrams

Ever finish reading a story and find the setting indelibly marked on your imagination? Think: Hemingway, Cather, O’Connor, and Joyce. Not only do you visualize the landscape, hear the sounds, and smell the atmosphere, but you are also left with the emotional impact that the sense of place renders on the characters. You feel as though you’ve traveled. Whether your story is set in a bungalow or a high-rise, on the sea or the prairie, or perhaps takes place in alternate universe, learn how to craft place to add strength and dimension to your work. Practice how to show the heart of environment without falling prey to overwrought sentiments and empty description.
Room: 202A, Spokane Convention Center, 2nd level
Registration: To pre-register for this workshop, click here. 

Writing For A Living with C.B. Bernard

Every writer dreams of enormous book advances and a steady stream of royalties, but the reality is that most need other ways to pay the rent. You could teach, or work in an unrelated field and write in your spare time—like banker T.S. Eliot or postal worker Anthony Trollope—but why not make a living doing what you love? There are countless ways to earn an income slinging words that don’t include being on staff at The New Yorker, or cashing in on a three-book deal. You’ve always wanted to be a writer; you are a writer. Put it to work for you and give yourself the chance to approach the world as a series of stories and words, practice your craft day in and out, and build your skills, reputation, and network. For twenty years, I’ve made a career as a working writer by finding and creating opportunities. It’s not always glamorous, and it’s not for the weak-of-heart, but the writing life can be great training for “serious” work—and an excellent way to experience the world. Let’s talk about what it means, how to get started, and where it can lead you.
202B, Spokane Convention Center, 2nd level
Registration:  To pre-register for this workshop, click here.

Speaking Pictures: A Poetry Workshop Concerning Visual Art with Susan Rich

In this workshop, we will examine some famous models of the form by Auden, Rilke, and Lisel Mueller; read recent examples by local poets and sharpen our power of observation and description through creative writing exercises. Finally, we will try our hand at writing poems on actual works of art. All levels of writers are welcome, from absolute beginners to advanced practitioners.
Room: 202C
To pre-register for this workshop, click here.

High Concept: What It Is, How To Get It, and Why It's Not Enough with Maureen McQuerry (Presented by SCBWI)

In this interactive workshop, fiction writers will explore crucial elements of writing for mass appeal (high concept) including:  what makes a story high concept, and how to deepen your concept by plotting with three act structure, layering in subtext, and focusing on your protagonist’s inner change. The workshop will involve several exercises that allow writers to write a high concept pitch, practice subtext and identify their protagonists’ points of inner change. Bring a work in progress, and/or your current ideas, and a willingness to explore your writing. Please note: SCBWI members are eligible for the student registration rate.
Room: 203, Spokane Convention Center, 2nd level
To pre-register for this workshop, click here.


FREE Workshops  

Everyone is a Writer: Exploring the Military Experiences with the EWU Writers Center

War correspondence used to mean postcards and letters, but the wars and conflicts of the 21st century are often captured digitally through emails, cell-phone photos and videos. How can a contemporary writer transform their recorded events, thoughts, and experiences into an understandable tale? The Everyone Is a Writer project workshop seeks out those who have lived the military experience in war or peace (as a service-member, dependent, civilian contractor, family member, or friend) and invites them to explore the various ways their stories can be told and the various mediums through which to tell them. Participants will explore their stories through the genres of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, hybrid works, multi-media (digital storytelling), and even academic and scholarly discourse.  Eastern Washington University Writers’ Center staff will discuss the strengths and weakness of each genre and facilitate collaborative sessions in which attendees are encouraged to discuss their projects and examine the ways each genre suits their creative project and vision.
Time: 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Venue: Spokane Convention Center, 2nd level
Room: 206B

Performance Poetry Workshop
Performance poetry is hot in Spokane: we have one of the best and most welcoming scenes in the country. Never heard of performance poetry? Want to learn more but not sure who to ask? Come to this free workshop taught by local poet Mark Anderson to learn the techniques and history of performance poetry. You'll find out about more local events where you can meet other writers and show off your chops, and you may even leave ready to perform your own poem!
Time: 9:30-11 a.m.
Venue: Spokane Convention Center, 2nd level
Room: 205

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