Fiction | Workshop

8-Week Fiction Workshop

“It turns out that the distance from head to hand, from wafting butterfly to entomological specimen, is achieved through regular practice. What begins as something like a dream will in fact stay a dream forever unless you have the tools and the discipline to bring it out.” —Ann Patchett in her essay on writing, “The Getaway Car”

This course is geared toward fiction writers who are looking for detailed feedback, refreshers on craft, and an injection of inspiration to keep on chasing those butterflies. Whether you’re ready to revisit the old stories you’ve stuck in the drawer or are feeling your way through ambitious new ones, this class will provide a supportive but rigorous environment for pinning down your specific voice, strengths, and intentions. (Emphasis on your — a core tenet of this workshop is that each piece is to be taken on its own terms, with the writer’s best effort assumed.)

We’ll dedicate some time to studying selections from writers including James Baldwin, Yiyun Li, Edwidge Danticat, Elizabeth McCracken, and others, who have deftly handled the trickiest elements of fiction —time and pacing, for instance, or building rich worlds in a limited number of pages. But the bulk of our sessions will be dedicated to workshop, at least two student pieces each class. Both short fiction and novel excerpts will be accepted. Previous workshop experience is highly recommended.

*no class November 27th


- Peer and instructor feedback on two stories/excerpts

- One private session with the instructor

- Readings tailored, in part, to your biggest writing struggles (as anonymously crowdsourced during our first class)

- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


- The timely submission of 2 pieces for workshop, up to 25 pages each (double-spaced, 12-point font, normal margins)

- Critique letters to your peers, at least 1 page long (single-spaced)

- Occasional reading assignments (no more than 1 hr per week)

Dawnie Walton

Dawnie Walton is a fiction writer and journalist whose work explores identity, place, and the influence of pop culture. Her debut novel, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, is forthcoming from 37 Ink/Atria (April 2021)). She has been a MacDowell Colony fellow (2015) and a Tin House Scholar (2017), and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (MFA, 2018). Previously, she has worked as an editor for magazine and multimedia brands including Essence, Entertainment Weekly, Getty Images, and LIFE.


"Taking a class from Dawnie made me feel as though I had experienced the peak of what workshop is supposed to be. She guided discussion on the principles of both kindness and intellect; no matter the style or genre, she took it all seriously. It gave me the impression that what I brought to the table was worth writing, but also worth other people reading. That’s why I’m certain I wouldn’t be able to see myself confidently if not for her guidance and critique. "

former student University of Iowa