Fiction | Workshop

6-Week Fiction Workshop: The Art of Dialogue

In this six-week advanced workshop, we will experiment with the ways that dialogue can be used to structure and propel a work of fiction.  Even if you don't write dialogue-heavy stories, dialogue is one of the most important tools of a writer’s craft—it’s our best way of experiencing the character directly. Through reading, writing exercises, and film and television clips, we will examine the ways dialogue is experienced both inwardly and outwardly, and the dichotomy between these two realms (what a character says and is unable or unwilling to say). We will also talk about the broader conversation that occurs between the writer and the reader, and how to choreograph this exchange while also leaving room for the reader's unique experience. Students will leave the course with a much greater facility for writing dialogue, and a sensitivity to the different ways dialogue acts upon a reader.

Each student will workshop twice and will meet once with the instructor for an individual conference.


-intensive peer and instructor feedback on two fiction submissions

-one productive, personal conference with the instructor to discuss your writing style, goals, and areas for improvement

-access to a nurturing community of writers and readers

-a thorough understanding of how to use dialogue as a tool to develop character and facilitate plot 

-more confidence as a writer, on and off the page

Leopoldine Core

Leopoldine Core is the author of the short story collection When Watched and the poetry collection Veronica Beach. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Joyland, Open City, PEN America, and Apology Magazine, among others. She is the recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award for fiction, as well as fellowships from The Center for Fiction and The Fine Arts Work Center.


“Core’s stories have a voyeuristic quality, like peering through the windows of a groundfloor apartment as you walk by. . . . Core’s narrative voice has earned her comparisons to Mary Gaitskill, Jane Bowles and even William Burroughs, but these references don’t do justice to the intimacy and relative gentleness with which the author treats her group of modern, often millennial drifters. . . . Core captures a precious slice of what it is to be human. . . . She reaches moments of extraordinary grace.”

Alexandra Kleeman THE NEW YORK TIMES

“This debut short story collection reveals Core’s wisdom and deep understanding of the limits of human connection. The most intimate scenes of these short yet powerful stories, most of which take place in New York City, occur in the small, claustrophobic spaces of apartments and, most tellingly, bedrooms. . . . Core’s dialogue is by turns searching and revelatory in this accomplished and singular new voice.”


"Leopoldine Core’s work announces a prodigious talent. It is deeply mature, characterized not merely by writerly skill, but also wisdom, empathy, and a specificity of human observation. So much of what she is able to detect and depict about human desire rides on the most minute yet pitch perfect of gestures. There is a powerful understatement to these stories, though the emotional register, and the stakes, are always high. The heart is ignited, kicked into gear by Core’s dialogue, and by the audible silences running through this work. She is a master of closure."

Whiting Award Selection Committee

“Leopoldine Core is one of the most original new writers I've come across. Reading her carefully laid out sentences is like following a trail of white pebbles through a dark forest of strange insights and passion. Her ardent wanderers exist in the ever-churning flux of their moods and minds, in a haunted, desperate, and bejewelled New York. I get so much from being in her worlds.”

Sheila Heti author of HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE?

“Leopoldine Core writes deceptively poetic prose—there’s a delicacy to it, without being precious at all, and it leaves you with a feeling that resonates long after. She captures an essence of her generation, a sort of alienated and self-destructive ennui. I felt so protective toward these characters, like I wanted to reach into the pages and pull them out and save them from themselves.”

Molly Ringwald author of WHEN IT HAPPENS TO YOU

“Intent on both wasting and appreciating their youth, Leopoldine Core’s distinct and fascinating characters know they’re being watched but seldom fully seen. But every now and then, they see each other. And they don’t just meticulously observe the sweetly gritty East Village of the recent past; they bring it absolutely to life.”

Sarah Manguso author of ONGOINGNESS