The New Orleans Writing Institute, known for twelve years as the Loyola Writing Institute at Loyola University and for five years as the Writing Institute at the Arts Council, continues to be taught by the writer James Nolan. It is a community-based workshop in fiction and creative nonfiction conducted on Tuesday evenings at the independent Tubby and Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop at 631 North Carrollton Avenue (between Rouses and City Park). Registration is open to the general public, and no prior experience is required. In the past, these workshops have drawn from a broad spectrum of the city’s diverse population, attracting writers of all levels, ages, and backgrounds.
Many of the manuscripts that pass through the workshop are eventually published as books or in magazines and anthologies. Notable books generated in the workshops have been the recent novels Dollbaby by Laura McNeal and The Right Thing by Amy Conner, as well as Richard Deichmann’s Code Blue, Angéle Parlange’s Creole Thrift, Kim Sunée’s Trail of Crumbs, Sally Forman’s Eye of the Storm, and Carolyn Perry’s For Better, For Worse. Short stories developed in the workshop have been published in such nationally celebrated literary magazines as The Gettysburg Review and New Letters, and six of our stories appeared in the recent anthology Something in the Water: Twenty Louisiana Stories. Creative nonfiction from the workshop has come out in the St. Petersburg Times, San Francisco Chronicle, New Orleans Advocate, Salon, and Confrontation, among many other publications.
These workshops are designed to lead members step-by-step through the process of writing both fiction and creative nonfiction that they can publish. The approach is practical, not theoretical, and is geared to provide structure, craft, and support for those just beginning to write, for those who may be returning to their writing, or for writers working on a current project.
The weekly workshops meet for twelve sessions, from 6:30-9:00 p.m. on Tuesday evenings, and are composed of between ten to fifteen members. The workshop atmosphere is convivial, noncompetitive, and according to most members, fun, and is a place where lasting friendships are formed around creative work.