A New Kind of Writing Program? The Writer’s Hotel Master Class

February 5, 2014

The Writer’s Hotel (TWH), in collaboration with The New Guard Literary Review, presents its first Writer’s Workshop Master Class in Fiction and Nonfiction. And the introduction of the Master Class, run in part by Shanna McNair, Founding Editor and Publisher of The New Guard, and its curriculum may also present a different aspect of the traditional writing program, occupying the space of a modified low residency or possibly growing into something more.

“TWH is definitely a new variant of the writing program. We think that an intensive, career-oriented learning experience, run in the city where the industry lives, will have a very positive impact,” said McNair. “So that writers can bridge the gap between their desk and the agent’s desk. [That] is what we hope to address.”

The Master Class, taking place June 2014 in New York City’s Midtown area, will focus on craft and the publishing industry. Three main venues will host participants: The Algonquin Hotel, The Bryant Park Hotel, and The Library Hotel. These locations were chosen “to give the Master Class its proper backdrop and to honor writers and a city so steeped in literary history,” said McNair. The Master Class experience includes intensive workshops run by TWH instructors, lectures and seminars on craft attended by agents, and an opportunity to meet with those agents to present work. Participants also have a chance to read their work at varying NYC locales. There is no fee to apply, and there are a total of forty-four slots in the class.

McNair describes the “writer’s hotel” concept as “a hotel that has a connection to literary tradition… It is also an idea. For any writer, the notion of being able to put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door and be able to concentrate in a private, catered setting—to be able to pick up the phone and conduct important writing business with an agent or editor or have food and drinks delivered—is anyone’s writing dream.”

One important feature of the Master Class is the opportunity to work intensively with editors before and after the class. TWH editors begin work with participants immediately upon their acceptance, helping tighten manuscripts in preparation for presentation to agents.

To that end, editors continue their work with participants for one month after the class. McNair further adds, “Ideally, writers will become better at craft and create better manuscripts, find their focus, find their voice. The ultimate [goal] is that both things would happen: writers write better and also make connections in the publishing industry.”

“These opportunities would not be accessible if we hadn’t constructed our program the way we have,” said McNair. “Often… after a workshop, conference, or even an MFA program, there is a kind of drop-off when the programming ends, and writers are left to fend for themselves in that crucial time. For us, the work doesn’t stop once the Master Class is over.”


For more info, visit http://www.writershotel.com

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