Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop and Retreat

Immerse yourself in hands-on mini-workshops, critiques, and time to focus on your writing. Choose from a dozen sections in fiction, nonfiction, freelancing, and poetry. Master classes including full-novel critique. For master classes, you can only register with permission of instructor.

At a glance

What: 5 days of professional instruction for writers of all levels

When: June 13-17, 2016 • 9:30a-12:30p each day

Who: Taught by leading educators and writers from UW-Madison and across the country

CEUs: Continuing education credits available, including optional graduate credits in English. See fees & credits» for more information.

Questions? Contact Christine DeSmet at christine.desmet@wisc.edu or 608-262-3447


Our writers get published!

Selling a book is a great way to follow up attendance at our annual writer’s retreat and that’s just what Angeline Haen did. The Wisconsin author has sold her creative nonfiction anthology book, Sweet Wisdoms, to Shanti Arts in Maine. The book chronicles Angeline’s unique and often humorous quest to gain wisdom. Angeline participated in the creative nonfiction book section led by Julie Tallard Johnson at the UW-Madison Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat in June 2014.

The 26th annual Midwest Book Awards from the Midwest Independent Publishing Association include one that we know well: Kathleen Ernst, for A Settler’s Year, photographs by Loyd Heath (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Madison, Wis.). Category: Arts/Coffee Table Books/Photography. Kathleen has taught for UW-Madison Continuing Studies in the past and will keynote the June 13-17 Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshops.

Looking for inspiration from other writers who have signed deals, gotten published, and won awards? Read more Success Stories here»

2016 sessions and speakers

1. NEW! Through the Competition: Hands-On Workshop to Make Your Novel Pop to the Top, with Lori Devoti
2. NEW! Stories That Matter: Creating the Resonance That Publishers Crave. A Workshop for Novelists, Memoirists, and Short Fiction Writers, with Tim Storm
3. Your First Novel: Fast and Finished!, with Kathy Steffen
4. NEW! The Literary Memoir – Show, Tell, Muse, with Coleman
5. Richer Nonfiction Now For Writers of Essays, Short Memoir Essays, Blog Material, Stories, with Amy Lou Jenkins
6. Turning Your Life Experiences Into an Inspiring Book: Mystic, Mistress, Master, with Julie Tallard Johnson
7. Writing Compelling Creative Nonfiction Books, with Brad Schreiber
8. The Writer’s Advantage: A Toolkit for Mastering Your Genre, with Laurie Scheer
9. NEW! Section 9, Inside the Box, Outside the Frame: Writing Poetry Your Way, with Marilyn L. Taylor
10. Writing Short Fiction, with Christopher Chambers
11. Master Class: Your First Fifty Pages, with Angela Rydell
12. Master Class: Finish, Polish, Publish, with Christine DeSmet

How it works and what we offer

Choose the one session you're most interested in. Limit of 15 participants per session unless noted. (Master class #11 has a limit of 8 participants, master class #12 has a limit of 6.)

Sessions for beginning writers as well as those at publication level.

Optional: 1-3 graduate credits in English (offered in a partnership with UW-Madison Dept. of English).

Special low fees for nontraditional credit students. Plus, some grants may be available. See fees & credits page»

Meet your director

Author and scriptwriter Christine DeSmet teaches writing online and in person. She is the director of the annual June “Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat," director of the fall “Weekend with Your Novel,” and coordinator of “Critique Services” for writers.

Learn more about the sessions & speakers, location & lodging, fees & credits, other resources, and how to register.

Thank you for your interest in Write by the Lake!