Workshops

I’m available to teach the following creative writing workshops I’ve developed or one on a topic of your choice, at your organization or as part of an author visit. You can contact me at b.dunlap2@aol.com

As a writer of place I know there are many important and necessary stories about who and what a place is and who the people are that live in that place, those that are never told or stories that are hidden in plain sight, as we go about our day-to-day lives. So I created the workshop “Los Ángeles: Your City” which I’ve taught at venues around Los Ángeles, such as the Hammer Museum and 826LA. I initially wanted to encourage my fellow Angeleños, especially those historically left out of the city’s narrative, to write their own L.A. narratives. Since then, I’ve become interested in teaching other creative writing workshops on other important topics I write about.

Los Ángeles: Your City

Los Angeles is a sprawling, diverse city filled with amazing stories. In this workshop, students, through a critical engagement of the course material, explore who and what the city is. The class enters this conversation through the use of movie clips, photos, literature and literary history of Los Angeles, and through video clips of L.A. authors discussing how they write their Los Angeles stories. In the end, this workshop provides the writing techniques and enriched knowledge of Los Ángeles for students to pen their own L.A. stories from a place of deep understanding. 

Your Place

William Faulkner once said, “I discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it.” 

What is your little postage stamp of native soil? Is it your hometown? The place you live in now? Who lives there? What’s the history of that place? How did that place help shape how you and anyone else views and understands the world? How do people live in that place? Most importantly, what are its stories? 

This workshop introduces students to the basic elements of the literature of place. It explores how to understand and use a place’s history in narrative or verse, how people talk about place (the language they use) or a specific place and the cultures that make up the identity of any specific place. At the end students pen stories or poems about where they’re from or about the place they call home.

Writing The Other

How do you write about someone who is a different race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or is differently-abled than you in a way that makes them fully rounded, real characters with agency? The simple answer: Infuse your characters with humanity. In this workshop learn how to create authentic depth, history, culture, personality traits and more for your characters by analyzing successful examples in literature, from handouts from trusted sources like NPR’s Codeswitch blog, clips from authors discussing how they do it, and by having participants practice creating their own such characters through exercises, and/or penning the beginnings of their own stories.

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