October 25, 2010

Teaching Travel Writing

I had another inspiring experience teaching a travel writing workshop at Hugo House this past Saturday. One of the things I like about working with participants in the travel classes is that most of them have amazing lives. One of my students was a Chinese-American photo-journalist and boxer who wrote stunning mini-narratives about being in the ring in Lima, Peru. Another student wrote about being arrested in Africa as a Ugandan spy. Someone else had stories of Bavaria and a troubled marriage. All these pieces were furiously composed in ten minutes or so, from writing prompts.

As an editor I most frequently work with writers much farther along in the process of creating a finished essay, story, or full-length book. How refreshing, then, to be present at the source of the river for a few hours. It complemented my meeting with a writer I've been working with for a year and a half, who is just finishing her travel memoir. She's told me that some of her chapters began from writing prompts at Hugo House years ago.

Barbara Sjoholm

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