The University of Akron Wayne College in Orrville is hosting its 14th annual Writers Workshop, Saturday, April 1, 2017.  (Open to the public)

2017 Registration Form (PDF)

This year’s workshop allows writers and aspiring writers to meet published authors and participate in sessions about poetry writing, techniques to engage all the senses, character setting, turning personal experiences into viable prose, inventing and reinventing yourself as a writer, and what sells books. As a participant, you will enjoy a continental breakfast followed by our authors’ concurrent workshop sessions, a panel discussion with the presenting authors, and lunch, followed by special guest Karen Harper.

Each workshop session runs 75 minutes (topics are detailed in this brochure). Please choose two of the six sessions to attend. Your $40 fee, due by March 24, covers everything for the day. Registration after the deadline will be $45 (including walk-ins that day).

After the awards ceremony recognizing student and regional writers, our speakers will have books for sale. Plan to spend time talking with them during the concluding sell-and-sign opportunity.

For program information or to register, contact:
Susan Ackerman at 330-684-8985 or 1-800-221-8308, ext. 8985


Harper-06-1752017 Featured Speaker - Karen Harper - The Writing Life 2017
Times have changed since Karen was first published over 30 years ago. Some basic do’s and don’t’s remain. However, the good news is, it’s easier; the bad news is, it’s harder. A veteran survivor of US and international publishing gives some advice for seeing your work in a bookstore, on, in a grocery store and on the bestseller list through traditional publishing.

Workshop Session Examples:

Karen Harper - The Writing Life 2017

Times have changed since Karen was first published over 30 years ago. Some basic do’s and don’t’s remain. However, the good news is, it’s easier; the bad news is, it’s harder. A veteran survivor of U.S. and international publishing gives some advice for seeing your work in a bookstore, in a grocery store, on, and on the bestseller list through traditional publishing.

1. Setting as Character
. What Sells Books

Session 1. Most writers start with a plot or character, but beginning with a unique place - a place so real it jumps off the page - can help to make a book unique .

Session 2. Bestselling author of contemporary suspense and historical novels gives some advice on what has kept her on international bookshelves from various publishing houses.

Biography: Lifelong Ohioan Karen Harper is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical novels about real British women and contemporary suspense often set in Ohio. A graduate of Ohio University and The Ohio State University, Karen taught college and high school level English before leaving teaching to write full time. Her most recent novels are “The Royal Nanny,” set in Victorian and Edwardian England and “Falling Darkness” from “The South Shores Series,” set in Florida and the Caribbean. She and her husband live in Columbus but love to travel. Visit her at or

Sandra Gurvis -

1. Turning Personal Experiences Into Viable Prose
Inventing and Reinventing Yourself as a Writer

Session 1. This workshop will focus on using anecdotes, memories, and observations to craft salable stories as well as how to distance yourself to avoid losing perspective and to protect yourself legally as well as the privacy of others. Properly executed, personal experiences in writing can add dimension and greatly increase your chances for publication.

Session 2. No matter how many years you’ve been at it, writing is a continual process of discovery. Aimed at both novice and experienced writers, this workshop helps explore the many ways you can use your skills and experiences to boost your career. Participants will get a chance to evaluate their present and future aspirations, along with finding new ways to earn income as a freelancer. Versatility and risk-taking ability, along with other traits and requirements to help grow your writing career will be discussed and brainstorming and idea- sharing will help define goals.

Biography: The author of sixteen books including, “Myths and Mysteries of Ohio,”“Day Trips From Columbus,” “Ohio Curiosities,” “Careers for Nonconformists,” and “Country Club Wives,” Sandra has been a freelance writer for over thirty years covering a wide range of topics and treatments.

Richard Hague - Buggy About Poetry

We will draft poems or prose poems about specific Insecta, those jointed and segmented masters of the planet (insects comprise perhaps 90% of all known species of living things). They are complicated, diverse, mysterious, worthy of long looks and unfolding thoughts. They are always interesting, sometimes irritating, sometimes dangerous, sometimes disgusting, and sometimes scintillatingly beautiful.

Biography: Richard Hague is author of 17 volumes of prose and poetry including Beasts, River, Drunk Men, Garden, Burst, & Light: Sequences and Long Poems (Dos Madres Press 2016) and During The Recent Extinctions: New & Selected Poems 1984-2012, winner of The Weatherford Award in Poetry and Ripening (The Ohio State University Press 1984) for which he was named Co-Poet of the Year by the Ohio Poetry Association. His poems, essays, stories, and commentaries have appeared in “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly,” “Still: The Journal,” “Appalachian Journal,” “Appalachian Heritage,” “The Prose Poem,” “Mid-American Review,” “Poetry,” “Creative Nonfiction,” “Smartish Pace,” “Ohio Magazine,” as well as in dozens of anthologies. He was the Featured Writer at the 2013 Emory & Henry Literary Festival and his life and work are the subject of Issue #30 of Iron Mountain Review. He is Writer-In-Residence at Thomas More College in northern Kentucky, and is returning to our Workshop (last here in 2011).

David Giffels - Writing Like Mr. Potato Head

Mr. Potato Head is nothing but a spud until he employs his eyes, ears, hands, nose, and mouth. The same can be said of writers. In this session, participants will learn techniques to engage all the senses in observing, drafting and refining their prose. The session will include a writing exercise.

Biography: David returns to Wayne College (last here in 2009). He is Associate Professor of English at The University of Akron and author of “The Hard Way on Purpose” and “All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-down House”. David has an impressive list of publications and awards, including The Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature, the Ohioana Book Award, and the Associated Press Best News Writer in Ohio award.