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joy horowitz j

Paris Writers Retreat -- Five-day Writers' Workshop

Rue Bonaparte, Paris

October 10-14
M-F: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.



The Paris Writers Retreat is a five-day, intensive writers’ workshop dedicated to exploring the genres of personal narrative and memoir. You will learn how to write clear, lively prose and develop your voice. Sometimes the smallest moment — or the shortest essay — holds the greatest revelation. In this class, you will submit a personal essay or chapter between 500 and 1000 words based on interviews or documentary evidence (i.e., letters, photographs, personal memorabilia). You’ll also be writing in some of the world’s most beautiful parks, cafes and bistros. You’ll refine your editing skills, explore challenges in style and voice, and take a fresh look at your life experience. By working in a shorter format, you’ll also find ways to tighten your prose and heighten your storytelling skills. There will also be brief discussions of published essays. We will address topics such as persona, audience, story, description, memory and truth, and ethical considerations specific to the genre. Writers will have the chance to workshop their work in a serious, respectful, and community-oriented environment meant to challenge and inspire each member of the class. We’ll tailor the workshop to your needs, so if you’re working on a book or simply want to rework an existing piece of writing, anything goes..

There will be an in-depth analysis of the writing process from inception of the original idea through execution of the completed essay (or chapter) that will interweave memory and history. The fundamentals of writing will be explored, beginning with Thomas Mann’s precept that "A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." The most important value in the endeavor and a writer’s best friend – empathy and respect for one’s subjects and self -- will be the focus of this workshop to better appreciate what Henry James called “a felt life.” At the same time, this workshop is not a time to judge or dissolve into “therapy” about the circumstances of the piece in workshop. We will study the manner in which our writings mature as we revise, discover strategies for revision, and consider how each subsequent draft benefits from specifically chosen revision techniques. In many ways, I’m more interested in your writing as process than product. As Samuel Johnson put it: “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”

This class will take place in the 6th Arrondissement on Rue Bonaparte.

Enrollment limit: 6 students

  • $1600
  • Payment plans available upon request.


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