St. Athanasius College
To equip, inspire, and prepare a generation of
writers in the timeless art of storytelling.
St. Basil's Writers' Workshop focuses on the timeless art of storytelling. This innovative approach focuses on fiction and non-fiction believing that "beauty will save the world" (Dostoevsky). Students learn how to connect with today's readers and are prepared for the craft of writing.
Nicholas Kotar writes epic fantasy inspired by Russian fairy tales. As he has been doing research for his novels, he has found a lot of edifying and interesting articles in Russian about Russian history, culture, fairy tales, and traditions. None of them are available in English. What astounded him was how applicable so much of it was to our own day. The stories he found illuminate a lost past where Orthodoxy, history, and culture were all one and the same. In our own time of inner and outer fracturing, these people, events, and stories inspire us to think, act, and live differently--more in tune with our age-old faith, and less pandering to the demands of the fickle world. Plus, a lot of the stories are just plain fun and entertaining.
Jonathan Pageau is a professional artist, writer and public speaker, giving workshops and conferences all around North America. He teaches carving, speaks on art, but mostly explores symbolic structures that underlie our experience of the world. Through his YouTube channel and podcast, The Symbolic World, he also furthers the conversation on symbolism, meaning and patterns in everything from movies, to icons, to social trends. Articles on the The Symbolic World are contributed by several writers engaged with him in the exploration of Symbolism across all fields.
Katherine Bolger Hyde has spent her life surrounded by books, as a reader, editor, and writer. Her love of classic literature is reflected in her degree in Russian Literature from Reed College. She has worked for a number of years as senior editor for Ancient Faith Publishing, where she enjoys mentoring promising writers. She has published a traditional mystery series as well as several picture books and a middle-grade fantasy. What they all have in common is the theme of the redemption of broken lives through the power of grace. She lives in the redwood forests of the central California coast, and in her spare time, she can generally be found knitting while watching British mystery series or singing soprano in her local Orthodox choir.
Nicole Roccas is a writer, podcaster, and communications professional at the intersection between faith and the “tough stuff” in life like mortality, time, infertility, doubt, and grief. She grew up in Wisconsin, did her graduate work in Cincinnati, and lived in Germany for a few years before settling down in Toronto in 2013. Along the way, she converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, received her PhD, and began writing and podcasting. But beneath the veneer, life isn’t always easy. From a young age, she has been fascinated and haunted by the deep, answerless questions of existence: why do we die? What is eternity? What is the purpose of suffering? In her writing, podcasting, and speaking, she seeks to bridge the hope and meaning of faith with the reality of suffering and grief.
Paul Kingsnorth has written ten books in various styles and forms, and they all tell the same story, however hard he tries to tell another. It’s the story of the brokenness of modern humanity: specifically, of the severing of the link between people and place, between the humans and the wild and between the sacred and the profane; about the results of that severance and how, maybe, we can begin to correct it. His most strongly-held belief is this: that our modern crisis is not economic, political, scientific or technological, and that no ‘answers’ to it will be found in those spheres. He believes that we are living through a deep spiritual crisis; perhaps even a spiritual war. His interest these days is what this means.
What: Writers' Workshop
When: August, 2023 to May, 2024
Where: In upstate New York, then online from there
How Much: Check the Tuition section
Course Titles (in order)
Kingsnorth: Rewilding your Words: How to Write Active Setting Through a Renewed Connection to the Natural World
Kotar: Techniques of Fiction Writing: Tips and tools from the masters of the craft
Pageau: Worldbuilding: how to create internally consistent and symbolically compelling worlds in your fiction
Hyde: Crafting compelling characters through voice and point of view
Roccas: The Art and Craft of Soul-Centered Writing: Integrating the spiritual life with one's writing career.
Watch the recording of our Open House from Feb 20th here: https://youtu.be/qgF77meSgqw
Dn. Nicholas Kotar is the head of the workshop.
The next cohort starts in August 2023.
The workshop is about 9 months long, starting with an in-person retreat in August. The remaining sessions are on Zoom.
September: Paul Kingsnorth
October-November: Dn. Nicholas Kotar
January: Jonathan Pageau
February-March: Katherine Hyde
April-May: Nicole Roccas
Retreat Location: Upstate New York
Retreat Dates (tentative): August 2023
The application process will open on Tuesday, February 21st, at 9 AM. The first step is to fill out the APPLICATION.
You will need:
5 minutes to complete the application.
A credit/debit card to pay the application fee.
Include a sampling of 5,000 words of fiction. Complete short stories are acceptable, as are excerpts from novellas and novels. Acceptance is determined after Dn. Nicholas reviews submitted excerpts. Please allow two weeks for a review of your application and writing sample.
Kingsnorth "Rewilding Your Words"
Paul Kingsnorth will teach a four-part course focusing on 'rewilding' your writing. With emphasis on stepping out of our often over-civilised selves and reconnecting with the wild world, we will learn to see the world from the perspective of wild things, take our writing out into the landscape and see what we find, think and write mythically, and generally loosen and uncivilise our pens, in search of the wild essence of Creation.
Kotar "Techniques of Fiction Writing"
Tips and tools from the masters of the craft
Unlike what many amateurs think, writing fiction is not all about inspiration or talent. Writing fiction is an artisanal craft. And like all crafts, it is subject to rules and techniques that have been honed, developed, and perfected my masters over centuries. The good thing is that these rules are not proscriptive, but helpful. They provide a frame within which to write your best work, and, used properly, they inspire creativity without squelching it. This course studies the masters of the fiction form and gleans from their writing some of the most enduring tools and techniques for writing powerful, publishable fiction and narrative nonfiction.
Pageau "How To Build A World In Fiction"
Jonathan Pageau, icon carver and symbolic thinker, will teach a mini-course on how to build a world for your fiction using symbolic thinking. All genres, even realistic fiction, have a requirement that many writers don't fully realize. In order to immerse the reader in a novel, that novel must have a fully realized, internally consistent, and intrinsically coherent world in which the characters can live and breathe. This is much more difficult than most people realize, especially considering how many people no longer have a coherent worldview of their own, even in daily life. Jonathan's course will help writers practice their own symbolic thinking, apply it to thorny questions of technical worldbuilding, and ultimately create fully immersive worlds for their readers.
Hyde "Characterization and Self-Editing"
Katherine Bolger Hyde will be teaching a combined course on Characterization and Self-Editing. In the first half of the semester, we’ll look at how to bring your characters to life through action, dialogue, description, introspection, and other characters’ views and reactions. In the second half, we’ll explore the multifaceted process of perfecting your work, including ways to gain objectivity about your manuscript and what to look for at various levels, from macro to micro.
Roccas "The Art and Craft of Soul-Centered Writing: Integrating the spiritual life with one's writing career."
Are professional creative pursuits at odds with a faithful Christian life? What role do one's faith values and rituals support professional writing in genres that may not be explicitly "Christian"? How can we cultivate a writing life that flows from the spiritual core of who we are rather than remains a compartmentalized professional interest? In this 10-12 week course, students will navigate these questions for themselves, aided by a variety of readings, exercises, and discussions. The goal is that students develop for themselves a richer foundation of practices, strategies, and values to help them be and become more faithful and self-aware stewards of their creative vocation moving foward. The course instructor, Nicole M. Roccas, herself an author of multiple books, has worked with other writers and authors to more meaningfully navigate the spiritual and emotional implications of writing for nearly ten years.
FINANCES & FEES
The total cost of the workshop is $3,900.
Once accepted, a $500 non-refundable deposit is required within five days to secure the student's spot.
A minimum monthly payment of at least $350 is expected after acceptance until the balance is paid in full.
At least $1,000 (including deposit), must be paid by August 1st, 2023.
At least $2,000 (including deposit), must be paid by November 1st, 2023.
Balance must be paid in full by February 1st, 2024.
Is writing experience necessary to be accepted? As a pre-requisite, we expect students to be decent writers who are trying to reach the next level.
How do I apply? Click HERE to apply.
PAYING FOR SCHOOL
Do you offer financial aid? We do not offer financial aid at this time. Please review the finance section for payment deadlines.
Can I take just some of the courses? We do not offer individual courses because each course builds upon the learning in previous courses.
When does the next cohort start? A new cohort starts at the end of each summer.
Does the school provide accommodations for students with disabilities? We are willing to make reasonable accommodations to support students with disabilities. Some disabilities and impairments may hinder a student's ability to complete the program.
What do I receive when I have completed the workshop? A possible option for publication plus some coaching for the publishing industry.
Can I transfer credits from another school? Due to the unique approach and content of our courses, we are unable to accept transfer credit.
Will my credits transfer to another school? The workshop does not produce credits for a transcript;.
If I withdraw, can I get a refund? Deposits are refundable up until June 1st. No refund is available on June 2nd.
Where is the retreat? The retreat takes place in upstate New York. Details are shared with accepted students.