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Writing Workshops at Powell's Books


Write Around Portland offers a unique generative workshop called Prompt designed for writers and aspiring writers in the greater Portland area who want to participate in a Write Around workshop and support the communities we traditionally serve who might not otherwise have access to writing and community.

Based on the acclaimed Write Around Portland model, this dynamic 10 week workshop incorporates our favorite writing exercises designed to inspire the writing life, including freewriting; work with writing elements; strength-building feedback and early-draft revision. The workshop caps off with a community broadside.


2014 Sessions:

  Session 1:
Mondays, Jan 27 - Mar 31 FULL
Session 2:
Wednesdays, Mar 12 - May 14 FULL
Session 3:
Tuesdays, May 13 - July 15 FULL
Session 4:
Mondays, July 14 - Sept 22 (skip Sept 1) FULL
Session 5:
Mondays, Oct 6 - Dec 15 (skip Nov 24) FULL

2015 Sessions: Will be announced soon!


Duration: 10 weeks

Time: 6:30 - 8:30pm

Location: Powell’s City of Books

1005 W. Burnside, downtown Portland

Cost: $285 - Payment plans available

Cost includes free parking, snacks and access to the “Bowels of Powell's.”

Workshop facilitators with bios listed below.


Proceeds help fund Write Around Portland programs, including our free workshops in hospitals, treatment centers, schools, senior centers, prisons, low income housing buildings and homeless shelters.

Pre-registration is required and is limited to 12 adults per workshop.

NOTE: Spaces fill quickly! Call us (503.796.9224) to confirm there is space, to register and to discuss payment plan options.

Click here for information about our registration, payment options and refund policies.


2014 Prompt Workshop Facilitators:

Session 1 (Jan - Mar): Writing has been the only constant in life for Kellie Ernst (well, ok, breathing too). A word nerd by birth, and Medical Anthropologist by training, Kellie has witnessed the power of writing (especially in community) as salvation. With a few academic publications to date, chronicling tales and research data of pregnant teenagers, mothers who are abusing drugs and pediatric cancer survivors, she is inspired and driven to find a home and space for a multitude of creative writing pieces (mostly poetry and creative non-fiction). Kellie has facilitated Write Around Portland workshops for people who are incarcerated, low income housing residents, middle-schoolers, adults with developmental disabilities, people in addiction recovery and burn survivors. These have been the most gratifying moments of her life. She wants to write with you.

Session 2 (Mar - May): Mary Kibbe is currently the Baumeister Fellow in Creative Writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University where she is working toward her MFA degree. Mary’s academic background is interdisciplinary and includes studies in intercultural communication, critical theory, and writing. She currently focuses her writing time on poetry, and has studied the art of memoir, creative non-fiction, and personal essay. Mary is a founding member of her writing critique group Broads on the Side. As a Write Around Portland volunteer, Mary has facilitated workshops for burn and trauma survivors, at-risk youth, and low-income families.


Session 3 (May - July): Carolyn O'Doherty earned her MFA from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine.  She has been a Hawthorne Fellow and taught a Worldbuilding class at the Attic.  Carolyn started volunteering with Write Around Portland in 2013 and facilitated workshops at a residential treatment center for men and our twice monthly workshops at HOTLIPS Pizza. She is currently working on a young adult urban fantasy novel about kids who can freeze time.


Session 4 (Jul - Sept): Matt Blair has volunteered with Write Around Portland since 2009. Writing has been central to every aspect of his life, from earning his degree in music composition, to teaching English in Japan and China, to speaking at national conferences. In recent years, he's built apps and websites which explore aspects of Portland's history, public art,and poetry boxes. He's currently developing new tools for writing and creativity. In addition to two previous Prompt workshops, he has facilitated workshops for low-income seniors, burn- and trauma-survivors and people living with disabilities.


Session 5 (Oct - Dec): Write Around Portland Program Coordinator, Elizebett (Liz) Eslinger, has eleven years of experience facilitating groups, including Write Around Portland workshops for teens, elementary school youth, men who are incarcerated, Spanish speakers, and people with disabilities. She has studied creative non-fiction and poetry and has a BA in English and an MPA in nonprofit management. Liz fuels her love of language and the written word by writing poetry, studying Portuguese, and editing books for the local Roads Less Traveled series.





What Prompt participants are saying about their experience:

"Whether you’ve been writing for eons or have never shared your writing within a group, this experience is not to be missed."

"Prompt opened my writing in different ways. It pushed me past an extended period of writers' block into a new period of creativity."

"Prompt was fun and inspirational and a great place to meet other people who share the same passion."

"It's well worth the time, effort and money. You'll surprise yourself!"

"It was an amazing experience! I've always wanted to do something like this but was afraid to try until now."

"I felt exhilarated after each workshop. I'm inspired!"

"If you're in a rut, Prompt will get you out. If you're lacking confidence in your writing, it will build you up. And if you don't think you have a unique voice, it will prove you wrong!"

"I loved it! Prompt was everything I'd hoped for and more than I expected. Everyone should take it!"

"The facilitator was well-prepared, inclusive, supportive and an excellent writer."

"Prompt was like a door for me - it opened up my creative side again after a long time. I loved the non-pressure vibe."

"I loved the inclusive, community-building part of the workshop experience."

"This was an incredible experience. It's hard to express how much this has really impacted me and made me feel so much more confident about my writing."

"The facilitator was fabulous!"

"The sense of community was strong. It was a wonderfully diverse group of people that likely would not have otherwise met."

"It was great! Prompt helped me gain confidence and excitement about my writing."

"This is a great way to stretch yourself, deepen your experience of who you are as a person and a writer."

"I really enjoyed coming together with people from all walks of life and different age groups. It reminded me of what we share as humans - joys and sorrows."