La Maison Baldwin

Summer 2020 Workshop for Writers


July 8 - August 16, 2020

A 6-week intensive for writers working in the spirit of James Baldwin

James Baldwin at his home in St. Paul de Vence

Photo copyright Cinquini 1982


Online creative writing workshops facilitated by the Fellows of the Maison Baldwin Program for Writers in Residence.


$250 per workshop


Generative and peer-critique workshops in poetry, fiction, playwriting, creative nonfiction and cross-genre writing​.

  • an exchange of creative work with your peers and your facilitator

  • meets via Zoom for 90 minutes, one day per week for 6 weeks

  • maximum 12 writers per workshop

Special perks

  • Drop-in visits from the creative faculty of the (postponed) 2020 Conference on James Baldwin

  • A private virtual tour of James Baldwin’s village in the south of France

  • An end-of workshop online celebration and live open mic featuring participating writers and faculty

The Workshops

Proceeds to benefit the Maison Baldwin Program for Writers-in-Residence


Register Below


Excavating Black Joy with Mia S. Willis

Wednesdays July 8 to August 12, 2020, 11:00 am to 12:30 pm EST

Baldwin is often remembered for the ways his literary work excavated Black and queer joy in times of societal turmoil and uncertainty. As Black creators become increasingly essential in our current age of urgency, participants in this six week workshop will encounter poetry forms created by and for Black people in order to render a particular emotion or circumstance. Poets will be guided through formal analyses of Black poetry forms and conduct their own session-exclusive formal experiments in an effort to exhume grief and cultivate joy in their various dimensions.

Spoken Word   

Writing as a Warrior with Regie Cabico

Wednesdays July 8 to August 12, 2020, 2:00 to 3:30pm EST

We will explore our fiercest selves as we experiment with language to create an authentic poetry in these times of unprecedented isolation. Each workshop will begin with guided prompts to generate the images that will fuel our poems. We will share our work to the group to hone it for performance and to learn from one another's processes. The goal is to generate new work that addresses race, gender and sexual identity, and to craft it for performance. We will look at the elements of the 3-minute slam poem as a structure to put our biography onto the page within a nurturing environment, allowing us to explore our joys and fears in a safe space. We will tell our personal truths in a time where our stories are silenced, find our sharp edges,, and dive off the cliff of our most profound selves to write the poem we've been wanting to say in these times of political unrest.


Transgressing Genre, Transgressing Gender with Jamie McGhee

Thursdays July 9 to August 13, 2020, 11:00 am to 12:30pm EST

James Baldwin constantly transgressed the rules and expectations of genre and form—he drew on jazz standards in his prose, and he built song and sermon into his poetry. In the same way, he subverted the expectations of the French conception of le genre, meaning gender, leaning into queer imaginings and reimaginings of what it could mean to be a man. This fiction workshop will focus on blending multiple artistic expressions into your prose, from oral storytelling traditions to musical rhythms, from theatrical flourishes to poetic structures. This workshop will also emphasize the importance of exploring “nontraditional” conceptions of sex and gender. It will provide a creative space where writers are encouraged to, like Baldwin, break free of societal constraints.


Black Speculative Fiction As Resistance with Brooke Obie

Fridays July 10 to August 14, 2020, 2:00 p to 3:30 pm EST

This workshop explores the power of Black speculative fiction to heal the past and expand the possibilities of the present and future. Using both fiction and non-fiction Black revolutionary texts as discussion guides and writing prompts, workshoppers will learn speculative fiction techniques for literary fiction or genre fiction and craft their own speculative fiction pieces as an act of resistance.


Building Your World with Kiprop Kimutai

Saturdays July 11 to August 15, 2020, 11:00 am to 12:30 pm EST 

In fiction, we need to build our worlds. We do this through memory and observation, and then via the interrogation of those memories and observations. What was passed down to you? What do you choose to remember? What do you ignore? When do you recall a specific memory? What are you observing in your current reality? What moral stance have you taken based on what you are observing? In this workshop, we will use these questions as aids in writing fiction. We will also turn to stories from a diversity of cultures for examples and inspiration.


ARTITUDE: Ar­t • Words • Design with Rico Frederick

Saturdays (4 weeks) July 11 to August 1, 2020, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm EST 

The idea is to engage writers/poets to develop poems centered around visualization, empowerment, social awareness, internal-investigation, using various forms of poetry with minimal graphic design elements. By investigating poetry books which use design elements and watching films on design, the workshop discovers writing and branding techniques, such as color manipulation, font development, and writing forms used for accessibility. Through conversation, we identify sources of influence from poets, artist, activist, music, social media influencers, posters, billboards, and slogans, then thinking of personal, historical, multi-cultural, or activism concepts that will be developed through weekly writing prompts and the exchange of our creative work.


Writing Your Reality with Chiedozie Dike

Sundays July 12 to August 16, 2020, 11:00 am to to 12:30 pm EST

A good story is like afang soup. It rarely happens by accident. This workshop is about putting all the elements together that make for a compelling narrative, and doing so with authority and conviction. Like all art forms, the context of any writing is crucial to understanding its purpose. Through a series of discussions, writing and reading exercises, as well as exchanging our work, we shall interrogate our process for choosing what to write by tackling the following questions: Why do you write? For whom do you write? To whom do you write?


Putting the Play in "Play" with Jelisa Jay Robinson

Sundays July 12 to August 16, 2020, 2:00 pm to to 3:30 pm EST

Writing a play is first about PLAY.  Before anyone else sees your work, YOU have to SEE it and ENJOY it. This workshop is not about writing the perfect play.  It's not about mastering structure. It's not about creating the perfect character arc. It's about mastering your fear and getting out of your own way so that your character can speak. It's about taking creative risks! Through a series of freewriting sessions, games, prompts, discussions and sharing sessions, we will start the process of breaking down the barriers so that you can put the PLAY back into your playwriting process (or more JOY if you already have it!). 

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Les Amis de la Maison Baldwin is fiscally sponsored by FJC, a U.S. 501c3 public charity. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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