Nancy K. Barry


Nancy K. Barry (Ph.D., University of Illinois) has taught for the Festival for 25+ years. She was an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Iowa and, until her recent retirement, a Professor of English at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Luther's collegiate writing resource center, The Nancy K. Barry Writing Center, honors Nancy's 30 years working with students as writers. Her numerous essays have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, Agora, and elsewhere. Her radio essays have been featured on WOI, WSUI, and "The Best of Our Knowledge." Nancy is the author of a one-woman play about surviving breast cancer, Lessons from Cancer College. 


Nancy Barry

Start to Finish: One Essay in One Week

Event status
Short Description
If writers can compose a novel in a month (as they do in National Novel Writing Month), then surely you can compose an essay in a week! Over the course of five days, we will begin, revise and edit a 750-word personal essay.  Writers of all levels are welcome to explore what can be done in this disciplined framework—beginning with a raw idea that turns into sentences and paragraphs and a rough draft ready for a reader. We will talk about how writers make those crucial decisions about what to keep, what to toss, and what to expand or condense.  Each day we will spend in reviewing one another’s drafts, along with specific exercises in revision. By Thursday we will be looking at sentence-level editing, with our last day spent on suggestions for when, where and why you might submit the piece.  In the process of taking an idea from random thought to polished draft, the workshop will provide a user-friendly template of the revision process, along with a clearer understanding of when and how readers can help, and when this short form is best for particular material. 

In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments and provide feedback on writing you produce in our week.
Nancy Barry