UPSTATE: Personalizing Place with Colleen Kinder 

Personalizing PlaceCK_001
September 1 to September 5 
with Colleen Kinder

Place is where the “I” goes,” writes Dorothy Allison.”Place is what that “I” looks at, what it doesn’t look at.” Every writer, whether a memoirist, short-story writer, playwright, or journalist, must deal with the challenge of how to render sense of place with precision and force. But the word “precision” belies the importance of subjectivity–that is, how place refracts through the prism of one person, one sensibility, one moment in time even. This course will focus on creating strong and distinct atmosphere in any body of writing, through writing exercises that challenge students to imbue their stories with a highly particularized and nuanced sense of place, and turn the backdrop of the story into a character in and of itself. We will also examine works of fiction and nonfiction that are exceptionally atmospheric, and by workshopping student writing samples with a focus in how scene, landscape and regionality are rendered.

Colleen Kinder is a travel writer and photographer based in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, A Public Space, The, National Geographic Traveler,, Creative Nonfiction, and The New York Times Travel Section. Her essays have been anthologized in The Best American Travel Writing 2013, Readings for Writers, The Best Women’s Travel Writing, 20-Something Essays by 20-something Writers and The Innocent Abroad. Colleen graduated from Yale College and received her MFA at the University of Iowa. She teaches essay and immerseive travel writing courses in France for Yale Summer Session and is currently working on launching Off Assignment, a non-profit organization and an online publication devoted to the “gritty stories behind glossy magazines.”

Logistics: Schedule, Fees, How to Apply

Workshop Retreat Schedule: Each day begins with breakfast followed by a three-hour workshop at 10:00 AM. Total workshop time for the retreat will be twelve hours. The afternoon can be spent working in the studio, visiting local sites or walking the mountain trails. Dinner is eaten overlooking our field and gorgeous meadows. Evening hours are devoted to worktime.

Fees: $850 includes tuition, private room, private studio and all meals. $550 includes tuition and meals only. $1,300 for two Workshop Retreats. Millay Colony Alumni receive a 15% discount. Participants may purchase a thirty-minute Private Consultation with instructors for $150. Manuscripts (20 pages maximum) must be sent in advance.

Payment in full is required at sign up.

Workshop cancellations will be accepted up to 30 days before the workshop start date with a 50% refund issued.
Unfortunately, we are not able to offer refunds beyond the cut-off date.
In the unlikely event that a workshop is cancelled by The Millay Colony, full refunds will be issued.

To Apply: Send an email with a brief work sample (up to ten pages, links to online work are fine) and a $100 deposit. Please indicate if you require lodging and studio space for the Retreats. Apply To: Amina Henry: Pay deposit via PayPal using our DONATE Button. Or send a check/work sample to The Millay Colony for the Arts, 454 East Hill Road, Austerlitz, NY. Attention: Workshops. Make checks payable to The Millay Colony for the Arts. 

For more information contact Amina Henry at

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