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June 25–June 27, 2021. Finish That Thing! with Beau O’Reilly is a Course

June 25–June 27, 2021. Finish That Thing! with Beau O’Reilly

Time limit: 60 days

Spots remaining: 6

$300 Enroll

Full course description



Finish That Thing! with Beau O’Reilly (Weekend Workshop)


Friday, June 25–Sunday, June 27, 2021

Friday on Zoom, 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Iowa/Central Time (8:00–9:00 Eastern; 5:00–6:00 Pacific; 6:00–7:00 Mountain) Introductory meeting

Saturday and Sunday on Zoom, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Iowa/Central Time (11:00–4:00 Eastern; 8:00–1:00 Pacific; 9:00–2:00 Mountain)

Saturday and Sunday meetings include a one-hour break. Class meets for four hours each day.

Fee: $300


Course Description

So, you have this poem with too much going on and it’s sprawling off the page, or a short story that’s all beginning with no ending in sight, or a song chorus and verse that’s stuck in your head without a bridge to connect them. Familiar? Then Finish That Thing! is for you. You bring a favorite or troubled piece that you can’t let go of, and we will figure out how to bring it to completion.

On Saturday morning, we’ll look at your poem, short story, song, or one-act play. Beau will suggest edits and rewrites designed to refresh your work and approach it in a new way, reading it aloud to you so you can hear where it’s working or where it falls short. We will discuss a good, strong ending—the most common complaint for writers.

On Saturday afternoon in class, and into the evening on your own, you will take these notes and suggestions, along with your observations from our discussion, and incorporate them into your piece.

On Sunday, we will read our rewrites aloud, and Beau will suggest further edits and tweaks to sharpen the writing, followed by a short rewriting session.

This class is for short story writers, poets, playwrights, and songwriters. 


Beau O’Reilly is a curator for the Rhinoceros Theater Festival, a frequent contributor to This American Life, and a professor of playwriting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a co-founder of the Curious Theater Branch (now in its 32nd year), the Crooked Mouth band, and the humbly legendary Maestro Subgum & the Whole. His latest solo album, Thrifty, was released on Uvulittle Records in 2021. The author of over eighty original plays, O’Reilly is also a working actor. O’Reilly has produced, curated, and directed work at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Poetry Foundation, Steppenwolf Studio, and Links Hall. He has taught for many years in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and always enjoys coming back to Iowa City.

Registration & Fees

The fee for this course is $300. Payment in full is required to register.

Registration for this course opens at 1:00 p.m. Central Time, Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Class size is limited to 10.

Note: Your credit card payment will be processed by an external provider and will appear on your credit card statement as “UI Writing—Magid Center.”

Refund & Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel your enrollment in a Festival class, please let us know as soon as possible. We can only offer full refunds if you cancel two weeks prior to the start of class. After that, before the start date of class, we can offer a 50% refund. We cannot refund day-of cancellations, and we cannot refund or partially refund tuition once the class has begun.

Terms & Community Policy

The Iowa Summer Writing Festival is a community built on an assumption of shared enterprise, in the spirit of mutual respect. We reserve the right to a) revoke the registration of or b) dismiss from the program any person who disrupts the learning/working environment of others. Participants in the Festival are subject to all University of Iowa policies governing conduct in our community, whether online or in person.



Contact the Iowa Summer Writing Festival: Phone: (319) 335-4160.

Our tiny staff is working remotely. If you phone and we miss you, please leave a message!