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May 11–June 8, 2021. Openings: An Advanced Novel Workshop with Robert Anthony Siegel is a Course

May 11–June 8, 2021. Openings: An Advanced Novel Workshop with Robert Anthony Siegel

Time limit: 60 days

Spots remaining: 2

$500 Enroll

Full course description


Openings: An Advanced Novel Workshop with Robert Anthony Siegel (Five-Week Workshop)



Tuesdays on Zoom, May 11–June 8, 2021

6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Iowa/Central Time (7:00–9:00 Eastern; 4:00–6:00 Pacific; 5:00–7:00 Mountain)

Fee: $500

Course Description

We all know that the opening pages of a novel are crucial to the reading experience—the place where we first connect with a writer’s voice and vision, fall in love with the story’s characters, and start to piece together the plot. But what makes a good opening good? How do openings work? And as a novelist, how do you decide on the right opening for the book you’re working on?

This five-week online class will explore all of these questions, placing them in the context of the fundamentals of novel construction, including scene, structure, and plot. We will read and discuss openings from a variety of published works, do creative exercises geared to deepening our understanding of character and story, and workshop our own novel openings, sharing insights and encouragement.

The course includes a thirty-minute conference with the instructor to discuss next steps for your novel.


Robert Anthony Siegel is the author of a memoir, Criminals, and two novels, All the Money in the World and All Will Be Revealed. His nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian, The Paris Review, and other magazines. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan and a Mombukagakusho Fellow in Japan. Other awards include O. Henry and Pushcart Prizes. Robert is an associate professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he teaches fiction and nonfiction. Visit his webpage at

Registration & Fees

The fee for this course is $500. Payment in full is required to register.

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

Enrollment for this class opens at 10:00 a.m. Central Time, Monday, April 26.

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!