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May 10–June 14, 2021. Revisioning Your Story with Karen Bender is a Course

May 10–June 14, 2021. Revisioning Your Story with Karen Bender

Time limit: 60 days

Sorry! The enrollment period is currently closed. Please check back soon.

Full course description


Revisioning Your Story with Karen Bender (Five-Week Workshop)


Mondays on Zoom, May 10–June 14, 2021 Note: Class does not meet Memorial Day, Monday, May 31

5:30–8:00 p.m. Iowa/Central Time (6:30–9:00 p.m. Eastern, 3:30–6:00 p.m. Pacific; 4:30–7:00 p.m. Mountain)

Fee: $550

Course Description

In this five-week class, we will both build and revise a short story. In the first two weeks, you will complete short exercises aimed at developing your story in progress. In the third and fourth weeks, you’ll submit a story, up to eight pages in length, for the class to critique in workshop. In our class discussions, we’ll offer constructive criticism and brainstorm ideas for developing the story. The final week, we’ll share individual revision exercises in class. 

I'll hold a 30-minute conference with each student near the end of class.

This is a chance for you to discover what is working in your story, what could be developed or cut, and how to begin the essential process of re-seeing or revising your work.


Karen E. Bender is the author of the story collections Refund, which was a Finalist for the National Book Award in 2015, shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Story prize and Longlisted for the Story prize; and The New Order, which was Longlisted for the Story prize. Her novels are A Town of Empty Rooms and Like Normal People, which was a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Her fiction has appeared in magazines including The New YorkerGrantaPloughsharesZoetropeThe Yale ReviewThe Harvard ReviewGuernica, and Story, and reprinted in Best American Short StoriesBest American Mystery StoriesNew Stories from the South: The Year's Best, and have won three Pushcart prizes. She has taught at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and also in the M.F.A. programs at Hollins University, Warren Wilson College, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and Chatham University. She has recently joined the Core Faculty at the Alma College M.F.A. in creative writing. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rona Jaffe Foundation. Visit Karen at

Registration & Fees

The fee for this course is $550. 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!