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Secrets, Lies & Honesty (Session 2, Creative Writing with Joan Li) is a Course

Secrets, Lies & Honesty (Session 2, Creative Writing with Joan Li)

Time limit: 84 days

$575 Enroll

Full course description

This 2-week online course is part of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio Online Camp, Session 2, July 11-24, 2021. There is a separate application process for this course. If you have not been accepted into Session 2 of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio Online Camp you are not eligible to enroll.


In this course, we will explore the range of ways writers employ twists and turns in language and drama to reach some form of honesty, whether that be honesty of emotion, of ideas, of experience. We will look at the building blocks of short stories, poetry, and personal essays through this lens of honesty, examining how voice, detail, and drama can occlude and reveal. This course might be good for you if you want to write characters with Deep Dark Secrets or lines that punch people’s gut and make them think: yes, I know what they’re talking about. It might be helpful to you if you want to write complex scenes, beautiful images, or surprising revelations. How do we say what our speakers and characters feel without actually saying it? How can our thoughts sing?


We will be learning not only from published pieces of writing, but also each other’s drafts via online discussion boards and/or Zoom. During our time together, you will be encouraged to try new techniques and pieces under the guidance of generative writing exercises. Honesty, of course, will be a facet of our feedback, but so will generosity, patience, and open-mindedness. This is a chance for us to come together and grow as fellow writers and creatives.


Joan Li is Chinese-American writer from the stuffy coast of New England. Her work has been published in The Rumpus, New England Review, Salt Hill, and elsewhere. Prior to attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop to work on her fiction, she graduated from Harvard and cosplayed as brand strategist for Big Milk and other breakfast foods. In addition to being an avid reader, she is a manga geek, a lapsed orchestra nerd, and a video game enthusiast.




The fee for this course is $575. Payment in full is required to enroll in the course.


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."


Cancellation Policy: A $100 cancellation fee will be applied to refunds for cancellations received by Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Thereafter, no refunds will be available. 



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