First Tuesdays

The first Tuesday of every month, Writers Room runs an open workshop at the Dornsife Center from 4:30-6:00 PM.

2017-2018 SEASON:


Please join us as we celebrate the release of our fourth collection of work from Writers Room. Featuring Tripod: People, Places, Portraits photography exhibit. Refreshments will be served with free community dinner following.


Led by Val Fox.


Valerie Fox will be leading "Writing Haiku + Haibu: Combining Narrative and Image." Following up on last year's First Tuesday that was spent writing haiku, we will revisit writing in the form. However, we will also try out the haibun form. Haibun combines prose and poetry, expansion and brevity. It often explores the concept of spiritual journey. Examples can be found at Contemporary Haibun Online.

March 6: TALK IT OUT!

March's First Tuesday will be an intensive workshop on how to write great dialogue, led by novelist and professor Nomi Eve of the Drexel Department of English & Philosophy.

If your characters don't talk, your readers can't hear them. And yet many writers have trouble figuring out how to let their characters speak for themselves. Come to this interactive workshop to put words in their mouths. Your characters will thank you as you use prompts to write rich dialogue to find story, create compelling characters, reveal relationships and move plot along. Let your characters speak for themselves, and your readers will want to keep turning the page.


Join us for our February One Book, One Philadelphia workshop! The Boston Globe calls Another Brooklyn "a love letter to loss, girlhood, and home." Craft love letters in a group meditation on fond remembrance of that which should not be forgotten, through letters, poetry, or essays. Share your love for a home, a neighborhood, a person, or something broader.


Join us for "Floetry: Chair Yoga + Writing" led by Daniela Jernigan.

Taking stock, cleaning house and moving on—this is a letting go writing + yoga workshop to start the new year. This workshop will focus on taking stock of the past year; interpreting its events, assigning meanings, deciding what's good to let go and choosing our focus for the new year. We will do some chair yoga, write more, and solidify our goals as creatives for the year ahead.


Join us for a postcard writing workshop, "Wish You Were Here: Leaving a Map to Follow."

correspondence / address = postcard


Join us to celebrate the release of Words like Love and Light, an anthology of work from our collaboration with LoLa 38, a creative placemaking project in West Philly.

Members of the Writers Room community and participants in workshops throughout the summer and fall along the Lancaster Avenue corridor have loaned us their eyes, their words, their histories, and their imaginings to offer up snapshots of this changing neighborhood in the midst of a major shift—and new development.

We will be celebrating the release of the book with light refreshments and an impromptu reading of select pieces, followed by a discussion led by our very own Rachel Wenrick and Valerie Fox.


writing + photography + place

September 5: WELCOME (BACK)

Join us for our annual back-to-school night! Greet old friends and meet new ones as we map out the coming season together. We're starting at 4:30 PM this year.

2016-2017 SEASON:


Join us as we celebrate the annual collection of work from Writers Room and the debut single from MAD Dragon Community Recording.


Workshop inspired by our visiting writer for the spring, Major Jackson, and his piece, "Why I Write Poetry."

Join us in composing our own reasons putting ourselves and our thoughts, fears, and dreams on paper. We shall brainstorm both on why we write and then create short biographies to tell our readers who we are (and who we want to be) as writers.

April 4: HAIKU-OFF

This month's workshop is a haiku-off presented in collaboration with Maya Literary Magazine. The haiku-off is a festive and interactive experience in which we will write in response to themes and share our writings. We will also learn about and try writing in other forms.

Maya is Drexel's only undergraduate yearly publication of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and art. Maya serves as an outlet for the student body's creativity, and as an organization interested in literature and art based outreach. 2017 is Maya's 50th anniversary!


Writers Room is celebrating OBOP with a workshop based around themes found in Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Join us in unpacking the novel as we discuss the experience of both the protagonist (and the author) and gain a greater understanding that comes from thinking through, writing through (and maybe even crossing through) a few hypothetical scenarios.

February 7: IMPROV + WRITING

The workshop for this month is run by Dr. Fred Siegel from the Department of English & Philosophy. In addition to being a writing teacher and an administrator, Fred Siegel has been a member of several improv groups including Comedysportz Philadelphia, ArielProv, Choosical, and Tongue & Groove. A few years ago, he started to think that some of the skills used in improv could be used by writers to improve spontaneity, generate ideas, and collaborate more effectively. Join us in thinking about and discovering the ways in which improv practices can feed into our writing practices.


In our January workshop we will use musical artifacts to help generate stories and poems. We will take advantage of the natural connections between music and writing, but also use artifacts as "wild-cards" to help us create works that may even be about music or specific memories of music.


Stories, both fiction and nonfiction, require drama, conflict, surprise, revelation. In this workshop—lead by Professor Robert Watts from the Department of English & Philosophy—we will practice identifying and writing about dramatic turning-point moments in the lives of characters. These transformational moments can come from your own life story or from a fictional story about a character you imagine. The workshop will lead people though exercises of identifying interesting characters and powerful moments in these characters' lives. People will have a chance to share their dramatic moments with others.


Come read, watch, and listen to what we've created together during the past seven weeks in response to Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.


Stop by for this special NEA Big Read version of our monthly first Tuesday workshops. It's a given that Hurston writes with beautiful imagery. She combines lyric beauty with riveting storytelling. The zine is a form that combines word and image. In this workshop we will examine and talk about zines, create several writings (including a letter) in conversation with Zora Neale Hurston, and then actually create zines on our own and  collaborating with fellow writers.

September 6: WELCOME (BACK)

Let's catch up at our annual back-to-school night! See old friends, meet new ones, and help us program our 2016-2017 season. Bonus: learn about everything we've got going on for this fall's NEA Big Read festival in celebration of Zora Neale Hurston and "Their Eyes Were Watching God."

2015-2016 SEASON:

June 7: Anthology 2 Reading + Book Release

Please join us as we celebrate the release of our second collection of work.

May 3: Workshop/Playshop

We'll hold a Workshop/Playshop where the Writers Room community will develop their own workshop for newcomers attending the following Tuesday’s Week of Writing event!

April 5: DrexelPEN + Haiti

Based on her work in Haiti, poet and writer Harriet Levin Millan talks with us about the power of witness in the stories we write. Director of Certificate Program in Writing and Publishing, her novel How Fast Can You Run will be published in October.

March 1: One Book, One Philadelphia: Writing the Hard World

At this creative writing workshop, attendees will look at side by side passages from Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain and Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave to examine how the authors’ words illuminate a dark period in our country’s history in vastly different ways. You will then try your hands at using sharp language to carve your way towards your own illuminations.

February 2: Burning Desires

January 5: Untold Stories

December 1: The Rhythm in Our Words: Writing in Response to Music

You know that feeling you get in your gut when you're walking (or riding or driving) along and you hear a song that takes you right back to the time when...? Join us as writer/editor/musician Cynthia Ann Schemmer takes us on an exploration of those moments.

November 3: Blackout Writing: A New Visual Form for Writers

There’s a strategy for making poems and stories and art that has come to be known as “blackout.” It’s called that because it involves marking out or partially marking out words on pages. “Erasure” is a fancy way of saying almost the same thing, but implying the use of other ways of marking or crossing out words beyond completely blacking out with a marker or paint. These forms are close cousins to “found” art, or writing based on found materials. These poems or stories can be all about the words, or, they can contribute to a visual work of art.

Why try this? Using this method helps us to see and understand language in unexpected ways. It can have much heart, much humor. It can turn a story on its head. It can make a strong impact by how it combines word and image. It can reveal hidden, subtle messages by the very way it removes or obscures certain words or parts of words. It can be social critique. Importantly, this writing feels like playing. This playful writing can also lead to serious insight.

In this workshop, everyone will write and share numerous works based on books and texts that will be available to you at Dornsife. In addition, feel free to bring your own book that you think you might like to work with. Old newspapers and magazines work well, also. If you are drawn to collaborative works, or to art that combines words and pictures, you should have a great time in this workshop.

No preparation is required. Just come with an open mind, and ready to write. Led by Prof. Valerie Fox from the Department of English & Philosophy.

October 6: Name Calling

September 1: Welcome (Back)

Please join us for our first event of the 2015-2016 season. It's been a long hot summer. Let's catch up with friends old and new as we map out our second season together.