In 2015, Buckley partnered with the prestigious non-fiction Iowa Writers’ Workshop at Iowa University, led by English teacher Mitch Kohn. “I asked John [D’Agata, head of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop Non-Fiction Program and author of The Next American Essay and other critically acclaimed books] if he would come to speak to Buckley kids," says Kohn. "He responded, ‘Why don’t you come here?’”
The first year was a huge success, and every March since then, during Buckley’s pupil-free days for prose writing, Kohn takes a group of about 20 Upper School students to cozy, snowy, collegiate Iowa City for two days of non-fiction writing workshops.
All Buckley Fellows are second-year graduate students in the Non-Fiction Writers’ Workshop, a three-year program. Of the 10 graduate students in Iowa’s Non-Fiction Writing program, four are selected to lead “Buckley Master Classes,” based on ideas they pitch to Bonnie Sunstein, the current head of the Nonfiction Writing Program.
"Anti-Hero: The Essayist & The Pop Song" by Spencer Jones
"Alternate Universes: The Art of Speculation in Nonfiction Writing" by Sarah Khatry
"How to Ask a Question" by Wyatt Williams
"Writing from the Head & the Heart: Emotion and Memory in Creative Nonfiction" by Fi Okupe
"B(l)ack Down South: How Writing Can Transform Perception" by Grace Morse
"Ekphrastic Writing" by Jessie Kraemer
“The Iowa program allowed for me to further explore a genre of writing that had never before been of interest to me. Before the program, I was under the impression that nonfiction writing could never be fun. However, this experience has opened my eyes to a whole world of creative writing, for which I am incredibly grateful.”
-Caitlin K. '24
Buckley Upper School English teacher Mitch Kohn and director of the Iowa’s Non-Fiction Writers’ Workshop John D’Agata piloted the partnership in 2016
Iowa Trip Itinerary
Fly to Iowa City
Buckley Fellows, Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate students selected to lead Buckley’s master classes, along with author/playwright and Non-Fiction Writers Program head John D’Agata, arrive at hotel to greet students at the Iowa House Hotel.
8:30 a.m.: Fellows meet Buckley students at hotel and walk them over to the English/Philosophy Building, where they break into groups for their first session
11:00 a.m.: Lunch in the town of Iowa City
1:00 p.m.: Workshops continue with writing and sharing
4:00 p.m.: Walking tour of Iowa City, including former residence of Kurt Vonnegut and the renowned Prairie Lights bookstore
7:00 p.m.: Buckley Fellows give readings of their own work at Gerber Hall.
9:00 p.m.: Dinner/dessert in town
Students check out of hotel and meet Fellows again to walk over for Day 2 of workshops
9:00 a.m.: First session of Workshop 2 begins, with readings and discussion
10:45 a.m.: Lunch in town
12:30 p.m.: Second session of Workshop 2, writing and sharing
2:00 p.m.: Reception in Non-Fiction Writing Program office, with Fellows. Buckley students receive notebooks with inscriptions from Fellows