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Iowa Writers' Workshop

Iowa Writers' Workshop

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 Lifespan of a Fact, which was recently an off-Broadway play, and other critically acclaimed books] if he would come 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 D’Agata. This year, they were led by second-year grad students Lulu Dewey Bryn Lovitt, Julia Lucus, and Darius Stewart. and covered the topics of comedy, true crime, sports and the anatomy, and poetic prose.

2019 Workshops

List of 4 items.

“Going on the Iowa trip my senior year was a confirmation that there is validity in pursuing creative writing in college. I expanded my sense of what I was capable of writing. The master classes also taught me how to incorporate an outside interest into my writing and create a piece of work that reflects my expertise in multiple fields of study.”
-Iyanna L. ‘19

Congratulations, Bonnie!

We are so proud that Bonnie Sunstein, director of the University of Iowa’s graduate Nonfiction Writing Program (NWP) and the undergraduate writing program, recently won an award for education and outreach, in part because of her role in forging a partnership with Buckley.  Read more about her and the award here.

Iowa Trip Itinerary

Wednesday

  • 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.
  • Dinner locally.






Thursday

  • 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 Sanctuary Pub, which shuts down to the public for the event. 
  • 9:00 p.m.: Dinner/dessert in town

Friday

  • 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
  • 6:00 p.m.:  Flight back to Los Angeles!