Writing Workshop

Please Note: There will be no summer workshop in 2011, but we plan to meet again in 2012. Application information will be posted here in February 2012.


The third annual Southwell Creative Writing Workshop (emphasis on playwriting this year) will take place on June 1-11, 2008, at the Carmel Retreat House in Mahwah, New Jersey — which is about an hour from the New York City and Newark, N.J., airports.  Each accepted applicant will receive a Southwell Scholarship covering all costs, including room and board, except for travel expenses to and from the Retreat House (see Workshop Application).

The purpose of the workshop is to encourage a small group of interested, post-baccalaureate Catholics (ages 21-30) to develop their talents in creative writing from a traditional Catholic point of view.  Although some of the students will have majored in Theater or English in college, it is not necessary for application.  The workshops and related lectures will be conducted by Dr. William Baer, Dr. Henry Russell, and Dr. Daniel Joseph Varholy, and special guests this summer will include Kevin O’Brien, Director of Theater of the Word in St. Louis, Missouri (see Workshop Staff).

Approximately 10-12 students will be chosen to participate in the playwriting workshop, which will be supplemented by lectures about related literary topics, panel discussions about producing and publishing, guest readings, question-and-answer sessions, etc.

We hope to create a supportive environment for aspiring writers that will eventually lead to a Catholic literary revival.  Fifty years ago, Catholic writers like Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, and others were making serious contributions to both literature and the Faith.  Nothing like that exists today, and we would like to encourage interested young Catholics to make it happen again.


The workshop will stress the fundamentals of the craft, and each participant will write a new short (10-15 minute) play.  After discussion and feedback, the plays will be given stage readings.