As we all adhere to social distancing and sheltering in place in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, ZYZZYVA will continue to offer our Writer’s Workshops, in a slightly altered format.

These three-hour courses will be conducted over Zoom’s conferencing service, with varying class sizes of up to 12 attendees. Courses will include a craft lecture and generative writing prompts from the instructor, as well as group discussion.


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ZYZZYVA is a critically acclaimed print journal, introducing readers to new work from the best contemporary writers and artists since 1985. Based in San Francisco, we have established a vigorous tradition of finding and fostering new talent, in our backyard and beyond. For over thirty years ZYZZYVA has nurtured emerging writers, many of whom go on to spectacular careers (Haruki Murakami, Po Bronson, F.X. Toole, Kay Ryan, Sherman Alexie) and whose work in ZYZZYVA is recognized by the Pushcart Prize, the Best American series, the O. Henry Prize Stories, and other awards organizations. Recent contributors include Rivka Galchen, Ron Carlson, Ruth Madievsky, Lou Mathews, Lori Ostlund, Kaveh Akbar, Fatima Bhutto, Peter Orner, Ann Cummins, Octavio Solis, Glen David Gold, Amy Tan, and Matthew Dickman.

What Makes a Great Scene? with Lysley Tenorio: December 11, 2021. (11am PST to 2pm PST via Zoom) 

Application deadline: November 26th, 2021

As we all adhere to social distancing and sheltering in place in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, ZYZZYVA will continue to offer our Writer's Workshops, in a slightly altered format. This three-hour course will be conducted over Zoom's conferencing service, and will be limited to twelve students. Courses will include a craft discussion from the instructor, as well as generative writing prompts.

About this Workshop: You know the saying: good artists borrow, great artists steal. In this class, we’ll aim for greatness, examining the ways contemporary fiction writers render scenes in their work. How do they use this building block of narrative to generate drama and suspense, and to develop both external and internal conflict in their fiction? How do they use dialogue, internal monologue, and action to develop character, in order to give readers an immersive emotional experience? By studying the strategies used by these celebrated authors, we’ll learn to use their techniques for our own work.

This  class includes close readings and discussion, in-class writing and sharing work. Recommended (but not required) readings will be sent to students one week before the class.

Lysley Tenorio is the author of the novel The Son of Good Fortune, and the story collection Monstress. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Whiting Award, the New American Voices Award, a Stegner fellowship, and the Rome Prize. His stories have appeared in ZYZZYVA, the Atlantic, Zoetrope: All-Story, and Ploughshares, and have been adapted for the stage in San Francisco and New York City. He is a 2021-22 Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University, and is a professor at Saint Mary’s College of California.

Submission Guidelines: Please submit a fiction manuscript (short story, flash, or novel excerpt) of no more than 1, 250 words (roughly 5 pages double-spaced). Note: Manuscript will not be discussed in during class as this workshop is focused on craft discussion and generative writing prompts.

The non-refundable application fee is $15. Accepted applicants will be informed by December 3rd, 2021. If accepted, the fee to attend is $150.

Apply today!

ZYZZYVA