StoryBoard 2020 has come and gone, and what a fantastic first year it was! Details on StoryBoard 2021 will be forthcoming soon. Check back here for details, or subscribe to our newsletter for up-to-date announcements. For now, you can see how the 2020 workshop went below.

The Sunday evening Welcome Reception on Zoom was a nice way to raise a virtual glass and toast to a great week of workshopping and craft talks ahead!

Lidia Yuknavitch got the week started with her 10 cohort members.

For the first year, StoryStudio is thrilled to present: StoryBoard, now hosted online. This week-long program will run from August 17 – 21, led by Lidia Yuknavitch, Danielle Evans, and Manuel Gonzales.

Lidia Yuknavitch – Hybrid (Fiction/CNF)

Lidia Yuknavitch is the National Bestselling author of the novels The Book of Joan and The Small Backs of Children, winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award’s Ken Kesey Award for Fiction as well as the Reader’s Choice Award, the novel Dora: A Headcase, and a critical book on war and narrative, Allegories Of Violence (Routledge). Her widely acclaimed memoir The Chronology of Water was a finalist for a PEN Center USA award for creative nonfiction and winner of a PNBA Award and the Oregon Book Award Reader’s Choice. The Misfit’s Manifesto, a book based on her recent TED Talk, was published by TED Books. Her new collection of fiction, Verge, is now out from Riverhead Books.

Danielle Evans – Short Story

Danielle Evans is the author of the story collection Before You SuffocateYour Own Fool Self, which was a co-winner of the 2011 PEN American Robert W. Bingham Prize for a first book, a National Book Foundation 5 under 35 selection, the winner of the Paterson Prize for Fiction and the Hurston-Wright award for fiction, and an honorable mention for the PEN/Hemingway award. Her work has appeared in magazines including The Paris Review, A Public Space, American Short Fiction, Callaloo, The Sewanee Review, and Phoebe, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2008, 2010, 2017, and 2018, and in New Stories From The South. Her second collection, The Office of Historical Corrections, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books. She teaches in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

Manuel Gonzales – Fiction

Manuel Gonzales is the author of the novel The Regional Office is Under Attack! and the acclaimed story collection The Miniature Wife, winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and the John Gardner Fiction Book Award. A graduate of the Columbia University Creative Writing Program, he teaches writing at the University of Kentucky and the Institute of American Indian Arts. He has published fiction and nonfiction in Open City, Fence, One Story, Esquire, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and The Believer. Gonzales lives in Kentucky with his wife and two children.


August 17 – 21


Application window 
closes May 31


$9 application fee
$799 tuition
$515 tuition


Use Submittable to upload
your application materials and
make your faculty preference selections.

Materials include: 10-page writing sample, and a brief questionnaire

FAQs are below.

The StoryBoard program is a weeklong intensive workshop. Workshops will take place on our online platform Zoom. For more about StoryStudio as a creative writing center under our parent nonprofit organization Stories Matter Foundation, click here.

StoryBoard has moved online, but it will still offer workshop time, community building with your cohort and instructor, and special discussions with all three authors. If a number of attendees are located close to the city, we are still considering ways to offer small, intimate social gatherings during the week. 

Here’s how it will work:

  • Sunday evening, August 16, there will be an online welcome meeting via Zoom. Bring a drink and meet your fellow writers.
  • Monday, August 17 will kick off the workshops at 10am. Each day will include 3 hours of craft lecture and workshops, until 1pm. From there, you’re free to do as you wish – continue the conversation with classmates over lunch, flop on your bed, or log off to put your inspiration to use on the page.
  • Tuesday, after workshop, Artistic Director Rebecca Makkai will give a craft talk of her own to all three cohorts, optional.
  • On Wednesday evening, Rebecca will be in conversation with all three faculty members in a webinar fashion on Zoom, a conversation that will be free and open to the public, but completely optional. 
  • Dependent upon gathering abilities: All students are invited to a planned evening out together on Thursday in a neighborhood to be determined, also optional.
  • Things will wrap up on Friday, August 21 with a goodbye Zoom party following the final workshop.
applications now closed

The Art of Hybrid Storytelling – Lidia Yuknavitch

Sometimes a story aches to emerge between forms. Think of Maggie Nelson’s Bluets or The Argonauts, or stand alone essays and stories by Eula Biss, Amy Hempel, Terese Mailhot, or Roxane Gay. In this workshop we will explore the art of moving between fiction and nonfiction as a dynamic form of storytelling by looking at a few examples and then diving into narrative practice. We will put our ideas into collaboration through discussion and generate deep form and content questions that lead to new modes of storytelling. Participants will draft a narrative helix and a narrative braid for future development.

1 hour of craft talk each day, 2 hours for workshops (2 students per day).

Structuring the Short Story – Danielle Evans

In this workshop, we will think about the form of the short story, discuss how writers create movement in the story form, and push our own work to use the full capacity of the form. We’ll read and discuss published stories that move through time, stories that unfurl around a single moment, and stories that weave together multiple threads. Through discussion and craft exercises, we will explore what makes a successful short story feel both compressed and expansive. Participants will each workshop a complete short story.

1 hour of craft talk each day, 2 hours for workshops (2 students per day).

Plot & Suspense: Building Tension in Fiction – Manuel Gonzales

If there’s no tension in your story, then there’s really no story. But how do you create and build and sustain tension? How do you create suspense? What drives a successful plot forward and pushes a reader to race breathlessly to the end of a compelling story or novel? We will explore the many different ways to add and build tension in your work, build plot, and develop suspense. We’ll look at various examples of masters in the art of creating tension and we’ll practice with in-class exercises the different ways you can tighten the screws for your characters and your readers, too. Writers will leave with a more keenly developed sense of how to build narrative tension, and the tools to apply in-class lessons to past, present, and future drafts.

1 hour of craft talk each day, 2 hours for workshops (2 students per day).

You Talkin’ to Me?: The “Ear” of the Story, with Rebecca Makkai (for all students)

We talk a lot about a story’s point of view—who’s telling it, why, under what circumstances. But there’s a flipside to that POV question: Who is the story’s implied listener? Are you casting your listeners as people who already know this world or people who need to be filled in? And what are the political and artistic implications of glossing a culture or setting for readers who don’t know it?

Tuesday afternoon, after workshops end.


How will COVID-19 affect this?

We hoped this workshop would not be greatly affected by the virus, but we have since decided to move online to avoid unease around traveling. All of the components of the workshop are still available, and each author is comfortable and familiar with teaching via Zoom. 

If you live in or near the city, we might have an option or two for in-person gatherings, but it would be completely social and will not affect anyone who cannot be in-person for the workshop. 

What level are these workshops?

Acceptance is selective and based on the quality and promise of the writing sample. The writers and instructors participating will all be serious about their craft and the feedback provided. Prior workshop experience is not necessary.

How many people will be in my group?

Each workshop will have a maximum of 10 participants.

Will we be workshopping new pieces, or ones we apply with?

You are welcome to submit any piece for the workshop component of the program. If you apply with one piece, but want to submit something else for the group to workshop, that’s acceptable. All workshop pieces will need to be submitted one month prior to the program’s start date.

Will I get to pick who I work with?

On our submission manager, Submittable, you’ll find options to list your preferences of faculty members. We’ll do our best to match you with your first choice.

How will we participate virtually?

Zoom invite links and information for joining your peers online will be provided in advance of the workshop. Additionally, you will have access to a private online chat forum for continual conversation outside of the live Zoom component.