Writers Festival: Interview with Dionna Griffin-Irons (Nonfiction Cohort)

At October’s Writers Festival, StoryStudio instructor and all-around amazing human Dionna Griffin-Irons will be teaching a session in the Nonfiction cohort titled “Cracking the Truth Code in our Personal Stories.” We recently talked with Dionna about her class, and what writers who attend can expect.


StoryStudio: Why might it be difficult for writers to “crack the code” on their personal truths? How will this session address that difficulty?  

I believe, as writers, we are constantly wearing masks and hiding behind our true identities.  This session will support writers to channel those identities for characters and emotional truths that we can shape our stories around. We’ll experiment with mini environments, and partner interactions to crack the code on discoveries we can see, hear and feel from our exercises. 

StoryStudio: Can you explain the three craft tools from the stage you’re helping writers learn in this session? Why are these important for cracking the code?  

Dionna: Three theatre/performance tools I borrow from the stage and utilize in my writing session are: Presence, Active Listening, and Creating from Abundance. Writers can never be reminded enough how intuitive response and staying present moment to moment is where we can harness our best work. 

My goal is to show the story from multiple angles – in space, environment, and by looking directly into the eyes of someone. I believe cracking the code in our stories is becoming fully aware of the clues that are left behind in the psyche, body, and physical space. My goal is to bring awareness to that moment and make space for writers to have fun and laugh out loud. Truth has a sense of humor.  

StoryStudio: What is the most important thing you’re hoping writers will take away from your session?  

Dionna: Freedom. Freedom to listen more intently, freedom to create without censorship, freedom to tell your unapologetic truth with a bit of levity and authority. If we can walk away lighter carrying our heavy truth stories, my work is fulfilled.

Sign up for the Nonfiction Cohort to attend this terrific class, as well as the keynote with Luis Alberto Urrea, and so much more. Please note: The fiction cohort for the Writers Festival is officially sold out. But spots remain in the Open-Genre and Nonfiction Cohorts. But hurry, these are going quickly, too!

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