Winter Writers Workshops offered to the community
Posted: 01/16/2009
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Calling all writers! Professors at The University of Texas-Pan American will be offering low cost, intensive writing workshops on campus this winter open to every member of the community. Courses will be taught in memoir writing, poetry writing, screenwriting, and fiction writing by Emmy Pérez and Dr. Phil Zwerling, both assistant professors in the MFA graduate program in creative writing.

"We want to get you in and get you writing," Zwerling said. "You'll learn the basics, have time to write, and have your work discussed and strengthened by your instructors and fellow students. For those who have been writing in their spare time or for those who have always wanted to get started, this is your place to begin."

Emmy Pérez and Dr. Phil Zwerling, both assistant professors in the MFA graduate program in creative writing at UTPA, will serve as instructors in four upcoming Winter Writers Workshops offered to members of the community as part of the University's Continuing Education Program.
The first set of workshops, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 7, 9 a.m.-noon and Saturday, Feb. 21, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m., allow students to choose enrollment in either poetry or memoir writing. The second set of workshops, set for Friday, March 6, 9 a.m.-noon and Friday, March 13, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m., offer the choice of fiction writing or screenwriting. All workshops will be held in the ITT Building International Room. The cost for each workshop (a total of 8 hours over two days) is just $40.

Pérez describes her courses: "In the 'Poems of Witness and Experience' participants will have an opportunity to reflect on their own life experiences. We will write poems in storytelling style - poems that sound the way we speak and honor what each has seen, experienced, and imagined. In 'Short Stories in a Flash' participants will transform the stories they tell or haven't yet told to friends and family into short, short fiction stories."

Of his two courses, Zwerling says: "In 'Everyone has a Story' you'll learn how to dig deep into your own life and memories to craft dynamic true stories full of energy and verve to interest a wider audience and in 'Why Not Write A Movie?' you'll learn how to turn ideas into captivating images and stories into riveting scenarios. Learn how to begin a screenplay or finish the one you're working on."

Pérez is the author of a poetry collection titled "Solstice." A graduate of Columbia University and the University of Southern California, she teaches creative writing in the MFA graduate program at UTPA.

Zwerling is the author of two books, more than 200 magazine and newspaper articles, and many produced plays. He teaches creative nonfiction, screenwriting, and playwriting in UTPA's MFA graduate program.

Classes will be held on the UTPA campus as part of the Continuing Education Program. For more information, ask for continuing education at 956/381-3661 or e-mail To register, visit