Other Hume Center Events and Programs

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The Hume Center and the Creative Writing Program are proud to offer this free workshop series open to all students from all majors. Come to The Writers Studio for intensive, fun, hands-on workshops with the dynamic faculty of the Creative Writing Program. You’ll leave with an expanded understanding of writing and a sheaf full of pages. All workshops are on Monday's from 6-7:30 p.m. and will be offered online in Spring Quarter 2020.

Let's Get it Started with Keith Ekiss | Monday, April 13th

For many writers, whether beginner or advanced, getting started is the toughest part of all. In this fun, hands-on workshop, we’ll look at what inspires a novelist or a poet to write and how we confront the perfect white field of the blank page. We’ll practice different way of taking the first step, including 5-minute spills, imitations, and opening questions. It turns out, getting started is surprisingly easy. You’ll leave with the start of new stories and lots of ideas for future writing.

Pitching into Story with Rachel Hamburg | Monday, April 20th

Pitching a story, whether it's for a class project or for your favorite outlet in the world, can feel totally overwhelming. Especially when you're asking permission to go out and investigate a narrative that's still mysterious to you! But fear not. Crafting your pitch can be a surprisingly deep exercise in storytelling. In this workshop, we'll focus on how to use the process of writing a pitch to investigate deep narrative questions, and also develop a sense of how different editors (or, perhaps, professors) evaluate the pitches they receive. Please bring a story idea, or several.

Building a Scene: The Dramatic Moment with Kevin DiPirro | Monday, May 4th

When building a scene, writers have recourse to a number of tools with character, action, and dialog—but perhaps the pivotal tool is the dramatic moment. In the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Orpheus looks back—sending his bride Eurydice back to Hades again. In this studio, we will use the “don’t look back” dramatic moment to collaboratively construct a scene that repurposes the myth in a contemporary setting. We will source your own ideas for character, action, dialog, and movement. Reverse-engineering from the dramatic moment, we will practice layering in the central tension of the scene and build it to our dramatic moment--then craft out that exquisite falling tension. Participants will take away to their own prose, poetry, fiction, and script projects the skills of scene building: layering, raising, and enacting the moments of released tension.

A Thing With Feathers: Poems About Birds with Austin Smith | Monday, May 11th

In this time of social distancing and quarantine, many of us are wondering how to engage with our creative spirits when so much seems closed and canceled. Throughout history, poets have written about birds in moments of physical and emotional and spiritual paralysis, identifying with various elements of the avian world: their flight, their song, the beauty and delicacy of their eggs and nests. They have written about watching, listening to, even killing birds. Emily Dickinson, John Keats, Robert Frost, Lorine Niedecker, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Robinson Jeffers are amongst the poets who’ve written about winged things. We’ll discuss some of the most famous poems of this kind, and, because there should be birds wherever we find ourselves this spring, we’ll write our own bird poems too.

Trailer Moments: Brainstorm Your Story by Writing Its Movie Trailer with Adam Tobin | Monday, May 18th

"In a world where ..." writers are struggling to develop and organize their stories, what can we learn from movie trailers? Quite a bit, actually. These mini-stories jam-pack character, conflict, and memorable setpieces into just a few short minutes. By breaking down various trailers we'll explore the core concepts and relationships of a story and the most powerful lines of dialogue. We'll also begin to brainstorm the dramatized elements of your own original story, television episode, or film.

Emergency!: Writing Vital Drama with Shannon Pufahl | Monday, June 1st

The very word “emergency” derives from the phenomenon of emergence, the experience of an object or concept or circumstance becoming suddenly visible. As we know from our current emergency, dramatic or dangerous events can reveal great forces such as inequality, kindness, community, and anxiety. In fiction, emergencies are often much smaller in scale – a fight with a friend, a death, a divorce – but they, too, reveal and make visible things about character, relationships, and truths. In this workshop, we’ll practice writing scenes of great drama or conflict as a way of surfacing elements of character and theme. In particular, we’ll study setting and physical gesture as techniques that heighten drama and produce feelings of fear or anxiety in readers, in the service of emerging truths. This workshop will lead very nicely to the following week, when Kevin Dipirro will discuss scene writing.


Project WRITE, founded in 2002 by Stanford undergraduate students, is an outreach program for East Palo Alto High School students who have a passion for writing. A team of Stanford students plans and leads winter quarter writing workshops that help develop participants' writing style and voice.

As part of the 2020 Family Weekend Community Receptions and Open Houses, please join Hume for "A Celebration of Writing and Performance: Readings and Performances by Stanford Students and Family." You are invited to share a writing, a song, or a favorite reading at the Hume Center’s annual Family Weekend open mic. Join Stanford students, instructors, and family members for an evening of lively, thoughtful poetry and prose. If you’d rather not read a short piece, come listen! Brothers and sisters are welcome to participate, too. Coffee, tea, and an array of delicious desserts provided.

Save the Date! Virtual Admit Weekend on Saturday, April 25, 2020. 


The U.S. Senate passed Resolution S.298, designating October 20 as the National Day on Writing, a day to recognize and celebrate writing in all its forms. Join the Hume Center annually in celebrating.

Join Jones Lecturer Richie Hoffman for Poet's House, a writing studio for beginning and experienced poets. 

Meet fellow writers, generate new work, read, experiment, and share. 

Free and open to the entire Stanford community and held virtually over Zoom. 


Email rhof@stanford.edu for more information. 

The Hume Center quarterly newsletter offers the latest updates on Hume's schedule of workshops, tutoring hours, and special events.