PROGRAM

PROGRAM

Under the Volcano is an incubator of literary talent, a catalyst for writers with books in progress and an international community of writers that transcends borders, languages, time and place.

The core writing program

is open to poets, short story writers, novelists, journalists, librettists, memoirists and essayists, as well as those working on projects that challenge traditional genre forms. Optional add-on’s include a two-week extension residency and a day of 3-hour flash master classes on a range of craft topics and practical aspects of the writing life.

Registration for the core master classes is limited to eight, with acceptance based on an 8-10 page writing sample. Both accomplished and emerging writers are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Our alumni have published novels, stories, poetry collections, memoirs and articles, signed with leading literary agents, been admitted to top MFA programs, and won prizes and honors that include a National Book Award, the Premio Nacional de Novela Tamaulipas, the Premio Quimera Literatura Queer and the Write Stuff competition at the London Book Fair.

While specific master classes differ slightly in format, they share a common goal: to offer highly motivated writers an intensely sympathetic reading of their work, with strategic suggestions for revision.

Our faculty are seasoned in handling the subtleties involved in the exchange of work that explores the nature of different backgrounds or that takes risks in subject matter or style.

Financial aid and full fellowships are available to qualified applicants.  Please see our application guidelines for specific requirements and deadlines.

UNDER THE VOLCANO is a unique international community lovingly configured on the principles of mutual support and respect for differences of character, opinion, identity and life choices. We encourage all participants to respond to each other’s work, and to each other, in the same spirit.

CORE MASTER CLASSES

Designed for talented emerging and accomplished writers, our core workshops offer a weeklong immersion with focused feedback from master writers and supportive peers. Registration for each master class is limited to eight.

The program unfolds as a mini-festival and retreat, with special literary events and ample time for writing, revision and relaxation. Each three-hour master class meets six times, either morning or afternoon, with lunch built in.

Fluency in English is a must for all applicants; a good working knowledge of Spanish is also a plus.

FICTION

Our fiction master classes are open to those writing short stories or novels. Prior work as well as writing created during the program week may be submitted. Individual instructors set their own guidelines and pace.

POETRY

Our poetry master classes assume a solid body of past work and a willingness to generate new poems during the program week.

MEMOIR/LITERARY NON-FICTION

Whether writing autobiographically or exploring critical issues or the lives of others, participants in our memoir/non-fiction workshop will learn to bring the techniques of fiction to writing from fact.

JOURNALISM

The emphasis of our journalism master classes is two-fold: on developing a distinctive voice and acquiring the tools for state-of-the-art investigative reportage. Participants will propose a topic in advance and will produce a fully documented, professional pitch to be polished through group discussion and individual guidance.

THE MANUSCRIPT SEMINAR

The Manuscript Seminar is open to four writers with book-length works of fiction, memoir or non-fiction that would benefit from in-depth guidance.  Participants will work closely with novelist Jonathan Levi in individual sessions scheduled throughout the program week and will spend most of their time writing and revising. The Manuscript Seminar may not be taken in addition to any of the other core workshops.

EXTENSION RESIDENCY

Our two-week optional extension residency allows participants to create a customized writing retreat that begins immediately after the core program.

Largely self-managed and limited to a maximum of 16, the extension community resides at Posada La Presa and meets ad hoc to share writing and occasional meals.  UTV Writing Fellows will be available by appointment on a limited basis for consultation on work-in-progress to those working on fiction, memoir or literary non-fiction.

Extension residents, already at home in the village, frequently organize improvised events and excursions.  UTV staff can provide logistical assistance and advice.

FLASH MASTER CLASSES

Under the Volcano’s half-day Flash Master Classes, held mid-week in attractive venues around the village, explore key aspects of the craft of writing and the practicalities of the writing life. Open to both core participants and the general public, with lunch à la carte.  Cost per class: $75 USD.  See our application for the full list of offerings, which will be periodically updated.

FLASH MASTER CLASSES

PUT YOURSELF ON THE DIGITAL MAP with MILDRED PÉREZ DE LA TORRE 
(in English)

Award-winning novelist and social media expert Mildred Pérez de la Torre will share her insider’s knowledge of the digital world. First, compare selected writers’ web pages to identify the key elements that define a successful media presence—design, navigation, and the savvy use of visual media and text. The group will then create a fictional writer and create an integrated campaign guaranteed to put her and her new novel on the map via a website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, a blog and other social media.

FLASH FICTION with LUISA VALENZUELA
(two separate sessions, one each in English and Spanish)

Whether you are a seasoned writer in one of our core master classes, a poet who has fantasized about writing prose or someone who has never written but wonders where writers get their ideas, this three-hour adventure will take you on a journey into the world of your imagination. Esteemed novelist and short story writer Luisa Valenzuela will wave her magic wand and participants will craft at least one very short story, listen to a host of others, and leave with ideas and techniques to create more.

SPEAKING of OTHERS:  WRITING ORAL HISTORY with FRANCISO CANTÚ 
(in English)

With inspiration from master writers Svetlana Alexievich and Elena Poniatowska, award-winning writer Francisco Cantú will speak about his own work-in-progress and guide participants through the process of integrating multiple voices into the larger canvas of an oral history.

FABLES & TALISMANS with MAGDA BOGIN(bilingual)

What becomes of the snippets of memory passed down in families, often the trace of a long-gone ancestor or an incident or coincidence that shaped the fate of others? In this Flash Master Class led by novelist and UTV director Magda Bogin, participants will expand such a piece of family lore into a fable or poem that breathes new life into the past.

PROGRAM COST

$1995 USD
(covers tuition, lunches, four group
dinners and all scheduled literary events)

$16,000 MXN
(Mexican participants only)

PROGRAM COST

$1995 USD
(covers tuition, lunches, four group
dinners and all scheduled literary events)

$16,000 MXN
(Mexican participants only)

“I am so glad to return home to share my experiences with other Black writers who undoubtedly will benefit from this magical place for community and creativity in the future.”

TANEA LUNSFORD LYNX, San Francisco, California

“Under the Volcano far exceeded my expectations. I had been hungry for an opportunity to write in Mexico, my ancestral homeland. The energy of Tepoztlán nurtured my creative process and allowed me access to stories I’d forgotten.”

NORMA LILIANA VALDEZ, California

“Under the Volcano fosters a community of writers committed to craft, to society and to being agents of change. There's no better way to be a writer.”

ANA PORTNOY BRIMMER, Puerto Rico

“The journalism workshop opened my eyes to the possibility of thinking deeply about a subject and having a voice in the piece while still doing the job of reporter at large. It was an awakening for me personally but also something I could bring back to the Seattle Times and use in my work there.”

TYRONE BEASON, Seattle

“Jonathan laid out the tools of the trade and, like an impeccable coach, got us writing at dizzying speed. He fine-tuned our work day by day until we each had a piece that we could publish.”

GOBI STROMBERG, Mexico

 

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