Writing with Joy

with Luis Urrea


Luis Urrea exemplifies our quest to bring together gifted writers who are also gifted teachers of writing. His workshops and classes have inspired writers of all levels of accomplishment to write with passion, grace and skill. A distinguished professor of creative writing at University of Illinois Chicago, he describes his approach to teaching:

“Teaching is more than one might think. Yes, skills and ideas.  But with my writing students at UIC, it is about hope, respect and love. I ask of them a generosity and fearlessness. We are loyal to each other. And I am proud to see them publish their work, though a couple are getting more famous than me! That is irritating . One unwritten rule in my workshops is if you are not laughing every time we meet, I have failed. One of my personal rules for teaching that I try to sneak in on students — because they are often a little less starry-eyed than I am — is “fill your pen with love or don’t bother picking it up.”

This is a generative workshop. It is a combination of experience, lecture, and writing time. Luis gives you as many examples and writing prompts as can fit into your time, leaving ample time for writing. We complete writing exercises and share them with each other. Sometimes it might just be an exercise in seeing, but it all to goes into your notebooks. This workshop requires your acceptance of the many gifts of the day. Once you see them, they never stop coming. In some ways, Luis sees writing like a hummingbird that must be welcomed into your garden. Bring lots of pens and pencils.

If you are looking to tap into an inner reservoir of wonder and joy and to write from that level, then this is the class for you.

Luis recommends reading The Hummingbird’s Daughter if you want to understand his underlying thoughts on gifts, grace and trust.


4 Mornings:  Monday 11/7 – Thursday 11/10, 9:00am-12:00pm

A $100 combination discount will be applied when registering for the conference at the same time.


Out of stock

Luís Alberto Urrea is the best-selling author of 18 books, including The Devil’s Highwayand The Hummingbird’s Daughter. His latest novel, The House of Broken Angels, was a national bestseller and New York Times Notable Book for 2017. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Urrea has won the Lannan Literary Award, the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize, an American Book Award, the Christopher Award and an Edgar Award, among other honors. His 2015 collection of short stories, The Water Museum, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and won an Academy of Arts and Letters award. His novel Into the Beautiful North is a current selection of the NEA’s Big Read program. Urrea’s books have been selected by more than 100 different cities and colleges for community reads programs and he is much in demand as a speaker, lecturer, and teacher. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, Urrea is most recognized as a border writer, though he says, “I am more interested in bridges, not borders.” He lives outside of Chicago and is a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.