Creating a Sense of Place

with James Sturz


Have you ever felt about a book or a film that the location was as important as any of its characters? As a renowned travel writer turned novelist, James Sturz is especially qualified to teach us how, why and when to create a compelling sense of place. This involves far more than mere description of the location’s physical attributes. It can include unique occurrences that could have only happened there, the sounds and smells that tell you unmistakably where you are, the history that gave rise to the characters’ personalities even without their knowledge.

In this four-day master class, you will gain a profound understanding of how to bring a location, whether fictional or factual, to life. We believe this can be of fundamental importance to the success of works including novels, screenplays, memoirs, and non-fiction travel writing.

James Sturz’s life has been one adventure after another. He has lived what he will be teaching about.

4 Afternoons:  Monday 11/6 – Thursday 11/9, 1:30-4:30pm

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


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James Sturz is both a travel writer and novelist. About his latest novel, Underjungle, Junot Díaz said: “Luminous, strange, thought-provoking and as profound as the seas, the pelagic brilliance of Underjungle cannot be overstated. This is the brilliant novel Prince Namor would have written had he had more poetry classes.”

Jean-Michel Cousteau said, “Underjungle is poetry, fantasy, love, war, mystery and philosophy. This book will make you think about the ocean in ways you haven’t before, and that might just make you want to protect it. I’ve dived with James, and I’m pleased to see that he has created this fascinating and complex story about the ocean and our deep connection to it.”
His background as a travel writer gave James a remarkable gift of bringing to life an array of unusual locations. He’s been a contributor to “Italy: The Best Travel Writing from The New York Times,” “Best Food Writing 2007,” and to more than 90 newspapers and magazines, including The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Afar, Men’s Journal, The New Republic, New York Magazine, The New York Observer and Travel + Leisure. His many awards include Winner, Destination Canada Award for Excellence for Adventure Writing 2017, and honorable mention in “The Best American Sports Writing,” 2010 and 2012. He wrote a biweekly column for Coastal Living about building a house in Hawaii from 2015 to 2018. James’s fiction and journalism have been published in 18 countries and translated into nine languages. His first novel, Sasso, was set in the cave homes of Basilicata, Italy, far from the water.