2021 Master Class: The Way of the Writer (Afternoon)


A writing craft workshop with Charles Johnson.

4 Afternoons:  Monday 11/8 – Thursday 11/11, 1:30-4:30pm

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

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The Way of the Writer

with Charles Johnson

In this four day class, Charles will offer the most important and useful lessons he has learned from a lifetime of writing and teaching others to write.

He’ll start with basics such as word choice, sentence structure, and narrative voice, then delve into the mechanics of scene, dialogue, plot and storytelling, and explore the larger questions at stake for the serious writer. What separates literature from industrial fiction? What lies at the heart of the creative impulse? How does one navigate the literary world?

The class will combine workshop, discussion, and exercises all chosen to provide the most fundamental improvement in the craft of each participant fortunate enough to find a place in it. The Kauai Writers Conference is honored and grateful to Charles for teaching this course.




Charles Johnson is a National Book Award winner and an acclaimed teacher of writing. His book,
The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling, has been praised by some of our most eminent writers as the best book written on the subject:

“If you’re looking to learn to tell stories in written form, look no further. This book is as accessible as it is profound, lively, practical, and full of earned wisdom. I was a student of Charles Johnson’s, and can vouch for the power and value of his teaching. There are plenty of craft books available out there, but this is the only one I know of that is–and I don’t think I’m exaggerating–indispensable.” — David Guterson, author of Snow Falling on Cedars.

“Those of us who put pen to paper for a living have known of Charles Johnson for a very long time. He is one of America’s greatest literary treasures. He is a skilled wordsmith, superb craftsman, master of understatement, philosopher, cartoonist, and deeply talented novelist whose 1991 novel Middle Passage, (which won the National Book Award for fiction) predates the current surfeit of Underground Railroad novels by a good two decades. Like the great Ralph Ellison to whom he is often compared, he will forever cast a long shadow over us who follow in his wake. Here he graciously opens up the treasure chest of writing secrets and philosophy for those of us who seek to kneel at the tree of learning, told by a man who has kissed the black stone of literary excellence.” —James McBride, National Book Award-winning author of The Good Lord Bird and The Color of Water.