Writing Workshops Detroit Pairs Authors with Students in the City

By: Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers | October 1, 2018
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In just a couple of weeks, students passionate about the craft of writing will walk through the doors of Bamboo Detroit to attend one of several writing workshops offered at the newly founded Writing Workshops Detroit. These students are all writers in their own right, looking for expert guidance on how to take their craft and their business as writers to the next level.

But, the road to seeing these expert-driven workshops become available in Detroit didn’t actually start in Detroit. It started with one engineer, working in Dallas, Texas.

“I ended up taking an introduction to fiction workshop at a local community college and it was the first time I ever finished a piece of fiction, a short story,” Writing Workshops Detroit executive director Blake Kimzey said. “That was really transformative for me and I ended up taking that same class at the local community college three semesters in a row.”

From there, Kimzey quit his job as an engineer and sought out a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from the University of California, Irvine. While working on his own degree, he also taught undergraduate students, which sparked a second passion of his. After attaining his MFA, Kimzey became an instructor in his hometown at The University of Texas at Dallas.

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Executive director of Writing Workshops Detroit Blake Kimzey. Photo courtesy of Blake Kimzey.

Noticing a lack of what he calls “consistently scheduled, high-quality classes taught by well-published authors,” Kimzey was inspired to fill that void with a program that students could attend on a rolling basis whenever it fits their schedule and budget. It would be a program with courses on writing essays, short stories, non-fiction, screenplays and more.

“A primary need was identifying the talented writers in the community who were also teaching artists and giving them a platform to teach where they could maybe make more money per class and give more of this time and expertise to students,” Kimzey said, “because we keep our classes…intentionally small so that they’re inclusive for the students.”

Not only would it teach its students the craft of writing, but also the business of achieving success as a writer.

We care about putting writers on an identifiable track to meeting their goals with their writing,” Kimzey said, “and that starts in a really intensive workshop environment that really has the rigor of a high-end graduate program…”

After seeing more than 725 students enroll in classes at Writing Workshops Dallas, Kimzey set his sights on a Detroit chapter. He utilized the connections he already had in Detroit’s literary community, finding instructors that would like to teach a course, as well as a space in which these classes could meet.


Workshop in progress at Writing Workshops Dallas. Photo courtesy of Blake Kimzey.

“One of the ways in which we are trying to serve the literary community in Detroit is just to have a very predictable, ongoing set of classes and seminars that people can count on to be there on a regular basis,” Kimzey said.

The bread and butter of the courses available at Writing Workshops Detroit are one-time, three-hour workshops, as well as eight-week, intensive classes. Both categories will provide instruction on the craft and business of being a professional writer.

“We had students [at Writers Workshop Dallas] accept fully funded offers from NYU, University of Miami, University of Alabama. We’ve also had students find their first publications and have connections to literary agents and we’re hoping to replicate that up in Detroit,” Kimzey said, “because we’re serious about the craft of writing, but we’re also serious about the business of writing and those people want to hone their craft, write something that has the opportunity to find readership beyond the workshop table.

You can sign up for classes at Writing Workshops Detroit on their website. The first classes begin October 14.