The Summer Writers Colony at The New School is an intensive three-week program in which  students share and critique one another's ongoing projects in a daily writing workshop moderated by a member of The New School's distinguished writing faculty. In the evenings, our literary salons bring notable writers into conversation with the students and faculty of the colony.

The Writing Program is proud to announce the nonfiction faculty and literary salon visiting authors for the Summer Writers Colony 2014!

Madge McKeithenReturning as the nonfiction workshop instructor is Madge McKeithen. McKeithen holds a MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, and  is the author of Blue Peninsula: Essential Words for a Life of Loss and Change. Her writing has been published in TriQuarterly, Utne Reader, Lost and Found: Stories from New York, Topograph: New Writing from the Carolinas and the Landscape Beyond, The New York Times Book Review, and Best American Essays 2011. She teaches in the School of Writing at the New School in New York and in short-term workshops in North Carolina. She is currently working on two book-length works of nonfiction.  More at:

Our first nonfiction literary salon visiting author is Alysia Abbott. Of the author, and her memoir Fairyland, Madge McKeithen writes:

Fairyland"In Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father (Norton, 2013), Alysia Abbott tells the story of her life with her father, Steve Abbott, bisexual writer and activist, in the charged cultural scene and early post-Stonewall Inn, gay liberation days of San Francisco in the 1970s and 1980s. Born to openly gay parents and motherless following her mother Barbara's death in a car accident when Alysia was two, the author weaves an irresistibly compelling tale from her experiences and memories and her father's letters, journals, poems, and drawings. Written two decades after her father's death from AIDS, Fairyland portrays a childhood of wonder, an adolescence of yearning and at-times profound isolation, a young woman's moves to New York and Paris, and her return to Haight-Ashbury for her father's dying months. Alysia Abbott's memoir is many stories: father-daughter, motherless daughter, American culture at the end of bohemianism and the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, introspective and contextually aware coming-of-age, writer-born-of-writer, and abiding, imperfect, lifelong love between two people. Fairyland offers especially rich material for a community of writers to read, study and discuss with the author, as we will in June 2014 during the Summer Writers Colony."

Our second literary salon guest for nonfiction is Lynne Tillman, author of What Would Lynne Tillman Do?  Salon instructor Sharon Mesmer writes of Tillman:

Lynne Tillman"Lynne Tillman’s prose comes to us from a luminous intersection: an uncertain present fraught with possibility, and a glorious past blessed anxiously with it.  Each ineffable state produces surprising tangible states of desire, dread and doubt, which she masterfully narrates in her novels No Lease on Life, Cast in Doubt, Motion Sickness, and American Genius: A Comedy (among others) and her short story collections Absence Makes the Heart, The Madame Realism Complex, Someday This Will Be Funny, and This Is Not It, written in response to the work of twenty-two contemporary artists.   As Tillman’s character Madame Realism observes: '… stories do not occur outside thought.  Stories, in fact, are contained within thought'  In Tillman’s work, thought is writing and writing thought; her mind a most knowing curator.  To read her work is to stand firmly, attentively, in the stream of liminal experience.  In our salon, we’ll read her newest collection of essays, What Would Lynne Tillman Do? and discuss their intersections with her fiction, as well as her relationship to traditional and 'experimental' writing in general.  We’ll also talk to her about the New York literary scene of the ‘90’s, and how that scene has changed/remained the same, and what the role of the writer might be as literary delivery systems and publishing concerns shift.


To learn more about the Summer Writers Colony 2014, visit our website. You may contact the Summer Writers Colony by email at, or by phone at 212.229.5611.

About The Author

Founded in Greenwich Village in 1931, Creative Writing at The New School continues to promote, engender, and shape innovative literature.