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Speed Writing & Reading Holiday Party
Speed Writing & Reading Holiday Party


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For on-site events, no registration required (please ignore Quantity option).

Larksong's Third Annual Reading & Writing Holiday Party

Date: Saturday, December 10, 2022

Time: 10:00 am - Noon CST

Format: Virtual (Zoom)

Ticket :

Let’s kick off the Holiday Season with some fast-paced writing and short but powerful reading sessions!

Our readers and workshop leaders this year include well-known poets and prose writers, including Kelly Madigan, Ryan Boyland, Michelle Pierce Lyles, Kevin Clouther, Amelia Montez, Marge Saiser, Twyla Hansen, Karen Shoemaker, and Lucy Adkins. 

The format is simple. We alternate five-minute readings with 15-minute mini writing workshops that start with a craft talk and end with a writing prompt. Five readings, four workshops, so you’ll not only leave the event inspired but you’ll have some new writing too!

After the presentations there’s time for a Q&A with writers and other participants.

Fill up your fountain pens, sharpen your pencils or charge those computers! This event is flat out fast-paced fun!

10 am CST - Introductions by Karen Gettert Shoemaker
10:05 am CST - Reading by Ryan Boyland
10:10 am CST - Mini writing workshop with Marge Saiser 
10:25 am CST - Reading by Amelia Montes 
10:30 am CST - Mini writing workshop with Lucy Adkins 
10:45 am CST - Reading by Kevin Clouther
10:50 am CST - Mini writing workshop with Twyla Hansen 
11:05 am CST - Reading by Michelle Pierce Lyles
11:10 am CST - Mini writing workshop with Karen Shoemaker 
11: 25 am CST - Reading by Kelly Madigan 
11:30 am CST - Q&A with Presenters 

Reviews from last year’s event:

“I loved everything about the workshop... A wonderful experience. Thank you.”

“The structure and format were seamless. Timing was on point!”

“I loved how organized it was, how you orchestrated the schedule to have readings juxtaposed with exercises!”

“I like seeing all the faces who loved writing; and I liked hearing from the authors.”

“Liked both the prompts and the poetry readings.”

“I loved the braiding of readings and short writing prompts.”

“I enjoyed all of it. The exercise focused on character development is something I need in my current writing, so thanks.”

“Loved the warmth and generosity and wisdom of the readers / prompters.”

“I loved hearing the readings, and the writing prompts! The whole thing was wonderful!”

“The quality of readings and workshops was fabulous and loved interspersing readings with workshops.”

“Prompts were unusual and thought-provoking. Poets varied and excellent. Schedule worked perfectly. Looking forward to next year!”

2022 Readers' Bios: 

Ryan Boyland is a writer, wanderer, medical student, and amateur astronomer currently based out of Omaha, Nebraska, where his love for both science and poetry motivates him to combine the two at every opportunity. His work addresses issues of identity, love, and death. And stars. Because they’re cool. His goal through his performance is to touch minds and hearts around the world and considers it a victory every time he can do so. His work has been featured on Button Poetry, Nebraska Public Media, and in The Cookout Literary Journal, and can be found on SoundCloud, Facebook, and YouTube, When he is not writing, Ryan enjoys listening to music, stargazing, and being Black, mixed in with the occasional intense discussion regarding the validity of the Star Wars prequels.

Kevin Clouther is the author of We Were Flying to Chicago: Stories (Catapult). His stories have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Gulf CoastJ Journal, Joyland, and New Orleans Review among other journals, and he has contributed essays to The MillionsSalon, and Tin House. He has worked on the staffs of The Iowa Review and Meridian. He holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the recipient of the Richard Yates Fiction Award and Gell Residency Award. He is an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha Writer’s Workshop, where he serves as Program Coordinator of the MFA in Writing. His second story collection is forthcoming in 2023. He lives with his wife and two children in Omaha.

Michelle Pierce Lyles holds an MFA in Writing-Poetry from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her work has appeared in 13th Floor Magazine and Fine Lines. As a non-profit board member and teaching facilitator, she has conducted creative writing workshops for adults and urban youth. Currently residing in Omaha, NE, she credits her daughters for providing support on her journey as a writer.

Dr. Amelia MarĂ­a de la Luz Montes is a Fulbright Scholar and Associate Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at The University of NebraskaLincoln. She was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her scholarly publications and teaching include American literatures, specifically Chicana/U.S. Latina literatures and theory, LGBTQ+ literatures and creative writing. Her Penguin Classics edition of Ruiz de Burton’s novel Who Would Have Thought It? was listed on the Latino Books Month List from the Association of American Publishers. She is currently finishing a critical text on her year as a Fulbright Scholar in the Former Yugoslavia, and a creative non-fiction book entitled, Nothing Sweet About Me. She’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her writing. Her latest creative publications are, a short story entitled, “The Omaha Mariachi Dyke” in the Afro Hispanic Review (Vanderbilt University); and the essay “Trigger Warnings” in the anthology, Don’t Look Now: Things We Wish We Hadn’t Seen (Ohio State University Press). Her book, Nothing Sweet About Me has led her into the science and nutritional aspects of Diabetes. She gives talks on strategies to manage Diabetes.

Kelly Madigan is the author of a collection of poetry, The Edge of Known Things (SFASU Press) and a how-to book titled Getting Sober: A Practical Guide to Making it Through the First 30 Days (McGraw-Hill). She is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Writing, and the Distinguished Artist Award in Literature from the Nebraska Arts Council. Kelly’s poetry, creative nonfiction and editorial writing has appeared in anthologies, newspapers, websites, and literary journals such as, Prairie Schooner, CNN, Omaha World Herald, The Ecopoetry Anthology, A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry, Crazyhorse, The Massachusetts Review, Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry, and Best New Poets 2007. 

Bios of Mini-workshop leaders: 

Lucy Adkins is a writer of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Her poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies, and her chapbooks include One Life Shining: Addie Finch Farmwife from Pudding House Press, and Two-Toned Dress, which was the winner of the 2019 Blue Light Press Poetry Prize. Her full-length collection of poetry, A Crazy Little Thing, will be forthcoming in the fall of 2021. Lucy’s fiction has appeared in the South Dakota Review and Voices From the Plains anthology. She has also co-authored a book of non-fiction, Writing in Community: Say Goodbye to Writer’s Block and Transform Your Life which was awarded an “Ippy” in the Independent Publisher’s Book Awards. A follow up to Writing in Community, The Fire Inside: A Companion for the Creative Life will be published in summer, 2021. Lucy, along with Becky Breed, co-author of Writing in Community and The Fire Inside were announced winners of the Lincoln 2020 Mayors Arts Award for Excellence in the Literary Arts. Her MFA in Creative Writing is from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has been a writing group and workshop leader for many years.

Twyla M. Hansen was selected as Nebraska’s State Poet for 2013-2018. She co-directs the Poetry from the Plains website, and she has conducted readings/writing workshops through Humanities Nebraska since 1993. Her newest book, Rock • Tree • Bird, won the 2018 WILLA Literary Award and Nebraska Book Award. She has six previous books of poetry, including Potato Soup, which won the 2012 Nebraska Book Award and was selected as a Notable Nebraska 150 Book in 2017. Her writing is published in periodicals, anthologies, and websites, including Briar Cliff ReviewPrairie SchoonerSouth Dakota ReviewMore in Time: A Tribute to Ted Kooser (2021 University of Nebraska Press), Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology 1867-2017 (2017 SFASU Press), Thinking Continental: Writing the Planet One Place at a Time (2016 University of Nebraska Press), Academy of American Poets, Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud, and many more.

Marjorie Saiser’s poems deal with relationships, the good and not so good. Her Master’s Degree in Creative Writing is from the University of Nebraska, where she received an Academy of American Poets Award. She sometimes likes to memorize her poems and those of others. Her books and a sample reading can be viewed at Of her work, Ted Kooser (U.S. Poet Laureate 2004-2006) has said: “No poet in this country is better at writing about love and, in a sense, all of her poems are about love.”


Karen Gettert Shoemaker is the author of the novel The Meaning of Names, a One Book One Nebraska selection for 2016 and Omaha Reads selection for 2014. Her award-winning collection of short stories, Night Sounds and Other Stories was published in 2002, and re-published in the United Kingdom in 2006.

Her fiction and poetry have been published in a variety of newspapers and journals, including The New York Times, The London Independent, Prairie Schooner, and South Dakota Review. Her work has been anthologized in A Different Plain: Contemporary Nebraska Fiction Writers; Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry; Times of Sorrow/Times of Grace; and An Untidy Season.  

Shoemaker is a graduate of the University of Nebraska where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, and both a Master's Degree and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing. Awards for her writing include a Nebraska Press Association Award for Feature Writing, two Independent Artist Fellowship Awards from the Nebraska Arts Council, and a Nebraska Book Award for Short Fiction.

She is the founder and director of Larksong Writers Place.


Larksong is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are committed to supporting both the writers who come to us for instruction and the writers who come to us to teach. We keep our class fees low, offer free programming, and pay our instructors. Please consider supporting our mission by making a tax-deductible donation.