Creative Writing Seminar for Social Workers

Creative Writing for Social Work
July 20, 2018 - 9:15am to July 23, 2018 - 4:45pm
321 North Hall Iowa City IA

The 27th Annual Creative Writing Seminar is coordinated by Mercedes Bern-Klug, PhD, MSW, MA. Dr. Bern-Klug is on the faculty in the School of Social Work and is Director of The University of Iowa Aging & Longevity Studies Program.

Ellen Szabo, M.Ed. is the founder of Write Now, practicing and promoting the use of creative writing for personal  investigation, enrichment and social change. She earned her B.A. from Harvard College, with a concentration in English and American Literature, and her M.Ed. from Columbia University Teacher’s College, in Counseling Psychology.  She writes and teaches with focus on how innovation and creativity can illuminate, inspire and advocate compassionate transformation.  

The seminar meets 6 hours daily, Friday through Monday on The University of Iowa campus in Iowa City. Each day includes a mixture of presentations from invited guests, writing instruction and practice, and peer critiques of participants’ work. Several hours are reserved for individual coaching sessions with Ellen Szabo.

Registrants usually include a mixture of beginning, experienced, and sometimes published writers. Most participants have not previously attended a writing workshop. Variety of experience, and active interest and curiosity about the possibilities inherent in creative writing, are the essential ingredients for a fresh and exciting workshop experience.

Learning objectives for the seminar are

  • Improve creative writing skill in  fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, blogs etc.
  • Understand how writing can be used as a professional tool in human services work as counselors, educators, advocates, researchers and practitioners.

Writing skill topics include:

  • Tuning the Creative Self with Writing
  • Writing for Social Change
  • Writing to Externalize Your Inner Apocalypse
  • Strategies for Shaping Story, Character and Style
  • Flash Fiction/NonFiction

Guest speakers will share experiences with projects related to creative writing for social change, journaling for personal growth, and/or the written word as a tool for enhancing social justice.

The seminar fee is $290 if received by June 22nd, and $375 afterwards. The fee does not include housing, transportation or food. 

The deadline for registration and payment is July 6th and no refunds are available after that date.

We reserve the right to cancel the seminar if there is insufficient enrollment. Enrollment is limited to 16 participants.

24 contact hours of continuing education credit for social workers is offered for full participation.

Register and pay online at: or download the registration form and mail a check to Attn: Kate Kemp, University of Iowa School of Social Work, 308 North Hall, Iowa City, IA 52246.

For more information, contact Kate Kemp at 319-335-1254, or