Do you cherish family stories and want to preserve them? Have you always wanted to try creative writing, or to take your writing to a deeper level? Are you curious about your ancestors—known or unknown—and looking to discover more? This workshop will introduce you to several types of writing, including poetry, memoir, fiction, and creative non-fiction. You will enjoy a variety of short writing activities designed to help capture memories or explore what interests you most about your unique family, ethnic group, or community heritage. Inspired by Vesterheim’s rich collections, or whatever personal memories or heirlooms you wish to explore, you’ll leave with drafts of several poems, character sketches, essays, or short stories.
Kathleen Ernst of Middleton, Wisconsin, has spent 30+ years exploring and writing about heritage and traditions. She spent 12 years as an interpreter and curator at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor ethnic museum, and another decade developing and scripting instructional programs for public television, including the Emmy-winning Cultural Horizons series. Among Kathleen’s 38 books are the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mysteries for adults and many historical novels for young readers. She has written two nonfiction books, including A Settler’s Year: Pioneer Life Through the Seasons, which was selected to represent Wisconsin at the National Book Festival. Her poetry has appeared in a number of publications. She has taught writing at the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Mount Mary College, Vesterheim, and many conferences and workshops.