Westport Welcomes New Writers’ Studio

Westporters love words. We argue, read — and write.

This town is already home to 2 thriving writers’ centers: Westport Writers’ Workshop and Write Yourself Free.

We’ll soon welcome a 3rd. Fairfield County Writers’ Studio opens in January at 21 Charles Street, near the train station.

Classes will be held by best-selling authors, well-known editors, top literary agents, television pros and publishing experts. Aspiring and established fiction and non-fiction writers can enroll in master classes and workshops.

Westporter Jane Green and Linda Fairstein head the list of instructors.

Hard at work at the Fairfield County Writers' Studio.

Hard at work at the Fairfield County Writers’ Studio.

Fairfield County Writers’ studio was founded by Tessa Smith McGovern and Carol Leonetti Dannhauser. McGovern is a top-selling Amazon author, and teaches at Sarah Lawrence’s Writing Institute. When her children were in Westport schools, she taught workshops for their classmates. She helped her son Phil and his baseball teammates publish an app of their sportswriting.

Dannhauser has written for the New York Times, Business Week and Good Housekeeping. She teaches journalism at Quinnipiac University.

“Our chief aim is to create a nurturing community where writers and artists can come together in our creative space, and find the instruction and support they need to have fun, write and publish — wherever they are in their careers,” McGovern says.

Write on!

15 responses to “Westport Welcomes New Writers’ Studio

  1. don l bergmann

    “Write on” or right on, that is neat news. Now we have to get some men to show up in the photographs of promising or accomplished writers.
    Don Bergmann

  2. An interesting question (I hope): why is everyone in this illustration female ?
    Don’t men write ?
    ADW Staples 1956

  3. John F. (J-period) Wandres

    And may the spirit of Jessica Mitford guide the groups’ progress. It was a 1970 expose by Mitford that exposed the infamous Famous Writers School located in what (I think) became the Save the Children building on Wilton Road. Here in Portland, Oregon only the Attic Institute offers writers’ programs that are led by well-established writers. Way to go, Westport!
    J. Wandres
    Staples 1953

  4. Grayson Braun

    Have we really become so PC that even a story about two women starting a writing group elicits comments on the gender present in a photograph that might not even be representative of all of the members?

    Congratulations and best wishes to Tessa and Carol! I hope you achieve success regardless of whether your group shamelessly supports gender inequality or simply had no male writers available for the photograph on the day it was taken.

    • This reminds me of a quote that’s been attributed to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. When she was asked how many women she would like to see on the Supreme Court, she said, “9.” The interviewer was surprised. “Why so many?” he (I’m sure it was a “he”) asked.

      “Well,” she replied, “no one said anything for 200 years when there were 9 men.”

    • Thanks so much, Grayson, for your best wishes! Carol and I are so excited to build a community of writers who support each others’ success. We love the idea of (sorry for the cliche!) a rising tide that lifts all boats. It’s thrilling!

  5. Love the comments! This was an actual photo taken two weeks ago of an actual class – Writing to Prompts (Non-Fiction). There have been guys in that workshop, just not this go around. We don’t do a demographics check when you sign up, so we don’t care about your chromosomal makeup. You don’t have to wear black, either (although that seemed to be the popular color on that day – and we didn’t even tell anyone that we planned to take a picture). You do have to use a writing utensil in that particular class, as opposed to a laptop (writing from the heart vs. writing from the head, IMHO). And you can’t chew anything crunchy or talk with your mouth full. And you have to keep your phone turned off. That’s about it for the list of requirements…

  6. Great Job Tessa and Carol! David needs to re-read the part of the story where she helps her son Phil’s team mates with a baseball app directly in support of their sport writing so I can only assume most, if not all of his team mates were males. Knowing the wonderful person Tessa and her family are, you need to rethink your observation….and well “don’t judge a book by it’s cover!”

    • Thanks so much Jamie! We’re interested in educating, encouraging and supporting writers and, as you can imagine, whether they’re male or female, young or old, makes no difference to us. My son’s team mates were on his baseball team so they were male, and talented writers all! These were boys I’d known since elementary school, and it was fascinating and delightful to lead them in writing workshops during their high school years – such a pressured and intense time in their lives. They all graduated last year, and are now off at college. They were (are) talented writers who’ve grown into wonderful adults, and it was profoundly meaningful for me to facilitate their work. Something I’ll never forget.

  7. Dick Lowenstein

    The Library also has writing workshops. Here are two multi-session offerings taught by Mary-Lou Weisman:

    westportlibrary.org/events/introductory-non-fiction-writing-workshop-0
    westportlibrary.org/events/advanced-writing-class-0

  8. Great place and great people running it.

    Only one question/observation…where are the lefties?

    • If 90 percent of the population is right handed, then the probability that 8 people in a group are all right handed is only 43.05 % . Thus the question is a good one.

      A (gauche) left-hander .
      ADW Staples 1956

  9. Lisa Schwartz

    Just wondering if you ever have poets in these groups? I always end up in fiction/non-fiction workshops but I really prefer poetry.

  10. Hi Lisa, we’re on the look out for a teacher of poetry – keep an eye on our website – fbwritersstudio.com (under construction) – for latest developments.

  11. Sorry for the typo folks – it’s fcwritersstudio.com (not fbwritersstudio), and no longer under construction, although we will be adding more classes and information to help writers rise and thrive regularly!