You’ve been writing for years, developing ideas, learning the craft. You’ve written a lot, perhaps several–perhaps more than several–novels. You’ve drafted and redrafted. Worked with a writer’s group or a critique partner. You’ve expanded your craft techniques by attending classes and conferences. You may have even completed an MFA.

You may have sold books or have an agent shopping your work.

But you still need time with other experienced writers to share and learn. You could use an intensive workshop geared directly to your level.

Enter The Writing Barn, a writer’s haven in Austin, Texas. Owners Bethany Hegedus and Vivek Bakshi have restored and renovated a fabulous space that’s perfect for writers who need to converse, share and study all aspects of the writing craft. They’ve got three workshops lined up for the year specifically geared toward the advanced writer.

Writing Barn

I was lucky to attend the year’s first workshop, Worlds Without End: Deconstructing Classic Children’s Book Characters led by new agent Alexandra Penfold. Alexandra gave two lectures and led the intensive workshop along with Bethany. She recently joined Upstart Crow Literary Agency (, having moved from a long-term editorial position with Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster.

The conversations were high level. The writing of fellow participants showed experience and practice. Time was spent on complicated questions, not the basics. Alexandra’s lectures on characters were charming and funny, and I learned things to apply to my own writing right away.

The space is not much like a barn. It’s clean and classy, filled with light and books and comfortable chairs. There’s always tea and coffee on, and the lunches served were wonderful and healthy. The screened in porch was spacious and looked out on a lovely tree-filled space.

Meeting room


Vivek and Bethany have worked hard to make a place for writers to converse, learn, and engage in literature. The workshops are application-only, and intended to be on par with MFA-level programming. In April, National Book Award Nominee Sara Zarr will lead Little Turnings: Examining Emotional Pacing. In November, Francisco X. Stork will lead Diving Deeply: Thoughts, Gestures and Dialogue.

In addition to offering high level workshops, the Writing Barn is available to rent. A private cabin with room for three is a short walk away and can be rented as a getaway too.

After my weekend, I returned, as promised, renewed and invigorated.

For futher information on Writing Workshops, renting the space or staying in the nearby cabin, contact