Writing the Dream | Newberry

Writing the Dream

Led by Julie Ellen Benesh.
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Four sessions. Wednesdays, October 6-November 3. Class will not meet on October 20.



For the Fall 2021 term, we’re offering a mix of virtual and in-person classes. Although we are still primarily virtual, you will find a smaller selection of in-person seminars in the schedule. For more information about the Newberry’s virtual seminars, including a Zoom tutorial, please see our Virtual Seminars FAQ page. Registration opens on September 1st at 9am (Central time). Registration will take place through our online platform, Learning Stream.

Seminar Description

John Gardner, a pioneer of creative writing instruction, famously said that writers need to inspire a “vivid continuous dream” in their readers. Recent research into neuroscience corroborates this with evidence that reading effective creative writing induces an altered state of “narrative transportation.” It is no coincidence that Freud called our nighttime dreams “the royal road to the unconscious” and that many well-known literary works have been inspired by such dreams. This workshop will help us improve the quality of our attention to our dreams and inform us of the many ways our dreams can feed our writing. Through reading others’ dreamy and dream-ish works and writing and sharing our own, we will explore the numerous ways that dreams can inspire our creative writing, including working with image, plot, character, conflict, tone, and mood.

Four sessions. Registration – $195

The recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Grant, Julie Benesh has been published in Bestial Noise: A Tin House Fiction Reader, Tin House Magazine, Crab Orchard Review, Florida Review, Gulf Stream, Cleaver, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, New World Writing, and other journals. She holds an MFA and a PhD.

Materials List


  • Instructor-Distributed Materials.

First Reading:

  • There is no first reading assignment.

Cost and Registration Information 

Registration Information

Registration opens at 9 am (CST) on Wednesday, September 1st . Newberry Associates members at the Literati level and above will have access to early registration beginning August 25th at 10am. Learn more about membership benefits and becoming a Newberry Associate.

Please note: The Newberry is moving to a new registration system called Learning Stream. This will simplify the registration process for participants, instructors, and staff. For more information about registration, including a guide to online registration, see our Registration Information page. Questions? Please contact seminars program staff via email at seminars@newberry.org.

We offer a 10% discount to members, seniors, and students.

This seminar is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about registering for a seminar, program policies, or teaching a seminar.