Fiction Writing for Philosophers

July 14, 2022 - July 15, 2022
Department of Philosophy, Saint Louis University

3800 Lindell Blvd
Saint Louis 63108
United States

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University

Topic areas

Talks at this conference

Add a talk


Philosophers have traditionally used fiction to express and explore philosophical ideas. These include novels and plays (e.g., Jean-Paul Sartre, Iris Murdoch), short stories (e.g., W.E.B. Du Bois), as well as dialogues (e.g., Plato, David Hume). Many academic philosophers are interested in fiction writing, but lack advice and practice. This workshop is aimed at these philosophers. We will provide an intensive two-day (in person*) workshop at Saint Louis University, from July 14 to July 15, 2022, where four experts (writers Ann Leckie, Sharon Shinn, and Rachel Neumeier, and editor Rich Horton) will offer practical advice as well as critique on your work.

The cost of participation ($60) is for two lunches and beverages. Covid-19 permitting, we’ll also have a workshop dinner (likely outdoors), which you will need to pay for yourself, if you want to attend it.

Workshop speakers/leaders

·      Ann Leckie is an American SF and fantasy author who has won numerous awards, including the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the BSFA Award. She is best known for the novel Ancillary Justice and its sequels Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy, as well as other novels such as The Raven Tower.  

·      Rachel Neumeier is an American YA and adult fantasy author, with novels such as The White Road of the Moon, The City in the Lake, and The Floating Islands. She has extensive experience publishing with both traditional publishers and self-publishing.

·      Sharon Shinn is an American author who combines romance, SF, and fantasy in her works. She has published more than 25 novels, mostly with traditional publishers. Many of these are in series, including the Shifting Circle series, the Twelve Houses series and the Elemental Blessings series.

·      Rich Horton is an Associate Technical Fellow in Software for an Aerospace company in St. Louis, MO. He writes a monthly column on Short Fiction for Locus. He has contributed articles and reviews to a wide variety of publications including F&SF, Fantasy Magazine, Journey Planet, and Lightspeed. He also edits a series of Best of the Year books for Prime, as well as several further anthologies, and he has two Hugos for his contributions to Best Semiprozine Lightspeed Magazine.

·      Benjamin C Kinney is an author of science fiction & fantasy short stories, with over 20 publications in venues including Analog, Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, and elsewhere. He is a Hugo Award finalist as assistant editor of the science fiction podcast magazine Escape Pod, where he leads their submission management pipeline. By day he is a neuroscientist on faculty at a St. Louis university.

What will the workshop involve?

·      Critique on your piece of fiction (of max. 5000 words) by an expert, as well as a round of peer critique with fellow workshop participants.

·      Tips and exercises for the writing process to help you hone your fiction-writing skills, including world building, character, plot, dialogue, sentence-level prose.

·      Practical advice on how to publish your novel with a traditional publisher (including finding and querying agents)

·      Practical advice on how to self-publish

·      Practical advice on short fiction publication


Our workshop is aimed at academic philosophers who want to write fiction. This includes graduate students, lecturers and professors at all levels, adjuncts, and PhD holders in philosophy who are currently not in academia.

Our workshop leaders are specialized in speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy), so participants who are interested in these genres will probably get most out of the workshop. However, the workshop is also open to people who want to write in other genres or literary fiction. Note that this workshop won’t focus on poetry, memoir, or any other format than fiction.

We welcome both beginners and more experienced fiction writers. With “more experienced” we mean people who have already self-published fiction on blogs, who have completed a novel in draft but not yet published, or who have already published one or a few short stories in magazines.

We will also offer a Zoom option for those who are unable (for whatever reason) to travel, and are still working out the details to make this also a good experience remotely. Please indicate in your letter of intent if you intend to use this option. There's no fee for the Zoom option, as this is to pay for the food. 

How to apply

Please send us a recent CV and a letter of intent of max. 1,200 words (can be significantly shorter, but needs to contain elements specified below) 

The letter of intent should contain the following elements

(1)   A short bio.

(2)   Your motivation for participating in this workshop (what are your shorter and longer-term goals?)

(3)   Any prior experience in writing and publishing fiction. This workshop is open to beginners. If you have only just begun writing, please briefly describe any unpublished fiction writing experience you have.

(4)   An explicit acknowledgment that if you are accepted for this workshop, you commit to sending us a writing sample of max. 5000 words (either a short story, or a piece of a longer work that makes sense on its own) at least two months in advance of the workshop. This sample will be read by experts and a peer group (a subset of the other workshop participants).

Application process

Because this is a small-scale, in-person workshop, we anticipate accepting at most 20-24 participants.

Please send your application materials as a single PDF to deeptimemorality AT by March 15 2022. Decisions will be made by April 10 2022.

If accepted, we require your full writing sample by May 1 2022.

*To be in line with Saint Louis University's guidelines for external events we require proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 for any accepted participant. This will be a requirement of acceptance of your application (this could be a photo of the vaccination card or a QR code or other electronic evidence). In the very rare circumstance that you are medically unable to be vaccinated, we require you to submit medical documentation to this effect, and a negative Covid-test done 48 hours or less before the start of the conference.  

This event has been approved by the University.

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




March 15, 2022, 9:00am CST

Who is attending?

No one has said they will attend yet.

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.

RSVPing on PhilEvents is not sufficient to register for this event.