Mapping the Maze

Dates  |  Pricing and Refunds  |  Schedule   |  Presenters  |  Partners

Trying to get your work published can feel like wandering in a maze. If you are running into one dead end after another, not sure which way to turn, Poets & Writers can demystify the process and help you reach your destination—publication. 

Mapping the Maze is a four-day workshop designed for poets and writers of literary prose (fiction, nonfiction, creative nonfiction) who have developed their craft and are now ready to make a concrete plan for getting their work published. 

In this workshop you will:

  • Learn to prepare submissions to literary journals and presses
  • Get tips on querying literary agents
  • Network with established authors as they share stories from their own paths to publication
  • Be introduced to Poets & Writers’ online resources
  • Leave with a clear, actionable plan outlining your personal publishing goals and the steps you will take to achieve them 
  • Gain insight into the business side of publishing (contracts; author rights)
This workshop might be for you if you are:
  • Ready to submit poems, stories, or essays to literary magazines but don’t know where to begin 
  • Submitting work regularly, but not getting the response you want 
  • Seeking direction on publishing your debut manuscript
  • Interested in exploring agent representation
  • Eager to expand your writing community


Registration is now open for the June 2022 workshop cycle!

**All sessions are hosted via Zoom and will not be recorded**

  • June 14, 5:008:30 PM ET 
  • June 15, 5:008:15 PM ET 
  • June 21, 5:008:15 PM ET 
  • June 22, 5:008:15 PM ET 

Mapping the Maze will also be offered in September and November 2022. To be notified of future workshop dates, sign up here

Workshop Pricing and Refunds

Registration Fee: $225

Early-bird price of just $175 if you register through May 25! Register Today!

To ensure more equitable access, a limited number of fee waivers are available, with priority to writers who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color. Requests for fee waivers must be submitted by June 10 via the registration form. Recipients will be notified on a rolling basis.

Writers who reside in the Detroit, Houston, and New Orleans metro areas are eligible for a discounted rate of $150, as part of our United States of Writing initiative. 

The registration fee includes a one-year subscription to Poets & Writers Magazine (or an extension of your existing subscription).

Register for the Workshop

Refund Policy

If you are unable to attend, please submit a refund request to We will issue a full refund for cancellation submitted one week prior to the start of the workshop. Cancellation in the week leading to the start date of class will receive a 50 percent refund. After June 13, no refunds will be issued. 

Workshop Schedule

**Times listed below are Eastern Standard** 

Tuesday, June 14

5:00–5:15: Welcome

Presenters: P&W’s Ricardo Hernandez, Programs and Partnerships Manager, and Thierry Kehou, Director of Programs and Partnerships

5:15–6:45: Publishing 101. Learn the fundamentals of identifying the right markets for your work and best practices for submitting to literary magazines, small presses, writing contests, and more.

Presenter: P&W’s Kevin Larimer, Editor in Chief, coauthor of The Poets & Writers Complete Guide to Being a Writer (Avid Reader Press, 2020).

6:45–7:15: Participant community-building: Get to know other writers in your genre attending the workshop. 

7:15–8:30: Working With an Agent. Literary agents will describe what they do and don’t do for their clients, share what makes for an effective query letter, offer tips on how to identify agents best suited for the writer and their project(s), and touch upon standard author/agent contracts.

Presenters: Ian Bonaparte, Associate Agent, Janklow & Nesbit; Renée Jarvis, Agent, Triangle House Literary; Kima Jones, Agent, Triangle House Literary
Wednesday, June 15

5:00–5:15: Welcome

Presenters: P&W’s Ricardo Hernandez, Programs and Partnerships Manager, and Thierry Kehou, Director of Programs and Partnerships

5:15–6:30: Submitting to Literary Magazines and Journals. Poetry and fiction editors of literary magazines will share their publications’ submissions processes, what they are looking for in new work, and other opportunities. They will also discuss what happens once a work is accepted, including explaining publication/author agreements and the editorial process. 

Presenters: Diamond Braxton, Editor in Chief of Defunkt Magazine; Jessica Faust, Coeditor and Poetry Editor, The Southern Review; Nikki Ummel, Associate Poetry Editor, Bayou Magazine; Maya Kanwal, Fiction Editor, Gulf Coast; Brittany Rogers, Editor in Chief, Muzzle Magazine; Polly Rosenwaike, Fictior Editor, Michigan Quarterly Review

6:30–7:00: Participant community-building: Get to know other writers in your genre attending the workshop.

7:00–8:15: What’s Your Plan (Part I): Connecting with Other Writers. This session will cover the many tools and services offered by Poets & Writers to support your creative life, followed by a discussion with author Krys Lee on the role that writers groups can play during one's journey to publication.

Presenters: Krys Lee, Author, How I Became a North Korean (Penguin Books); P&W’s Jessica Kashiwabara, Digital Director, Ricardo Hernandez, Programs and Partnerships Manager, and Thierry Kehou, Director of Programs and Partnerships

Tuesday, June 21

5:00–5:15: Welcome

Presenters: P&W’s Ricardo Hernandez, Programs and Partnerships Manager, and Thierry Kehou, Director of Programs and Partnerships

5:15–6:30: Working With a Book Editor. Learn about the editorial process from acceptance to publication, the editor-writer-agent relationship, book proposals, advances, comps, and more.

Presenters: Rakia Clark, Executive Editor, Mariner Books; Masie Cochran, Editorial Director, Tin House; Roberto Carlos Garcia, Founder and President, Get Fresh Books Publishing; Pilar Garcia-Brown, Senior Editor, Dutton; Madeline Jones, Editor, Algonquin Books; Jenny Xu, Editor, Ecco

6:30–7:00: Meet and Greet: Get to know other writers in your genre who are attending the workshop. 

7:00–8:15: What’s Your Plan (Part II): The Role of Community in a Writer's Life. Poet Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo discusses her experience as a community builder and how it has correlated with her journey to publication. This conversation draws from Poets & Writers’ deep connections to writers active in the literary community via our Readings & Workshops mini-grant program, which pays fees to writers who give public readings and teach creative writing workshops.

Presenters: Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, author of Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications 2016), and P&W’s Jamie Asaye FitzGerald, Director of Readings & Workshops (West), Bonnie Rose Marcus, Director of Readings & Workshops (East), Ricardo Hernandez, Programs and Partnerships Manager, and Thierry Kehou, Director of Programs and Partnerships

Wednesday, June 22

5:00–5:15: Welcome

Presenters: P&W’s Ricardo Hernandez, Programs and Partnerships Manager, and Thierry Kehou, Director of Programs and Partnerships

5:15–6:30: The Writer’s Journey. Acclaimed authors share stories about their literary careers—how they got started and their experience in the publishing world—and offer advice for aspiring and early-career writers.

Presenters: Howard Bryant, author, Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original (Mariner Books); John Keene, author, Punks: New & Selcted Poems (The Song Cave); Elizabeth Wetmore, author, Valentine (Harper Perennial)

6:30–6:45: How to Keep It Going

Presenters: P&W’s Ricardo Hernandez, Programs and Partnerships Manager, and Thierry Kehou, Director of Programs and Partnerships

Register for the Workshop


Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and the author of Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications 2016). A former Steinbeck Fellow and Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange winner, she’s received residencies from Hedgebrook, Ragdale, National Parks Arts Foundation, and Poetry Foundation. She has poetry published in Acentos Review, CALYX, crazyhorse, and most recently, her poem, “Battlegrounds” was featured at Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day and On Being’s Poetry Unbound. She’s director of Women Who Submit, a literary organization fighting for gender parity in publishing.

Ian Bonaparte began his career in publishing at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, where he worked at the nexus of sales, publicity, and marketing. Having booked tours, pitched and edited essays from authors across Macmillan, and rescued numerous readings from disaster and near-miss, he departed for the agency world, joining Janklow & Nesbit in 2016.

A graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course at the Columbia Journalism School, Ian holds a B.A. in English with a focus in Creative Writing from Vanderbilt University. He is actively acquiring in the areas of journalistic reportage, current events, science, big idea, creative memoir, and history, and is especially interested in social justice, radical thought, and moving the Overton window of discourse. He is able to help writers place journalism and op-eds. With an extensive background in editing fiction, he is also seeking a select list of fiction writers, particularly in the spaces of literary/crossover, horror, and elevated, genre-inflected stories. He is interested in seeing any novel that is both moving and plot-driven.

With his combined experience in the literary agency and publisher trenches, Ian brings a holistic understanding to the total endeavor of publishing, from proposal to indie bookshelf. He is fiercely committed to his authors and deeply grateful to assist in bringing new ideas, outlooks and worlds into existence. He hails from Portland, Oregon.

Diamond Braxton (she/her) is a queer, mixed-race Black-Mexican writer pursuing an MFA at Texas State. She has work published or forthcoming in The Forge, Rejection Letters, The Acentos Review, Hellebore Press, The Bitchin' Kitsch, Alebrijes Review, and others and is also a Tin House '21 Summer Workshop Alum. She is editor in chief for Defunkt Magazine and copy editor for Porter House Review. She can be found @DiamondGBraxton.

Howard Bryant is the author of nine books, including Full Dissidence: Notes From an Uneven Playing Field, A Divided America and the Politics of Patriotism, The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron, Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston, and Sisters and Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. He is a two-time Casey Award winner for best baseball book of the year, the recipient of the 2019 Nonfiction Award from the American Library Association’s Black Caucus. He has been senior writer for ESPN since 2007 and has served as the sports correspondent for NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday since 2006. In 2017, he served as the guest editor for the Best American Sports Writing anthology. Previously, Mr. Bryant worked at the Washington Post, the Boston Herald, The Record (Hackensack, NJ), the San Jose Mercury News and the Oakland Tribune.

Rakia Clark is an executive editor at Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. She acquires fiction and nonfiction. Rakia’s first acquisition for Mariner, Punch Me Up to the Gods, a memoir by newcomer Brian Broome, won the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction and was named to the New York Times’ list of “100 Notable Books of the Year,” as well as several other best of the year lists. Other recent and forthcoming titles include Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and PTSD by former Army captain and Missouri state legislator Jason Kander; Water Mirror Echo, a cultural biography of Bruce Lee, by Jeff Chang; Burn It Down, an investigation of institutional power and abuse in Hollywood, by Vanity Fair’s Maureen Ryan; and The Black Joy Project, a love letter to Black joy as a source of healing, resistance and regeneration, by educator and activist Kleaver Cruz. Prior to Mariner, Rakia served in editorial roles at Beacon Press, Kensington Publications and Viking. She was named a Star Watch honoree by Publishers Weekly in 2018.

Masie Cochran is the editorial director at Tin House. Before coming to Tin House, she worked at InkWell Management Literary Agency in New York, NY.



Jessica Faust joined The Southern Review as the assistant editor in 2004 and became the journal’s coeditor and poetry editor in 2011. Poetry from The Southern Review appears regularly in the Best American Poetry, Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and Best Small Fictions anthologies, as well as on Poetry Daily, Poem-a-Day, and Verse Daily.

Roberto Carlos Garcia writes extensively about the Afro-Latinx and Afro-Diasporic experience, and his work has been published widely. He is the author of five books. Four poetry collections: Melancolía (Cervena Barva Press, 2016), black / Maybe: An Afro Lyric (Willow Books, 2018), [Elegies] (FlowerSong Press, 2020), and the forthcoming What Can I Tell You: The Selected Poems of Roberto Carlos Garcia (Flowersong Press, 2023). And one essay collection, Traveling Freely, forthcoming in 2023 from Northwestern University Press.

Pilar Garcia-Brown is a Senior Editor at Dutton. Previously, she worked at Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She concentrates on fiction in multiple categories, as well as the occasional narrative nonfiction. Recent and forthcoming titles include: the instant New York Times bestseller Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour; Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage; The Very Nice Box by Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman; All Day is a Long Time by David Sanchez; In Sensorium by Tanaïs; and NBCC award winner You Play the Girl by Carina Chocano, among others. She is a mentor through the Representation Matters Mentorship Program and has served as co-chair of the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Fête Committee.

Nikki Ummel is a queer writer, editor, and educator in New Orleans. Nikki is the Associate Poetry Editor of Bayou Magazine, and has been published or is forthcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly, The Adroit, The Georgia Review, and more. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and twice awarded an Academy of American Poets Award. She is the 2022 winner of the Leslie McGrath Poetry Prize. Her chapbook, Hush, is forthcoming from Belle Point Press (2023). You can find her on the web at

Renée Jarvis is an agent at Triangle House Literary. Born and raised in New York City, she graduated from Brooklyn College with a BFA in Creative Writing. She previously worked as an assistant and agent at MacKenzie Wolf Literary and spent two years as a writing teacher at the non-profit organization Legal Outreach. 

Kima Jones is the founder of Jack Jones Literary Arts, a Los Angeles-based book publicity agency for black and brown writers, where, for five years, she worked as lead strategist on all publicity campaigns. In 2017, Kima founded the Jack Jones Literary Arts retreat—a two-week respite and book incubator for black and brown nonbinary and women writers. The Los Angeles Times called Kima "2018's literary breakthrough" and "an important new voice on the national stage." In 2019, Kima founded Culture, Too—a mentorship conference for black and brown cultural critics. In the spring of 2021, Kima Jones joined Triangle House Literary as an agent where she is interested in representing literary fiction, essay collections, memoir, hybrid texts, commercial fiction, poetry, speculative fiction, science fiction, and horror. She brings more than a decade of marketing and publicity experience into her agenting negotiations.

Madeline Jones is an Editor at Algonquin Books, where she publishes narrative nonfiction titles on topics ranging from environmentalism to fashion, and pop psychology to politics, as well as the occasional international fiction project, like Elena Medel’s The Wonders and Bora Chung’s International Booker Prize-shortlisted Cursed Bunny. Before joining Algonquin in 2021, Maddie was an Associate Editor at Holt, where she edited, among many others, Molly Ball’s New York Times-bestselling biography Pelosi and mountaineer Silvia Vasquez-Lavado’s memoir In the Shadow of the Mountain, soon to be a film starring Selena Gomez. She previously worked in publicity at Simon & Schuster and as an editor for Asymptote Journal.

Maya Kanwal is fiction editor at Gulf Coast. She is a recipient of the 2022 Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize and runner up for the Witness Magazine 2022 Literary Award. Her work appears in Witness Magazine, Meridian, Juxtaprose, Quarterly West and other journals, has been anthologized by The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is an Inprint C. Glenn Cambor Fellow at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, where she is a candidate for an MFA in fiction, and holds an MS in Mathematics from the University of Oregon. She is working on a linked short story collection and a novel. Find her @mayakanwal.

John Keene is a writer, translator, professor, and artist who was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2018. In 1989, Keene joined the Dark Room Writers Collective, and is a Graduate Fellow of the Cave Canem Writers Workshops. He is the author of Annotations, and the award-winning fiction collection Counternarratives, both published by New Directions, as well as several other works, including the poetry collections Punks, and Seismosis, with artist Christopher Stackhouse, and a translation of Brazilian author Hilda Hilst’s novel Letters from a Seducer. Keene is the recipient of many awards and fellowships—including the Windham-Campbell Prize, the Whiting Foundation Prize, the Republic of Consciousness Prize, and the American Book Award. He is Distinguished Professor of English and African American Studies, which he chairs, and also teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Rutgers University-Newark.

Krys Lee is the author of the story collection Drifting House and the novel How I Became a North Korean, and the translator of the novel I Hear Your Voice and the story collection Diary of a Murderer by Young-ha Kim. She is the recipient of the Rome Prize in Literature and the Story Prize Spotlight Award, the Honor Title in Adult Fiction Literature from the Asian/Pacific American Libraries Association, a Granta New Voices pick, and was a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the BBC International Story Prize. She teaches creative writing at Yonsei University, Underwood International College, in Seoul.

Brittany Rogers is a poet, mother, educator, and native Detroiter. She has work published in Mississippi Review, Vinyl Poetry and Prose, The Offing, Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora and Tinderbox Poetry and has been anthologized in The BreakBeat Poets: Black Girl Magic and Best of the Net. Brittany is a fellow of VONA, The Watering Hole, Poetry Incubator, and Pink Door Writing Retreat. She is editor in chief of Muzzle Magazine, a Blackburn Fellow at Randolph College, and co-host of VS Podcast. Learn more about Brittany at

Polly Rosenwaike has been the fiction editor of Michigan Quarterly Review since 2017. Her story collection, Look How Happy I’m Making You, was published by Doubleday, and was named one of Kirkus Reviews’ “Best Short Story Collections of 2019” and Glamour’s “Best Books of 2019.” Her fiction and book reviews have appeared in O. Henry Prize Stories, Glimmer Train, New England Review, Colorado Review, the New York Times Book Review, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She teaches for Catapult and is a 2022 Walter E. Dakin fellow at the Sewanee Writers' Conference.

Elizabeth Wetmore’s debut novel Valentine (Harper, March 2020) was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, The Washington Post, Barnes and Noble, and BuzzFeed. It won the Chicago Writers Association’s Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize. The French translation was shortlisted for the 2020 Grand Prix de Littérature Américaine. Named one of the 30 most essential books about Texas by Texas Monthly and a finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters Sergio Troncoso Award for Best First Book of Fiction, Valentine was also a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Wetmore is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Barbara Deming Foundation. Before devoting herself to writing, she variously waited tables and tended bar, taught English, drove a cab, edited psychology dissertations, and painted silos and cooling towers at a petrochemical plant. For a time, she lived in a one-room cabin in the woods outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, where she worked as a classical music announcer. A native of West Texas, she lives in Chicago.

Jenny Xu oversees Ecco’s poetry list. Her list has a particular focus on marginalized and underrepresented voices; recent and upcoming collections include The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On by Franny Choi, Canopy by Linda Gregerson, Monument by Natasha Trethewey, Tap Out by Edgar Kunz, The Twenty-Ninth Year by Hala Alyan, and Silencer by Marcus Wicker. She began her publishing career at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She is on the board of MassLEAP, and mentors through Representation Matters and POC in Publishing. She joined Ecco in 2021, and also acquires nonfiction for Harper.


Founded in 2002, Bayou Magazine is a biannual international literary magazine published by the University of New Orleans. Bayou publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and the winner of the annual Tennessee Williams One-Act Play Contest. Bayou’s mission is to publish exceptional, exciting work by both established and emerging writers.

Founded by Phillip Lopate and Donald Barthelme in 1986, Gulf Coast is a journal of literature, art, and critical art writing, publishing contributors who represent a flow of international cultures, voices, and aesthetics. Through programs and publications, and in collaboration with the University of Houston, Gulf Coast brings consequential art and writing to an engaged audience.

Michigan Quarterly Review, founded in 1962, is an interdisciplinary and international literary journal, combining distinctive voices in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as works in translation. The flagship literary journal of the University of Michigan, the magazine embraces creative urgency and cultural relevance, aiming to challenge conventions and address long-overdue conversations. As Michigan Quarterly Review continues to promote an expansive and inclusive vision, the journal seeks work from established and emerging writers with diverse aesthetics and experiences.

The Detroit Writers’ Guild’s vision is to launch new writers into commercial markets and support emerging and established writers as they build their professional platforms. The guild's mission is to provide spaces and events that bring poets, authors, screenwriters, and songwriters together to celebrate their work in all of its stages; showcase these works through live performances and by promoting multimedia publications of books, individual pieces, videos, audios, and anything else writers and artists dream up; improve and reinvigorate literacy awareness in the metro Detroit area; and serve the community through the promotion of history and activities that enrich the lives of the underserved, homeless, and military veterans. As of this year, the Detroit Writers’ Guild has completed nearly forty years of service to the metro Detroit area.

Kindred Stories, founded in 2021 by Terri Hamm, was born of a love for reading and a passion for community. The store gives kids and adults alike a space to explore the wide world of literary content and creative works fashioned by Black and Brown hands. Kindred Stories is a bookstore committed to amplifying Black voices and bringing diverse stories from throughout the African diaspora to Houston. Located in the Third Ward neighborhood of Houston, the shop provides a well-curated offering to edify the swelling appetites for authentic stories as told by those who have lived them.

A four-day celebration of arts in New Orleans, Words & Music Literary Festival strives to create a space where every voice is valued and validated. The festival cultivates a program that represents who we are as a city. It is the festival’s hope that every single person who attends Words & Music sees themselves represented in the discussions taking place. Proceeds from Words & Music support year-round adult literacy outreach and free public programming through One Book One New Orleans.

Inprint is Houston’s premier literary arts nonprofit organization. Serving more than 15,000 people annually, Inprint's programs include literary performances by the world’s leading authors, writing workshops for diverse populations, and support for the next generation of creative writers.


Defunkt Magazine is Houston-based nonprofit literary journal and press dedicated to publishing authentic, influential works from emerging and established writers, artists, and creatives. We seek to offer an authentic reflection of the contemporary, and most importantly, to uplift marginalized voices in a fascinating and brutally honest way. 


Register for the Workshop

If you have questions about this opportunity, please contact

If you are not available for these dates and would like to be notified about future workshops, sign up here

Mapping the Maze is supported, in part, by generous gifts from Leonard & Louise Riggio and Macmillan Publishers.