You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Journalism & The Art of Storytelling

A weekend workshop with Janet Steele

The Workshop:

Interested in freelancing, blogging, or citizen journalism?  This two-day workshop focuses on the art of narrative journalism, including discussion of scene-by-scene construction, developing character, plot and setting, looking for “the revealing quote,” and using first-person. Participants will be provided with electronic copies of readings in advance, and will write a short piece for discussion and critique (English or Bahasa Malaysia).  The readings have been selected to introduce participants to narrative journalism in its many varieties.  Participants will be actively involved in offering constructive criticism of one another’s work, and together we will work on developing our own individual voices and styles.

Duration: Each workshop will run for 4 hours over 2 days or 8 hours in total.

Cost: RM 800

Classes are limited to 12 students only.

Course Dates: 20 and 21st June, 2015

Time: 10 am – 1 pm Saturday and Sunday

Venue: Pusat Kreatif Kanak-Kanak Tunku Bainun, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad, TTDI, 60000 KL.

Workshop Details:

Each workshop will run for 4 hours over 2 days or 8 hours in total.

A total of 7 articles will be distributed as required reading before the course begins.

Medium of Instruction:  English, tetapi and Bahasa Malaysia pun boleh.


“It’s an Honor,” by Jimmy Breslin (New York Herald-Tribune)

“Dua Jam Bersama Hasan Tiro” by Arif Zulkifli (Tempo)

“The Girl of the Year,” by Tom Wolfe (New York)

“A Boy Who was Like a Flower,” by Anthony Shadid (Washington Post)

Bearing Witness in Syria: A Reporter’s Last Days,” by Tyler Hicks (New York Times)

“Writing Personal Essays:  On the Necessity of Turning Oneself into a Character,” Phillip Lopate

“Witness to the Flash,” by Steven Gan (TheSun)

*Copyright of all work produced at the KL Writers Workshop remains with the author. The KL Writers Workshop is not responsible or liable for any work produced in our writing workshops.


Janet SteeleJanet Steele is an Associate Professor of Journalism at the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University in Washington DC.  She is a frequent visitor to Malaysia, where she has taught workshops on narrative journalism at Malaysiakini, The Malay Mail, New Straits Times, The Star, Berita Harian, Astro Awami, and Utusan.  Her book Wars Within: The Story of Tempo, an Independent Magazine in Soeharto’s Indonesia focuses on Tempo magazine and its relationship to the politics and culture of New Order Indonesia.  The author of numerous articles on journalism theory and practice, her most recent book Email Dari Amerika is a collection of newspaper columns written in Indonesian and originally published in the Surabaya newspaper Surya. Fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, she is currently working on a book on journalism and Islam in the Malay Archipelago.