Contact Us


111 South Grand Suite 221a
Bozeman, Montana 59715

Guest Workshops

Thunderhead brings in regional and national authors for workshops and intimate conversations. As part of our mission to offer writers opportunities to fine-tune their craft, we strive to provide a variety of events with writers from all genres. 

Reserving your spot: please email us at to sign up for upcoming events.

We ask for a full payment up front; students to cancel two weeks before the event will be refunded. Our guest authors often come from out-of-town; we need to ensure they will be compensated for their travels and time. 

FALL 2017

How to Make the Literary Industry Work for You:
A Self-Publishing Workshop with Tyler Dunning

Four nights, 7-9pm, in Thunderhead's Studio, Suite 204, Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture

October 17th, 19th, 24th, and 26th (Tuesday and Thursday nights)


*8 participants

Sign up:

Writing is entertainment and, as such, it exists in an industry predicated upon business deals, marketing, public relations, and social prowess. Tyler’s four-part course is designed to educate writers on a holistic approach to their careers: how long-term goals dictate trajectory; how social media and platform drive an active readership; how networking and professional relationships become blocks upon which to build a supportive community.

Author Photo.jpg

This course will also focus on how to make the literary industry work for you. The limited number of participants in this class ensures that each person receives adequate attention in regard to developing a business plan, a social media platform, and setting attainable goals that will propel both creativity and commerce. The intention is to leave each participant with pragmatic logistics that will better serve their writing while navigating the entertainment industry.

Tyler Dunning learned DIY practices that led him to independent publishing, mixed media collaboration, an international TEDx Talk, and storytelling tours around the world. He is the author of A Field Guide to Losing Your Friends and an ally to anyone earnestly pursuing art. 


Elements of Craft and Story: 

A Boot Camp of Basics with rick bass

Participants will submit stories prior to class for review by fellow participants and Rick. The two-night workshop will help writers develop an eye and ear for specificity. “No ideas but in things,” wrote William Carlos Williams. Discussion of each other's work will stress the power of specificity—why and how it works—as well as conflict, tension, structure, and movement. By returning to the fundamentals of what makes a good story, this workshop will help fortify participants’ work in progress and their practice in general.  

Rick Bass is the author of over 30 books, including, most recently, For a Little While: New and Selected Stories (Little, Brown). His fiction has received O. Henry Awards, numerous Pushcart Prizes, awards from the Texas Institute of Letters (in fiction, creative nonfiction, and journalism categories), fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation, the Mississippi Institute of the Arts and Letters, a Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, nomination for Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards, and a Pen/Nelson Algren Special Citation. He is the writer-in-residence at Montana State, and he also serves as a board member of the Yaak Valley Forest Council (




Eight participants. 

To reserve your spot, please email Thunderhead with the subject title "Rick Bass workshop":


May 22nd, 9 - 4:30


This interactive workshop will focus on short-form memoir, with something to offer both writers working in chapter segments and those creating stand-alone essays. Participants will discuss issues surrounding this genre and learn strategies for reconstructing difficult stories. They will practice some writing techniques common to memoir, including in-class exercises in accessing memory, shaping scenes from experience and developing characters from life. For any writer who is interested in mining the past.

"I know now that we never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures. ...We tell the story to get them back, to capture the traces of footfalls through the snow."

― Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship

Judy Blunt spent more than 30 years on wheat and cattle ranches in northeastern Montana, before leaving that life to attend the University of Montana. Her book of poems, Not Quite Stone won the Merriam-Frontier Award, and was published in 1991. Her best-selling memoir, Breaking Clean, was published by A.A. Knopf in 2002 and met with wide critical acclaim. More recently, her essay “Cooking from Scratch” was selected for the first American West Center book project, Wo/Men at Work, a series of hand- crafted chapbooks created by University of Utah press in 2012. Another essay, “Occupying the Real West,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Recognition of Blunt’s work includes a PEN/Jerard Fund Award for nonfiction, the Whiting Writers’ Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts writer’s fellowship. Blunt received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2005. She directed the creative writing program at the University of Montana, Missoula, for three years, and currently has returned to teaching nonfiction full time.

FOSSIL HUNTING IN OPEN COUNTRY: A Generative Poetry Workshop

with Greg Pape

April 23rd, 9 - 4:30


For many of us the hardest part of the writing process is getting started. We think we need to have something important or interesting to say, right now. But if we think of writing as something like fossil hunting, then we can get started paying attention to the landscape. We can observe what’s around us, focus on details, give ourselves the time and freedom to imagine connections, to remember and dream up things.    Emerson said that language was created over time by poets, or people doing what poets do, and that language is “fossil poetry.” I think that’s a good metaphor because words are living things that become inert when they’re closed up in the dictionary, or asleep in our minds. But when we use them, say them in the right context or string them together well, we give them new life. In this workshop we will go over three central aspects of the poem: image, voice, and form. We will bring some poems to life by reading them aloud, and we will start some poems by doing writing that engages these three central aspects.

Greg Pape is the author of ten books, including Border Crossings, Black Branches, Storm Pattern, Sunflower Facing the Sun, American, and Four Swans. Black Branches was reprinted in the Carnegie Mellon Classic Contemporaries Series. His poems have been published widely in such magazines and literary reviews as The Atlantic, Iowa Review, The New Yorker, Northwest Review, and Poetry. He has received the Discovery/The Nation Award, two National Endowment for the Arts Individual Fellowships, the Pushcart Prize, the Richard Hugo Memorial Poetry Award, and his poems have been featured on NPR and read by Garrison Keillor on The Writers’ Almanac. He teaches at the University of Montana, and in the Low-residency MFA program at Spalding University. He served as Poet Laureate of Montana from 2007 to 2009.


Postpartum Tales:

An Afternoon Storytelling Workshop with Melissa Bangs

This workshop is for mamas of any age who experienced trauma, loss or hardship during the pregnancy, birth or postpartum period.  Let’s shine our light into the dark corners or ourselves and our experiences – illuminating and transforming what we find.  This workshop is an opportunity to unearth, articulate and transform. 

You may choose to craft your story for yourself, your family, your children, a mamas’ group or the stage.... You may choose to tell a sad tale, a sad and happy tale, a sad, happy and ridiculously funny tale… THIS IS YOUR STORY! 

We will spend the afternoon in a series of conversations and exercises designed to unearth and invite our authentic voice.  Exercises will be both verbal and written. Participants will have the ability to choose their level of sharing. After three sold-out shows in October, Melissa Bangs is returning to Bozeman at the end of January for two encore performances of her one-woman show Playing Monopoly with God & Other True Stories.  

WHEN: Saturday, January 30th, 1PM – 5:30PM

WHERE: In Thunderhead's studio - The Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture, Suite 221a

COST: $100 per person (partial scholarships are available) – MUST PREREGISTER

SIGN UP: Visit, or email Melissa directly at

Melissa has been a storyteller all of her life.  Stories were the most powerful tool in her toolbox in various endeavors over the past twenty years ranging from human rights and women’s empowerment work in El Salvador to labor organizing in sweat shops to leading nonprofit organizations all over Montana as they envisioned their future.  

Melissa brings an openness, authenticity and compassion to storytelling that inspires the deepest truth of those around her.  She also brings a liberating sense of humor and ability to find the funny in the toughest chapters of her own life.  A former student of the Upright Citizens’ Brigade, Melissa’s favorite homework was studying the improv master Amy Poehler.  Melissa learned, via improv, how to bring that which is most true to the surface and risk what we might find in the fullest expression of that truth.  

“If my story does nothing else, may it unleash yours!” - Melissa Bangs


A workshop with Michele Corriel

We will spend the afternoon in a series of conversations and exercises designed to unearth and invite our authentic voice.  Exercises will be both verbal and written. Participants will have the ability to choose their level of sharing. After three sold-out shows in October, Melissa Bangs is returning to Bozeman at the end of January for two encore performances of her one-woman show Playing Monopoly with God & Other True Stories.  

Please join us for a six-week course in writing for young readers with a special section on illustrating. During these intensive classes we will cover everything from picture books, to middle grade and young adult novels. Take this course and up your manuscript to the next level. Character development, plotting, and exercises to unblock your writing brain will all be discussed. We will also talk about the publishing industry – what you really need to know – including how to write a query letter and how to get an agent.

Tuesday evenings, 6-9pm, June 9th through July 14th

Michele Corriel ( is the author of three books for young readers, two middle grade mysteries and one picture book. She has taught many workshops across the country and led several panels on writing for children. She was the Regional Advisor the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, an international non-profit organization, for 14 years and is now Regional Advisor Emeritus for Montana. As an award-winning freelance writer, her work has been published in dozens of magazines, both regionally and nationally. In her career as an art writer in Montana, she’s gained a reputation for her unique style and her ability to convey the essence of the artwork through the use of her background in poetry.


Spend a day working with New York Times bestselling author and founder of Haven Retreats, …breathing your writing alive:

January 24th, Saturday — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.



"No matter where you are in your creative journey, I want you to feel inspired, with clearer intention, and a renewed permission to play on the page and create what you want to create.  I am on a mission to help you move into a place of empowerment and to use your creative self-expression as a practice, and even a lifeline, right up there with diet and exercise.  From the mythic trenches of “failure,” to the mythic altitude of “success,” I have much to share about the writing life.  And I offer it all in a safe, nurturing, challenging and inspiring environment that can change your life.

We will focus on: Developing your unique voice, writing exercises to get unstuck, the architecture of craft, how to deal with rejection and our inner critic, tools to help you in your daily writing life, and a statement of intention to help you stay on track after the workshop."

--Laura Munson, international and New York Times best-selling author and founder of Haven Retreats. Munson's work has been published in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, O. Magazine, The Week, Huffington Post, Redbook, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, More Magazine, The Sun, The Shambhala Sun, and others.   For more information about her, please go to