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"Adapting and Learning From Classic Literary Works" with Jess Hagemann

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St. Edward's University, Trustee Hall 303
3001 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704

5/4/2019 From 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM


$49 for members (sign in for member pricing)

Are you thinking of writing a literary adaptation? Or do you want to use a classic work as a model for something new?

You've probably heard someone claim that there are no new stories, only new versions of old ones. While that statement is debatable, it's certainly true that almost every story is drawing inspiration from the idea, plot, structure, or characters from some other story. This class puts the focus on that inspiration.

Public domain works are ripe for retelling: generally, they're 'classics' for a reason--but their language, characters, and specific scenarios might be outdated, unappealing to today's reader. Similarly, real events from history stand to teach us a lot even now, but if their 'lessons' are shrouded in unrelatable politics or cultural norms, current generations won't recognize themselves in it. In this class, learn to save the best bits of a classic story or significant historical moment, while ushering its style into 2019. Participants will take an in-depth look at how a few contemporary authors have repurposed 'old' stories and learn ways to incorporate research, pop culture, and current events into their writing.

Even if you're not necessarily wanting to write an adaptation, this class will provide a different look at the elements of great storytelling that make the "classics" as successful as they are.



  • You're searching for the right plot or structure for your novel.
  • You think Shakespeare had the right idea when he cribbed most of his storylines from history and past literary characters.



  • "Jess was a true professional. Well-prepared, on target, personable, responsive."
  • "Jess was fantastic, well-versed on subject and I felt that I got my money's worth."
  • "This class renewed my fascination with the writing process."



Jess Hagemann is the author of the debut novel Headcheese. She is an award-winning author and accomplished biographer. She previously taught creative writing at Benedictine University before founding Cider Spoon Stories, a ghostwriting and editing company, in 2015.



St. Edward's University, 3001 S. Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, Trustee Hall 303. You can find a St. Edward's University campus map here.



$49 members (sign in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers


Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

Online registration will close at the end of Thursday, May 2. After that you can pay admission at the door with a check for the walk up rate - $59 for members and $119 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click here for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it.

Once a purchase has been made, tickets are not refundable and registration cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster.



Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven't taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to give us a call at 512-499-8914 if you'd like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.


This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at


Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit