Workshops & Presentations

Kris has taught workshops and presented on a variety of subjects, but some of her favorites include:


When we think about grammar, often we think of the dry instruction we received in school or the intimidating jargon we never quite learned. But strong grammar is essential to powerful communication, no matter the form or genre. “Grammartopia” is a game-show style panel, where three to twelve contestants battle it out for grammar prowess in this entertaining and educational program. What was the punctuation mark first found in graffiti of ancient Pompeii? A member of what boy band once left the stage mid-concert to correct a fan’s sign?  Should we “flesh out” or “flush out” an idea? Prizes for winners and audience members include book edits, professional development workshops, free books, and more.

“Words Matter” Events

Now, more than ever, knowing how to express yourself well is essential. Being thoughtful with what comes out of your mouth or emerges from your keyboard matters. For this program, I work with partners, including local wordsmiths and thought leaders to share why #WordsMatter every single day. This conversation is so much bigger than my new writing resource book, Get a Grip on Your Grammar. It is a conversation that cannot be ignored. (Check out details for “Words Matter, RVA” held on June 1, 2017 to see what this event can look like.)

“Find & Replace” Editing Secrets Workshop

Just like any other piece of the writing process, editing is a craft to be learned. So often the best of stories are held back not by the author’s creativity but by common typos, cliché phrasings, and vague descriptions that don’t hook the reader as much as they could. How can an opening go beyond what readers have seen before? How can a writerthink past smiles, nods, and glances? How can a simple interaction come alive? In this workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to brainstorm weak story examples together and will be given a “cheat sheet” to bring their writing to the next level using Kris’s favorite editing technique.

“Using Your Words Well” Workshop

Whether it’s creative, assigned, or conversational, we use written communications every day, but are we always making the most of our squiggles of ink (digital or otherwise)?This workshop will address writing for different audiences and the word choice we use in a playful discussion, followed by some hands-on writing time-which can be catered to student, professional, or creative writers.

“Changing the World One Word at a Time” Presentation

There are more people writing today than ever before in human history. We use language effectively to communicate personally and professionally, and getting it right matters. After all, what is more important than connecting with other humans—across the office and across the world—through our language? Those concerned about the state of writing today will be shocked to learn that the first known use of “OMG” was in a 1917 letter to Winston Churchill, and an argument can be made that connects modern-day emoji and Egyptian hieroglyphs. In Kris’s presentation, “Changing the World One Word at a Time,” she will share the fascinating history of the English language, everyday strategies for elevating our communications, and where writing may be headed in the future.

Unraveling Wonderland: The Hidden Secrets of Lewis Carroll’s Alice Books

So often considered simply “nonsense,” Lewis Carroll’s famous children’s books are actually much more thoughtful than most readers ever notice.Steeped in allegories and philosophical examination, Charles Dodgson (writing as Lewis Carroll) explores complex subjects such as identity, politics, education, social norms and etiquette, and more–if we only take the time to look. His questions about the world we live in are as relevant today as ever.

Baba Yaga: Witch, Godmother, Feminist

Every culture has stories about witches, but Baba Yaga is so much more than just a witch. She may grant your wish or eat you for supper. She might imprison you within the gates of her fence made of human bones, or she might give you the power to create your own destiny. Living in a hut that stands on chicken legs deep in the woods, flying through the skies in a mortar and pestle, Baba Yaga is a complicated icon of fear and female identity itself.