Fiction with Camille Bordas, Jenny Offill, Justin Torres
These workshops will follow the traditional creative writing workshop model in which students discuss, and critique each other’s work in small groups led by the instructor.
Fiction with Camille Bordas: In this workshop, students will read one another’s work closely. We will do our best to understand what each author is after. Through discussion, critique, and line-editing, we will aim to discover and express insights that will enable authors to achieve what they’re after. The approach we take will be evidence-based. We will point to sentences, clauses, and words that succeed or fail to bring across the story each author wants to tell. We will seek to help each author’s voice sound more like itself, rather than our own or anyone else’s.
How To Pay Attention with Jenny Offill: “We don’t need to see anything out of the ordinary,” Robert Walser said. “We already see so much.” But often we look at the world through the dulling lens of convention. This will be a class about how to attend to the things around us in all their peculiar beauty. A particular emphasis will be placed on how to notice what others might overlook and how we might transform such things with the force of our attention. We will read and discuss prose and poetry in which writers have attempted to describe the exact nature of a moment. Pessoa and Rilke will no doubt be invoked. Meister Eckhart may come into play. We will talk about the science of attention, false and true lyricism, the Book of Splendor, and that category of the terrifying known as the sublime. Also what the poets know, but the fiction writers have forgotten.
Fiction with Justin Torres: This course is for students who are already at work on a longer project—be that a short story collection, a novel, or some poetic hybrid of genres—and are looking for critical feedback. The workshop will be intensive; we will look student pieces in class (short stories or excerpts from the longer work) plus outside reading from masters like Clarice Lispector or Grace Paley. Please be prepared to read and annotate the manuscripts of your peers, and eager to share your insights. In return, I promise a thoughtful, lively class.
M/W/F, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura