In a supportive, generative workshop setting, we will create works of literature using our lives as subject matter. In addition to writing our own works of personal essay or memoir, we will read and discuss published authors for inspiration and to develop a framework for understanding and putting into practice key elements of personal narrative. Honing individual voice, style, and sentence craft is our primary goal, as we also explore fundamental questions and challenges of writing in this form—from building characters on the page, including that of the narrator, to the role of imagination in creative nonfiction. During the workshop, we will do writing exercises to help trigger creativity and short assignments to help discover and shape subject matter. Each student will have one manuscript of new writing (up to 12 pages) workshopped by the class, and also share several shorter assignments for feedback along the way. Selected authors may include: Hanif Abdurraqib, Brian Doyle, Roxane Gay, Patricia Hampl, Ryan Knighton, Jill Lepore, Cynthia Ozick, Lia Purpura, David Sedaris, Ryan van Meter, Virginia Woolf. Writing sample is not required.
In summer 2021, this class will be delivered remotely. This interactive workshop includes a mix of live synchronous Zoom sessions and a range of asynchronous reading and writing activities. Courses are embedded within a robust series of public programs (including readings, workshops, and panel discussions) that SWI students will also engage in.
Tentative schedule for synchronous meetings: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30–8:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 2–4 p.m.