Course Catalog

All Arts Core courses and Beginning Workshops are open bid through my.uchicago.edu. If you are unable to secure a spot through bidding, please contact the instructor to be placed on the waitlist.
Admission into Advanced WorkshopsTechnical Seminars and Fundamentals in Creative Writing require instructor consent via our submission form. 

Students who are majoring in Creative Writing, completing a minor in Creative Writing, or completing the Creative Writing Option for MAPH receive priority in consent-based CRWR courses.

Our submission form is now live! Apply by Friday, November 22, to be considered for our consent-based courses.

CRWR 20405/40405 Technical Seminar in Nonfiction: Narrative Pacing

The goal of this course will be to understand the methods and mechanisms of effective narrative pacing in creative nonfiction by carefully dissecting a variety of texts, ranging from Woolf's "The Death of the Moth," to Solzhenit_s_yn's The Gulag Archipelago, and Bechdel's Fun Home. Students will be expected to actively participate in class discussion, read from a broad assorted of texts, and complete a series of corresponding creative writing prompts testing the principles discussed in class.

Day/Time: Monday, 10:30-1:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20211/40211 Technical Seminar in Fiction: The Dilemna

Some of the most compelling works of fiction are built around moral, social, and psychological dilemmas. Characters are set loose in a dark woods of ambiguity and conflicting values, where they reveal themselves (and their/our humanity) through the decisions they make, the actions they undertake. Such stories present a dramatized prism of arguments and resist easy "lessons." Rather, they end with a question mark that invites conversation between reader and narrative long after the story has ended. The challenge for writers, of course, is to avoid polemic, instead exploring this moral, social, and psychological terrain in a way that is even-handed and flows organically out of character. In this technical seminar, we will read fiction (by writers like James Alan McPherson, Graham Greene, Tayari Jones, and Cynthia Ozick, among others) that centers on an uneasy choice between moral positions. We will examine how the dilemma shapes conflict and plot, and, perhaps most important, how the writer invites the reader to get lost in a dark woods alongside the story's characters. The emphasis of this course will be on critical writing, but students will also have opportunities to write creative responses to the readings and experiment with the craft techniques we discuss.

Day/Time: Thursday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20209/40209 Technical Seminar in Fiction: Scenes & Seeing

At the core of fiction writing is dramatization, which allows the reader to "see" the world and characters of our story and to experience the ideas and emotions that we want to resonate. The primary vehicle for dramatization is the scene, and in this technical seminar, we'll look at all the elements of a traditionally well-made scene in a work of fiction-dialogue, action, characterization, description, etc.-and investigate the effects of each element and how they all work together to support the overall narrative. What are the various functions of a scene, beyond characterization and drama? Where is the best place to begin and end? What is the most effective way to organize and juxtapose our scenes over the course of a short story, a chapter of a novel, or an entire novel? How might we move beyond the traditional ideas of action and dialogue and expand our notion of what a scene is and what it can do? During the quarter, we'll look at exceptional scenes in short stories, novels, plays, movies, and even television shows, with an eye also on how all these genres of dramatic writing use scenes similarly and differently and what we might learn from these dynamics as fiction writers. Along with the reading material, assignments will include reading responses, creative writing exercises, short essays, and presentations.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 2:00-4:50

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 12112 Reading as a Writer: Chicago "City on the Remake"

This course invites writers to reconsider the influence of Chicago's public spaces on genre and artistic form. How does one tell a "Chicago story?" Is the "City on the Re-Make" best told in prose or poem? Is there a clear boundary between the city's South and North Sides? Is there a "Chicago epic?" Working through these questions, students will analyze and explore Chicago writers' work in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Students will then develop their own creative responses, building connections to adopted critical approaches. To these ends, we will examine work by writers including Nelson Algren, Elizabeth Hatmaker, Aleksandar Hemon, and Margo Jefferson, as well as the city's rich legacies in documentary film, the visual arts, and music.

Day/Time: Thursday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.UChicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core requirement.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12124 Reading as a Writer: Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty

In this core course, students will investigate connections between truth, art and beauty, by reading, watching, and writing works adapted from an historical record or "based on a true story." Weekly reading assignments include fiction, poetry, memoir, a graphic novel, and a film; students will be asked to write both critical essays and creative exercises that explore overlaps anddivergences between journalistic and artistic truth. Readings include works by Aristotle, Baldwin, Bechdel, Carson, Keats, Northup, and Rankine.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30-4:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.UChicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core requirement.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12136 Reading as a Writer: Adaptation as Form

The main goal of this course will be to understand the reasons, traditions and methods behind the practice of literary adaptations. From Joyce Carol Oates's "Blue Bearded Lover," to Anne Sexton's "Cinderella", to Angela Carter's "Wolf-Alice" and Marina Carr's "By the Bog of Cats," there are stories that continue to resonate through the centuries, and others that are made to resonate through the labor of new story tellers. Each text will be explored both independently and within the context of its adaptive genealogy. Students will be expected to read each text carefully, come prepared to actively participate in class discussion and respond to both academic and creative writing prompts based on assigned texts and class lecture.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.UChicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core requirement.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12109 Introduction to Genres: Wizards

Do you believe in wizards? Are you a wizard? Then pack up your talismans, fetishes, and gamelans into the mysterious little satchel you carry at your side and get ready for some incantatory magic. We will investigate the figure of the wizard as an archetype, a literary symbol, a vehicle for fantasy, and as a commanding reality while considering such things as A Wizard of Earthsea, the figure of Merlin, The Teachings of Don Juan, Conversations with Ogotemmeli, the figure of Harry Potter, the poetry of W.B. Yeats and others, as well as additional things too secret to reveal at present, including the nature of esotericism.

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.UChicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core requirement.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 17004 Fundamentals in Creative Writing: High School Reading

We all know them-The Great Gatsby, The Lord of the Flies, The Bell Jar, and other books that seem to have been taught or read in every high school in the country since the dawn of time. In this cross-genre Fundamentals course, we'll re-examine these and works by the likes of Henry Miller, Sandra Cisneros, Allen Ginsberg, and Zora Neale Hurston. We'll think about the cultural history of what makes a classic high school read, about coming-of-age stories, and what it means to be educated, enlightened, and/or entertained. We'll think, too, about how we learn to read, write, and speak back to texts as adults (whatever that means). You'll write creative exercises, critical responses, and a final paper on a work of your choosing.
Day/Time: Tuesday, 12:30-3:20

Prerequisites

Students must be a declared Creative Writing major to enroll. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Fundamentals

CRWR 10306/30306 Beginning Poetry Workshop

Current talk of queering the lyric I shows a lack of historical perspective: the lyric 'I' was always been queer, a performance of guises and disguises, to be most mistrusted when most apparently sincere. In this course we'll become acquainted with ways of performing 'I' in English-language lyric and test our own abilities to fake, fragment, displace, cross-dress and project the I as it goes about its poetic work. You (whoever you are) can become stranger than you imagined - you will learn that in poetry it's always true that I is another, but perhaps the other you might become, or most need to disavow.
Day/Time: Wednesday, 12:30-3:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10306/30306 Beginning Poetry Workshop

This course explores some of the most basic approaches to writing poems through careful reading and discussion of modern and contemporary poets. We'll practice elements, such as rhythm, diction, syntax, and metaphor, at the same time that we explore the movements of mind and the moods that lyricism makes available. The class will practice literary community building by discussing peers' poems in workshops, by responding to poems and essays by contemporary and modern poets and critics, and by attending literary events on campus. For the first few sessions, our discussions will focus primarily on readings. As we move forward, we will spend the majority of time workshopping student work.

Day/Time: Friday, 10:30-1:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10406/30406 Beginning Nonfiction Workshop

A personal essay can employ a chain of events, but it's essentially a train of thought. Like thought, it's protean, able to take any shape or form and still remain an essay. In this workshop you'll write three drafts of your own attempt at the form while line editing and critiquing your classmates' attempts. We'll also do close readings, starting with "Why I Write," by George Orwell, and "Why I Write," by Joan Didion. Then James Baldwin's "Notes of a Native Son." After this taste of the present we'll go back four thousand years to the essay's beginnings in Babylon, and follow its evolution in Greece and Rome-Heraclitus, Plutarch, Seneca-and its flowering in Europe: Montaigne, Natalia Ginzburg, and others, before returning to contemporaries like Adrienne Rich and Margaret Atwood. We'll end by reading Didion's essay, "Goodbye to All That," paired with Eula Biss' cover version, also titled, "Goodbye to All That." You'll leave this class knowing the history, theory, and practice of nonfiction's most fundamental form.

Day/Time: Friday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10406/30406 Beginning Nonfiction Workshop

Though we live in an era glutted with data, facts don't speak for themselves. It's story that moves us. In this class, we will engage in an exploration of "creative nonfiction," investigating how to shape lived experience into memorable story. We will identify the primary challenges and opportunities inherent in the genre. Together we will read exemplary forms of creative nonfiction, including: personal essay, memoir, lyric nonfiction, science writing, nature writing, and cultural criticism. We will ask how events are shaped into stories, facts into a meaningful narrative arc. This course will be conducted as a writing workshop, and we will examine our own work and others' from a critical perspective, looking carefully at issues of style, content, and relevance. In doing so, we hope to gain a more nuanced understanding of creative nonfiction as a whole, as well our particular positions within the genre.

Readings will include:"My Demons and My Dog and This Anxiety and That Noise" by Hanif Abdurraqib; "The Glass Essay" by Anne Carson; "Rain Like Cotton" by Jennifer Kabot; "A Small Place" by Jamaica Kincaid; "This Is Not Who We Are" by Naomi Shihab Nye;"Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan;"I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness" by Claire Vaye Watkins; Heartberries by Therese Mailhot

Day/Time: Monday, 10:30-1:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop

Basics of Narrative Design

This course will begin with a weeks-long consideration of selected works of fiction where discussion will aim to distinguish the basic techniques and devices of effective storytelling. Weekly topics will range from subjects as broad as point of view and plot arrangement to more highly focused lessons on scene design, dialog, and word choice. Throughout the term, the writing process will be broken down into stages where written work will focus on discrete story parts such first pages, character introductions, and dialog-driven scenes before students are asked to compose full-length narratives. Along the way, students will chart their processes of conceptualizing, drafting, and revising their narratives. Finally, in the latter weeks of the quarter, emphasis will shift to the workshopping of students' full stories.

Day/Time: Monday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop

This course aims to deepen your understanding of the craft of short fiction through intensive study of contemporary writers and through workshops of both your own work and that of your classmates. Together we will examine stories by Mary Gaitskill, Kevin Brockmeier, Charles Yu, and others, reading as writers, searching not for theme but for a sense of how the stories were created, what craft choices the authors made, and what their structures can teach us as we create our own narratives. In addition to these readings, you will complete several short writing exercises and one longer story, which you will workshop and substantially revise. You will also engage with the work of your peers, delivering thoughtful, encouraging, constructive critiques.

Day/Time: Thursday, 2:00-4:50

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop

Writers at all levels learn through the careful reading of works they admire. We will spend more than a third of our time in this class reading stories worth learning from, both classic and contemporary, by writers like James Baldwin, Clarice Lispector, Sherman Alexie, Lorrie Moore, and Jhumpa Lahiri. Discussion will be lively --passionate opinions and enthusiasm are welcome --but most of our focus will be on the choices that writers make, the nuts and bolts of craft, including: point of view, tone, direct and summary dialog, setting, and use of time. In-class exercises will further hone your understanding of specific techniques, fire your creativity and get you writing. In writing workshop, each of you will each have the opportunity to present your work to the group. Critique will be respectful and productive, with emphasis on clarity and precision. By the end of the course, you will have generated significant raw material and completed at least one story, which will be revised and handed in as a final portfolio.
Day/Time: Monday, 1:30-4:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Contact the instructor for a spot on the waiting list.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 23125/43125 Advanced Poetry Workshop: Difficult Forms

This workshop invites students to experiment at the formal level, playing with variations of "difficult forms," which include various invented forms, tweaks on received forms (such as Dickinson's common meter), as well as 20th and 21st century forms, such as collage, cutups, juxtaposition, serial form, procedural form, borrowed form, and prose poems. We'll focus on the tension between formal elements (such as word choice, image, syntax, line, and rhythm) and the sometimes reckless spirit of risk-taking and chance. Course readings will include peers' poems, work by a range of poets, essays, and interviews. Along with contributing poems to workshop, students will be expected to keep a creative workbook, participate in in-class discussions, write imitations of assigned readings, write an essay, submit a final portfolio, and attend at least one Creative Writing event.
Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30-4:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 24002/44002 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Writing About the Arts

Crosslistings
ARTH 24002/34002

The short and the long of it. In this course, we'll be focusing on writing about visual arts by using shorter and longer forms, and while thinking about short and long durations of time. The time of encounter with a work of art, the time of its making, kinds of time the artists wanted to invoke, the endurance and ephemerality of the work, and of the experience of the work. We'll work short: wall text, compressed review, lyric fragment, and long: involved and layered sentences and elaborations. We'll work with and against different kinds of syntax, white space, and the unspoken, and read authors including John Yau, Lori Waxman, Zbigniew Herbert, Mark Strand, John Berger, Junichiro Tanizaki, and Dore Ashton, and ekphrastic poetry by Terrance Hayes, Tyehimba Jess, and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon.

The course hopes to support students both in developing useful practices and experimenting boldly. Every class session will begin with a student-led two-work tour at the Smart Museum, and we will spend one session on close looking at works on paper at the Smart. Students will also visit five collections, exhibitions and/or galleries and keep a looking diary. Students will write a number of exercises in different forms (wall text, review, interview / portrait), and will also write two essays (which may follow one extended line or be a mosaic composite) to be workshopped in class.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 24007/34002 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Longform Journalism

This workshop-based nonfiction course is suitable for any student who wants to work on long-form (1500 words and up) journalistic projects. To supplement our workshop submissions, we'll look at a variety of texts touching on (and often combining) reporting on political, cultural, and environmental subjects. We'll consider interviewing techniques and profile writing, as well works concerned with travel (of the non-touristic kind), sports, and the arts. We'll read pieces by the likes of Katherine Boo, Eula Biss, George Orwell, Ryzard Kapuchinski, George Saunders, Geoff Dyer, Ted Conover, Maggie Nelson, and Ta-Nehisi Coates. The emphasis of the course will be on narrative journalism, but other approaches will be considered and welcomed. Ideally, students will come into the course with projects already in mind, but we will also work on developing stories and pitches.
Day/Time: Wednesday, 12:30-3:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22136/42136 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Writing Social Change

In this course, we will examine character-driven novels about worlds in the midst, on the brink, or during the aftermath of social change. We'll observe the strategies that authors deploy to construct a compelling and immersive world, and we'll catalog the methods they use to alter social systems and social order. Who has power and who doesn't? How is power maintained and how is it subverted? How does the human spirit engage with a world beyond its comprehension? And how do authors, using characters as the vehicle, illuminate larger thematic and moral questions? This class will concentrate on longer works (novels, novellas, and novels-in-stories), and we will workshop the first 30_40 pages of your manuscript, focusing in particular on its promises and possibilities. The end goal is for you to leave the class with the beginning of your novel, a synopsis, a chapter outline, and a plan for how to proceed with your project.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22132/42132 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Strange Magic in Short Fiction

In this workshop-based course we'll investigate how strangeness and magic function in short fiction. We'll read stories by Edgar Allen Poe and Vladimir Nabokov, as well as from contemporary writers like Kelly Link, Carmen Maria Machado, Aimee Bender, Alice Sola Kim, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, and Stephen Millhauser, examining how these authors portray the fantastical and impossible. We'll also read excerpts from essays by Viktor Shklovsky, Sigmund Freud, and Charles Baxter, exploring concepts such as defamiliarization, verisimilitude, and the uncanny. We will contemplate how magical realism and surrealism differ from sci-fi and fantasy genre writing, and ask how we, as writers, can make the quotidian seem extraordinary and the improbable seem inevitable, and to what end? Students will complete several short creative exercises and two short stories that utilize magic or strange effects. Students will also be expected to write thoughtful, constructive critiques of peer work. Throughout the course, we'll consider how the expectations of literary fiction might constrain such narratives, and how we can engage with and transcend these archetypes.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22128/42128 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Novel Writing, The First Chapters

In this workshop-focused class we will focus on the early stages of both developing and writing a novel: choosing the POV, establishing the setting, developing the main characters and the dynamics between them, setting up the conflicts and seeding the themes of book, etc. As a class we will read, break down and discuss the architecture of the openings of several published novels as you work on your own opening chapters, which will be workshopped during the course.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 10:30-1:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22131/42131 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Historical Fiction/Migration Stories

In this advanced fiction workshop, students will read and write stories of migration. We will use research and imagination to construct narratives about the ways in which human beings move across time and place, and to work on creating characters who are forged and reforged by their cultural, linguistic, and familial contexts (both familiar and unfamiliar). Historical research will be a key component. Half of each class meeting will be devoted to the careful consideration of student work. Readings include fiction by Edwidge Danticat, Gish Jen, Chang Rae Lee, Jamaica Kincaid, Akhil Sharma, and Gene Luen Yang.

Day/Time: Thursday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 29300/49300 Thesis/Major Projects: Poetry

This course is an advanced seminar intended primarily for students writing a Creative BA or MA thesis, as well as Creative Writing Minors completing the portfolio. Because it is a thesis seminar, the course will focus on various ways of organizing larger poetic “projects.” We will consider the poetic sequence, the chapbook, and the poetry collection as ways of extending the practice of poetry beyond the individual lyric text. We will also problematize the notion of broad poetic “projects,” considering the consequences of imposing a predetermined conceptual framework on the elusive, spontaneous, and subversive act of lyric writing. Because this class is designed as a poetry workshop, your fellow students’ work will be the primary text over the course of the quarter.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30-4:20 PM

Prerequisites

Required for students working on BA or MA thesis in poetry, as well as students completing a minor portfolio in poetry. Instructor consent required. Submit writing sample via www.creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.
 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29400/49400 Thesis/Major Projects: Nonfiction (2)

Form as Content

This course is primarily intended for students working on either a Creative BA, MA thesis, or Creative Writing Minors completing the portfolio. During the course of the semester we will examine various narrative forms, styles, frameworks and traditions and how they best accommodate, extend, challenge and complicate their corresponding content, as well as how --subsequently --they can be best applied to the writer's intended goals in their chosen projects.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 12:30-3:20 PM

Prerequisites

Required for students working on BA or MA thesis in nonfiction, as well as students completing a minor portfolio in nonfiction. Instructor consent required. Submit writing sample via www.creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.
 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29400/49400 Thesis/Major Projects: Nonfiction (1)

This class is for nonfiction majors, minors, MAPH students, and anyone working on a substantial nonfiction project. It's a workshop, so you and your classmates will provide (almost) all the writing we'll analyze as a group. You’ll spend as much time editing and critiquing your classmates' writing as you will working on your own. I emphasize editing and critique because writing is essentially rewriting, and revising other people's work is the best way to gain the objectivity and skills you'll need to revise your own. By teaching others you'll teach yourself, preparing you for real life of the writer outside the academy. Writers are self-taught, ultimately, and this class is a step in that direction. That’s why your first assignment is to create your own syllabus: your own, self-directed program of outside reading, giving smart, succinct reasons why these books might teach you how to write your own.

Day/Time: Friday, 9:30 AM-12:20 PM

Prerequisites

Required for students working on BA or MA thesis in nonfiction, as well as students completing a minor portfolio in nonfiction. Instructor consent required. Submit writing sample via www.creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.
 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29200/49200 Thesis/Major Projects: Fiction (5)

This advanced fiction workshop is for Creative Writing majors, minors, and MAPH students and other advanced students working on a substantial fiction project. It will be primarily a workshop class and all students are expected to enter this course with a story collection, a novel, or a novella already in progress, ready to be submitted and critiqued. The class will stress narrative arc and different kinds of conflict, though we will also discuss such fundamentals as POV and narrative distance, voice, character development, structure, setting, and dialogue as needed, in order to best shape a given work toward the writer’s own vision of that work. Keep in mind that writers don’t work in a vacuum—we should have a strong sense of how our own work fits in with the work of other writers. Each student will also be expected to make several short presentations.

Day/Time: Monday, 10:30-1:20 PM

Prerequisites

Required for students working on BA or MA thesis in fiction, as well as students completing a minor portfolio in fiction. Instructor consent required. Submit writing sample via www.creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.
 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29200/49200 Thesis/Major Projects: Fiction (4)

This course is for Creative Writing majors, minors, and MAPH students and other advanced students working on a substantial fiction project. In workshop discussions, we'll read and critique student work with an eye toward solidifying what you've learned and produced in previous writing courses. The fundamentals of storytelling and prose writing are evergreen, but that doesn't mean we can't question, refine, and even throw them out if needed. There will be a handful assigned readings for this course, but most of the outside reading will be chosen by you. Everyone picks and distributes stories, novel excerpts, etc. that have in some way inspire or inform their current creative projects. You'll then present, lead disccusion, and write short critical essays on your choices. A chance to build on the work you've done, and to explore what comes next.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 2:30-5:20 PM

Prerequisites

Required for students working on BA or MA thesis in fiction, as well as students completing a minor portfolio in fiction. Instructor consent required. Submit writing sample via www.creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.
 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29200/49200 Thesis/Major Projects: Fiction (3)

In this thesis workshop in fiction, students will write and revise thesis projects, completing either short stories or chapters of a novel. We will explore how to write, structure, and revise work that is propulsive, character-driven, and lyrical. The creation of compelling characters, unique narrative voices, and frank, polished prose will be our goal. Readings include work by James Baldwin, Edith Wharton, Ha Jin, and Akhil Sharma as well as individualized reading lists.

Day/Time: Thursday, 11 AM-1:50 PM

Prerequisites

Required for students working on BA or MA thesis in fiction, as well as students completing a minor portfolio in fiction. Instructor consent required. Submit writing sample via www.creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.
 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29200/49200 Thesis/Major Projects: Fiction (2)

This thesis workshop is for Creative Writing majors, minors, and MAPH students and other advanced students working on a substantial fiction project. All students will begin with a manuscript they are developing, whether a story collection, a novel, or an unknown entity. The focus of this thesis workshop will be on deepening the narrative. We’ll ask ourselves this question: How does the story transcend itself? In other words, is this narrative about more than the specific situation depicted? We’ll discuss and develop methods of surfacing the ideas and conceits that may already be embedded within the piece, but not yet within grasp. To that end, we will consider re-sequencing certain scenes, proportioning out the narrative differently, and developing certain characters more fully. Readings will consist primarily of contemporary fiction. We will also consider the writing processes of other authors. Students will be expected to present on their own personal, non-literary influences.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 12:30-3:20 PM
 

Prerequisites

Required for students working on BA or MA thesis in fiction, as well as students completing a minor portfolio in fiction. Instructor consent required. Submit writing sample via www.creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.
 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 29200/49200 Thesis/Major Projects: Fiction (1)

This advanced fiction course is for BA and MA students writing a creative thesis or any advanced student working on a major fiction project. It is primarily a workshop, so please come to our first class with your project in progress (a story collection, a novel, or a novella), ready for you to discuss and to submit some part of for critique. As in any writing workshop, we will stress the fundamentals of craft like language, voice, and plot and character development, with an eye also on how to shape your work for the longer form you have chosen. And as a supplement to our workshops, we will have brief student presentations on the writing life: our literary influences, potential avenues towards publication, etc.

Day/Times: Tuesday 2-4:50 PM

Prerequisites

Required for students working on BA or MA thesis in fiction, as well as students completing a minor portfolio in fiction. Instructor consent required. Submit writing sample via www.creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.
 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Thesis/Major Projects

CRWR 20306/40306 Technical Seminar in Poetry: The Shape of Thought

Ezra Pound once famously asserted that “poetry to be good poetry should be at least as well written as good prose.” In this course we will focus on the most basic unit of prose composition, the sentence, in order to enhance the art of our lines. We will study how sentences are deployed across a diverse range of texts, in both poetry and prose, considering variations in complexity, address, mood, and mode, and will try our hands at both minimalist and maximalist methods. We will diagram sentences, contemplate grammars of feeling, and examine how the shape of thought itself is constructed by sentences unfolding in tension with poetic lines. From Walt Whitman to Lyn Heijian, from Henry James to Lydia Davis, we will draw on a wide array of 20th and 21st century writers, with the aim of expanding and refining our literary technique. 

Day/Time: Monday, 1:30-4:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20404/40404 Technical Seminar in Nonfiction: Forms of the Essay

The essay, derived from the French term essayer meaning "to try" or "to attempt," is not only a beloved sub-genre of creative nonfiction, but a form that yields many kinds of stories, thus many kinds of structures. Araceli Arroyo writes that the essay can "reach its height in the form of a lyric, expand in digression, coil into a list, delve into memoir, or spring into the spire of the question itself all with grace and unexhausted energy." In this course, we will analyze the essay's continuum, marked by traditional, linear narratives on one end, and at the other, everything else. In our class, we will investigate the relationship between content and form. What does it mean to be scene-driven? What happens when a narrative abandons chronology and event, propelled instead by language and image? What is gained through gaps and white space? You will leave this class with a strong grasp of content's relationship to form, prepared to participate effectively in creative writing workshops. You will also create a portfolio of short writings that can be expanded into longer pieces. Readings will include: Nox by Anne Carson; A Bestiary by Lily Hoang; Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli; Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine; Essayists on the Essay edited by Ned Stuckey-French

Day/Time: Mondays, 10:30-1:20 PM

 

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.
 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20210/40210 Technical Seminar in Fiction: Understanding Point-of-View

This seminar, designed primarily for Creative Writing students, is an in-depth examination of point-of-view. We'll "reverse engineer" the work of a wide range of writers to help us understand the foundational concepts underlying first- and third-person narration. And we'll examine less common point-of-view techniques, including third-omniscient, third-objective, second-person, first-person plural, and first-person in which the word "I" never appears. We'll read works by the likes of Jeffrey Eugenides, Nikolai Gogol, Tessa Hadley, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Zadie Smith, and Rachel Cusk. The emphasis will be on critical writing, but we'll also do several creative exercises. You'll learn how to better control and employ point-of-view and perspective and strengthen and nuance your knowledge of this fundamental part of storytelling.

 

Day/Time: Thursday, 2-4:50 PM

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20208/40208 Technical Seminar in Fiction: Structure

In conversations on literary craft, plot and structure are often used interchangeably. Yet, while plot refers to a causal sequence of events, structure is a broader term concerned with narrative patterning. This includes thematic layering, pacing, the order of scenes, perspective shifting, and more. In this course, we will examine structural arrangements in both canonical and contemporary works of fiction by Franz Kafka, Rachel Ingalls, Jenny Zhang, and others. We’ll look at scene, repetition, listings, disruptive elements, digressive voice, seemingly shapeless storylines, and how these variables factor in creating structure. In every instance, we will look at how structure accommodates and naturally derives from the story, rather than impose itself upon it like some alien force. While this is not a workshop course, come prepared to write and casually share work in class. Students will pursue both creative work and critical papers.  

Instructor: Ling Ma
Day/Time: Monday, 12:30-3:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 12121 Intro to Genres: Writing the Visual Arts

Writers have long been fascinated, inspired, and puzzled by the visual arts. In this course, we will focus on two genres of writing—poetry and the essay—that have enjoyed long and productive relationships with painting, photography, sculpture, and other visual arts. What attracts writers to art? How might language render visual experience? How do verbal representations diverge from visual representations? How might writing help us see art in new ways? How might art objects compel our writing into new forms? With these questions in mind, we will read poems and essays by a variety of writers, visit several of Chicago’s excellent museums, and conduct regular writing experiments. Writers studied may include Berger, Williams, Auden, Barthes, Schuyler, Guest, O’Hara, Waldrop, Swensen, Gander, Young, and Cole. Artists studied may include Breughel, Magritte, Cornell, Twombly, Mann, Kentridge, and Basquiat.

Wednesday, 10:30-1:20 PM

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core requirement.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12133 Intro to Genres: Writing & Social Change

In this course, we will explore the embattled, yet perpetually alive relationship between writing and activism by reading canonical and emergent works of fiction, narrative prose, and poetry that not only represent social ills, but seek to address and even to spur social justice in some way. Students will be encouraged to choose an issue that they feel passionate about on which to research and respond for the entire quarter—and will be asked to produce works in a range of genres in relation to that issue. Authors discussed may include Percy Bysshe Shelley, who called poets the "unacknowledged legislators of the world," John Ruskin, William Morris, Virginia Woolf, James Agee and Walker Evans, Antonio Gramsci, James Baldwin, Amelia Rosselli, Rachel Carson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Nanni Balestrini, Rebecca Solnit, Claudia Rankine, Mark Nowak, Layli Long Soldier, John Keene, Anne Boyer, and Craig Santos Perez.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30-4:20 PM

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core requirement.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12135 Intro to Genres: Solastalgia

A peculiar kind of psychic ache comes from living in a home-place that has undergone an irreversible transformation. It is both homesickness for the place that was and detachment from the place that is. This distress is so particular and, in an age of global climate change, epidemic that environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht coined the word “solastalgia” -- a portmanteau of “solace” and “nostalgia” -- to describe it. Albrecht writes, “Solastalgia exists when there is the lived experience of the physical desolation of home” and “a sense of powerlessness or lack of control over the unfolding change process.” In this course, we will encounter creative work about contexts where solastalgia is in evidence, including environmentally devastated places like the Louisiana coast, the Niger Delta, and the Aral Sea, as well as the rapidly gentrifying or economically collapsing urban neighborhoods of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Through poetry (Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué, Rebecca Gayle Howell), fiction (Helon Habila, Paul Beattie), nonfiction (Tom Bissell, Arlie Hochschild), and film (Sharon Linezo Hong), we will consider what it means to be attached to a home-place, how self and community are altered when the home-place itself is altered, and how artists contend with these issues through advocacy and representation. Students will be asked to keep a reading notebook as well as to produce weekly creative and critical responses for class discussion.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.UChicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core requirement.

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12106 Intro to Genres: Science Fiction

A monolith manifests in orbit around Jupiter, emitting a signal. A beacon? A man spontaneously discovers the ability to teleport. An evolutionary accident? The origin of human life proves to be malicious. Divine fate? Space travel is enabled by the ingestion of enormous quantities of a geriatric spice a messianic figure auspiciously learns to manipulate. A drug trip?! Among popular genres, science fiction is the riskiest conceptually and among the trickiest to master. The difference between an amazing idea and a rotten story is often slim. What makes good sci-fi work? And how best to write it? Let's put on our gravity boots and solar visors and see what we can discover. In this course, you'll read some novels (by Frank Herbert, Alfred Bester, and Ursula K. LeGuin), poetry (by Andrew Joron), a graphic novel (by Chris Ware), and screenplays (by Damon Lindelof, and Stanley Kubrick & Arthur C. Clarke). And all the while, you'll try your hand at bending each other's minds with your own science fiction.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 2:00-4:50 
 

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core requirement.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12134 Intro to Genres: Africana Speculative Fiction

Afro-futurism has enjoyed a surge in popularity since the release of the film Black Panther, although the genre has been around for much longer and is just one example of a broader tradition of Africana speculative writing. In this course, we’ll read and analyze novels, film, music, and visual art that posit alternative histories, surrealistic dream states, and fantastical futures in the context of the black imaginary. We’ll attempt to navigate the many routes of the imagination—folklores, mythologies and cosmologies; histories and futures; politics, theories, and philosophies; and the material reality. You’ll be asked to read and analyze Africana speculative fiction in short papers. Then, using these works as models, you will write your own speculative fiction that engages both your imagination and material reality.  

Day/Time: Thursday, 9:30-12:20
 

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.UChicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core requirement.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 17007 Fundamentals in Creative Writing: The Grammar of Narrative

Storytelling goes nearly as far back as human consciousness, while the ways in which we tell stories has been expanding ever since. This class will look at several different forms of narrative—fiction, creative non-fiction, narrative poetry, and film—and explore the “grammar” of these different genres, what they share and where they differ and how their particular strengths influence the ways in which they most effectively communicate. How does film (a visual medium) tell a story differently than does fiction (which asks us to project our own imagined version of the story), differently than creative non-fiction, (which must always rely on facts), differently than poetry (which condenses the story to its essences)? How do these different genres and mediums influence the stories they tell and the effects they achieve? Readings will include primary texts as well as critical and fundamentals texts in each genre. Students will complete weekly reading responses, as well as creative exercises. A paper focusing on a specific element derived from the class will be due at the end of the course.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 11:00-1:50
 

Prerequisites

Students must be a declared Creative Writing major to enroll. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Fundamentals

CRWR 17005 Fundamentals in Creative Writing: Parody

Beginning writers are often told to “imitate” the work of “great authors” in order to discover their own voices. One way to enliven this artistic apprenticeship is to copy masterpieces from literary history with great care, but with a comic touch, too. Imitation with a difference—think Pride and Prejudice and Zombies—is the soul of parody, and in this course we’ll make mockeries of poetry, fiction, and essayistic nonfiction from the history of Western literature in order to learn how art works. Parodying Gertrude Stein’s parallax portraiture can illuminate the inner workings of literary mimesis itself. Satirizing Clarice Lispector’s proliferating points of view can teach us about the limits of perspective in narrative art. Imitating Junishiro Tanizaki’s essayistic praise of shadows, we can study the role of polemic in literary nonfiction. By the end of the quarter, you’ll have written several imitations of major literary works, and, en route, you will have hopefully learned something about your own voice as a literary artist.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 2:00-4:50
 

Prerequisites

Students must be a declared Creative Writing major to enroll. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Fundamentals

CRWR 10306/30306 Beginning Poetry Workshop

This course addresses a range of techniques for writing poetry, making use of various compelling models drawn primarily from international modernisms on which to base our own writing. (Our textbook is Poems for the Millennium, edited by Rothenberg & Joris.) In this sense, the course will constitute an apprenticeship to modern poetry. We will consider the breadth of approaches currently available to poets, as well as the value of reading as a means of developing an understanding of how to write poetry. Each week students will bring poems for discussion, developing a portfolio of revised work by the quarter’s end. Additionally, students will keep detailed notebooks, as well as developing critical skills for understanding poetry in the form of two short essays.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 9:30-12:20
 

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is necessary.
 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10406/30406 Beginning Nonfiction Workshop

Real Characters

What does it mean to study another person’s life—a real person—and craft the collected pieces into a work of nonfiction? How can we write about them with authority? How do we turn people into nonfiction characters? As students report and write profiles in this nonfiction workshop, we will explore the practice and limits of this popular genre. Through weekly writing exercises and reading assignments, we will study different techniques of gathering facts--interviewing and observing subjects, using secondary sources, providing social and historical context. We will develop the abilities to depict people through physical detail, dialogue and action. In considering the extent to which we can and can’t know the real people we portray, we will also explore how writers (along with documentary filmmakers, historians, sociologists, writers of case studies) address these limitations in their work. Students will complete a short profile each week, and they will write one longer, workshopped and revised profile.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 9:30-12:20
 

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10406/30406 Beginning Nonfiction Workshop

Autobiography is what happens when you're writing about something else. This course practices the art of letting the personal bleed into traditionally impersonal forms and is ideal for beginning students eager to experiment with creative possibilities. We'll read Anne Carson shaken by loss but trying to think through Emily Brontë, Joan Didion documenting her own bewilderment as a journalist in the 1960s, Michael Clune interrogating the allure of childhood videogames, and Eula Biss contemplating American racism in the context of her own Chicago neighborhood. The second half of the course will focus on autobiographies that are reframed by contact with other forms of attention—Claudia Rankine's politically disciplined anecdotes, Barry Lopez's nature writing, Virginia Woolf's rigorous exposition of her own consciousness as she reads a book. In each half of the course you will submit an original piece for peer workshopping, first a piece of criticism informed by autobiography, second an autobiographical essay informed by another discipline or pursuit. Directed prose exercises, edited by the instructor and returned for revision, will sharpen your technical self‐mastery. Polished revisions of workshop pieces will be due at the quarter's end.

Instructor(s): Benjamin Lytal
Day/Time: Thursday, 12:30-3:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.
 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop

The Short Story

This class is an introduction to the writing of literary fiction. Our purpose will be to learn techniques that will help us to hone our skills as writers, observers, and thinkers. To that end, we will explore basic elements of fiction writing (plot, character, setting, point-of-view, dialogue, conflict, etc.) and read literature as writers. This means that we will be concerned foremost with how stories are crafted, and we will attempt to create a language in order to articulately describe what rivets us as readers. A strong component of this course is developing an appreciation of writing as a communal endeavor. As such, you are required to attend literary events in the community. As a member of a writing community, be prepared to respectfully read and respond to the work of others—both the work of students and published writers. Expect to invest a significant amount of time reading and writing inside and outside of class.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop

The Short Story

“The novel is exhaustive by nature,” Steven Millhauser once wrote. “The short story by contrast is inherently selective. By excluding almost everything, it can give perfect shape to what remains.” Through readings of published stories and workshops of students’ own fiction, this course will explore the parameters of the short story, its scope and ambitions, its limitations as well. We’ll read established masters like Edgar Allen Poe, Raymond Carver, and Joy Williams as well as many newer literary voices, breaking down their stories, not simply as examples of meaningful fiction, but as road maps toward a greater awareness of what makes a short story operate. Over the course of the quarter, students will submit full-length stories for consideration in workshop, as well as other experimental efforts in short-short and micro fiction. Discussion will revolve around basic elements of story craft—point of view, pacing, language, etc.—in an effort to define the ways in which a narrative can be conveyed with economy, precision, and ultimately, power.

Day/Time: Thursday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 21500/41500 Advanced Translation Workshop: Prose Style

Purple, lean, evocative, muscular, literary, exuberant, lucid, stilted, economical. These are all labels that critics and reviewers have used to characterize prose styles that call attention to themselves in distinct ways. Of course, what constitutes style not only changes over time, but also means different things in different literary traditions. How, then, do translators carry style over from one language and cultural milieu to another? And to what extent does style structure storytelling? We will explore these questions by reading a variety of modern and contemporary stylists who either write in English or translate into English, paying special attention to what stylistic devices are at work and what their implications are for narration, characterization, and world building. Further, we’ll examine the range of choices that each writer and translator makes when constituting and reconstituting style, on a lexical, tonal, and syntactic scale. By pairing readings with generative exercises in stylistics and constrained writing, we will build toward the translation of a short work of contemporary fiction into English. To participate in this workshop, students should be able to comfortably read a literary text in a foreign language. 

Day/Time: Monday, 1:30-4:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. In place of a writing sample, submit a brief description of your areas of interest regarding language, writing, translation, and world literature. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 23126/43126 Advanced Poetry Workshop: The Present Moment

In this workshop we will tackle the problem of writing poetry in the present moment at a range of scales, thinking critically about our world's obsession with the "contemporary." At the grandest scale, we will ask what it means to write into the contemporary moment, one in which we seem to feel time fading with every status update and tweet, and one that demands embodied engagement—reading works that have been written recently, in dialogue with living authors. At the most intimate scale, we will consider how poetry can cultivate critical awareness of the present moment amidst forces that pull us with dopamine-induced promises and regrets into the future and past. How does poetry, with its odd ability to punctuate, syncopate, fragment, and suspend time, intervene in daily life and in the historical record? Authors for consideration will include Issa, Basho, Gertrude Stein, F.T. Marinetti, David Harvey, Cecilia Vicuna, Bernadette Mayer, Etel Adnan, Leslie Scalapino, Lyn Hejinian, Julie Patton, CA Conrad, Julian T. Brolaski, and Bhanu Kapil. Students will have the chance to experiment with different forms of attunement to the present, and will produce a daybook in tandem with a final "book" project that may take a range of forms.

Day/Time: Thursday, 2:00-4:50 PM
 

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 24010/44010 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Reading & Writing Memoir

Are memoirs self-indulgent? In this class you’ll learn firsthand the pitfalls of the genre, mainly by writing your own. Although your memoir is about what happened, ultimately it has to be about what what happened means. We’ll help you figure that out by starting with theories proposed by Vivian Gornick in her book, The Situation and the Story, as well as To Show and To Tell, by Phillip Lopate. You’ll apply these theories (or not) in class, two-thirds of which will be workshop, i.e., intensive line edits, essayistic critiques, and long, focused, yet wide-ranging discussions about the student work at hand as well as memory itself, which is the imagination working in reverse. We'll spend the other third of class reading and discussing published exemplars by James Baldwin, Jo Ann Beard, Lucy Grealy, and visiting writers. If you learn one thing in this class, you'll learn that the best memoirs are indeed self-indulgent—but that the self they're indulging is the reader’s, not the writer’s.


Day/Time: Tuesday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 24011/44011 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Migration Essays

In this course we will be reading and writing creative essays that consider voluntary and involuntary migration from a variety of perspectives – historical, personal, geographical, political. We will read works by writers including Valeria Luiselli, Olaudah Equiano, Tommy Orange, Gwendolyn Brooks, Tara Zahra, Italo Calvino, Eve Ewing, José Roach Orduña, and Aleksandar Hemon, which will let us think in terms of narrative, testimony, fragment, investigation, fable, oral history, inhabited voice, memoir. Students will write two essays for workshop, and will be encouraged to grapple with the overlay between present and past, between public and private, between memory and forgetting. As writers, we will work at the technical aspects of managing tense, distance, and scale – close by, far away, a few, many, still, not any more.  

Day/Time: Wednesday, 11:30-2:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22133/42133 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Writing the Uncanny

Sigmund Freud defines "the uncanny" ("unheimlich") as something that unnerves us because it is both familiar and alien at the same time, the result of hidden anxieties and desires coming to the surface. In this advanced fiction workshop, we will explore how fiction writers use the uncanny to create suspense, lend their characters psychological depth, thrill and terrify their readers, and lay bare the darkest and most difficult human impulses. We will read and discuss fiction by writers like Shirley Jackson, Jamaica Kincaid, Octavia Butler, Kelly Link, Ben Okri, Haruki Murakami, and Victor Lavalle, drawing craft lessons from these writers to guide our own attempts at writing the uncanny. Much of our class time will be dedicated to evaluating student work and honing our skills of composition and critique. In addition to shorter writing exercises and "mini-workshops" throughout the quarter, every student will complete a full-length "uncanny" short story for workshop and compose critique letters for each of their peers. Students will be required to significantly revise their full-length short story by the end of the quarter.

Day/Time: Friday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22130/42130 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Inner Logic

In this advanced workshop, we will explore the range of strategies and techniques that fiction writers employ to make readers suspend their disbelief. We will consider how imagined worlds are made to feel real and how invented characters can seem so human. We will contemplate how themes, motifs, and symbols are deployed in such a way that a story can feel curated without seeming inorganic. We will consider how hints are dropped with subtlety, how the 'rules' for what is possible in a story are developed, and how writers can sometimes defy their own established expectations in ways that delight rather than frustrate. From character consistency to twist endings, we'll investigate how published authors lend a sense of realism and plausibility to even the most far-fetched concepts. Through regular workshops, we will also interrogate all students' fiction through this lens, discussing the ways in which your narratives-in-progress create their own inner logic. Students will submit two stories to workshop (one to be submitted early in the term) and will be asked to write critiques of all peer work.

Day/Time: Monday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

 

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22134/42134 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Cultivating Trouble and Conflict

“If you want a compelling story, put your protagonist among the damned” —Charles Baxter
While crisis is to be avoided in life, when it comes to narrative, trouble is your friend. In this advanced workshop, we'll explore the complex ways writers create conflict in their stories, be it internal or external, spiritual or physical, romantic, financial or familial. We'll read masters of the form like Edward P. Jones, George Saunders, Deborah Eisenberg, Sandra Cisneros, and Phil Klay, and discuss how they generate conflict that feels organic, character-driven and inevitable. Weekly writing exercises will encourage you to take creative risks and hone new skills. Each student will workshop two stories, with strong emphasis on focused and productive peer critique and in-class commentary.

Day/Time: Monday, 1:30-4:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Winter
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 20305/40305 Technical Seminar in Poetry: Imagery and Description.

This technical seminar explores different theoretical and practical approaches to imagery and description in poetry. To begin with, we'll try to distinguish between the two terms, to the extent necessary and possible. Then we will examine and practice writing radically different approaches to image making and description (e.g. synesthetic, collaged, surrealist, eco-poetic, abstract, juxtapositional, haiku, etc.). Along the way, we'll consider theories about the rhetorical functions of imagery and description in the poetic text. Although this course focuses on poetry, it is certainly relevant to prose writers interested in the role of descriptive detail in literary writing, and for comparison we will examine famous examples of description in works of fiction. Students should plan to submit a weekly exercises, write a critical essay, and give a class presentation. 

Day/Time: Friday, 10:30-1:20
 

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20402/40402 Technical Seminar in Nonfiction: Narrative Structure

In this class we'll analyze the architecture of nonfiction. We'll start by studying the primary elements of composition: the sentence, paragraph, and section. (Or chapter, in the case of a book.) We'll begin with Verlyn Klinkenborg's treatise, Several Short Sentences about Writing; also, because the sentence has so much in common with the line and thus poetry, lyric essays, which verge on verse. Sentences accrete into paragraphs, each with its own internal structure, one that leads to the next paragraph and eventually to the overall structure, one composed of every previous element, like a set of Russian nesting dolls. We'll take apart those structures. If it's a chain of events we'll study their order, and ask why they're often better out of chronologic order. If the piece is a train of thought we'll look at the way each paragraph forms a boxcar, so to speak, in that train, one pulled along by a central, sometimes unspoken, question or conflict. In some cases-Didion's White Album-we'll analyze the absence of any meaningful structure. Other readings include Katherine Boo, David Grann, Natalia Ginzburg, and theoretical texts such as John McPhee's Draft Number Four.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 9:30-12:20 

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20203/40203 Technical Seminar in Fiction: Research & Worldbuilding

Writing fiction is in large part a matter of convincing world-building, no matter what genre you write in. And convincing world-building is about creating a seamless reality within the elements of that world: from character dynamics, to setting, to social systems, and even the story or novel’s conceptual conceit. And whether it be within a genre of realism, historical fiction, or science fiction, building a convincing world takes a good deal of research. So while we look closely at the tools and methods of successful world-building, we will also dig into the process of research. From how and where to mine the right details, to what to look for. We will also focus on how research can make a fertile ground for harvesting ideas and even story. Students will read various works of long and short fiction with an eye to its world-building, as well as critical and craft texts. They will write short weekly reading responses and some creative exercises as well. Each student will also be expected to make a brief presentation and turn in a final paper for the class.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 11 AM–1:50 PM

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 20212/40212 Technical Seminar in Fiction: Literary Digressions

In this technical seminar, we will set about exploding the traditional "rules" of fiction craft in order to broaden our grasp of intention and technique. Each week, using Charles Baxter's Burning Down the House as our textbook, we will focus on a nontraditional approach to a craft element (e.g., anti-epiphanic endings, counterpointed characters, rhyming action, etc.). We will analyze the fictional element in an assigned short story and write a short craft analysis, meditating on both the risk and payoff of these literary digressions. Then we'll experiment with the technique in a short writing exercise. Although this is not a formal workshop, we will share and receive feedback in brief "10 Minute Workshops." The end of the semester will culminate in a portfolio of exercises and techniques.       

Day/Time: Tuesday, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Technical Seminars

CRWR 12120 Reading as a Writer: Writing and Desecration

To write in any genre is a gesture that puts one in a relationship with predecessors and precursors. While this relationship if often constructed as a dialogue, it can also be a conflict, full of clatter, disagreement and intentional offensiveness. In this sense, the writer’s mark crosses out the predecessors’ work, and functions as an act of desecration. Writing becomes an intertextual act of rebellion that calls into question the conventional, the canonical, and the sacred. Readings may include avant garde manifestos, erasure poetry, and poetry and fiction by Shakespeare, William Blake, Joyce Mansour, Sylvia Plath, Bernadette Mayer, Amiri Baraka, Allen Ginsberg, Federico García Lorca, Haruki Murakami and Georges Bataille. Students will be expected to write creative works in response to prompts, and write an academic essay. The prompts will form the basis of a final portfolio, which will be accompanied by an original essay.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30-4:20 PM

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core requirement.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12125 Reading as a Writer: From Page to Film

We often say of film adaptations: it’s not as good as the book. But what can we, as readers and writers, learn from that unsuccessful transition to the screen? And more intriguingly, what can we learn from the successful ones, the films that are just as good if not better than the original written work—or so vastly different that they become their own entity? In this class, we will be reading works of short fiction and also “reading” their film adaptations, focusing on this relationship between storytelling on the page and storytelling on the screen and what is both lost and gained in that transition. If filmmaking requires a different language than fiction writing, a different approach to things like character, plot, atmosphere, even thematic development, what can we learn from that approach that we can apply to our own fiction, even if we have no interest in making films? We’ll investigate this question in the work of writers like James Joyce, Andre Dubus, and Stephen King, and filmmakers like Hitchcock, Huston, and Wilder.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 2:00-4:50 

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core requirement.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 12117 Intro to Genres: Division and Western

This course explores literary responses to Chicago's boundaries and sites of contention through fiction, drama, poetry, and literary journalism. We'll examine work by writers and artists including Saul Bellow, Lorraine Hansberry, Nate Marshall, Bruce Norris, and Studs Terkel. How does one map the city's conflicts along zoning ordinances, street corners, playgrounds, and rumors? What histories undergird the city's racelines? In exploring these aspects of the city, where does a writer draw the boundary between fiction and nonfiction, between verse and prose? Engaging these larger questions, participants will develop their own individual and collaborative creative responses to "the city in a garden."

Day/Time: Tuesday, 1:30-4:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Satisfies the College Arts/Music/Drama Core requirement.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Arts Core Courses

CRWR 17001 Fundamentals in Creative Writing: Testimony

To give testimony is to bear witness and to provide evidence. To give testimony is also to draw the reader or listener into an individual point of view. In this course, we will study the first-person voice in various forms of personal testimony. Drawing from a mix of memoirs, personal essays, letters, fiction, and other first-person narratives, we will analyze the techniques and rhetorical devices used by writers, standup comedians, memoirists in transporting the listener or reader into unknowable, unfamiliar experiences. Expect to engage with texts by authors such as Franz Kafka, Patricia Lockwood, Richard Pryor, and William Maxwell. We will compose our own personal writings through creative exercises. A critical paper is also due.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 12:30-3:20 PM

Prerequisites

Students must be a declared Creative Writing major to enroll. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Fundamentals

CRWR 10306/30306 Beginning Poetry Workshop

This course addresses a range of techniques for writing poetry, making use of various compelling models drawn primarily from international modernisms on which to base our own writing. (Our textbook is Poems for the Millennium, edited by Rothenberg & Joris.) In this sense, the course will constitute an apprenticeship to modern poetry. We will consider the breadth of approaches currently available to poets, as well as the value of reading as a means of developing an understanding of how to write poetry. Each week students will bring poems for discussion, developing a portfolio of revised work by the quarter’s end. Additionally, students will keep detailed notebooks, as well as developing critical skills for understanding poetry in the form of two short essays.

Day/Time: Tuesdays, 2-4:50 PM

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is necessary.
 

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10406/30406 Beginning Nonfiction Workshop

Fiction author James Joyce believed that by writing toward the heart of Dublin, he could get to the heart of every ciy. His idea set a difficult literary standard for writers of contemporary creative nonfiction: no longer could they write about a particular subject without the expectation that it should resonate on a universal level. In this course, we will cross-examine the values behind the countless mantras that circulate creative writing communities in order to trace how they influence the creative process of nonfiction writing, a genre that has only begun to gain independenc on bookshelves. As we read authors who specialize in exploring particularities such as childhood and identity, we will focus on crafting and discussing stories which are uniquely ours. Students will workshop and revise one personal essay and several micro-essays for a final portfolio that demonstrates originality and versatility. Potential guides for our reading include: Mary Karr, Frank McCourt, Kiese Laymon, Yiyun Li, and Lucy Grealy.

Day/Time: Mondays, 1:30-4:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is necessary.
 

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10406/30406 Beginning Nonfiction Workshop

The world is made up of stories, and stories about stories. Telling our stories, honoring those stories, listening actively and empathetically to the stories of others—this is all part of the propulsive work of democracy. Of course writing our stories is not a skill separate from thinking, and there's nothing more interesting, engaging, and, yes, precarious than an intelligent mind thinking out loud. The practice of writing is a journey, not by a tourist, but by a pilgrim struggling to make sense—and the reader must actually see the struggle. We will be concerned in this workshop with writing creative nonfiction: memoirs, polemics, personal essays. We’ll consider fundamental issues in writing nonfiction—creating a credible narrator and becoming a compelling story-teller; describing a scene in sufficient detail; diving into (and not running away from) contradictions; knowing when to “show, don’t tell” and (just as important) when to “tell—synthesize, generalize, sum up—don't show.” We will read a few pieces on the art of writing creative nonfiction, and we will focus on engaging and responding to primary texts by several authors. The heart of our work together will be ongoing workshops of original student writing.

Day/Time: Mondays, 10:30-1:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is necessary.
 

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop

Basics of Narrative Design | This course will begin with a weeks-long consideration of selected works of fiction where discussion will aim to distinguish the basic techniques and devices of effective storytelling. Weekly topics will range from subjects as broad as point of view and plot arrangement to more highly focused lessons on scene design, dialog, and word choice. Throughout the term, the writing process will be broken down into stages where written work will focus on discrete story parts such first pages, character introductions, and dialog-driven scenes before students are asked to compose full-length narratives. Along the way, students will chart their processes of conceptualizing, drafting, and revising their narratives. Finally, in the latter weeks of the quarter, emphasis will shift to the workshopping of students’ full stories.

Thursdays, 9:30-12:20 

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop

In this beginning-level fiction workshop, we will focus on the relationship between writer, reader, and story -- in other words, point of view. Who is telling a story?  To whom?  For what purpose and at what distance?  As we read fiction by writers like Lorrie Moore, Jose Saramago, Breece D’J Pancake, George Saunders, Kazuo Ishiguro, and others, we'll consider how point-of-view choices affect storytelling at all levels: character, voice, plot, structure, and significant detail. Most important, through weekly writing exercises and peer critique, we’ll experiment with a wide range of storytelling personae and points of view, from the intimate unreliability of the first-person narrator to the judicial distance of the magisterial voice. You will also be required to produce a full-length story for workshop, letters of critique for each of your peers, and a substantial revision of your short story.

Mondays, 9:30-12:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 10206/30206 Beginning Fiction Workshop

Style, it might be said, is a truce the writer makes between her material and what she can do with it. This course will focus on the latter—especially the things that beginning writers can do to take control of their writing. Directed prose exercises, edited by the instructor and returned for revision, will sharpen your technical self‐mastery. For larger issues of craft we'll examine two or three stories each by a succession of vivid stylists. In written assignments, you will be asked to experiment with the picaresque elaborations of Nikolai Gogol, the ruthless dreams of Jamaica Kincaid, the limited point of view of a Katherine Mansfield character, and the supple empathy of David Foster Wallace's indirect discourse. In the second half of the course, you will twice submit an original story for peer workshopping, and will turn in polished revisions at the semester's end.

Day/Time: Fridays, 12:30-3:20

Prerequisites

Open bid through my.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Beginning Workshops

CRWR 21500/41500 Advanced Translation Workshop

All writing is revision, and this holds true for the practice of literary translation as well. We will critique each other’s longer manuscripts-in-progress of prose, poetry, or drama, and examine various revision techniques—from the line-by-line approach of Lydia Davis, to the “driving-in-the-dark” model of Peter Constantine, and several approaches in between. We will consider questions of different reading audiences while preparing manuscripts for submission for publication, along with the contextualization of the work with a translator’s preface or afterword. Our efforts will culminate in not only an advanced-stage manuscript, but also with various strategies in hand to use for future projects. Students who wish to take this workshop should have at least an intermediate proficiency in a foreign language and already be working on a longer translation project.

Day/Time: Friday, 10:30-1:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 23110/43110 Advanced Poetry: The Long Poem

This advanced writing workshop will explore the many ways in which poets since antiquity have approached the idea of “the long poem.” In a world of ever-decreasing attention spans, we’ll begin by considering what might motivate such a work today, and will read a wide range of contemporary texts, from linked sequences, to “middle-distance” or multi-part poems, to book- (or books-) length projects, that offer a rich variety of responses. Over the course of the quarter, students will conceive and develop a sustained poetic project that extends beyond the parameters of the conventional “lyric” poem. In addition to students’ original work, primary texts to be considered may include excerpts from Homer's Illiad, H.D.'s Helen in Egypt, Anne Carson’s “Glass Essay,” Robin Coste Lewis’ “Voyage of the Sable Venus,” Alice Oswald’s Memorial, Inger Christenson’s Alphabet, and A.R. Ammon's Garbage.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 2:00-4:50
 

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 23112/43112 Advanced Poetry Workshop: Make It Old

Poetry after Modernism has been shaped by Ezra Pound’s directive to “Make it new.” Yet Pound himself derived this slogan from the most ancient of sources—an inscription on the washbasin of the first Shang dynasty king Ch’eng T’ang (1766-1753 BC). In this advanced poetry workshop, we will study some of the ways that contemporary poets revisit ancient texts from various cultures in order to open up new aesthetic and historical dimensions in our own poetry. Students will enjoy considerable freedom in how they conceive of their own poetry's relationship to diverse histories; from one week to the next, they may choose to write in a historical genre or form (the Latin hexameter, the Japanese haibun), in response to some ancient work (the Sundiata epic of old Mali, the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead), or they may invent their own ways to "make it old." Texts may include Armand Schwerner’s The Tablets, Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red, Aga Shahid Ali’s Call Me Ishmael Tonight, Christopher Logue’s War Music, and Cecilia Vicuña’s New and Selected Poems, to name only a few possibilities.

Day/Time: Thursday, 2:00-4:50

 

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 24014/44014 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: The Performative Essay

The advantage of working within a non-genre is best understood as a spatial metaphor: the house of fiction has kicked us out, but so what? That only means we are free to roam a limitless landscape, mingling with other genres and establishing new traditions. In recent years publishers have begun to recognize that nonfiction writers are necessarily hybrid creatures, and as a result we are witnessing an explosion of exciting books that challenge our impulse to categorize literature. To name a few pioneers: Claudia Rankine, Joe Wenderoth, Anne Carson, Solmaz Sharif, and Jenny Boully. In this course, students will close read a variety of works that dissolve the lines between poetry and prose and visual art, exploring what is becoming known as “the performative essay.” Our aim will be simple: to playfully experiment with innovative sources of narrative momentum each week, and to share our original hybrid works for energetic workshop discussions. A revision of the workshop essay, along with a critical essay on a reading of your choosing, will be turned in at the end of the quarter.

Day/Time: Tuesday, 3:30-6:20 PM

 

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 24013/44013 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: The Great American Essay

This course aims to expand the writers' understanding of the genre and broaden their skillset by reading, discussing, responding to and challenging the notion of one cohesive and unquestionable nonfiction canon as we examine the birth and evolution of the cisatlantic essay in all its forms. From the Popol Vuh to the political mural, from the manifesto to the Facebook post, from Tecayehuatzin's elegy for the city that fell to the Spaniards in 1524 to Torrey Peters Facebook elegy for all the transgender people who fell prey to violence and indifference in 2016. Examining the development of the essay within the contained cisatlantic space will allow for, not merely, a focused dissection of what are sometimes termed the foundational elements of the genre, but also a close examination of the development of a literary identity throughout the Americas, and of the concept of Americanness throughout the cisatlantic canon. What did literary nonfiction mean to the earliest American literature? What does `America' mean to essayists writing at the borders of countries, and the edges of society? What makes the great American essay great and what American? Students will be expected to read and discuss a broad array of cisatlantic nonfiction, respond to prompts crafted around these readings, and then to make their own contribution to this strange and defiant corner of the literary world.

Day/Time: Thursday, 12:30-3:20


 

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22137/42137 Advanced Fiction Workshop: The College Novel (& Story)

In this advanced fiction workshop, we will examine and write narratives set at college, the so-called campus and varsity novels (and, in our case, short stories). We will try to capture the attendant promise and uncertainty of life on the cusp of adulthood, asking what it means to come of age, to age, to experiment, and possibly, to regress. We’ll attempt to veer away from cultural cliché and caricature to portray the truth of life on campus and come to grips with the way you live right now, as we consider what it means—to borrow the title of one novel—to make our home among strangers. Students will read published works and submit two stories or novel excerpts for workshops. Please expect a rigorous but constructive workshop environment where being a critic and an editor is essential.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 10:30-1:20
 

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22125/42125 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Surfacing the Unseen

This course is for students with works-in-progress, whether a story collection or a novel, who feel stuck in their manuscripts. In weekly workshop sessions, we'll re-examine what's actually at stake in the narrative draft. We'll help each other dive deeper in our writing, to rediscover submerged aspects of the narrative that can be further explored - and what to do once we've uncovered them. With accompanying readings of novel excerpts and stories, we'll also examine how to incorporate next-level techniques such as re-sequencing the plot, imposing metaphorical value, and thematic layering of storylines.

Day/Time: Monday, 12:30-3:20

 

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22135/42135 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Narrative Time

A story’s end point determines its meaning. The history of a life can be covered in a sentence, a few pages, or seven volumes. How do writers make these choices? In this advanced workshop, we’ll look at different ways to handle narrative time, paying special attention to building blocks like direct and summary scene, flashback, compression, slowed time and fabulist time. We’ll examine work by writers whose long stories have the sweep of novels, like Alice Munro and Edward P. Jones, alongside those who say everything in short single scenes of a page or two, like Grace Paley and Justin Torres. Students will be encouraged to experiment with time in both writing exercises and story revisions. Each student will workshop two stories, with strong emphasis on focused and productive peer critique and in-class commentary.

Day/Time: Thursday, 12:30-3:20

Prerequisites

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops

CRWR 22127/42127 Advanced Fiction Workshop: Bad Heroes & Good Villains

In this advanced fiction workshop, students will work on original short stories or chapters of longer works, with a focus on creating characters who are nuanced and three-dimensional. We will discard the word “likable” from our vocabularies, and render characters who are compelling regardless of whether their actions are “good” or “bad.” Close readings of published work and student work will help us consider what sorts of desires and conflicts force characters to make choices that fuel dramatic tension. We will discuss bad behavior by some of literature's favorite criminals, toward shaping work that is complex and full of the real contradictions human beings exhibit. Readings include  Go Tell it on the Mountain,  Lolita,  House of Mirth, and  This is How You Lose Her, as well as short stories from Ocean of Words  and  The Beggar Maid.

Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30-4:20
 

Prerequisites

In this advanced fiction workshop, students will work on original short stories or chapters of longer works, with a focus on creating characters who are nuanced and three-dimensional. We will discard the word “likable” from our vocabularies, and render characters who are compelling regardless of whether their actions are “good” or “bad.” Close readings of published work and student work will help us consider what sorts of desires and conflicts force characters to make choices that fuel dramatic tension. We will discuss bad behavior by some of literature's favorite criminals, toward shaping work that is complex and full of the real contradictions human beings exhibit. Readings include Go Tell it on the Mountain, Lolita, House of Mirth, and This is How You Lose Her, as well as short stories from Ocean of Words and The Beggar Maid.  

Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

2019-2020 Spring
Category
Advanced Workshops