“I was more interested in it as a book exploring characters just going about their lives. For me that’s the part of the Rust Belt narrative not often told.”
“I am tempted to spin you a story about a chance boyhood encounter in the deep forest with a wild hog that left me scarred and terrified and thus writing out my fear and horror for the rest of time, but I’ll restrain the impulse.” Pinckney Benedict talks with Mary Stewart Atwell in this second interview in a series on rural fiction.
Breaking Copy highlights these ads, by the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, that satirize anti-drug PSAs: I can see an MFA program putting together its own series of these ads: Anita Desai: “Where did you learn to write stories? Who taught you how to do this stuff?” Kiran Desai: “You, all right? I learned it by watching you!” Ad campaign, anyone?
Daniel Orozco’s debut has been a long time coming. Now fans of his prizewinning fiction can enjoy an entire collection, Orientation: And Other Stories. Michael Shilling calls him in Idaho to talk geographic love letters, G. Gordon Liddy, and the peculiar challenge of gimmicks.
Shawn Mitchell talks to Elif Batuman and Geoff Dyer (and they talk to each other) about obsession and addiction, the permeable line between labeling work fiction or nonfiction, Stendahl syndrome, and future projects.
Nobody advised Josh Weil to write three novellas for his first book, The New Valley, but that’s what he did. Mary Westbrook and the author talk about the stories behind the novellas and how well-intentioned advice can lead writers astray.
In Part II of “Where Are we Going Next?” Day, Leahy and Vanderslice discuss the rise of assessment, what’s really going on in creative writing classrooms, ways to respond to student work, incorporating digital media, and adapting the workshop for the 21st century. They also explore the importance of what writer Dinty Moore calls “literary citizenship” – the idea that individual literary pursuits thrive when combined with a spirit of community, generosity and mentorship.
Who’s afraid of big, bad pedagogy? Relax. In part one of a lively, insightful discussion about the practice and art of teaching creative writing, Cathy Day, Anna Leahy and Stephanie Vanderslice get down to brass tacks. The three professors articulate “what we do and how we do it,” and how to do it–teaching–better. So dive in; once you get past your jargon phobia, you’ll discover that good practice and theory are downright invigorating–and elemental–for both sides of the classroom.
Does the Writing Workshop Still Work? offers an important and timely contribution to the creative writing discipline: in addition to focusing on pedagogies, professionalization, and workshop methodologies, the collection complicates issues by asking readers to consider the workshop as an event, an artistic act, and a human activity.