Fall 2007 Harman Fiction Writing Workshop

English 3610/3610H
Wednesdays: 2:05 PM to 5:00 PM
Taught by: Sigrid Nunez
Harman Visiting Professor

This class will be taught by the distinguished writer Sigrid Nunez, the author of five books of fiction including The Last of Her Kind, For Rouenna, Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury, Naked Sleeper, and A Feather on the Breath of God.

This is a course about storytelling.

Most writers, especially in their early work, draw from personal experience. In our workshop, one of the main questions we will explore is what happens when you use material from life as a source for stories. How do you transform real experience into imaginative writing?

How do a writer’s memories become a work of fiction? What is the difference between the self who narrates an event from the past and the self who actually lived through it?

Although we will read and discuss works by published authors, most of our class time will be devoted to student writing. Together, we will explore the elements of storytelling: setting, character, point of view, dialogue, plot, narrative structure, voice, imagery, and style.

Each student will have two opportunities during the semester to have his or her work read and discussed by the class.

The goal is for students to develop not only their writing skills but also their critical faculties.

Reading assignments will include works by writers for whom the subject is the self, or who blur the line between fiction and autobiography: Jamaica Kincaid, V. S. Naipaul, W. G. Sebald, Annie Ernaux, Tim O’Brien, and others.

Students who wish to enroll in the workshop must submit a resume (please include your student ID number and your email address) and two writing samples to Professor Roslyn Bernstein, Director of the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence Program, roz_bernstein@baruch.cuny.edu (646-312-3930) by April 12.

The City University of New York