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Block 8 [clear filter]
Saturday, April 4

3:30pm EDT

8A: When Science is Your Main Character
Limited Capacity seats available

In an increasingly science-suspicious world, many writers are wanting to incorporate scientific material into their fiction. But doing so presents some unique challenges.

In this session, we'll discuss approaches to writing fiction about science. How-- in a fictional world-- might we adhere to scientific fact? How can we make science central to our novels' conditions and conflict? How can we make the science work in the plot, without seeming like dull exposition? How might the progress of our characters' research-- or its dead-ends and failures-- drive change? We'll examine excerpts from writers such as Ursula K. LeGuin, Delia Owens, Gregory Benford, Mary Doria Russell, Margaret Atwood, and Barbara Kingsolver, to discover the choices they've made in diction, exposition, and science-as-plot-point. This session will be especially useful for anyone writing about characters who are scientists or researchers.

avatar for John Farrell

John Farrell

John W Farrell is a writer and producer working in Boston. He is the author of The Day Without Yesterday: Lemaître, Einstein, and the Birth of Modern Cosmology from Basic Books, an imprint of the Perseus Books Group. A graduate of Harvard College with a B.A. in English and American... Read More →
avatar for Rebecca Bratten Weiss

Rebecca Bratten Weiss

Rebecca Bratten Weiss is a writer, educator, and eco-grower.​She is the author of Mud Woman, a collaborative chapbook with Joanna Penn Cooper (Dancing Girl Press, 2018). Her creative work has been published in Two Hawks Quarterly, The Cerurove, Lycan Valley Press Publications, Figroot... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

3:30pm EDT

8C: Writing the Extremely Personal: Sex, Health, Family
Limited Capacity filling up

What does it mean to write the extremely personal? How do you navigate the inclusion and publication of deeply personal details in your fictional or nonfictional work? In this lecture, two writers for The Atlantic and The New York Times' "Modern Love" discuss how to navigate the writing process when your work includes deeply personal details about yourself or others -- sex, family, health, romance, etc., How do we approach the writing process, and what public and private considerations should we keep in mind during and after the publication process? What are the advantages and disadvantages of plumbing your own life for artistic truth? How does the personal differ in fiction and nonfiction, if at all?

avatar for Courtney Sender

Courtney Sender

Fiction & Nonfiction Writer
Courtney Sender’s fiction appears or is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, AGNI, Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, Tin House, and others. Her nonfiction appears in The New York Times “Modern Love,” The Atlantic, and The Lily at Washington... Read More →
avatar for Christine Gross-Loh

Christine Gross-Loh

Christine Gross-Loh is a journalist and author. Her most recent book is The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life, coauthored with Professor Michael Puett. The Path, an international bestseller, has been published in nearly 30 countries. She is also the... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Franklin Room - 4th Floor
  Block 8, Lecture

3:30pm EDT

8E: Writing Great Artist Statements for Fellowships, Residencies, MFA programs, & More
Limited Capacity seats available

Whether you want to enhance your craft or win more writerly time and support, chances are that someday you'll face a competitive application process. At such times, a well-written artist statement can go a long way to make you stand out from the pack. In this session, we'll discuss the key components that every artist statement should include, as well as other ways to make your application as strong as can be.

avatar for Jonathan Escoffery

Jonathan Escoffery

Fiction & Nonfiction Writer
Jonathan Escoffery’s writing has appeared in The Paris Review, AGNI, Pleiades, Salt Hill, The Caribbean Writer, Creative Nonfiction, Solstice Literary Magazine, Pangyrus, and elsewhere. His most recent honors include a Distinguished Story citation in The Best American Short Stories... Read More →
avatar for Shubha Sunder

Shubha Sunder

Fiction Writer
Shubha Sunder's prose has appeared in The Bare Life Review, Lenny Letter, Crazyhorse, Narrative Magazine, Michigan Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. Two of her stories were named as notable in The Best American Short Stories 2016 anthology. In 2016 she was named a Massachusetts Cultural... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

3:30pm EDT

8F: How to Create an Irresistible Narrator
Limited Capacity seats available

Many a short story, novel, and memoir have gone unpublished because the author fails to create a strong narrator, one who can act as a wise and entertaining guide to the reader. In this class, we'll examine the work of Didion, Salinger, Austen and others -- and try an in-class exercise -- in an effort to make sure your next narrator isn't just strong, but irresistible.

avatar for Steve Almond

Steve Almond

Steve Almond is the author of eleven books of fiction and non-fiction including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies, including the Best American Short Stories, the Pushcart Prize, the Best American... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Statler Room - Mezzanine Level

3:30pm EDT

8I: Joke’s on You: The Serious Work Of Using Humor in Your Writing
Limited Capacity seats available

Do you enjoy reading humorous writing but wonder how to make your own work funnier? Sadly, it's impossible, since being funny is a natural gift that only a few magical people are born with. Kidding—it's actually a simple craft issue. One that writers can work to improve just like any other. In this class we'll study the building blocks of humor and examples from masters in fiction and nonfiction, identifying their techniques and learning to incorporate them into our own writing without making it too "jokey." We'll also examine works of pure "humor writing" like The New Yorker's "Shouts & Murmurs" or McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

We'll also discuss humor as a craft issue with real-world stakes. While few writers get called out online when their plot or setting doesn’t work, failed humor can elicit unintended backlash. So we'll consider humor not as a whimsical, throw-stuff-at-the-wall-and-hope-it-sticks element of story, but as a powerful craft tool that writers must utilize with both skill and consideration.

avatar for Stephen Macone

Stephen Macone

Nonfiction Writer
Steve Macone is a former headline contributor at The Onion. His essays, humor writing, and reporting have also appeared in the American Scholar, New York Times, Atlantic, New Yorker, Boston Globe Magazine, Morning News, VICE and Salon. He's been featured on NPR and Longreads, received... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Hancock Room - Mezzanine Level