Online | Fiction | Master Class

2-Week Online Fiction Master Class: Writing Place

Many of the greatest writers of our time are rooted in regional writing: Alice Munro and rural Ontario, Edward P. Jones and Washington D.C., Flannery O’Connor and the American South.

This two session master class is designed for any writer concerned with notions of place and immersive settings, both real and the imagined. This course will focus on assisting writers to utilize setting in ways that push, expand, and further the idea of place and a sense of home. The first class will focus on readings about place and story generating exercises (these readings will be provided before the start date). The second class will focus on ways to conduct scholarly research, especially as it relates to incorporating folktales, music, photography, and other art forms into our place-based writing. The goal of this two-day session is to provide students with the tools needed to create a fully realized and immersive fictional world that thrums with the breath of life.


- A deeper understanding of setting and how to wield its power in fiction

- Writing prompts and tools that will allow you to better understand the regionalism of your own work

- Instruction on how to use scholarly research to further setting with a focus on maps, photography, oral histories, and folklore

- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


WEEK ONE: Part 1. Origin Stories

Readings by: Leslie Marmon Silko and Ivelisse Rodriguez

Prompts to focus on the origin of your setting and understanding different types of histories and place-based knowledge.

WEEK TWO: Part 2. Research Based Writing

Photographic memory: Working with sources

Reading by Jayne Anne Phillips, from “Black Tickets.”

How do you work with diverse sources in order to enhance setting? Prompts to focus on researching guidelines and ideas for further study.

Part 3. Mapping

Reading by Alice Munro, Carried Away

Enriching the imagined realm of setting with mapping 

Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Kali Fajardo-Anstine is a National Book Award Finalist and the author of Sabrina & Corina, a finalist for the PEN/Bingham Prize and The Story Prize, and longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize. Her fiction and essays has appeared in GAY Magazine, The American Scholar, Boston Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Idaho Review, Southwestern American Literature, and elsewhere. Kali has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, and Hedgebrook. She has an MFA from the University of Wyoming and is from Denver, Colorado.


“Kali's writing prompts were very effective in stimulating both ideas and structure to my short stories. The class discussions were lively and useful, and her handouts were great.”

former student

“Kali was really great about offering constructive criticism. She made terrific suggestions but balanced them with words of support and affirmation. She is very knowledgeable about western literature and made great reading suggestions."

former student

"Kali's poise as a public speaker is quite powerful and dynamic, and she modulates that ability when shifting from big crowds to smaller, seminar-style classes. She has received enthusiastic notes from students on her end-of-course surveys at Lighthouse Writers Workshop. She clearly knows how best to negotiate the line between pushing students to try new approaches and encouraging students to develop trust in their own aesthetic choices."

Andrea Dupree Lighthouse Writers Workshop Program Director

"Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s collection of stories, SABRINA & CORINA, isn’t just good, it’s masterful storytelling. Fajardo-Anstine is a fearless writer: her women are strong and scarred witnesses of the violations of their homelands, their culture, their bodies; her plots turn and surprise, unerring and organic in their comprehensiveness; her characters break your heart, but you keep on going because you know you are in the hands of a master. (Is this really her first book?) Her stories move through the heart of darkness and illuminate it with the soul of truth. Comparisons came to mind: the Alice Munro of the high plains, the Toni Morrison of indigenous Latinas –but why compare her to anybody? She is her own unique voice, and her work will easily find a place, not just in Latinx literature, but in American literature and beyond. Can you see me? I’m giving this collection a standing ovation! Can you hear me? I’m calling out Brava! Brava! to Kali Fajardo-Anstine from a new fan and aficionada of her work."

Julia Alvarez award winning poet, novelist, & essayist

"Kali Fajardo-Anstine writes about hard truths in women’s lives so knowingly, and with such a deft touch, I felt hyper-alert, as well as implicated and imperiled. The book is about belief, coping, yearning, and proceeding in spite of adversity (that is, the times we stay alive). The final act of the first story tells us everything we need to know about what territory we’ll be entering: in these achingly convincing stories, the writer is writing delicately, symbolically, about mortality, itself."

Ann Beattie novelist & short story author

"Here are stories that blaze like wildfires, with characters who made me laugh and broke my heart, believable in everything they said and did. How tragic that American letters hasn’t met these women of the West before, women who were here before America was America. And how tragic that these working-class women haven’t seen themselves in the pages of American lit. before. Thank you for honoring their lives, Kali. I welcome them and you."

Sandra Cisneros award-winning author & short story author