Online | Fiction | Seminar

4-Week Fiction Seminar: Sharpening Your Tongue

This four-week craft seminar will focus on techniques and theories for tapping into your original voice. Through weekly readings, we will discuss how writers chart their influences, build from those influences, and come to shape and sharpen their own voices. Students will also practice their own writing through weekly exercises. Class readings will include authors and artists across a range of styles, such as Jenny Zhang, Grace Paley, Paul Beatty, K-Ming Chang, Toni Morrison, Ghostface Killah, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Katy Perry.

This class is open to writers of all levels. Each session will consist of short lectures, discussions about readings, and generative exercises. It won’t be structured as a traditional workshop, but the instructor will provide some written feedback on student work, and students will have a chance to share their writing with others during class for brief discussion.

Our class platform works best on laptop or desktop computers. Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features. The Zoom calls will have automated transcription enabled. Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility. 

Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.  


- Learning how to transition from the stage of mimicry to finding your own voice

- Understanding how to sharpen and maintain your voice

- Gaining confidence in sounding and writing like yourself

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Outside of class work will include a few short writing exercises and a small selection of readings. Most of the work will be done in class examining shorter samples of writing and doing in-class exercises. Students will receive some written feedback from the instructor on writing exercises and will have the option to share their writing with their classmates for brief discussion.


Week 1: Introductions; definitions of voice; mimicry; short exercises, readings, and discussion

Week 2: Finding your voice; short exercises, readings, and discussion

Week 3: Maintaining your voice; short exercises, readings, and discussion

Week 4: Moving forward and building confidence; short exercises, readings, and discussion

Gene Kwak

Gene Kwak has published in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Lit Hub, Wigleaf, Redivider, Hobart, and Electric Literature. Go Home, Ricky! is his debut novel and was a Rumpus October Book Club Selection, was featured in Vanity Fair magazine and Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, and has garnered rave reviews from Publisher's Weekly and Booklist among others. He teaches at the University of Nebraska Omaha. 


"Go Home, Ricky! takes on the urgent themes of today— identity, belonging, economic precarity —with an almost throwback commitment to the exhilarations of voice, of language. This pile driver of a novel is original, deeply funny, and moving. Gene Kwak revels in the contradictions and nuances of life, because that’s where wisdom comes from, as well as the best fiction.”

Sam Lipsyte New York Times bestselling author of THE ASK and THE FUN PARTS

“Gene Kwak is an enormously talented young writer who has a way of untangling race and masculinity with a lot more humor and originality than any of his contemporaries. GO HOME, RICKY! has stayed with me. I can’t forget its rhythm and energy.”

Catherine Lacey author of PEW and CERTAIN AMERICAN STATES

“Gene Kwak writes with a head-spinning musicality and depth of spirit that cannot be denied. Each sentence sparkles like a gemstone just cracked open, rewarding the attentive ear with ecstatic nuance, vibrant rhythm, a way of seeing and speaking you can come to through no one else but him. Pull out any line from GO HOME, RICKY! and you will find immediate evidence of a new classic culled deep from the heart of America, with no holds barred style to spare. In no small terms, Kwak is a must.”


“[An] acerbic and hilarious hyper-masculine debut picaresque... As a prose stylist, Kwak is impeccable. Every sentence is explosive, energetic, confident and hyperpolished, as if meant to be shouted proudly in a stadium of thousands.”

Publishers Weekly, *starred* review

“It takes a writer of extreme talent to handle a narrator so rough-edged, and Kwak is indeed talented. Like Ricky, his prose is deceptive. It will draw you in with its humor, its easy flow, but to craft a voice that feels so true and lived in takes a careful and delicate hand, a writer unafraid to be completely open and exposed.”

Electric Literature

"This was the first English professor to actually improve my writing. He gives meaningful feedback and is incredibly helpful in all aspects of the class. He is extremely willing to help and accepts revisions on all papers up until the last day of class."

- former student

"He was amazing! He really cared about all his students and wanted everyone to pass with an A. He let us rewrite our papers and gave us until the end of the semester. This class was a remote (synchronous online) class and only met once a week. This class was to learn how to write about ourselves and he respected all of our stories with no judgment."

former student

"Prof. Kwak really wanted his students to progress with their writing. He was super nice and funny. Class discussions are fun and actually are really helpful for ideas for the papers."

former student