This four-week seminar is for both new and experienced writers who are looking to experiment with genre in their own practice, and to reflect on how existing categories across fiction – the ‘vagaries of taxonomy’, as Jeff VanderMeer puts it—have evolved over the last century. We’ll be taking part in group-led close readings of incisive pieces of slipstream and ‘outsider’ lit, with an emphasis on short-fiction (but including excerpts from novel-length work and other mediums). We’ll be exercising those genre-busting muscles with craft exercises, and participants will have the option to share their work
By the end of the course, students will have deconstructed old, calcified axioms of genre and will be able to enter exciting new territory with confidence and finesse.
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.
- A clear understanding of strategies that can be used to transgress genre expectations
- A familiarity with the history of both genre and genre subversion, from the Decadence Era to modern influential figures in experimentation, ‘weird lit’, and slipstream
- Confidence to take risks in their own prose, incorporating hybrid-genre elements, and a broader unblocking of creative flow
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Each week there will be readings (between 2-3 pieces of prose) and students should be ready to discuss these the following session. Students should also keep the output from our craft exercises and be prepared to revisit them, with the option to upload them to a digital platform for feedback and discussion.
WEEK 1 – GENRE FUNDAMENTALS – including readings from Julio Cortázar, a review of old-school genre fundamentals, some theory, and a group exercise
WEEK 2 – A CLOSER LOOK AT HYBRID/GENRE-BUSTING PREMISES, MOODS, AND CHARACTER TRAITS – we'll look at the authors who consistently subvert genre expectations and their approaches to basic story elements, paired exercises, and an examination of ‘hinterlands’
WEEK 3 – SLIPSTREAM, ‘WEIRD’ LIT, AND NEW APPROACHES – including Richard Dorsett’s definition of the slipstream genre, a closer look at Anna Kavan, and a disruption of our Week 1 exercise
WEEK 4 – CONCLUSION – discussing assigned reading, addressing thorny lingering questions, briefly looking at a game, and sharing works
Arianna Reiche is a short-fiction writer based in east London. She's been published by Ambit, Berlin's SAND Journal, Fugitives + Futurists, Popshot, Joyland, and Glimmer Train, who awarded her first prize in their 2017 Fiction Open. She was also nominated for the 2020 Bridport Prize and the PANK Magazine Book Contest. In March 2021 she won the Tupelo Quarterly Prose Prize, and her two-story folio, Warden / Star, was recently published by Tangerine Press.
She is also a PhD candidate researching 'ambient' fiction and metalepsis: that which contaminates the barrier between story-world and reader-world.
PHOTO: Arnell Thompson
"Arianna Reiche's stories are exactly as intoxicating as an inside joke with a brilliant friend."
"Arianna is a naturally gifted teacher with the rare ability to put everyone at ease. Engaging and witty, with deep stores of knowledge, she is an attentive and patient guide through the most complex of topics. Learning with Arianna is a delight."
"Working with Arianna Reiche was akin to working with the best of them: focussed, acutely editorial and able to 'step back' from her own work and be that often elusive beast: objective. If you want your writing to be askance, amusing and an assault on the (in)senses, Arianna Reiche will help you get there."