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6-Week Fiction Workshop for Writers of Color: Harnessing Anger

Fictions as an Act of Justice

How can anger be productive? How can we use fiction as a way to enact the justice we never received?

The disempowered may feel powerless in their lived experiences, but we are never disempowered on the page. Historically, fiction has been a space where harmful situations are turned on their heads, accepted stereotypes are cast in unsettling new lights, and deserved, but unrealized, endings are finally realized. This workshop encourages writers to reimagine feelings of invisibility, rage and powerlessness not as unproductive, but as the exact opposite. How can accessing our anger and translating it to the page generate not only restorative stories for our communities, but be healing for us as individual writers? How can fiction act as a powerful and transformative tool when it comes to changing cultural discourse?

The primary focus of the class will be workshopping participants' submissions (two stories per participant over the course of the workshop). Unlike the traditional workshop where the writer-in-question is expected to stay silent, this workshop will be structured around the Ask & Receive format. When writers are up for workshop, they will prepare questions and concerns about their submission to ask the class. Writers can also ask for a group brainstorm over a particular concern.

In addition, we will read across genres–from satire to speculative–to understand how the act of fiction can be an act of justice. Readings will include Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Julie Koh, Ken Liu, Aoko Matsuda, and Nafissa Thompson-Spires. Each week, there will be an optional writing exercise inspired by that week’s reading.

This course is open to writers of color with any level of workshop experience.

*No class June 19

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.  


- Two workshopped stories

- Experience giving and receiving feedback in a generative and supportive setting where radical empathy is practiced

- Empowerment of marginalized writers and voices

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


- Reading one piece of assigned fiction per class and coming prepared to discuss

- Submitting two short stories (10 to 20 pages double spaced, Times New Roman, 1 inch margins)

- When a writer is up for workshop, coming prepared with a list of questions and concerns the writer would like to ask the teacher and the class

- Carefully reading each classmate’s submission, taking detailed notes (no notes or written feedback will be turned in) and coming prepared to discuss

- If time permits, at the end of each class, 10 minutes will be reserved for general discussion, support and advice around writing and publishing


Week 1: Welcome and Introductions (with workshop)

Week 2: The Ending We Deserve (with workshop)

Week 3: New Revisions of Old Stories (with workshop)

Week 4: The Possibilities of Absurdism (with workshop)

Week 5: Speculative Reimaginings (with workshop)

Week 6: The Political is Personal (with workshop)

Elaine Hsieh Chou

Elaine Hsieh Chou is a Pushcart-nominated Taiwanese American writer from California. A 2017 Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow at NYU and a 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Fellow, her short fiction appears in Guernica, Tin House Online, Ploughshares, Black Warrior Review (2020 Flash Fiction Winner) and elsewhere. She was an Adroit Summer Mentorship Program mentor, co-organizer of the Sweet & Sour Readings and a Tin House Summer Workshop graduate. Her debut novel Disorientation was published by Penguin Press in 2022. You can find her at or on Twitter at @elainehsiehchou

Photo: Cindy Trinh


“DISORIENTATION is a multivalent pleasure, a deeply original debut novel that reinvents the campus novel satire as an Asian American literary studies whodunnit, in which the murder victim might be your idea of yourself—no matter how you identify. I often held my breath until I laughed and I wouldn’t dare compare it or Chou to anyone writing now. Wickedly funny and knowing, Chou’s dagger wit is sure-eyed, intent on what feels like a decolonization of her protagonist, if not the reader, that just might set her free.”


“DISORIENTATION is an irreverent campus satire that skewers white sclerotic academia, creepy Asian fetishists and twee boba liberalism, but lastly and most importantly, it’s a satire, inspired by recent controversies, about an orientalist tradition and its manifestations today. Helmed by a memorable screwball protagonist, the novel is both a joyous and sharply-drawn caper.”

Cathy Park Hong author of MINOR FEELINGS

“Chou’s pen is a scalpel. Disorientation addresses the private absurdities the soul must endure to get free, from tokenism, the quiet exploitation of well-meaning institutions, and the bondage that is self-imposed. Chou does it with wit and verve, and no one is spared.”

Raven Leilani author of LUSTER

“Class discussions were always very interesting because Elaine was so well prepared with thoughtful and provoking questions about the readings."

former NYU Creative Writing student

“Chou was very available and provided great feedback on the writing we submitted. She also chose really interesting and unique readings."

former NYU Creative Writing student

“In the very first class, she told us not to say whether or not we ‘liked’ something. I think that it did more than just encouraging us to present more objective opinions, but it also challenged us to give and take criticism that goes beyond ‘I liked this’ or “I didn’t like this’."

former NYU Creative Writing student