In this six-week generative seminar, which is open to writers of all genres, we will explore what it means to use personal memory, history, mythology, and observation to fuel our writing. Through a series of generative weekly exercises, both take-home and in-class, we will explore the process of alchemizing our memories and histories—both macro and micro—in order to tell stories. What does it mean to write about historical periods of colonialism or war or violence? How do we engage with our memories and inherited stories in our writing, while also transforming them on the page? What does it mean to draw from our own lives, and what are the ethics of doing so? This class will focus on readings from writers of color, particularly women of color, highlighting the long tradition of writing the personal and political. We will respond to writing prompts inspired by the works of authors like Jamaica Kincaid, Chih-Ying Lay, Jenny Zhang, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Natalie Diaz, Li-Young Lee, Eve Ewing, Myriam Gurba, and others.
This course is open to writers of all levels and all genres. There will be reading assignments and writing prompts outside of class, but the majority of writing will take place during the generative seminar, which makes it ideal for those who are busy and want to carve out reading/writing time for themselves. The focus of this class is to generate new material and first drafts.
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 safe, generative space and communal support
- Empowerment of marginalized writers and voices
- Dedicated class time to work on new drafts
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
There will be weekly at-home readings and writing prompts, as well as in-class readings and writing prompts. The at-home writing will be optional but encouraged. Students should not expect to receive feedback for this course, outside of verbal feedback after sharing in-class writing.
Week 1: Exploring memory, migration & home
Week 2: Writing about personal and historical violence
Week 3: Detail & observation
Week 4: Personal & political
Week 5: Inherited stories
Week 6: Writing as transformation
K-Ming Chang is a Kundiman fellow, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. She is the author of the New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice novel BESTIARY (One World/Random House, 2020), which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2021, her chapbook BONE HOUSE was published by Bull City Press. Her short story collection, GODS OF WANT, is forthcoming from One World in July 2022.
"In BESTIARY, K-Ming Chang upturns earth and language in equal measure. Every page is percussive, hypnotizing, and maddeningly smart. I am stunned by the imaginative reach of this debut, the remarkable prose. Chang isn’t just a new voice in the landscape; she is building a new landscape entirely."
"K-Ming Chang’s prose ravishes, ravages, rampages. This is an absolute lightning strike of a debut. The world grew brighter as I read it."
“K-Ming's classes have been some of the best I've ever taken. They are wildly generative, and the prompts and reading have been instrumental in helping me dig deep to find new stories to write. It is conceivable that you write thousands of new words in a single month-long workshop. I come back to K-Ming's classes again and again because she has encouraged me to find new writing and new voices in myself that I didn't know existed. Highly recommended.”
“K-Ming Chang is an absolutely fantastic teacher. I was lucky enough to take two workshops with her this summer—one with Sevilla Writers House in June and another with Kweli International Literary Festival in August—and I have been so inspired by her instruction and guidance, both times leaving with the beginnings of new pieces as well as new ideas and approaches for how to revisit older ones. K-Ming’s remarkable writing prompts and breadth of knowledge; incredibly comprehensive knowledge of craft; warm, encouraging, and collaborative instruction style; and acute ability to bring out the best in her students' work were so invaluable to me this summer. She is also, of course, a brilliant and immensely talented writer, as well as a deeply observant and generous reader, and I feel so privileged to have had the chance to learn from her. I cannot recommend her as a writing instructor enough!”
“ K-Ming Chang is not only visionary as a writer, but awe-inspiring and encouraging as a teacher. Though I attended her class because I loved her writing, her guidance, careful selection of texts and prompts, and class discussions led me to generate 3 new pieces of work in a short 4 weeks, one of which is out for publication now. But it’s not only the publication or quantity that matters. K-Ming has taught me how to rethink and reevaluate what it means to write about family, explore voices outside of the mainstream voice, and find stories in even the ordinary. You will absolutely not regret taking her class— your own generated writing will be accompanied by a further exploration of yourself and your identity. ”