Write what you want to read. I don't remember where I heard that—certainly from somewhere, maybe one of my wise teachers—but by now that phrase has become ingrained and it has also become a guiding light. In this course, you as writers will discover what you like to write and, hopefully, what you like to read. To write great fiction, you also have to be reading great fiction. In this course, you will not only workshop two of your projects but also read contemporary writers and discuss them in class. As a teacher, I will individually recommend writers you could read to help you with your own writing. You will leave this class with a stronger sense of story, voice, and your own strengths as a writer.
Students in this class will be invited to a private springtime cocktail reception with leading literary agents.
-intensive peer and instructor feedback on two fiction submissions
-one productive, personal conference with the instructor to discuss your writing style, goals, and areas for improvement
-access to a nurturing community of writers and readers
-more confidence as a writer, on and off the page!
Weike Wang is a graduate of Harvard University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her doctorate in public health. She received her MFA from Boston University. Her fiction has been published in or is forthcoming from Alaska Quarterly Review, Glimmer Train, The Journal, Ploughshares, Redivider, and SmokeLong Quarterly. She currently lives in New York City, and Chemistry is her first novel.
"...one of the year’s most winningly original debuts ... Nearly every page is marked by some kind of breezy scientific anecdote or aside — pithy, casually brilliant ruminations on everything from meiosis and mitochondria to what makes rockets fly. That it’s all so accessible and organic to the story is one of the book’s most consistent pleasures. So is the texture and tone of Wang’s language, a voice so fresh and intimate and mordantly funny that she feels less like fiction than a friend you’ve known forever — even if she hasn’t met you yet."
"CHEMISTRY is a novel about an intelligent woman trying to find her place in the world. It has only the smallest pinches of action but generous measures of humor and emotion. The moody but endearing narrative voice is reminiscent of Jenny Offill’s DEPT. OF SPECULATION and Catherine Lacey’s NOBODY IS EVER MISSING. Fans of those novels will find a lot to enjoy."
"Weike Wang’s CHEMISTRY is the most assured novel about indecisiveness you’ll ever read ... CHEMISTRY is narrated in a continual present tense, which, in conjunction with Wang’s marvelous sense of timing and short, spare sections, can make the novel feel like a stand-up routine. Personal crises are interrupted, to great effect, with deadpan observations about crystal structures and the beaching patterns of whales. The spacing arrives like beats for applause ... Despite its humor, CHEMISTRY is an emotionally devastating novel about being young today and working to the point of incapacity without knowing what you should really be doing and when you can stop."
"CHEMISTRY starts as a charming confection and then proceeds to add on layers of emotional depth and complexity with every page. It is to Wang’s great credit that she manages to infuse such seriousness with so much light. I loved this novel."
"Weike Wang’s voice is indelible—hypnotic, mesmerizing, and strange in the best possible way. In CHEMISTRY she creates a fully realized portrait of a brilliant mind in crisis, illuminating a corner of the human experience that’s woefully underexplored. By the last page I was devastated, transported, and craving more."
"How do we learn to love if we haven’t been taught? That question seems to be the nucleus of CHEMISTRY. Wang challenges the conventions of the marriage plot: the story begins with a proposal, falls into an alienating existential crisis, and ends in the morally ambiguous territory of self-actualization. The force of the novel is the narrator’s perfectly-executed voice, unflinching and painfully self-aware as she deconstructs her life—disastrously, bravely—to see if there is anything at the bottom she can hold on to."
"A rebellious debut: a wry, subtle, deeply attuned examination of love, immigration, family, and chemistry in all its forms. With its dark wit, probing self-examinations, and profound meditations on science and the soul, this is a novel for fellow seekers."