In this workshop led by novelist Mandy Berman (author of Perennials), we will write fiction that feels punchy, alive, and unique to each individual author. We will study published works as models for honing our own craft; we will also discuss and workshop the stories of our peers, which will make us stronger editors of our own work as a result. Each writer will have the opportunity to submit their work for peer and instructor feedback twice throughout the eight-week period. All students will meet once with the instructor for an individual conference following their in-class critiques. In addition to two polished and workshopped fiction pieces (either two stories, or two excerpts from a longer work-in-progress) you will come away from the class with a greater penchant for storytelling and editing, a stronger understanding of the power of your own voice, and a close-knit community of peer readers and writers.
Students in this class will be invited to a private fall reception with leading literary agents.
Mandy Berman was born and raised in Nyack, NY. Her first novel, Perennials, was a Barnes & Noble 2017 Discover Pick and named one of the most anticipated books of the summer by Vanity Fair, ELLE, Redbook, Domino, and many other outlets. She received an MFA from Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn, where she is working on her second novel.
“Berman’s debut, a winning, keenly observed, and clear-eyed novel set in a summer camp, captures the age when fierce attachments forged over years begin to unravel, passionate female friendships give way to sex, and identity seems to shift with the tides.”
“Do you remember that youthful summer when ‘everything changed’? Mandy Berman sure does and her wonderful novel is a snapshot of that time and the group of young women who are irrevocably changed by it. PERENNIALS manages to be warm and loving and still wallop you with moments of shock and pain. What an exciting debut.”
“Snappy and irresistible, Berman’s debut novel, PERENNIALS, takes readers back to summer camp, where her characters’ first friendships and treasons play out in sharp dialogue and playful, generous prose. Berman fearlessly renders youth and adulthood alike, in sentences you’ll want to savor.”
“Mandy Berman explores an old trope: the magic of summer camp, a place separate from the rest of your life where you can become a slightly different version of yourself, a place where friendships run impossibly deep and romance and sex are innocent. But what happens when that divide begins to crumble, and real life, in all its moral ambiguity, finds its way to the heart of a halcyon summer? Lucid, psychologically nuanced, and great fun to read, PERENNIALS has taken an old subject and made it new.”
“Mandy Berman has remade the American summer camp narrative, ditching the usual clichés and getting in close with her characters and their various states of emotional and economic precariousness. PERENNIALS is a sharp, crushingly observant, and empathetic debut, full of wit and tragedy, and good for all seasons.”
“Berman is at her most insightful when exploring the awkward unfurling of female adolescence. . . PERENNIALS is a sharp meditation on the changing female body, and the ways in which such changes are often involuntary and unwanted."