Eudora Welty once said, “Fiction depends for its life on place.” A crucial foundation for successful short fiction and novels is a specific, unforgettable, and well imagined setting. Setting deeply affects tone, atmosphere, and often functions as a character driving action in a story.
In this class, which is open to writers at all stages, we will be working on honing the art and magic of place. Every week, we will be reading stories or excerpts from novels that showcase masterful backdrops, such as Daphne Du Maurier’s Manderley, William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, James Baldwin’s Paris, and more. Most importantly, each student will have a chance to workshop their own fiction twice over the course of eight weeks. While the focus of much of our discussion will revolve around place, workshops of student pieces will provide more holistic feedback on ways a story or chapter can be improved.
Writers will leave with two workshopped submissions, and a concrete vision of what their own dream novel or story might look like.
- Students will walk away with a more perfectly drawn landscape for their stories and/ or novels.
- Students will develop a sharper eye toward reading as well as to their experience of their daily surroundings.
- Students will be given a nurturing and stimulating environment within workshop as well as the opportunity to meet more intimately with the instructor for a conference outside of class.
Hannah Lillith Assadi received her MFA in fiction from the Columbia University School of the Arts. She also attended Columbia University for her Bachelor's where she received the Philolexian Prize for her poetry and fiction and graduated summa cum laude. She was raised in Arizona and now lives in Brooklyn. Her first novel Sonora (Soho 2017) received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a finalist for the PEN/ Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction.
"Hannah Lillith Assadi's editing insights are as thoughtful and intriguing as her own prose. The expert suggestions that Ms. Assadi provides have brought my fiction writing to the next level. She is the person I trust most with the projects that I hold dearest to my heart."
“With penetrating grace, Hannah Lillith Assadi details the intoxicating precarity of being young and alive and desperate to change. Sonora is unforgettable and deeply felt, the type of book that brings you close, infiltrates you, and leaves you with the sense that you've just lived an entire life.”
"Hannah Assadi has a distinctive gift for conveying both her passionate enthusiasm for writing and her extensive knowledge of literary craft in a manner that is as enjoyable as it is informative. Most important, she is the writing teacher who helps you get the job done, the teacher you will be thanking someday in the acknowledgements of your published novel."
“Sonora is the most eerie and unusual coming of age story I've ever encountered—not a tale of innocence lost, but of innocence never had. In a story steeped in sorcery and curses, Assadi looks to the heavens, wild-eyed and bewildered.”
“This debut powerfully evokes the sense of being an outsider.”