Fiction | Master Class

Creating a Flash Fiction Chapbook

This session will guide students through the process of conceiving, composing, and editing a small collection of flash fiction pieces. We’ll take a look at your work and try to draw out the themes, motifs, and stylistic moves that will help you complete a suite of stories suitable for publication in a magazine or chapbook. The class will begin with some readings of successful assemblages of very short fiction, followed by a brisk workshop of each student’s brief submission; then we’ll choose from a number of prompts and limiting exercises (lipogram, mistranslation, collage, etc.) and do some in-class writing.

The class will end with a casual wine reception and Q&A.

One week prior to the class meeting, each student will send a submission shorter than 1,000 words to be workshopped in class.

J. Robert Lennon

J. Robert Lennon is the author of two short story collections, Pieces for the Left Hand and See You in Paradise, and eight novels, including Mailman, Familiar, and Broken River, out in 2017 from Graywolf Press. He lives in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches writing at Cornell University.


"A phantasmagoria of American paranoia and self-loathing."

Jonathan Lethem THE DAILY TELEGRAPH's "Books of the Year"

"PIECES FOR THE LEFT HAND consists of 100 very short stories…in which not a word is wasted, and not one of which could be cut. Despite the self-deprecating title, the collection is anything but offhand: it is a rigorous display of storytelling verve, quantity, and control…It is his most perfect work so far."


"Darkly funny . . . a sly collection."

"Occasionally withering and frequently hilarious, these anecdotes highlight little knots of human curiosity."

"[An] eerie collection of anecdotes, whose very simplicity elevates them to the status of myth. Their brevity gives off a spiritual glow."


"J. Robert Lennon taught my first writing class in graduate school. From day one, he encouraged us to explore the boundaries of our stories and subject matter, to never settle for the average, to pursue the limits of our capabilities and push through the far reaches of our comfort zones. He’s an excellent teacher, one whose influence I credit greatly with the writing and publication of my first novel."

former student

Week 1: Apr 29th - May 5th