"Kseniya is a true pleasure to work with and I recommend her as an instructor without hesitation." - former student
You’re well-versed in the foundations of fiction craft: fictional truth, significant detail, differences between the effects of various POVs, plot, structure, setting, summary v. scene, dialogue. You’ve written tons of first drafts and revised them a ton of times. Now you’re ready to take your writing to the next level, from workshop-good to I-want-to-be-published-in-the-New-Yorker! But how? In this course, we will read and discuss essays by Charles Baxter, Francine Prose, Scarlett Thomas, and Madison Smartt Bell and examine such “techniques” and aspects of fiction as subtext, gesture, epiphany, counterpointed characterization, dysfunctional narrative, metafiction, inner life of objects, nonlinear story design, defamiliarization, rhyming action—and we will attempt to elevate your submissions to a higher level of craft.
Each writer will workshop twice throughout the six-week course, and will meet once with Kseniya via phone or Skype for an individual conference to discuss their writing goals and progress.
-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
-an arsenal of story-telling tools to help you work through narrative obstacles
-more confidence as a writer, on and off the page!
Kseniya Melnik's debut book is the linked story collection Snow in May, which was short-listed for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. Born in Magadan, Russia, Kseniya moved to Alaska in 1998, at the age of 15. She received her MFA from New York University. Her work has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Epoch, Esquire, Granta, O, Oprah Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, and was selected for Granta's New Voices series. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
"Kseniya Melnik's beautiful SNOW IN MAY is an education in how history is routed, refracted, and reconciled inside the human heart. In sonorous, evocative prose, the triumphs and tragedies of Magadan are vividly brought to life. In 1890, Chekhov traveled to the Russian Far East—had he made the journey a century later, and gone a little farther north, these stories may well have been the result."
"Kseniya Melnik’s breathtaking debut, SNOW IN MAY, is extraordinarily perceptive about how landscape shapes us—and continues to shape us long after we have left it. Though the stories revolve around haunted, wintry Magadan, they are anything but cold. Alight with wry humor and compassion and complex truths about the conditions of the soul, Melnik’s tales burn with life.”
"SNOW IN MAY does more than herald a new writer of talent; it coheres, it radiates heat, and it's the best story collection you'll read this year. If Kseniya Melnik writes prose the way it should be written, that is ecstatically (to borrow Updike's phrase), maybe it's because she shares some of Nabokov's pedigree. But her talent is her own."
"The writing exercises and readings on craft Kseniya recommended were excellent, covering a good range of topics from word usage and sentence construction to techniques of narration. Her feedback to writers was always thorough and constructive. Kseniya is a true pleasure to work with and I recommend her as an instructor without hesitation."
"Kseniya is an extremely thoughtful reader of student work: careful, sharp, and inquisitive. She has really high expectations and you become quite anxious to reach them! But I also felt like she talked on a much deeper level about the nuts and bolts of fiction — structure, genre, theme, characterization, etc. — than most workshop teachers I've had. I came out of the class feeling like she'd raised my standards and also given me the tools to be way more ambitious."