This six-week fiction workshop will consist of assigned readings and peer workshop. For the readings, we will focus on one writer each week. These writers will range in style and subject, but each will have a singular vision. We will use resources (Paris Review interviews, New Yorker articles, etc.) to explore this vision, and also work to find a way to talk about it, one that avoids generalities and pleasantries but also doesn’t strip the writing of its magic.
We’ll then use the same approach to workshop your writing. We want to be specific and useful but also cognizant of the individual. The guiding idea will be that a writer’s particularities—their quirks and obsessions and sometimes even their shortcomings—can pose difficulties for a writer, but are also what gives writing its power.
During this course, you will be workshopped twice (up to 20 pages). Novelists are welcome; if you would like to workshop a longer work (up to forty-ish pages), you can choose to combine your two workshops into one longer session. Each student will have a chance to meet with me via phone or Skype.
- focused weekly readings and support materials
- discussion about the next steps in revising and submitting your work
- intensive peer and instructor critiques on two fiction submissions
- one private conference with the instructor over phone/Skype to discuss your writing style, goals, and areas for improvement
- access to a nurturing community of writers and readers
- exclusive access to our alumni newsletter, a monthly roundup of submission opportunities (prizes, residencies, lit mags, grants, and more), plus a 10% discount on all future classes
- greater familiarity with contemporary masters of literary fiction
- more confidence as a writer, on and off the page!
Week 0: Welcome and intros.
Week 1: Alice Munro. Workshop 1.
Week 2: James Baldwin. Workshop 2.
Week 3: Henry James. Workshop 3.
Week 4: Roberto Bolaño. Workshop 4.
Week 5: Carson McCullers. Workshop 5.
Week 6: Franz Kafka. Workshop 6.
*no class meeting the week of July 4th
Sara Majka's stories have been published in Guernica, Longreads, PEN America, and A Public Space. She is the author of the debut story collection Cities I've Never Lived In, published by Graywolf Press and A Public Space Books. A former fiction fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, she currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
"These are modest-seeming stories that hold deep truths, by a writer of great promise."
"I read Sara Majka's CITIES I'VE NEVER LIVED IN a week ago and I still can't get some of her perfect assessments of the human condition out of my head. Her writing is matter-of-fact (though very beautiful), and her characters are sad, occasionally desperate. In one story, she offhandedly notes that sometimes you can love someone and then not remember loving them at all in the same moment, and it's these things that stuck with me. She's incredibly effective."
"Sara Majka’s prose is the star in this debut collection of linked short stories, which follow a young New England woman rebuilding her life post-divorce. Majka’s words find a way to tear at your insides as they come together to form a vivid picture of isolation."
"She understands how vulnerable one feels sharing new writing, and so she takes great care to create a safe space for discussion without ever sacrificing her own rigorous standards. Her feedback has made me a smarter reader and a more confident writer."