Join the NYCWP Literature Seminar: “Reading Like a Writer II”

February 4, 2022

Last Updated on by Jane Higgins

The New York City Writing Project is offering a new Spring Literature seminar: Reading Like a Writer II

A continuation of last year’s successful ‘Reading Like a Writer,’ this seminar offers teachers a chance to pour over carefully selected texts to ask the question, “How did the author do it?” This semester we will be looking specifically to learn how to confront catastrophe, investigating prose that avoids sensation and evokes the maximum pathos through variously disintegrating characters or worlds. Each class will include a writing exercise that explores tricks that month’s author used within their own work.”

Meetings: Once monthly, 1st Saturdays March-July, 10am-12pm

Five session dates: 3/5, 4/2, 5/7, 6/4, 7/2

CTLE credit approved.

Participants must access their own copies of the following texts:

  • Ways of Going Home, Alejandro Zambra — A memoir-styled novel that grapples with Pinochet’s reign of terror in Chile by looking at the author’s parents, who supported the dictatorship.
  • My Tender Matador, Pedro Lamebel — Immediately in conversation with ‘Ways of Going Home,’ Pedro Lamebel’s queer novel also focuses on Chile during Pinochet, but this time with a drag queen protagonist who knowingly assists the student uprising.
  • Blood Sisters, Kim Yideum — Written in vignettes, Yideum’s novel follows a queer female protagonist on the streets of Seoul as she slowly unwinds during that country’s military dictatorship.
  • Ledfeather, Stephen Graham Jones — Jones’s book takes place on the Blackfeet Reservation where two timelines press against each other and we witness how the past cannot be divorced from the present.
  • Harrow, by Joy Williams: A novel of emotional and ecological breakdown, our final text looks at the end of the world through the everyday banality of the survivors. Written in Williams’ singular style, creeping senses of alienation are hardwired into the prose, showing us just what can be done when a writer commits to their concept on a word-to-word level.