James A. Michener Chair in Creative Writing
- Office: CAL 317
- Campus Mail Code: B5000
Elizabeth McCracken is the author of a story collection, Here's Your Hat What's Your Hurry; two novels, The Giant's House, a finalist for the National Book Award in 1996, and Niagara Falls All Over Again; and a memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. A 1990 graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she has been recipient of grants from the Michener/Copernicus Foundation, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the NEA and was named one of the twenty Best Young American Novelists by Granta.
E 380F • Literature For Writers
F 900am-1200pm CAL 323
This is a course in work that is (or purports) to be the story (or part of the story) of the author’s own life (or part of that life). We’ll look at memoir as a genre, the ways it tells the truth and tells lies—and the way the maker of a piece of work distills and shapes experience. We’ll look at books, essays, graphic memoirs, poetry, and documentary.
We will of course try to figure out how they work, but we’ll also read them in order to understand this essential mystery of writing: great work, good work for that matter, is not endlessly dissectable: a great piece of writing is a living thing.
Selected list of work (subject to change): The Black Notebooks (Toi Derricote), One Writer’s Beginnings (Eudora Welty), U & I (Nicholson Baker), Autobiography of a Face (Lucy Grealy), By Myself (D. A. Powell and David Trinidad), Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi) Stag’s Leap (Sharon Olds) “The Stories We Tell” (Sarah Polley), “His Master’s Voice” (Nina Conti), the works of Charlotte Salomon, essays by Yiyun Li, Paul Lisicky, Jo-Ann Beard, Cheryl Strayed, Calvin Trillin, A. J. Liebling, and others.
E 341 • Short Story Workshop
TTH 930am-1100am PAR 210
Instructor: McCracken, E Areas: IV / U
Unique #: 35770 Flags: Writing
Semester: Fall 2013 Restrictions: n/a
Cross-lists: n/a Computer Instruction: No
Prerequisites: English 325F.
Description: This is an intermediate course in fiction writing. We will discuss, criticize, and write short fiction. Students will read each other’s work with rigor and generosity, and give classmates (and the teacher) at least a page of criticism on each piece. Students will write either three original stories for class, or two original stories and one substantial revision.
Stories should be at least 8 pages and no longer 25 pages long. These are arbitrary limits, of course—there are fine short stories both longer and shorter—given with discussion in mind. No novel excerpts, please.
All work must be original—both your own work, and written for this class. Please do not recycle work written for other courses. Please do not write stories with characters invented by other authors (for instance, no fan fiction). And, of course, do not submit work written by other people, even substantially rewritten. For the purposes of this class, I also ask that you do not allow other people to edit your work.
Requirements & Grading: Your final grade will be based on both your written work in the class, and also your participation. You will receive letter grades on written assignments.
EXTRA CREDIT: You may earn extra credit by attending readings by authors on campus or at local bookstores and writing a one-page response. If you are unsure of whether a writer qualifies or not, please ask me.
The breakdown of grading follows: First story: 20%; second story: 20%; third story/revision: 20%; written comments on other students’ work: 20%; class participation: 20%.
E 325F • Fiction Writing
TTH 930am-1100am PAR 310
Course Description: at the start of this class we will investigate various aspects of fiction—character development, description, dialogue, and plot—working towards the completion of two short stories. Students will read and critique each other’s work with rigor and generosity.
Text: You’ve Got to Read This, edited by Ron Hansen.
Grading: three writing, two short stories, 80%; attendance and participation, 20%.