Fall Term

Course Information

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1. Creative Writing Workshops
English Cafr. Advanced Fiction Writing
Instructor: Claire Messud

 

 

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Thursdays, 4-7 pm | Location: Barker 269

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

Intended for students with prior fiction-writing and workshop experience, this course will concentrate on the structure, execution and revision of short fiction. Throughout the term, we will read and discuss literary fiction from a craft perspective. The course is primarily focused on the discussion of student work, with the aim of improving both writerly skills and critical analysis. Revision is an important component of this class.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit 3-5 pages of prose fiction, along with a substantive letter of introduction. I’d like to know why you’re interested in the course; what experience you’ve had writing, both in previous workshops and independently; what your literary goals and ambitions are. Please tell me about some of your favorite narratives – fiction, non-fiction, film, etc: why they move you, and what you learn from them.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cajr. Advanced Journalism: Investigative Reporting
Instructor: Jill Abramson
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Wednesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: Barker 018

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

A writing workshop focusing on investigative reporting. Course will focus on how to use data and documents to create compelling narratives. Using case studies, students learn how journalism holds power accountable from Watergate to the Trump era.

Supplemental Application Information: Please include with your application a letter telling me how you consume news, through social media,Websites, video, podcasts or print publications. Please also address why you are interested in investigative journalism and tell me whether you have had any reporting experience. (No experience is required). A writing sample is optional for this course application.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

 

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English Cbbr. Intermediate Poetry
Instructor: Josh Bell
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Mondays, 4-7 pm | Location: Barker 316

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students. 

Initially, students can expect to read, discuss, and imitate the strategies of a wide range of poets writing in English; to investigate and reproduce prescribed forms and poetic structures; and to engage in writing exercises meant to expand the conception of what a poem is and can be. As the course progresses, reading assignments will be tailored on an individual basis, and an increasing amount of time will be spent in discussion of student work.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a portfolio including a letter of interest, ten poems, and a list of classes (taken at Harvard or elsewhere) that seem to have bearing on your enterprise.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cfcr: Following the Food Chain
Instructor: Michael Pollan
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Mondays, 1-4 pm | Location: Sever 105

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

Our eating represents our most consequential engagement with the natural world. This course will introduce students to the concept of a food system –embracing everything from the soil and farming methods to public health, the environment, and culture—through extensive readings and writings in a variety of forms, including reportage, memoir, history and argument.

Supplemental Application Instructions: To apply, submit a brief sample of your non-academic writing along with a letter explaining your reasons for wanting to take this course.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cfmr. Fiction Writing
Instructor: Claire Messud
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Wednesdays, 4-7 pm | Location: Barker 024

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

An introductory fiction workshop, in which students will explore elements of craft such as character, point of view, setting, detail, style, etc. The first weeks will be devoted to fiction readings (TBA) and creative exercises; most of the semester will be spent workshopping student fiction. The final project involves significant revision of a story.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit 3-5 pages of creative writing in prose (fiction is preferable, but non-fiction is also fine) along with a substantive letter of introduction. I’d like to know why you’re interested in writing fiction, and in this course; what experience you’ve had writing; what some of your favorite narratives are and why.

Submit your application here. (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Chcr. Advanced Poetry
Instructor: Josh Bell
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Tuesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: Sever 105

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students. 

By guided reading, classroom discussion, one on one conference, and formal and structural experimentation, members of the Advanced Poetry Workshop will look to hone, deepen, and challenge the development of their poetic inquiry and aesthetic. Students will be required to write and submit one new poem each week and to perform in-depth, weekly critiques of their colleagues’ work.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a portfolio including a letter of interest, ten poems, and a list of classes (taken at Harvard or elsewhere) that seem to have bearing on your enterprise.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cihr. The I’s Have It: Writing and Reading the Personal Essay
Instructor: Michael Pollan
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Wednesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: Sever 205

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

In this advanced workshop, we will read widely in the tradition that begins with Montaigne and write essays of our own in a variety of lengths and forms. A principal goal of the course will be to develop a voice on the page and learn how to deploy the first person, not merely as a means of self-expression but as a tool for telling a true story, conducting an inquiry or pressing an argument.

Supplemental Application Instructions: To apply, submit a brief sample of your writing in the first person along with a letter detailing your writing experience and reasons for wanting to take this course.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cijr. Introduction to Journalism
Instructor: Jill Abramson
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Mondays, 1-4 pm | Location: Emerson 104

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

An intense seminar for those interested in understanding the changing role of journalism and in learning the art of reporting and writing narrative stories. The course is intended for those contemplating careers as journalists or because they want a better sense of how journalism really works. Coursework will include two narrative articles that are ready for publication. Readings will include some of the best examples of modern journalism, from magazine features by authors including Gay Talese to multimedia narratives such as The New York Times’ “Snow Fall.”

Supplemental Application Information: The application should include a letter saying why the student wants to take the workshop, why writing and journalism interests them, and which websites, magazines, newspapers and other news sources they read, even gossipy sites like Gawker.  A writing sample is optional for this course application.

Submit your application here. (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Ckr. Introduction to Playwriting
Instructor: Sam Marks
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Mondays, 4-7 pm | Location: Barker 211

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

This workshop is an introduction to writing for the stage through intensive reading and in-depth written exercises. Each student will explore the fundamentals and possibilities of playwriting by generating short scripts and completing a one act play with an eye towards both experimental and traditional narrative styles. Readings will examine various ways of creating dramatic art and include work from contemporary playwrights such as Kenneth Lonergan, Martin McDonagh, Suzan Lori-Parks, and Sarah Ruhl as well established work from Anton Chekhov, Sarah Kane, and Harold Pinter.

Supplemental Application Information: Submit a 2-4 page sample in any genre. Also, please write a few sentences about a significant theatrical experience (a play read or seen) and how it affected you.

Submit your application here. (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Clr. Dramatic Screenwriting I
Instructor: Mark Poirier
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Mondays, 4-7 pm | Location: Barker 024

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

This class introduces the screenplay, from the Hollywood blockbuster to the indie sleeper. Students will learn the basics of screenwriting by reading scripts and viewing the resulting films, focusing on dramatic structure, character development, tone, dialogue, and the other aspects of film determined by the writer. Students will develop their own feature-length screenplays-which we’ll workshop from the earliest stages-and finish the semester with a first act and the tools, knowledge, and skills necessary to continue screenwriting.

Supplemental Application Information: In your letter of application, please answer the following questions:
  1. What are your five favorite films from the last ten years?
  2. What do you consider the worst film you’ve seen in a theater? In a few sentences, explain why you think it was the worst.
  3. Have you taken any film-related courses at Harvard or anywhere else?
  4. Briefly explain why you’d like to take this course.

The writing sample should showcase your story-telling abilities and your writing voice. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry and dramatic writing are all acceptable. Please limit your sample to five pages. Excerpts are fine—please indicate them as such.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cnfr. Creative Nonfiction
Instructor: Darcy Frey
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Wednesdays, 4-7 pm | Location: Barker 211

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

Whether in essay, memoir or reportage, creative nonfiction employs many of the same literary techniques as fiction: narrative structure, character development, scene-setting, extended dialogue, emphasis on voice and point of view. In addition to workshopping student writing, we discuss examples of the genre by writers such as Virginia Woolf, William Maxwell, Joan Didion, and John McPhee. Assignments include two 10-15 page narratives, an extensive revision, and typed critiques of classmates’ work.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit 3-5 pages of creative/literary nonfiction (essay, memoir, narrative journalism, etc, but NOT academic writing) or, if you have not yet written much nonfiction, an equal number of pages of narrative fiction. Also, please write a letter of introduction explaining who you are as writer at the moment and where you hope to take your writing; what experience you may have had with creative/literary nonfiction; which nonfiction writers and books you most admire; what excites you about nonfiction in particular; and what you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses as a writer.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cpy (001). Fiction Writing
Instructor: Paul Yoon
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Wednesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: Barker 222

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

An introductory workshop where we will learn to read as writers and study all aspects of the craft of fiction writing, including such topics as character, point of view, structure, time, and plot. The first weeks will focus heavily on writing exercises and reading contemporary short fiction. Writers we will study will include: Daniyal Mueenuddin, Haruki Murakami, Jenny Erpenbeck, and Tom Drury. As the semester progresses, the focus of the workshop will shift to creating and discussing your own work at the table, along with submitting a final revision project.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit the first 3-5 pages of a short story or a novel, along with a substantial letter of introduction. I’d like to know why you are drawn to fiction writing and what your goals are for this class. I’m interested in the writers you are reading. I’d also like to know a writer or an artist whose work you admire and why. This could be someone in a different field, such as a painter, a filmmaker, or an architect but the important thing is to be specific about what resonates and what draws you to them. Lastly, I’d like you tell me a place that has meant something to you. How you define place is up to you.

(Note, the only difference between Cpy 001 & 002 is the meeting time. If both fit into your schedule, apply to both.)

Submit your application here. (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cpy (002). Fiction Writing
Instructor: Paul Yoon
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Wednesdays, 4-7 pm | Location: Barker 222

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

An introductory workshop where we will learn to read as writers and study all aspects of the craft of fiction writing, including such topics as character, point of view, structure, time, and plot. The first weeks will focus heavily on writing exercises and reading contemporary short fiction. Writers we will study will include: Daniyal Mueenuddin, Haruki Murakami, Jenny Erpenbeck, and Tom Drury. As the semester progresses, the focus of the workshop will shift to creating and discussing your own work at the table, along with submitting a final revision project.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit the first 3-5 pages of a short story or a novel, along with a substantial letter of introduction. I’d like to know why you are drawn to fiction writing and what your goals are for this class. I’m interested in the writers you are reading. I’d also like to know a writer or an artist whose work you admire and why. This could be someone in a different field, such as a painter, a filmmaker, or an architect but the important thing is to be specific about what resonates and what draws you to them. Lastly, I’d like you tell me a place that has meant something to you. How you define place is up to you.

(Note, the only difference between Cpy 001 & 002 is the meeting time. If both fit into your schedule, apply to both.)

Submit your application here. (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cssr. The Short Screenplay
Instructor: Mark Poirier
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Tuesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: Barker 018

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

This class introduces the short screenplay–anywhere from one to thirty formatted pages. Students will learn the basics of this challenging form by viewing short films and reading short screenplays, short stories, and short creative essays.

We’ll focus on character and plot in the scripts we develop because many short films-even highly lauded ones-are lacking in these areas. The goal of the course is to write scripts that can actually be produced, so we’ll also consider budgetary matters when we’re writing.

No prior screenwriting experience is required.

Supplemental Application Information: In your letter of application, please answer the following questions:

  1. Briefly describe why you’d like to be in this class.
  2. Have you taken any other courses in film, screenwriting, or dramatic writing at Harvard or anywhere else? If not, don’t be concerned.
  3. What was the last film you’ve seen in the theater?  Write a short review. One paragraph is fine.

The writing sample should showcase your story-telling abilities and your writing voice. Fiction, non-fiction, dramatic writing are all acceptable. Please limit your sample to five pages.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Ctv. Writing for Television: Developing the Pilot
Instructor: Sam Marks
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Tuesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: Sever 211

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

This workshop introduces the television pilot with a focus on prestige drama and serialized comedy.  Students will excavate their own voice and explore the structure and execution of pilot writing through a first draft of their own original script. With intensive reading and discussion of student work we will examine elements of TV writing, such as treatments and outlines as well as character, dialogue, tone, plot, and, most importantly, vision.  Over the semester, we’ll turn ideas into worlds and worlds into scripts.

Supplemental Application Information: Prior experience in dramatic writing is encouraged, though not necessary. Please submit a 5-10 page writing sample (preferably a play or screenplay, but all genres are acceptable). Also, write a few sentences about one of your favorite televisions shows and why you wish to write for TV.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cvb (001). Fiction Writing
Instructor: Laura van den Berg
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Thursdays, 1-4 pm | Location: Barker 222

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

This course will serve as an introduction to the fundamentals of writing fiction. The initial weeks will focus on assigned readings—you can expect to encounter works by Edward P. Jones, Helen Oyeyemi, Joy Williams, Yoko Ogawa, and others—and short exercises. The readings will give us a lens through which to explore character, structure, time, point of view, etc, and will inform the workshop dialogues that follow. Later in the term, your own fiction will serve as the primary text as the focus shifts to the creation and revision of original work.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit the first 3-5 pages of a short story or novel, along with a substantive letter of introduction. I’d like to know why are you drawn to studying fiction; what your ambitions are for your work; and the writers you are currently reading. I’d like you also to make mention of a passage from a work of fiction that you love—a particular scene from a novel, for example, or a line from a short story—and tell me why this passage has, for you, remained so striking and memorable.

(Note, the only difference between Cvb 001 & 002 is the meeting time. If both fit into your schedule, apply to both.)

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cvb (002). Fiction Writing
Instructor: Laura van den Berg
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Wednesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: Sever 302

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

This course will serve as an introduction to the fundamentals of writing fiction. The initial weeks will focus on assigned readings—you can expect to encounter works by Edward P. Jones, Helen Oyeyemi, Joy Williams, Yoko Ogawa, and others—and short exercises. The readings will give us a lens through which to explore character, structure, time, point of view, etc, and will inform the workshop dialogues that follow. Later in the term, your own fiction will serve as the primary text as the focus shifts to the creation and revision of original work.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit the first 3-5 pages of a short story or novel, along with a substantive letter of introduction. I’d like to know why are you drawn to studying fiction; what your ambitions are for your work; and the writers you are currently reading. I’d like you also to make mention of a passage from a work of fiction that you love—a particular scene from a novel, for example, or a line from a short story—and tell me why this passage has, for you, remained so striking and memorable.

(Note, the only difference between Cvb 001 & 002 is the meeting time. If both fit into your schedule, apply to both.)

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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2. Common Ground Courses
3. Undergraduate Seminars
4. Undergraduate Tutorials
5. Lectures with Sections
6. Graduate Seminars
7. Cross-Listed in other Departments
8. Freshman Seminars