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    English Cnmj. Fiction Workshop: Forms and Styles

    Instructor: Meng Jin
    Wednesday, 3:00-5:45pm | Location: Barker 211
    Course Website
    ​​​​​​​Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    What gives a fictional work life and meaning and originality? In this workshop, students will be exposed to and try on a wide range of forms and styles in fiction to discover what suits and excites them. We'll sample a variety of sensibilities, approaches, and aesthetic possibilities, reading writers working in various traditions -- from Toni Morrison to Ted Chiang to Grace Paley – exploring the many ways fiction can come alive by following what is mysterious and inimitable in each work. Students will read a writer (sometimes two) a week and write a creative response inspired by some element of the assigned reading, which we will workshop in an effort to discover and nurture the mysterious and inimitable in our own work. One or more of these responses will be developed into a longer, complete piece.

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit 3-5 pages of fiction, along with a letter describing why you'd like to join the workshop, what you hope to get out of it, your previous encounters with creative writing, and anything else you’d like to say about why or what you write. Please also tell me about one or two writers or books you love, and why.

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)... Read more about English Cnmj. Fiction Workshop: Forms and Styles

    English Cngs. Advanced Fiction: The Good Stuff

    Instructor: Meng Jin
    Thursday, 3:00-5:45pm | Location: Barker 218
    Course Website
    ​​​​​​​Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    This course is a workshop in pleasure and delight. And wonder and joy and laughter, and rule-breaking, and everything that makes literature lively and alive and worthwhile. We will discover (or rediscover) what it means to truly read for pleasure, probing for all this good stuff in works by writers such as Natalia Ginzburg, Ross Gay, Deesha Philyaw, Shruti Swamy, Naomi Shihab Nye, and more—works that are not merely hedonistic or escapist, but attempt to maintain a modest humanism in spite of humanity’s sins, and to insist on cheerfulness and loving in the face of catastrophe and personal tragedy. We will try to cultivate these instincts in our own writing practice.

    This will be primarily a fiction workshop, though we will occasionally read some joyous and delightful poetry and nonfiction. Student writing will be workshopped as fiction, but we will conceive of fiction in the widest sense, as any prose work whose value is not derived from its basis in fact. This is an advanced workshop, intended for students with some creative writing experience, because the good stuff is hard, and because you will be expected to read and write deeply, and a lot.

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit 3-5 pages of fiction, along with a letter describing why you'd like to join the workshop, what you hope to get out of it, your previous encounters with creative writing, and anything else you’d like to say about why or what you write. Please also tell me about one or two writers or books you love, and why.

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)... Read more about English Cngs. Advanced Fiction: The Good Stuff

    English Csgj. Advanced Fiction Workshop: What's So Western About the Western Story?

    Instructor: Gish Jen
    Monday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: Barker 211
    Course Website
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    Is there an identifiably “Western” story? Where did it come from? Would some of our most celebrated authors survive an MFA program today? Are there alternative ways of thinking about fiction? And —most importantly—what can we take away from them? In the first half of each class we will discuss such matters, placing mainstream fictional tenets in cultural context via stories from Alice Munro to Leo Tolstoy to Zadie Smith. In the second half of class we will turn to student work, with each student given three opportunities to share a piece with the class.

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a sample story and an application letter explaining your interest in this course. 

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)

    English Cvr. Fiction Writing: Workshop

    Instructor: Jamaica Kincaid
    Wednesday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: Barker 018
    Course Website
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    This class is open to anyone who can write a letter, not an e-mail, a letter, just a plain simple letter, to someone who lives far away from you and who has no idea really of who you really are, except that you are, like them, another human being. I have not quite yet settled on the books we will read but we will see some films: The Four hundred Blows, Black Girl, The Battle of Algiers, The Mack, a documentary about the Motown singing group, The Temptations.

    Supplemental Application Information: 

    A brief autobiographical note, to give me some sense of who you are and what your are interested in now, will be appreciated. Many thanks.

    No writing sample

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)

    English Cmaf. Introduction to Fiction Writing: Workshop

    Instructor: Molly Antopol
    Section 001: Monday, 3:00-5:45pm | Location: Lamont Library 401
    Section 002: Tuesday, 12-2:45pm | Location: Barker 316
    Course Website Section 1
    Course Website Section 2
    ​​​​​​​Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    This course will introduce you to the fundamental elements of fiction writing. We will read a variety of work, including pieces by Alice Munro, Edward P. Jones, Joy Williams, James Baldwin, Bohumil Hrabal, Deborah Eisenberg, Yiyun Li and Ben Okri, using each text as a template for examining such aspects in fiction as tension, dialogue, point of view, arc and character. Through class discussions and a series of writing exercises, we will also pay close attention to the ways in which conventions of craft are applied and understood—and sometimes re-interpreted or subverted. As the semester progresses, the focus of the class will shift to your own work, which we will critique and discuss as a group in a workshop setting, with an eye toward drawing connections between craft principles and your own writing practice. You will later significantly revise your piece. 

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a 3-5 page sample of your own writing, along with an introductory letter, letting me know why you’re interested in taking the course and what you hope to get out of it. Also, please share a few of the novels or story collections that mean the most to you (or the ones you resist but still can’t shake) – and tell me why you chose these books. 

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)

    English Cwrr. Fiction by Other Means: Workshop

    Instructor: Russ Rymer
    Time: 12:00pm - 2:45pm| Location: Lamont Library 401
    Course Website
    ​​​​​​​Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

     This is a short-story writing workshop that uses other creative genres – music, poetry, painting, film and photography – to advance students' fiction-writing abilities. Students will consider techniques and principles essential to other arts and apply them to their writing, enhancing in the process their comprehension of literary forms. Readings will include such modern short story masters as Helen Oyeyemi, Mavis Gallant, Angela Carter, and Edward P. Jones. Students will take some photographs, but the aim of the course isn't to improve graphic skills or art criticism abilities (no prior experience with photography or music or movies is required). The aim is to write great short fiction, using other mediums as muse and guide for inspiring, analyzing, and improving original prose. Final product is a publishable short story.

    Supplemental Application Information: TBA

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)... Read more about English Cwrr. Fiction by Other Means: Workshop

    English Cijr. Introduction to Journalism: Workshop

    Instructor: Jill Abramson
    Monday, 3-5:45pm | Location: Barker 316
    Course Website
    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. A writing sample is optional for this course application.

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)

    English Cajr. Investigations: Journalism and Social Justice: Workshop

    Instructor: Jill Abramson
    Wednesday, 3:00-5:45pm | Location: Barker 018
    Course Website
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    This advanced seminar focuses on investigative reporting about social justice issues and cases. Readings will cover school resegregation, housing and homelessness, health care and economic inequities, among other subjects. Class members will learn how to use documents, transcripts and other materials in their reporting.

    The emphasis of the course is on investigative writing techniques, story ideas, voice and narrative framing.

    Students will be required to write two investigative articles, one involving a group reporting project and another on an original subject chosen by each student. There will be intermittent, shorter writing assignments. Grades are based on written work and class participation. Guest speakers will include many of the journalists whose articles are included in class reading assignments.

    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. A writing sample is optional for this course application.

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)

    English Cwsr. The Art of Writing about Science and the Environment: Workshop

    Instructor: Russ Rymer
    Thursday, 3:00-5:45pm | Location: Barker 024
    Course Website
    ​​​​​​​Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    This is a seminar in creative nonfiction writing that will take science and the environment as its subject matter. Students will research and write a series of magazine-style articles about science or scientists, intended for a general readership. Along the way, they will hone their interviewing and research skills and expressive capabilities, while contending with issues of factual accuracy, creative license, authority, and responsibility, along with the basic tenets of longform nonfiction. Ultimately students will explore the ways that hard science and subjective prose are interrelated forms. No prior experience with science is required.

    Supplemental Application Information: TBA

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)

    English Cbn. Creative Nonfiction: Before and Beyond the (Imaginary White) Reader

    Instructor: Joan Naviyuk Kane
    Thursday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: Barker 018
    Course Website
    ​​​​​​​Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    Writers of literary, lyrical nonfiction negotiate complex power dynamics with their selves, communities, subjects, and readers. In this workshop we will conduct an intensive study of the craft techniques writing of creative nonfiction, focusing on the balance between the politicization of witness, descriptive detail, and narrative voice. Given that one of the great imaginative allures of lyric prose is that it can invent its audience as much as it can invent its speaker, how do writers of creative nonfiction contend with social context? What are the ways in which we can write and revise lyrically that can allow our work to depart from, evade and amplify the experiential in its collaborations with language, history, and place? We will do some generative exercises and workshopping (each writer will be workshopped at least twice per semester) as well as discussion, of course. Participants will generate drafts, revise new work, and investigate the fundamentals of the genre of creative nonfiction.

    Supplemental Application Information: Applicants are requested to submit 3-10 pages of prose (double-spaced), a 2-3 page cover letter in which they may address how long they’ve been writing seriously, what previous study they have done in literary arts, any additional experiences that seem relevant to their application, what type of direct criticism and revision they are seeking from a workshop, craft approaches they would like to know more about, and discussion of any other writers in which the writers’ craft and/or ways in which the writers’ work has served as a model for the applicant’s own literary ambitions.

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)

    English Clr. Introduction to Screenwriting: Workshop

    Instructor: Musa Syeed
    Monday, 12:00-2:45 pm | Location: Lamont Library 401 
    Course Website
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    The short film, with its relatively lower costs and expanded distribution opportunities, has become one of the most disruptive, innovative modes of storytelling--and is often an emerging filmmaker's first step into the industry. This course will introduce students to the basics of short form screenwriting, including narrative theory/structure, character design, and dialogue/voice. In the first quarter of the semester, we will hone dramatic techniques through several craft exercise assignments and in-class writing. In the following weeks, students will write two short screenplays. Throughout the semester, we will be workshopping and doing table reads of student work, discussing screenplays and craft texts, and screening a wide array of short films. The emphasis will be on discovering a sense of personal voice and completing two short screenplays (under 20 pages) that the student can produce in the future, if they choose. 

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a 3-5 page writing sample. Screenplays are preferred, but fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and plays are acceptable as well. Also, please write a short note to introduce yourself. Include a couple films/filmmakers that have inspired you, your goals for the class, as well as any themes/subject matter/ideas you might be interested in exploring in your writing for film.

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)

    English Calr. Advanced Screenwriting: Workshop

    Instructor: Musa Syeed
    Tuesday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: Barker 218
    Course Website
    ​​​​​​​Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    The feature-length script is an opportunity to tell a story on a larger scale, and, therefore, requires additional preparation. In this class, we will move from writing a pitch, to a synopsis, to a treatment/outline, to the first 10 pages, to the first act of a feature screenplay. We will analyze produced scripts and discuss various elements of craft, including research, writing layered dialogue, world-building, creating an engaging cast of characters. As an advanced class, we will also look at ways both mainstream and independent films attempt to subvert genre and structure. Students will end the semester with a first act (20-30 pages) of their feature, an outline, and strategy to complete the full script.

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a 3-5 page writing sample. Screenplays are preferred, but fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and plays are acceptable as well. Also, please write a short note to introduce yourself. Include a couple films/filmmakers that have inspired you, your goals for the class, as well as any themes/subject matter/ideas you might be interested in exploring in your writing for film.

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)

    English Ckr. Introduction to Playwriting: Workshop

    Instructor: Sam Marks
    Monday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: Barker 018
    Course Website
    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 Aleshea Harris, Ayad Akhtar, Robert O’Hara, Clare Barron, Suzan Lori-Parks, and Taylor Mac, as well established work from Caryl Churchill, Edward Albee, 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.

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)

    English Camr. Advanced Playwriting: Workshop

    Instructor: Sam Marks
    Tuesday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: Barker 018
    Course Website
    ​​​​​​​Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

    This workshop is a continued exploration of writing for the stage, with an eye towards presentation.  The semester will culminate in a staged reading of each student's work for the Harvard Playwrights Festival. Each reading will be directed by a professional director.  Students will be encouraged to excavate their own voice in playwriting and learn from the final presentation. The class will examine the design of the stage, the playworld, and the page. Students will attempt multiple narrative strategies and dialogue techniques. They will bolster their craft of playwriting through generating short scripts and a completed one act. Readings will include significant contributors to the theatrical form such as Caryl Churchill and Samuel Beckett as well as contemporary dramatists such as Annie Baker, Jackie Sibbles Drury, Branden Jacobs Jenkins, and Jeremy O. Harris.

    Supplemental Application Information: Prior experience in writing the dramatic form is strongly encouraged. Please submit a 5-10 page writing sample (preferably a play or screenplay, but all genres are acceptable). Also, please write a few sentences about a significant theatrical experience (a play read or seen) and how it affected you.

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)

    English Cbbr. Intermediate Poetry: Workshop

    Instructor: Josh Bell 
    Monday, 3:00-5:45pm | Location: Barker 211
    Course Website
    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 (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)

    English Cdpr. Devotional Poetry

    Instructor: Josh Bell
    Tuesday, 6:00-8:45pm | Location: Barker 018
    Course Website
    ​​​​​​​Enrollment: limited to 12 students

    In this workshop we will focus on the devotional poetry of John Donne, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, and GM Hopkins, looking first into certain texts of the Old Testament—Psalms, Song of Solomon, Book of Job—from which so much of devotional poetry extends. In conversation with these four poets, students can expect to build and execute their own plaintive lyric “I,” design new ecstatic/meditative soundscape, and plan and deliver the imagistic configurations that will best give them direct-line access to the God (or gods) of their own choice or invention. As this a poetry workshop, all assignments will be creative.

    Supplemental Application Information: TBA

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)

    English Ccdp. Found Poems, Erasures and Other Adventures in Documentary Poetry

    Instructor: Tracy K. Smith
    Time: Monday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: Barker 269
    Course Website
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    In their quest for clarity, revelation and consolation, poets engage with, reflect upon and speak back to the world in a range of ways. In pursuit of these very same aims, poets also listen closely to what has already been said by others at registers spanning intimate exchange, public discourse and sacred utterance. In this poetry workshop, we’ll engage in an exploration of found materials—letters, news articles, historical texts, police reports, instruction manuals and more—to see what new forms of dialogue they might invite, and what light they might shed upon the questions, concerns and apprehensions of our current time. With readings by Muriel Rukeyser, Robin Coste Lewis, Nicole Sealey, Michael Kleber-Diggs and others. 

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a writing sample of 5-10 poems and an application letter explaining your interest in this course.

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)... Read more about English Ccdp. Found Poems, Erasures and Other Adventures in Documentary Poetry

    English Cwwr. Narrative Nonfiction. Writing Wrongs: Women, Gender and Journalism: Workshop

    Instructor: Susan Faludi
    Thursday, 3:00-5:45pm | Location: Lamont 401
    Course Website
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    This is a workshop class where students will learn the art of literary longform journalism and compose stories that take on questions of gender, feminism, sexuality and power, while simultaneously exploring how the media represents gender and learning the history of women in journalism. No profession has been as important to feminists in challenging society than journalism--even as journalism has been historically resistant to a feminist vision. Students will master the fundaments of great reporting and writing—interviewing, structure, voice, style, and ethics—while crafting their own magazine-style stories that grapple with ground-level gender dramas.

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a writing sample of about 1,000 words in any genre that showcases your creative abilities, along with a note about why you want to take the class and what your writing interests are. If you have previous journalism/literary writing experience, please include that, too.

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm ET)