Spring 2004
Fully Enrolled

HUMS 624
Telling Life Stories: Distinguished Writers 2004

Greene,Anne F.

01/26/2004 - 05/08/2004
Note: Special Schedule -

Public Affairs Center 422

Offered in conjunction with the spring 2004 Distinguished Writers series, this writing course will study--for technique and inspiration--the work of contemporary writers whom the program brings to speak on campus. Readings include pieces by these speakers as well as by a range of other authors.

The course has two components: The writing class meets regularly on Monday evenings, 7-9:30 p.m. On selected Wednesdays, the writers will come to campus to read and discuss their work. Students are required to attend the Monday classes and at least four of the Wednesday events. The course assignments are flexible, offering the chance to explore either fiction or nonfiction styles. This year we will focus particularly on innovative ways to show the lives of individuals, using interview materials, letters, photos, or family artifacts, and setting them against a larger background of time and place. Students may wish to write fiction, narrative or personal essays, memoir, historical or cultural sketches, profiles, or journalistic pieces. Although featured writers will include poets and playwrights, the writing exercises in the course will focus on fiction and a wide range of literary nonfiction; there will be no opportunity to write plays or poetry.

Assigned readings will include fiction by writers such a Jhumpa Lahiri, Norman Rush, ZZ Packer, Alexsandar Hemon, Andrea Barrett, Ha Jin, Juno Diaz, Ben Marcus, and Paul LaFarge; and short and long-form nonfiction by writers such as Joan Didion, Nina Bernstein, Philip Gourevitch, Pico Iyer, and Amitav Ghosh.

Beginning writers are welcome, as are more experienced students and those who have taken previous versions of the course. Students who are already launched on writing projects may substitute that ongoing work for the course exercises. Evaluation will be based on progress shown in the writing and contributions to class discussion.

Among the speakers will be award-winning fiction writers Michael Cunningham, Paul LaFarge, Alexander Chee, and several others to be announced; poets Elizabeth Willis, Jerome Rothenberg, John Vincent, and Harryette Mullen; playwright Paula Vogel, whose new play has opened recently in New York; literary journalist William Finnegan; and poet and critic, Louise Gluck, the US poet laureate. There will also be a panel focusing on publishing and reviewing.

Anne Greene (B.A. Radcliffe College, M.A. Brandeis University) is adjunct professor of English, director of writing programs, and director of the Wesleyan Writers Conference. She was awarded the 2006 Binswanger prize for excellence in teaching. Click here for more information about Anne Greene.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Robert Atwan, THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2003 (Mariner Books) Paperback

Alexander Chee, EDINBURGH (Picador USA) Paperback

Michael Cunningham, THE HOURS (Picador USA) Paperback

William Finnegan, COLD NEW WORLD (Random House Trade) Paperback

Ian Frazier, THE BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING 2003 (Mariner Books) Paperback

Atul Gawande, COMPLICATIONS (Picador USA) Paperback

Vivian Gornick, FIERCE ATTACHMENTS (Simon & Schuster) Paperback

Ian Jack, THE GRANTA BOOK OF REPORTAGE (Granta Books) Paperback

Paul LaFarge, HAUSSMANN, OR THE DISTINCTION (Picador USA) Paperback

Kathleen Norris, THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2001 (Houghton Mifflin) Paperback

Robert Pinsky, THE SOUNDS OF POETRY (Farrar Straus & Giroux) Paperback



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