What does it mean to write memoir and creative nonfiction in 2020? How to write out of our personal urgency while also asking questions about community, survival, isolation, and power—all that is wrong with the world and all we’d like to make better? How does it feel to be alive right now? We’ll think about those questions alongside all the matters of craft: voice, structure, focus, sonics, description, polarity, openings, closings. We’ll do this through the lens of your own manuscript (up to eight double-spaced pages) while also looking at a few short examples of outside work. There will be time for exercises. Along the way we’ll work hard and make sure that play and seriousness share the same space.
LIVE ELEMENT: Each student will have a one-on-one videoconference with the instructor to conclude the class.
Paul Lisicky is the author of six books, including Later: My Life at the Edge of the World (an NPR Best Book of 2020) and The Narrow Door (a New York Times Editors' Choice and finalist for the Randy Shilts Award). His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Conjunctions, The Cut, Fence, The New York Times, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. His awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The NEA, and the Fine Arts Work Center, where he has served on the Writing Committee since 2000. He is currently the director of the MFA Program at Rutgers University-Camden, where he is an Associate Professor and editor of StoryQuarterly. He lives in Brooklyn. He recently completed his next book, The Inner Anton of Me.