Fiction of Place

June 3, 2015

A Reading & Generative Workshop


“Something had happened here.” – Alice Munro

What does it mean to write stories that are rooted in a distinct place? How do we introduce a world that might be unfamiliar to many readers and yet move beyond the expected associations and tired depictions? Through intensive readings of short stories (mostly international contemporary), we will analyze such strategies as utilizing insider/outsider roles, writing place by not writing about it at all, and reinventing myths, urban legends and family lore with a specific place in mind. We will have writing exercises each week and explore thematic challenges such as issues of authenticity, imitation, and realism (and alternative forms of reality) in pursuing the truth about a place.

 About the Instructor

Nathan Go is a graduate of the University of Michigan Zell Writers’ Program, where he won a Hopwood Award and the Chamberlain Award for Creative Writing. He will be teaching and pursuing another MFA in fiction at the Iowa Writers Workshop this fall. A recipient of the 2012 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship, the Walker Scholarship at FAWC, and an Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, he writes for the Michigan Quarterly Review online.

This course will “meet” throughout the month of June. You will have continuous access to a shared, secure course space throughout the span of the workshop, and will receive a set of exercises, examples, and prompts at the start of each week.

Go at your own pace, but generate as much as you can, and you are encouraged to post your results, marathon-style, to the class space (and give feedback if you’ve got time!).

At the end of each week you’ll have the opportunity to turn in up to 3-5 pages for formal feedback from your instructor, who will give you editorial comments, as well as suggestions for expansion in your reading and craft. You’ll also be able to ask questions in the course space, including the “office hours” forum.

Apiary’s workshops are designed to provide both one-on-one instructor feedback and guidance, and a learning environment and supportive community to share in with your peers.

What you can expect

  • a password-protected space in which to share work with your workshop leader and peers
  • 4 rounds of feedback and instructive support with your workshop leader (up to 3 to 5 pages each week, suggested readings); and encouragement of peer feedback
  • “office hours” in the form of private messaging and forum responses
  • focused attention to the development and exploration of your own craft and language. This is about your work, and where you want to go.
  • a supportive environment for your writing, always.

Fiction of Place
four weeks
Image credit: Kenzie Allen