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Kate Moses

Imagining the Real: Transforming Fact into Fiction

Kate Moses, photo by Erika Edgley
Kate Moses, photo by Erika Edgley
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This workshop is now full. You can still apply to be considered as an alternate.

workshop description

How many of our most compelling works of fiction have been inspired by real people, real events, real objects in the real world? A shorter list might be those that aren’t. James Salter once said that “most great novels and stories come not from things that are entirely invented, but from perfect knowledge and close observation.” In this workshop we will focus the magnifying lens of attentiveness on the real-world raw material that life and history have entrusted to us—whether that means an iconic family heirloom, a societal watershed, a life glimpsed through the amber of time, or an unforgettable work of art. We will discuss examples of fictions with factual underpinnings and use daily exercises to fan the flames of story, subtext, and metaphor from the kindling fires of our potent subjects.

This workshop is designed to be more generative and/or process-deepening in scope than revisionist, though writers with fact-based fictional works in progress are welcome.


Click here to apply via Submittable

•     Admission to this workshop will be based upon an application including a writing sample of two to eight pages of fiction, along with a brief letter outlining your desire to take the workshop. In the letter, please include a description of the factual material, including photos or other documentation (if available), that you wish to explore and share in class.

•     The cost of the workshop is $550. If you are accepted, a $100 deposit will be required to hold your place within a week of acceptance, with full payment due within 30 days.

•     Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning March 16 until the class is full.

•     All confirmed participants will be expected to read works for discussion assigned by the instructor in advance of the workshop.

Financial Assistance is available to those who would not otherwise be able to attend—click here for guidelines and application.

about Kate Moses

Kate Moses is the author of the internationally acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath, published in fifteen languages and recipient of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and a Prix des Lectrices de Elle, and Cakewalk: A Memoir, chosen by National Public Radio as one of their favorite memoirs of 2010. Moses is also co-editor of two bestselling, award-winning anthologies of essays on motherhood, Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood and Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race & Themselves. Both anthologies were the offspring of Salon’s popular, pioneering daily feature Mothers Who Think, of which she was a founding editor during the internet’s infancy.

The Fayum Portraits, a novel inspired by a 2,000-year-old Egyptian memorial painting, is in progress. She has received a Lannan Literary Fellowship, an American Book Award, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, fellowship residencies from the Djerassi Foundation and the MacDowell Colony, and has been a guest writer at numerous conferences and universities. A native San Franciscan, she now lives in Essex, New York.