Great literature engages the reader on three levels: aesthetic, intellectual and emotional. In our class we’ll see how this engagement works. We’ll talk about what makes dialogue authentic, about why we empathize. How a story creates an emotional landscape as well as a physical one, and how a story might change our minds. We’ll discuss character and language, style and structure, velocity and intention, conflict and change: all the elements of fiction.
The short story form is demanding: a short story is like a fish; it must be perfectly shaped, in a smooth continual line from nose to tail. It must be perfectly frugal, containing nothing inessential or extraneous. Its surface must be perfectly smooth and seamless: every word must overlap the next without a break, like scales. It must seem jointless, the liquid unfolding of a solid.
We’ll make our way through a school of these glittering creatures, hoping to understand the mystery. We’ll spend time reading and discussing Chekhov, Wharton, Munro, Pritchett, Hadley and others. You will be sent a list of short stories to read (with links and/or attachments) before the beginning of the workshop.
This is a class for readers who want to deep dive into the work of master short story writers and does not include submission or workshopping of students’ writing.
- This is an all-levels workshop.
- Please submit a cover letter that states your interest in this workshop and gives an overview of your prior workshop experience, if any.
- The cost is $675. If you are selected to participate in the workshop, a deposit of $300 is required to register, with the balance due by September 30.
- If you are accepted into a workshop and would like to attend some of the Seminar, a space will be available to you at a reduced price of $300 (you will be notified of this option upon acceptance into the program). The Seminar runs from January 12 – 15.
- Financial Assistance is available to those who would not otherwise be able to attend—click here for guidelines and/or to apply for a Workshop Fellowship Award.
- Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the class is full.
Roxana Robinson is the author of ten books: six novels, three collections of short stories, and the biography of Georgia O’Keeffe. Four of these were chosen as New York Times Notable Books, two as New York Times Editors’ Choice.
Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Harper’s, Tin House, The Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere. Her books have been published in England, France, Germany, Holland, and Spain; and her essays, criticism, and op-eds have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Nation. She has twice been a finalist for the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle.
Robinson’s novel Cost was listed as one of the best books of the year by the Chicago Tribune, Library Journal, the Seattle Times, and the Wall Street Journal and was named one of the five best fiction books of the year by the Washington Post. Her novel Sparta won the Maine Literary Award for Fiction, the James Webb Award from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, was named one of the ten best books of the year by the BBC, and was short-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award.
Robinson has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, and the Guggenheim Foundation and was named a Library Lion by the New York Public Library. She has served on the Boards of PEN America and the Authors Guild, serving as president from 2013 to 2017. In 2019 she received the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, given by Poets and Writers.