Teaching Fiction in the Spring

l’m teaching an undergraduate fiction class at Rutgers-Camden in the spring, focusing on the short story. As I love talking about fiction and writing stories probably too much, I’m obviously very excited.

I began my writing education in a pub in Camden Town, and deepened it in second hand bookshops all over Asia. Since arriving in graduate school to study creative writing, I’ve frequently wondered why fiction writing, if it is to be studied in a classroom, could not be taught the way (I believe) drawing or carpentry or mathematics are: systematically. Decide what the basics are, teach them, then work up. This semester will be, assuming I continue to be employed in the field, the first of many attempts to realise this vision.

Models, theories, practice:

We’re going to read

The Magic Barrel, by Bernard Malamud
No One’s a Mystery, by Elizabeth Tallent
Some Other, Better Otto, by Deborah Eisenberg
Reunion, by John Cheever
The Kiss, by Chekhov
One Day, by William Trevor
Who’s Irish, by Gish Jen
Laughing Man, by JD Salinger
and many other stories


The Half Known World, by Robert Boswell
essays and chapters from
Story, by Robert McKee
The Anatomy of Story, by John Truby
Burning Down the House, by Charles Baxter
How Fiction Works, by James Wood
On Moral Fiction, by James Gardner


Build a “personal universe deck
Write a “wheel story” (to be explained in a later post)
Write a story from a random news article
Write a story responding to another story
Describe a setting
Play with POV
and many other prompts.

Come take my course.


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