On Writing Home with Madeline Beach Carey
Date: September 6, 2021
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Duration: 6 Weeks
Level: Beginner | Emerging |
Cost: €165 (€150 Members)
All Irish Writers Centre remote courses take place on Irish Standard Time (GMT)
This workshop is designed for people writing about their home country whilst living—or having lived—far from their place of birth or the place they call home.
Participants can be starting or fine-tuning prose projects including memoir, personal essay, or fiction.
Each participant should send up to 3,000 words to be workshopped, including a brief synopsis, to firstname.lastname@example.org at least one week before the start of the course. While workshopping participants’ texts, selected readings will be used to highlight craft issues such as setting, character development, dialogue, writing ‘from’ other languages, and the tension between individual and collective narratives.
Participants are expected to read selected texts provided by the instructor and must also be willing to read and comment on their peers’ work. The workshop will be dynamic and interactive. Close, careful readings lead to more productive workshop sessions for all involved.
Each session will begin with a discussion of the assigned material from a dossier of texts about exile, emigration, and belonging. The second half of the class will be dedicated to workshopping students’ work. Each week there will also be time for short writing exercises, a chance to generate new material and experiment with form and voice.
Session 1: Political and Personal Histories (Chinua Achebe, Teju Cole, and Deborah Levy)
Session 2: Collective Re-imaginings (Claire Messud, Fae Myenne Ng, and Julie Otsuka)
Session 3: Magic and Memory: Writing the Family (Michael Ondaatje and Joseph O’Neill)
Session 4: Excavation and Precision (Edward Said)
Session 5: Internal and External Exiles (Mavis Gallant, Leila Aboulela, and William Trevor)
Session 6: Constructing Arrivals (Pietro di Donato)
Upon completion of the workshop each student will have read and discussed canonical texts about exile and the emigrant experience. Students will have explored innovative and experimental ways to narrate both collective and individual experiences of trauma, migration, and exile. As a group you will have discussed, questioned, reimagined what it means to call any place home.
Students will receive line edits and detailed editorial suggestions from the instructor on the 3,000 words presented to the workshop as well as feedback from peers. The instructor will also send a personalised list for further reading to each student.
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I've found this course to be fabulous at stretching me and moving me forward in my own work. Madeline has a deft touch at pushing out all our boundaries in the class, and a directed response in her one-to-one feedback. Thank you so much for this unexpected gem of a course.