Masterclass Series on the Short Story
Irish Writers Centre

Booked out: Masterclass Series on the Short Story

Regular price €230.00

Starts: Tues 21 Feb 2017
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm 
Duration: 8 Weeks
Cost: €250/€230 Members

Some of the greatest writers of the 20th century have explored, teased and experimented with the short story to create small but perfectly formed works of fiction that challenge both the reader and the craft of writing itself. Incorporating a diverse range of topics, from the universal struggle of rewriting and revising, to openings, language, structure and narration, attendees will have an exclusive opportunity to engage with those who do it best. Join Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Anthony Glavin, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Mike McCormack and Sean O’Reilly over eight sessions to discover new ways to get to the heart of what makes short fiction one of the most engaging forms of modern literature.

Week 1: Convince the Reader by Opening Well with Nuala O'Connor
Tues 21 Feb • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 

Readers are sold on openings (as are editors). In this session we will examine the importance of titling your stories well and writing convincing opening sentences and paragraphs. We will look at, and compare, the openings to several short stories and complete an exercise on writing a first paragraph.

Week 2: Language as Lure in the Short Story with Nuala O'Connor
Tues 28 Feb • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 

Whether you favour the rich language of Annie Proulx or Lorrie Moore, or the starker prose of Hemingway or Yiyun Li, the language you use will carry your reader into and through the world of your story. In this session we will look at language choices and things to avoid. We will contrast and compare the language in several short stories.

Week 3 & 4: Narrating with Sean O'Reilly
Tues 7 & 14 March • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 

'The house of fiction has many windows, but only two or three doors,' - James Woods. The choice of narrative point of view is probably the biggest decision a writer will face when composing a story. Narration is concerned with the weight and significance given to the character’s consciousness in the story, the relationship between their outer and inner life. Over these two sessions, we will try to look more closely into these narrative decisions in short fiction; when a story needs to be told in the first person for example, or the difference between an up-close third person narration and a playful omniscience, or why a writer might choose to stay entirely on the surface of a character, keeping silent about their interior world, whatever that may be.

Week 5:  Allow Me To Introduce Myself with Anthony Glavin
Tues 21 March • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 

This class will cover a discussion on the provenance of characters, ideas, and/or settings that can suggest, seed or if we’re lucky, kick-start a short story, and on how we might best keep an eye (and ear) out for them.

Week 6: All Writing is Re-Writing with Anthony Glavin
Tues 28 March • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 

A discussion on how successive drafts of your short story will only strengthen it: how what you omit can be as important as what you leave in, the dangers of “weak specification” as Henry James put it, “the folly of the pointed finger” per Joseph Conrad, and how your editor might help.

Week 7: Structure with Mike McCormack
Tues 4 April • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 

What shape should our stories take, linear, circular, fragmented? What laws of geometry or symmetry can we employ in our fictions? Are there any balances and harmonies which need to be struck? In this workshop we will discuss how structure enables us to define our stories more clearly.

Week 8: The Camera Inside with Christine Dwyer Hickey
Tues 11 April • 6.30PM - 8.30PM 

We will concentrate on learning how to use the camera inside your head, the different methods of imaging your way into a story, and staying with it from start to finish. 

About the Authors

Nuala O'Connor lives in Galway and has published four short story collections, three novels and three poetry collections. She has won many short fiction awards and was shortlistd ofr the European Prize for Literature.

Sean O’Reilly is the author of Curfew and Other Stories, the novels Love and Sleep and The Swing of Things, and the experimental novella, Watermark. He is a contributing editor to The Stinging Fly magazine and teaches creative writing at the American College, Dublin.

Anthony Glavin is the author of two novels, Colours Other Than Blue and Nighthawk Alley, and two short story collections, One for Sorrow and The Draughtsman and the Unicorn.  One of Ireland’s foremost literary editors, he has commissioned and/or edited story collections, novels and memoirs by Nuala O’Faolain, Angela Burke, John MacKenna, Joseph O’Connor, Martin Malone, Jack Hanna, Ciarán Folan, and Brian Leyden  among others.

Mike McCormack is an Irish novelist and short story writer. He has published two collections of short stories, Getting It In the Head and Forensic Songs and three novels - Crowe's Requiem, Notes from a Coma and Solar Bones which won the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize. His first short-story collection, Getting it in the Head, was nominated as a New York Times Book of the Year

Christine Dwyer Hickey is an award-winning novelist and short story writer. Twice winner of the Listowel Writers’ Week short story competition and a winner of the Observer/Penguin short story award, her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies world-wide.

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