6 sessions, in-person meetings
Once a week Thursdays, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm April 4 to May 9, 2019
How do we get more information to our readers without having our narrator go on and on for too long? Why not let our characters do more of the heavy lifting.
During this six-week workshop, we’ll read short stories by authors such as Eudora Welty and Alice Walker—authors who have employed some of the most characterizing and plot revealing dialogue ever written. We’ll do in-class writing exercises to help us scale back on exposition and let our characters’ conversations tell more of the story.
Every student will have the opportunity to received feedback on at least one piece of their own work (up to 30 pages per submission), a one-on-one meeting with the instructor, and a great time discussing all the ways we can make the best use of our talkative, or not-so-talkative, characters.
De’Shawn Charles Winslow was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and has lived in Brooklyn for most of his adult life. He enjoys reading and writing fiction about the complex relationships within families and small, close-knit communities. De’Shawn has taught writing courses at multiple CUNY campuses, and at the University of Iowa. He is a 2017 graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he wrote his first, forthcoming novel, In West Mills (Bloomsbury, June 2019).
In West Mills
By De'Shawn Winslow
For readers of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie and The Turner House, an intimately told story about a woman living by her own rules and the rural community that struggles to understand her.
Azalea “Knot” Centre is determined to live life as she pleases. Let the people of West Mills say what they will; the neighbors’ gossip won’t keep Knot from what she loves best: cheap moonshine, nineteenth-century literature, and the company of men. And yet, Knot is starting to learn that her freedom comes at a high price. Alone in her one-room shack, ostracized from her relatives and cut off from her hometown, Knot turns to her neighbor, Otis Lee Loving, in search of some semblance of family and home.
Otis Lee is eager to help. A lifelong fixer, Otis Lee is determined to steer his friends and family away from decisions that will cause them heartache and ridicule. After his failed attempt as a teenager to help his older sister, Otis Lee discovers a possible path to redemption in the chaos Knot brings to his doorstep. But while he’s busy trying to fix Knot’s life, Otis Lee finds himself powerless to repair the many troubles within his own family, as the long-buried secrets of his troubled past begin to come to light.
Set in an African American community in rural North Carolina from 1941 to 1987, In West Mills is a magnificent, big-hearted small-town story about family, friendship, storytelling, and the redemptive power of love.
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