Skip to Content

Writing Workshops

Making Magic: A Workshop on Narrative Voice with Conor Bracken


4 Sessions

In stock

Once a week Mondays, 7:00 pm EST - 9:00 pm EST February 19 to March 11, 2024

Online via Zoom

Plato called writers liars but I like to think of us as magicians. One of the hardest tricks we can pull off is the one we call voice, which raises inert letters and words and punctuation marks off the page and swirls them around until they take the illusive, convincing shape of a person. In this workshop, we’ll read stories, essays, and poems by Bryan Washington, Jaquira Diaz, Carmen Maria Machado, Chen Chen, Amy Hempel, and others, which will help us think about and practice various grammatical, syntactic, lexical, and atmospheric aspects of this trick. We will also look at one another’s work to help each other draw forth the dynamic, ineffable, human voice that will give our pieces the power to leap.

Course Outline
  • Session I
    • Advance reading: “The Outing” by Lydia Davis, chapter 1 of Citizen by Claudia Rankine, “The Neighbors” by Anthony Tognazzini
    • Introductions, overview, individual goal-setting, discussion of texts, guided writing exercises
  • Session II
    • Advance reading: “Especially Heinous: 272 Views of Law & Order SVU” by Carmen Maria Machado, “The Correct Grip” by Amy Hempel, poems by Solmaz Sharif
    • Discuss readings, guided writing exercise, workshop of two writers
  • Session III
    • Advance reading: “Shooting Tuvia” by Etgar Keret, “There’s No Recipe for Growing Up” by Scaachi Koul, poems by Katie Condon
    • Discuss readings, guided writing exercise, workshop of two writers
  • Session IV
    • Advance reading: “Navigation” by Bryan Washington, “Wolves” by Sterling HolyWhiteMountain, “People in Hell Want a Drink of Water” by Annie Proulx
    • Discuss readings, guided writing exercise, workshop of two writers

Led by

  • 2CBracken LGP Headshot cropped - conor bracken

    Conor Bracken

    Conor Bracken

    Conor Bracken is the author of The Enemy of My Enemy is Me (Diode Editions, 2021), as well as the translator of Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine’s Scorpionic Sun (CSU Poetry Center, 2019) and Jean D’Amérique’s No Way in the Skin Without This Bloody Embrace (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2022), a finalist for the 2023 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. His work has received support from the Community of Writers, Bread Loaf, the Frost Place, Inprint, Cornell’s Institute for Comparative Modernities, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and has appeared (or will soon) in places like BOMB, Image, jubilat, New England Review, the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Sixth Finch, and West Branch. He teaches writing at the Cleveland Institute of Art.