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Once a week Wednesdays, 5:00 pm EDT - 7:00 pm EDT June 7 to June 28, 2023
Online via Zoom
A narrator is the eye through which we see the world of a story, the lens through which we come to understand the characters. A shift in narrator will shift our perception of the story itself. So how do we choose this lens? And what exciting possibilities can we open up when we play with point of view? In this workshop, we will use close reading exercises, writing prompts, and our own work to explore the ways in which playing with point of view can alter our readers’ perceptions and create new meaning on the page.
- Week 1: The “I” as the “Eye”: Why choose first person?
- Week 2: The One or the Many? Close-third vs. third-person omniscient
- Week 3: All About You: When second person can work (and when it might not)
- Week 4: A Chorus of Voices: The collective “we”
Erin Swan is the author of the speculative novel Walk the Vanished Earth (Viking 2022), a family saga spanning two hundred years, two planets, and seven generations. Her stories and essays have appeared in journals such as Portland Review, the South Carolina Review, and Inkwell Journal. A graduate of Teachers College at Columbia University and the MFA program at The New School, she lives in Brooklyn and teaches English at a public high school in lower Manhattan.
By Erin Swan
Walk the Vanished Earth
By Erin Swan
Published by Penguin
The year is 1873, and a bison hunter named Samson travels the Kansas plains, full of hope for his new country. The year is 1975, and an adolescent girl named Bea walks those very same plains; pregnant, mute, and raised in extreme seclusion, she lands in an institution, where a well-meaning psychiatrist struggles to decipher the pictures she draws of her past. The year is 2027 and, after a series of devastating storms, a tenacious engineer named Paul has left behind his banal suburban existence to build a floating city above the drowned streets that were once New Orleans. There with his poet daughter he rules over a society of dreamers and vagabonds who salvage vintage dresses, ferment rotgut wine out of fruit, paint murals on the ceiling of the Superdome, and try to write the story of their existence. The year is 2073, and Moon has heard only stories of the blue planet—Earth, as they once called it, now succumbed entirely to water. Now that Moon has come of age, she could become a mother if she wanted to–if only she understood what a mother is. Alone on Mars with her two alien uncles, she must decide whether to continue her family line and repopulate humanity on a new planet.
A sweeping family epic, told over seven generations, as America changes and so does its dream, Walk the Vanished Earth explores ancestry, legacy, motherhood, the trauma we inherit, and the power of connection in the face of our planet’s imminent collapse.
This is a story about the end of the world—but it is also about the beginning of something entirely new. Thoughtful, warm, and wildly prescient, this work of bright imagination promises that, no matter what the future looks like, there is always room for hope.
About this series
We strive to make our classes the most inviting and rewarding available, offering an intimate environment to study with award-winning, world-class writers. Each class is specially designed by the instructor, so whether you’re a fledgling writer or an MFA graduate polishing your novel, you’ll find a perfect fit here.
Constant Flight Forward: César Aira and His Bonkers Books with Samuel Rutter
Five Sessions 6:30 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT September 27 to January 24, 2023
Dickens, Gaskell, and Collins with Amanda Hollander
Six Sessions Thursdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT September 28, 2023 to January 4, 2024
Surgery on the Sentence Level with Omer Friedlander$150
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT September 30 to October 1, 2023
Writing History with Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond$125
Saturday, 12:00 pm EDT - 4:30 pm EDT September 30, 2023
Writing Fiction for Social Justice with Ruth Mukwana$495
Once a week Mondays, 12:00 pm EDT - 2:00 pm EDT October 2 to November 20, 2023
George Eliot’s Middlemarch with Sheila Kohler
Every Other Week Mondays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT October 2 to November 27, 2023
William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying with Elizabeth Howard
Once a week Wednesdays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT October 4 to October 25, 2023
Good Moms, Bad Moms: Mothers in Contemporary French Autobiographies with Lise Schreier$225
Five Sessions Thursdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT October 5 to December 21, 2023
Belief and Doubt: The Novels of Graham Greene (and One by John le Carré) with Dennis Krieger
Five Sessions 7:00 pm EDT - 8:30 pm EDT October 5 to January 18, 2023
Writing Family Stories and Family Histories with Eraldo Souza dos Santos$150
Friday—Sunday October 6 to October 8, 2023
An Introduction to Comics with Sofia Warren$150
Saturday & Sunday 11:00 am EDT - 2:00 pm EDT October 7 to October 8, 2023
What's Italian? Collodi's Pinocchio and De Amicis’s Heart with Antonio Romani
Once a week Saturdays, 12:00 pm EDT - 1:30 pm EDT October 7 to October 28, 2023
Revising the College Essay with Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons$75
Saturday, 1:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT October 7, 2023
Members Only: The NightlightersFree
Monday, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT October 9, 2023
Genre/Gender-Bending Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy with Joy Sanchez-Taylor
Three Sessions Mondays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT October 9 to November 20, 2023
Writing Powerful, Characterizing Dialogue in Fiction with Joanna Cantor$395
Once a week Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EDT - 9:00 pm EDT October 11 to November 15, 2023
Henry Fielding's The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling with Rebecca Rukeyser
Once a week Wednesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT October 11 to December 13, 2023
How to Publish Translation Writing with Bruna Dantas Lobato$150
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT October 14 to October 15, 2023
Georges Perec's Life: A User's Manual with Evan James
Once a week Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT October 17 to December 19, 2023
Creating a Book Marketing Plan: How to Authentically Promote Your Book and Engage Your Community with Eleanor Whitney$150
Saturday & Sunday 11:00 am EDT - 2:00 pm EDT October 21 to October 22, 2023