The Art of Teleportation: How to Write with a Strong Sense of Place with Laia Jufresa
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Saturday & Sunday 11:00 am EDT - 2:00 pm EDT April 29 to April 30, 2023
Online via Zoom
Writing is a bidimensional medium. Yet good books leave us feeling as if we’ve been somewhere. How is that possible?
In this workshop you will learn how to create three dimensional spaces that your readers can enter. Sure, we want our readers to have an emotional experience but in literature, just like in life, our emotional experience is informed and altered by our surroundings. This is why place shouldn’t be neglected in your writing.
A scene’s setting can serve as so much more than backdrop. It can enhance the atmosphere, communicate non-verbally, ground your story, enrich your world building, keep your reader away from their phone because they’ve found an interesting place to visit and explore.
But if you want to transport your reader, first you have to learn how to transport yourself. How to stop writing like you’re building a set and start writing like you’re entering a fully formed, charged, real place.
A general theme of this workshop is Presence. You cannot teleport yourself if you’re only half-here. So we will write in situ. Sharing will be optional.
Session I: Set vs. Setting: Writing Meaningful Places
- Trusting Your Imagination: If you can imagine it, it exists.
- Trusting Your Memory: What if the map is the territory?
- Trusting Your Experience: How to connect place to emotion.
Session II: Surprise Landings
- Play and Improvisation: How to let go of control (because you’re not God, nor an architect).
- Research vs. Travel: How to practice the art of teleportation.
- Untrusting Attention: Less description, better chosen details.
Laia Jufresa is a Mexican author based in Scotland. Her first novel, Umami, has been widely translated into and won a PEN Translates Award and a Best First Novel award in France. In 2015 Laia was invited by British Council Literature to be the first ever International Writer in Residence at Hay Festival in Wales. She’s since been named as one of the most outstanding young writers of Mexico and of Latin America. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Words Without Borders, El País, McSweeneys. She has written for Netflix and the BBC. Laia is also an accredited transformational life coach and since 2020 she runs a membership (Escribir es un lugar) where she has helped over a hundred female writers improve their practice, overcome their fears and and write their books. She lives in Edinburgh and is finishing her second novel: Wishbone.
By Laia Jufresa
By Laia Jufresa
Published by Oneworld
It started with a drowning.
Deep in the heart of Mexico City, where five houses cluster around a sun-drenched courtyard, lives Ana, a precocious twelve-year-old still coming to terms with the mysterious death of her little sister years earlier. Over the rainy, smoggy summer she decides to plant a vegetable garden in the courtyard, and as she digs the ground and plants her seeds, her neighbors in turn delve into their past. As the ripple effects of grief, childlessness, illness and displacement saturate their stories, secrets seep out and questions emerge – Who was my wife? Why did my mom leave? Can I turn back the clock? And how could a girl who knew how to swim drown?
Using five voices to tell the singular story of life in an inner city mews, Umami is a quietly devastating novel of missed encounters, missed opportunities, missed people, and those who are left behind. Compassionate, surprising, funny and inventive, it deftly unpicks their stories to offer a darkly comic portrait of contemporary Mexico, as whimsical as it is heart-wrenching.
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.
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