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Writing Workshops

The Art of the Diary with Daniel Saldaña París


2 Sessions

Out of stock

Saturday & Sunday 11:00 am EST - 2:00 pm EST February 24 to February 25, 2024

Online via Zoom

This workshop has reached its capacity. To join the waitlist, please email Randy Winston at [email protected].

The personal journal is the most democratic literary genre: anyone can keep a diary, and many people do, regardless of their trade, at one time or another in their lives. In the personal diary, art and daily life coincide and become indistinguishable: it is the avant-garde of shyness!

A hybrid and versatile genre, the diary can incorporate autobiographical writing, fiction, literary criticism, travel chronicles, and even drawings as well as a reflection on one’s own style and the exercise of writing itself.

In this course, we will review excerpts of personal diaries written by different authors and comment on them collectively, understanding the practice of journaling as a private literary workshop. We will also write and share our own entries based on specific prompts. As with any other genre, the more we read what has been written before, the more tools we will have to write our own journals, but also to understand the possibilities of the genre and how to apply its resources in other writing projects, fiction, or nonfiction.

Course Outline
  • Session I:

    • The personal diary: definition of an impossible genre.
    • Brief historical account: from Henri-Frédéric Amiel to the autofiction boom.
    • Unfolding personalities: The Diary and the Third Person.
    • The Diary of a Body: Katherine Mansfield.
    • The End of a Diary: Maurice Blanchot, Sarah Manguso.
    • The Diary and the Quotidian: Franz Kafka, Virginia Woolf, Georges Perec.
    • Film diaries: Chantal Ackerman, Jonas Mekas, David Perlov, Andrés Di Tella.
    • Writing prompts.
  • Session II:

    • Queer diaries: Patricia Highsmith, Anaïs Nin, John Cheever, André Gide, Susan Sontag.
    • Measuring Time: Christa Wolf, Pierre-Hyacinthe Azaïs, Mario Levrero, Sheila Heti.
    • Diaries and Failure: Witold Gombrowicz, Franz Kafka, Cesare Pavese.
    • The Diary as a Posthumous Genre: Sylvia Plath, Alejandra Pizarnik, José Donoso.
    • Diaries and Fiction: Mircea Cartarescu, Jazmina Barrera, J.M. Coetzee, Ricardo Piglia.
    • Writing prompts and commentary.
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Led by

  • 2DSP by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg - Daniel Saldaña París

    Daniel Saldaña París

    Daniel Saldaña París

    Daniel Saldaña París is the author of three novels—Among Strange Victims, Ramifications, and The Dance and the Fire—and a collection of personal essays, Planes Flying Over a Monster. His work has been translated into several languages, and he has been included in Bogota39, a list of the Best Latin American Writers Under 40. The recipient of fellowships and residencies from the Banff Center for the Arts, the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires, Art Omi, and MacDowell, he has been awarded the Eccles Center & Hay Festival Writers Award in the U.K., and his latest novel was a finalist for the Herralde Prize in Spain. He was a 2022-2023 fellow at the NYPL’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and has contributed to publications such as the Guardian, BOMB, Guernica, Aperture, Music & Literature, LitHub, Publisher’s Weekly, and KCRW’s UnFictional, among many others. You can keep up with Daniel on Instagram at @dsparis.

    Photo Credit: Ezequiel Zaidenwerg