Saturday & Sunday 2:00 pm EDT - 4:15 pm EDT October 16 to October 17, 2021
Online via Zoom
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Writers from Ernest Hemingway (“The only kind of writing is rewriting”) to Khaled Hosseini (“Writing for me is largely about rewriting”) to Joyce Carol Oates (“Most of my time writing is really re-writing”) have stressed the importance of revision. And yet, since all we usually have access to is the final draft of a published book or story, revision is something of an invisible art. In this seminar participants will try to draw it forth into the light by calling on examples from life, literature and even pop culture (from remakes to reboots to retcons), and exploring a range of strategies for how to re-see re-vision.
This class is appropriate for any writer who’s ever balked at revision as a chore, or despaired of it as a Sisyphean task, or shuddered at the blood-thirsty idea of “killing your darlings.” Through examples, exercises and discussion, each session will reintroduce revision as a fun, inspiring, and vital activity.
Levels: Intermediate, Advanced
Peter Ho Davies
Peter Ho Davies
Peter Ho Davies’s most recent novel is A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself. His first work of nonfiction, The Art of Revision: The Last Word, is forthcoming from Graywolf in November. Other books include The Fortunes, winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; The Welsh Girl, long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and a London Times bestseller; as well as two collections of short stories. His work has appeared in Harpers, the Atlantic, the Paris Review, and Granta, and been anthologized in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories. Born in Britain to Welsh and Chinese parents, he now teaches in the MFA program at the University of Michigan.
By Peter Ho Davies
The Art of Revision: The Last Word
By Peter Ho Davies
Published by Graywolf Press
In The Art of Revision: The Last Word, Peter Ho Davies takes up an often discussed yet frequently misunderstood subject. He begins by addressing the invisibility of revision—even though it’s an essential part of the writing process, readers typically only see a final draft, leaving the practice shrouded in mystery. To combat this, Davies pulls examples from his novels The Welsh Girl and The Fortunes, as well as from the work of other writers, including Flannery O’Connor, Carmen Machado, and Raymond Carver, shedding light on this slippery subject.
Davies also looks beyond literature to work that has been adapted or rewritten, such as books made into films, stories rewritten by another author, and the practice of retconning in comics and film. In an affecting frame story, Davies recounts the story of a violent encounter in his youth, which he then retells over the years, culminating in a final telling at the funeral of his father. In this way, the book arrives at an exhilarating mode of thinking about revision—that it is the writer who must change, as well as the writing. The result is a book that is as useful as it is moving, one that asks writers to reflect upon themselves and their writing.
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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