Skip to Content

Writing Workshops

Using Fairy Tales, Magical Realism, and Childhood Tales to Break Through Writer's Block with Soraya Palmer


8 Sessions

In stock

Once a week Thursdays, 7:00 pm EDT - 9:00 pm EDT June 13 to August 1, 2024

Online via Zoom

Have you ever had a really exciting idea for a story or novel, but then felt stuck or defeated once you actually sat down to write it? This course will help you to tap into the childhood parts of your imagination that make writing fun in order to push through feelings of self-doubt and “stuckness.” Each week you will write a story or chapter based on a prompt you will receive. The in-class writing activities and weekly assigned readings will help you to develop better characters, build tension, and create vivid settings through adding unexpected elements into your fiction such as animating an ordinary object (e.g.: a haunted house, a talking mirror) to help you pay more attention to setting or having a character go through an unexplainable bodily change in order to build suspense and conflict. We will read classic and contemporary authors who have mastered the elements of magical realism and the surreal such as Angela Carter, Carmen Maria Machado, and George Saunders. Each student will have the opportunity to be workshopped twice. Students should have some interest in magical realism and surrealism. No prior experience is necessary.

Course Outline
  • Session I: Introduction to the class and the genres of magical realism, surrealism, and the strange.
  • Sessions II—V: First round of student submission workshops, in class writing activities, discussion of readings and writing techniques.
  • Sessions VI—XI: Second round of student submission workshops, in class writing activities, discussion of readings and writing techniques.
  • Session XII: Closing

Led by

  • Soraya - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Soraya Palmer

    Soraya Palmer

    Soraya Palmer is the author of The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts. She is a Flatbush-born-and-raised writer and licensed social worker who has worked to advocate for survivors of gender-based violence who are facing criminal charges related to their abuse. She has also spent time as a community organizer for young people who fights against gentrification and police brutality. Her novel was named one of Today’s “38 Best New Books to Read in 2023,” one of the “Buzziest Debut Novels of the New Year” by Goodreads, one of the “Best and Most Anticipated Books of 2023” by Elle magazine, and one of “The Most Anticipated Feminist Books of 2023” by Ms. magazine. Her writing has appeared in Electric Literature, Hazlitt, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. She has been awarded a residency at Blue Mountain Center and graduated from the Virginia Tech MFA program. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat, Nicholas.