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Once a week Mondays, 6:00 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT September 27 to November 15, 2021
Online via Zoom
The natural world is changing all around us. Sometimes it appears in our lives as a disaster in the form of a storm, a flood, or a drought, and sometimes it’s as unobtrusive as the weeds growing up through the cracks in the pavement. More than anything else, nature is forcing us to pay attention.
In this workshop, participants will direct their attention to nature and use it as the starting point to think about how they might write fiction and nonfiction that engages with the world around them. Readings will include novel excerpts, short stories, essays, and poems, and will look at nature in all its forms from the mundane to the catastrophic and uncanny. The class will use in-class exercises and prompts to help find strategies, stories, and structures that harness the changing natural world in new and exciting ways, and to suit the strange and unknown world we face today.
Madeleine Watts is the author of the 2021 novel, The Inland Sea. Her stories have been published in the White Review, Guernica, and the Lifted Brow, and her novella, Afraid of Waking It, won the 2015 Griffith Review Novella Prize. Her essays and nonfiction have been published by the Believer, Paris Review Daily, and Literary Hub. She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University.
By Madeleine Watts
The Inland Sea
By Madeleine Watts
Published by Catapult
Drifting after her final year in college, a young writer begins working part-time as an emergency dispatch operator in Sydney. Over the course of an eight-hour shift, she is dropped into hundreds of crises, hearing only pieces of each. Callers report car accidents and violent spouses and homes caught up in flame.
The work becomes monotonous: answer, transfer, repeat. And yet the stress of listening to far-off disasters seeps into her personal life, and she begins walking home with keys in hand, ready to fight off men disappointed by what they find in neighboring bars. During her free time, she gets black-out drunk, hooks up with strangers, and navigates an affair with an ex-lover whose girlfriend is in their circle of friends.
Two centuries earlier, her great-great-great-great-grandfather—the British explorer John Oxley—traversed the wilderness of Australia in search of water. Oxley never found the inland sea, but the myth was taken up by other men, and over the years, search parties walked out into the desert, dying as they tried to find it.
Interweaving a woman’s self-destructive unraveling with the gradual worsening of the climate crisis, The Inland Sea is charged with unflinching insight into our age of anxiety. At a time when wildfires have swept an entire continent, this novel asks what refuge and comfort looks like in a constant state of emergency.
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.
Don Quixote with Kannan Mahadevan
Once a week Thursdays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT September 15 to November 3, 2022
Revisionist Genre with Donna Raskin
4 Monthly Sessions Fridays, 7:00 pm EDT - 8:30 pm EDT September 16 to December 9, 2022
Beyond the Tropes: Latinx Terror with Marc L. Abbott$180
Sundays, 1:00 pm EDT - 2:30 pm EDT September 18 to December 18, 2022
Advanced Proust: In Search of Lost Time with Lila Azam Zanganeh (Sold Out)
Third Tuesday of Every Month Tuesdays, 5:00 pm EDT - 6:30 pm EDT September 20, 2022 to August 15, 2023
Members Only: The LiterariansFree
Wednesday, 12:30 pm EDT - 1:30 pm EDT September 21, 2022
The Novels of Charles Dickens with Amanda Hollander
4 Sessions Thursdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT September 22 to December 22, 2022
Reading the Russians with Sheila Kohler (Sold Out)
6 Sessions Mondays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT September 26, 2022 to January 9, 2023
The Novels of Yoko Tawada with Miriam Tuliao
4 Monthly Sessions Mondays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT September 26 to December 19, 2022
Belief and Doubt: The Novels of Graham Greene (and One by John le Carré) with Dennis Krieger
5 Sessions Thursdays, 7:00 pm EDT - 8:30 pm EDT September 29, 2022 to January 26, 2023
Born Freaks: A Katherine Dunn Reading Group with Naomi Huffman (Featuring Special Guests!)
3 Sessions Tuesdays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT October 4 to November 8, 2022
The Wings of the Dove: A Henry James Reading Group with Sheridan Hay
Once a week Thursdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT October 6 to October 27, 2022
The Other Side of the Coin: Dystopia and Utopia in Short Fiction with Jacqueline Ahl$90
Thursdays, 7:00 pm EDT - 8:30 pm EDT October 13 to November 10, 2022
Italo Calvino and the Natural World with Antonio Romani
Once a week Saturdays, 12:00 pm EDT - 1:30 pm EDT October 15 to November 19, 2022
The Great Fire: A Shirley Hazzard Reading Group with Sheridan Hay
Once a week Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT November 8 to November 29, 2022