Out of stock
Once a week Thursdays, 6:00 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST January 5 to February 23, 2023
Online via Zoom
In this class we will think about the challenges and possibilities of storytelling in the Anthropocene. How might thinking and writing about the environment and the world we live in be a way to both counter and work through the frustration and despair of our present moment? What genres and forms could we use to creatively respond to the conditions of the Anthropocene? Reading a mixture of fiction, poetry, essay, and journalism, we will look at how other writers have approached these questions and discuss what we might learn from their approaches. Generative exercises will help inspire new work, and in the final weeks of class will workshop one another’s manuscripts responding to the themes of the class, discussing strategies for revision and editing.
- Session 1: Introduction
- Session 2: The Weird and the Eerie
- Session 3: Noticing and Animals
- Session 4: Plants
- Session 5: The Big Picture
- Sessions 6—8: Workshops
Madeleine Watts is a writer of fiction, stories, and essays. Her debut novel, The Inland Sea, was shortlisted for the 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing. It was published by Pushkin Press (UK/ANZ) in 2020, and in 2021 by Catapult (US). A French translation was published in 2022 by Rue de l’échiquier. Her stories and essays has been published most recently in Harper’s magazine, the Believer, HEAT, the Guardian, Astra magazine, and Literary Hub. Madeleine has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University in New York, and graduated from the University of Sydney (Australia) with a B.A. (Hons I) in English Literature. She teaches at Columbia and Johns Hopkins Universities.
By Madeline 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.
Our First Gods: Writing Our Parents with Joe Wilkins (Sold Out)$125
Sunday, 3:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST February 12, 2023
Members Only: The LiterariansFree
Wednesday, 12:30 pm EST - 1:30 pm EST February 15, 2023
Reading the Russians II with Sheila Kohler$225
Five Sessions Mondays, 6:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST February 20 to May 15, 2023
Edna Ferber and Fannie Hurst: Significant 20th-Century Jewish Women Novelists with Donna Raskin$180
Four Sessions Fridays, 7:00 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST March 3 to June 2, 2023
Beyond the Tropes: Speculative Characters with Marc L. Abbott
Four Sessions Sundays, 1:00 pm EST - 2:30 pm EST March 5 to June 4, 2023
Herself, Destructed: Examining Women Writers Who Destroyed Their Own Work with Naomi Huffman and Julia Ringo
Four Sessions Tuesdays, 6:30 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST March 7 to June 6, 2023
Irish Educations with Philip Geheber
Five Sessions Wednesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST March 8 to May 31, 2023
Further Novels of Charles Dickens with Amanda Hollander
Six Sessions Thursdays, 6:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST March 9 to June 29, 2023
Illuminating the Ordinary: Elizabeth Strout's Amgash Series with Katherine Montwieler
Four Sessions Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST March 14 to May 16, 2023
Roberto Bolaño's 2666: An Oasis of Horror in a Desert of Boredom with Samuel Rutter
Five Sessions Wednesdays, 6:30 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST March 15 to June 7, 2023
NEA Big Read 2023: Identity Politics and the Asian American Writer with Elizabeth Joseph (Sold Out)
Three Sessions Tuesdays, 6:30 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST March 21 to May 16, 2023
Speedboat and Sleepless Nights and 1970s New York with Mike Levine
Four Sessions Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST April 4 to April 25, 2023
Henry James's The Golden Bowl with Sheridan Hay
Four Sessions Wednesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST May 3 to May 24, 2023