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Word Works | Porochista Khakpour on Writing Toward & Against Identity

December 4, 2020 at 6:00 PM PST

Porochista Khakpour

In the opening Word Works lecture of the 2020-2021 season, Porochista Khakpour will explore ways that the personal essay can be instrumental in examining the self. Using her own award-winning writing, as well as classic and contemporary examples, she’ll show how memoirists and essayists can turn intention into action with their own essay projects, whether they are writing from an investigative or probing frame, or from an aspirational or exploratory instinct.

After the talk, Khakpour will be interviewed by Anne Liu Kellor.

All Word Works events this season will take place online. Tickets cost $15 general admission, $12 for members. We also have a $5 option for students or anyone who is financially disadvantaged. Tickets can be purchased at the bottom of the page.

For tickets to all six Word Works events, purchase a series pass here.

Porochista Khakpour‘s debut novel, Sons and Other Flammable Objects, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, one of the Chicago Tribune‘s Fall’s Best, and the 2007 California Book Award winner in the First Fiction category. Her second novel The Last Illusion was a 2014 “Best Book of the Year” according to NPR, Kirkus Reviews, BuzzFeed, PopMatters, Electric Literature, and many more. Among her many fellowships is a National Endowment for the Arts award. She has been guest faculty at VCFA and Stonecoast’s MFA programs, as well as contributing editor at Evergreen Review. Born in Tehran and raised in the Los Angeles area, Khakpour currently lives in New York City.

“—you could simply imagine doing the unthinkable, and then, the next thing you knew, there you were doing it. Nothing was out of the question. Anything could happen. You had to do it your way.”

―Porochista Khakpour, from The Last Illusion

Anne Liu Kellor’s essays have appeared in Longreads, The New England Review, Entropy, Fourth Genre, Normal School, Vela Magazine, Literary Mama, The International Examiner, and more. She has been awarded grants and residencies from Seventh Wave, Hedgebrook, Jack Straw, 4Culture, and Hypatia-in-the-Woods. Her memoir, Heart Radical, is forthcoming in 2021.

Related Classes

  • Porochista Khakpour will teach Writing Toward & Against Identity on Saturday, December 5, from 10 am – 1 pm PST.

    Word Works craft talks by novelists, essayists, poets, and memoirists focus on writing as process rather than finished product, examining how language works to inspire and provoke new ideas through live close readings of the writer’s own or others’ work. These talks are designed to apply to writers of all genres as well as illuminate well-known works for avid readers. The talks are followed by an interview with a noted editor, writer, or critic.


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