Playing with Form in Fiction

with Deesha Philyaw

Genres: Fiction

Online

Intermediate, Advanced

1 Session

Start Date: July 10, 2022
End Date: July 10, 2022
Day of Week: Sunday
Time: 10:00am - 1:00pm PT
Capacity: 20 seats
Member Price: $135.00
General Price: $150.00

Serious writers are playful writers! The writing life demands perseverance and resilience, but sometimes writers find themselves unsure of how to move forward through a story or the uncertainties that loom large in the world beyond our keyboards. One solution: Play! In this generative writing workshop, we’ll discuss (and practice) how to discover/uncover who our characters are and what their stories are about, through experimentation and play with form. We’ll explore how the conventions of a form can simultaneously constrain and illuminate character, stakes, and meaning.

Deesha Philyaw

Deesha Philyaw

“Deesha Philyaw uses the comic, the allegorical, and the geographic to examine Black intimacies and Black secrets. Her work is as rigorous as it is pleasurable to read.” –Kiese Laymon

“Tender, fierce, proudly Black and beautiful.” –Kirkus Reviews

Deesha Philyaw is the author of the debut short story collection The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (West Virginia University Press, 2020), which won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and a 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction; the collection was also a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. Nine stories featuring four generations of characters who grapple with who they want to be in the world, the collection was praised as “luminous stories populated by deeply moving and multifaceted characters,” by Kirkus Reviews and “addictive while also laying bare the depth and vulnerability of Black women,” by Observer. Author Tara Campbell notes, “The love in Philyaw’s stories runs the gamut from sweet to bitter, sexy to sisterly, temporary to time tested, often with hidden aspects. The word secret in the title is earned, and some of the secrets are downright juicy.” The Secret Lives of Church Ladies is being developed for television by Tessa Thompson for HBO Max.

Philyaw’s work has been listed as Notable in the Best American Essays series, and her writing on race, parenting, gender, and culture has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Brevity, dead housekeeping, Apogee Journal, Catapult, Harvard Review, ESPN’s The Undefeated, The Baltimore Review, TueNight, Ebony and Bitch magazines, and various anthologies.

Deesha is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and will be the 2022-2023 John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. She is a past Pushcart Prize nominee for essay writing in Full Grown People. Philyaw lives in Pittsburgh, PA.

Most classes are offered at a general and member tuition rates based on instruction hours, with Hugo House members receiving a 10% discount on classes fewer than six sessions.

Early bird discounts are available during the first two weeks of registration and apply to both general and member tuition rates.

To help provide financial accessibility to our class offerings, some classes each quarter are offered with a sliding-scale tuition model, allowing students to pay what they can for the class. For these classes, tuition increments starting at $5 and going up to 125% of the standard pricing will be listed on the page.

Hugo House will only process refund requests that are submitted 5 business days or more before the class start date. To request a refund, log in to your account, go to “My Account,” select the “Orders” tab on the left-hand side, click the appropriate order, and request a refund for your specific class. Administrative fees apply. Please see our full refund policy here.

Class sessions may be recorded if a session falls on a holiday, or if a student has access needs. Class recordings are not guaranteed.

We do not tolerate racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, transphobic or any other oppressive behaviors, regardless of who commits them. Please check out our full community guidelines by clicking here. If an instance of community guidelines are violated and not resolved within the classroom, students may let us know by filling out the student incident report.

Classes may be cancelled if less than the minimum number of students are enrolled within ten days before the class start date. If Hugo House needs to cancel a class for any reason, students can choose between receiving a full credit toward future classes or full refund.

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