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One of the key choices a writer makes when figuring out the best way to tell a story is point-of-view: why does Lillian Ross efface herself as a narrator in her famous Portrait of Hemingway? Why does the great Joseph Mitchell — so diffident a presence in most of his work — turn himself into the main character (arguably) of his masterpiece, Joe Gould’s Secret? And what about John Hersey’s decision to adopt a kind of limited, third-person omniscience via his six point-of-view characters in Hiroshima? We will discuss how the right point-of-view can turn even drossy material into pure gold, and apply this wisdom to a bit of flash fiction we’ll write in class.
Due to COVID-19, all classes will take place online until further notice. If there's a possibility that your class might take place in person, you will be notified in advance. Even if classes can be held in person, there will always be a hybrid option to participate via Zoom.
Classes with "Zoom" in the title will be held via Zoom even after our doors open. Classes listed as "Online" will be held on Wet Ink, our platform for asynchronous learning.
All times are listed in Pacific Time.
Blake Bailey has written award-winning biographies of John Cheever, Richard Yates, and Charles Jackson, and is now working on the authorized biography of Philip Roth. His memoir, The Splendid Things We Planned, will be published by Norton in March 2014.