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“Where does one begin?” asks Amy Hempel in an essay on short stories. Her answer: “With obsession and nerve and ground worth reporting on.” This two-day introduction lays down a few simple but fundamental craft concepts related to writing short stories. Students will generate and share new work in class while we look at the bold and felicitous work of pros like Hempel, Denis Johnson, Amy Tan, Jamaica Kincaid, Donald Barthelme, and Sandra Cisneros. Students should be willing to risk vulnerability and intimacy. They can expect to come away with two beginnings to new short stories.
Jeff Bender is a graduate of Davidson College and Columbia's School of the Arts. His fiction and humor have appeared in McSweeneys.net, Electric Literature, Okey-Panky, The Iowa Review, City Arts, Guernica, and elsewhere. He's a former Writers-in-the-Schools Resident and winner of Hugo House's New Works Competition.