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This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time.
Hunger, literal and figurative, is the fuel of narrative. What happens when you build a story around a hole, a roaring need? What new languages might we invent to describe our strangest appetites, as well as our universal longings–for nourishment, love, security, sex, transcendence, connection? How do we make sentences that capture the real toothy, gushing, groaning, groin-and-belly aching specificity of our hungers, plural? What happens on the page when our characters’ hungers contradict one another, or go unfulfilled, or threaten to swallow up the body of their host? What do contemporary American characters hunger for–publicly, privately, collectively, and in the deepest solitude of their bodies? We’ll discuss and learn from an omnivorous reading list across genres–poetry, journalism, memoir, speculative fiction and so-called “literary” fiction.
Karen Russell is the author of the short story collections St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and Vampires in the Lemon Grove, as well as the novel Swamplandia!, which was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her work has been featured in The New Yorker’s debut fiction issue and on The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 list, and was chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists.