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All Levels | Every year, the Best Small Fictions publishes an anthology of the best flash fiction published in print and online in the past year. We’ll work through the entire 2018 anthology, reading works by some of the best flash fiction writers working today, including Lydia Davis and Kathy Fish. Every week, students will write a flash in response to one of the works in the anthology.
*Note: students must purchase a copy of The Best Small Fictions 2018 in advance of the class. Books can be purchased from the publisher at the following link: https://shop.braddockavenuebooks.com/shop/braddock/00042.html
Ruth Joffre is the author of the story collection Night Beast (forthcoming Grove Atlantic 2018). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Mid-American Review, The Masters Review, Prairie Schooner, Hayden's Ferry Review, and Copper Nickel. Her book reviews have been published in The Rumpus, The Millions, Kenyon Review Online, and Colorado Review. She lives in Seattle.
Teaching Philosophy: I believe every piece of literature is an emotional education. A story like Mavis Gallant's "The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street," for instance, requires us not only to understand the inner workings of its characters' psyches but to become the kind of people who are capable of feeling as they feel and thinking as they think. In this way, we learn to feel sympathy for the socially awkward, love for the romantically jilted, and sorrow for the painfully ambitious. When we can't expand our minds this way, our writing and our reading suffers.
Writers I return to: Alice Munro, Annie Proulx, Mavis Gallant, W. G. Sebald, Elizabeth Strout, Maggie Nelson, Anita Brookner, Penelope Fitzgerald, Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Richard Yates, Elizabeth McCracken, and James Baldwin, to name a few.
Favorite writing advice: Hands down, this piece of advice from Benjamin Percy: "Keep hammering."