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Writing characters collectively, whether in the third- or first-person plural, is an excellent way to touch on notions of belonging and exclusion. Every character belongs to a tribe, just as every character knows exactly where they don’t belong, are not welcome. This class will look at stories and poems that slip momentarily, or entirely, into collective narration. Then we will think about our own work – to what tribes do our characters belong? With prompting, students will write their way toward answering this question.
Justin Torres has published short fiction in the New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Tin House, the Washington Post, and other publications. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and is currently a fellow at the NYPL’s Cullman Center. His debut novel, We the Animals, was a national best-seller and has been translated into fifteen languages.