Literary Workshops 2019

Novel Writing with Katharine Weber

Photo Credit: Corbin Gurkin

Novel Writing with Katharine Weber

Katharine Weber

Colaiste Pobail Bheanntraí

Mon 16 July to Fri 20 July 2018

09.30 - 12.30


Age Range

In this workshop, appropriate for writers of all levels (from those with intentions to write a novel to those with a novel draft in hand), we will explore practices and methods for developing maps and timelines and plans for writing a novel, best approaches to understanding the sources and inspirations for situations and stories (in general and in particular), and how to consider best narrative strategies for the situation and story of each novel in the workshop. Issues of structure, pacing, tone, style, language, and above all, voice will be our constant concerns. Where does the narrative begin? Where does it end? Who is telling this story, and why? What is the meaning? What is the sensibility?

In the course of the week we will read and discuss short excerpts from a variety of texts (provided in handouts) for inspiration, as well as the work of students in the class. There will be brief exercises in class each day, as well as optional homework for the ambitious. Ideally, students will leave this workshop with insights about their own writing styles and voices and inspirations, with strategies for moving forward with new writing as well as ideas about effective revising.

Students should bring to the first workshop meeting copies (five thousand words maximum) from any part of the novel in progress, along with a narrative description of the project, especially if it hasn’t yet materialised on the page. Each student will have the opportunity to schedule a private 30 minute conference with the workshop tutor in the course of the week.

Katharine Weber is the author of six novels (Still Life With Monkey, True Confections, Triangle, The Little Women, The Music Lesson, Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear) and a memoir (The Memory of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family’s Legacy of Infidelities). She has held the Richard L. Thomas Chair in Creative Writing at Kenyon College for the past six years, and previously taught creative writing at Yale University (for eight years), Goucher College, Connecticut College, and over four summers in the Paris Writers Workshop. For six years she served as a fiction thesis advisor and evaluator for the MFA program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.

In 1996, Katharine was named one of Granta Magazine's “50 Best Young American Novelists.” Her novels have been named New York Times Notable Books three times, have twice been longlisted for the Impac Dublin Literary Award, twice shortlisted for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award, twice shortlisted for the Paterson Fiction Prize, and twice shortlisted for the Connecticut Book Award, which she won in 2007. Her novels have been translated and published in 16 languages. In addition to numerous stories and essays published in anthologies, her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Story, Boulevard Magenta, Connecticut Review, Gargoyle, Five Chapters, and Southwest Review, among other publications. Her short story “Sleeping,” widely anthologized, has been adapted into a prize-winning short film. Her book reviews, essays, and journalism have appeared in publications including The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Chicago Tribune, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, The London Review of Books, The Washington Post,, The New York Times, New Leader, American Imago, and Architectural Digest.

Katharine is an Editor at Large for the Kenyon Review, and is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the psychoanalytic journal American Imago. She has served on the board of the National Book Critics Circle, is a member of PEN and The Authors Guild, and is an associate fellow of Hopper College at Yale University.