Literary Workshops 2019

Short  Story with Marie-Helene Bertino

Photo Credit: Sioux Nesi

Short Story with Marie-Helene Bertino
(The Story Laboratory)

Marie-Helene Bertino

Colaiste Pobail Bheanntraí

Mon 16 July to Fri 20 July 2018

09.30 - 12.30


Age Range

“Still and all, why bother? Here's my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Welcome! In this workshop we will discuss participants’ work in depth, with an eye towards what builds a strong and effective short story – idiosyncratic character development, meaningful stakes, surprising language, smart conflict and pacing, and the final, impossible-to-articulate ingredient that Hemingway called “whatever butterflies have on their wings”. We will workshop participants’ work with this question in mind: where do I think this writer/story is trying to go? We will tailor our critiques toward the idea of helping the writer get there. We will dissect published stories to figure out how the author achieved his/her effects by mining their choices for craft gems and tips. We will eschew the idea that there is one way to write fiction. We will seek out the joy in our work and the work of others and will cultivate our personal, idiosyncratic voices. We will keep the wolves at bay. We will eat cookies during the last class.

Participants will be asked to pre-submit one piece (10 to 20 pages) to be discussed in class.

Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of the novel 2a.m. at the Cat’s Pajamas and the story collection Safe As Houses. Her work has received The O. Henry Prize, The Pushcart Prize, The Iowa Short Fiction Award, The Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellowship in Cork, fellowships from The Center for Fiction NYC, Sewanee, McDowell, and Hedgebrook Writers Colonies, and has been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts. She teaches at NYU and in the low-residency MFA program at Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and lives in Brooklyn, where she is Editor-at-Large for Catapult Magazine.

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