Surrendering to the Mystery of Story
Presented by André Dubus III
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
For writers of fiction or creative non-fiction, Dubus offers, “If I teach nothing else in my writing classes, I teach this: do not outline your novel or novella or short story or essay. Do not think out the plot, the narrative arc, the protagonist’s journey, whatever you want to call it. Instead, try to find the story through an honest excavation of the characters’ total experience of the situation in which they find themselves. Do that, and I promise the story will begin to write itself, with little need for the controlling hand of the godly, intelligent, well-read, and ambitious author.
“But how, precisely, does one go about this “excavation”? And how, technically speaking, can we ignite a story into “writing itself”? Come to this workshop, and I will seek to demystify those writerly tools and skills that time and time again, if they are sharp enough, and if the writer can summon enough daily faith and nerve, can penetrate the mystery of story itself.”
© John Hauschildt
André Dubus III is the author of The Cage Keeper and Other Stories, Bluesman, and The New York Times bestsellers House of San and Fog, The Garden of Last Days, and his memoir, Townie, a #4 New York Times bestseller and “Editors’ Choice.” His work has been included in The Best American Essays and The Best Spiritual Writing anthologies, and his novel House of Sand and Fog was a finalist for the National Book Award, a #1 New York Times bestseller, and was made into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly. His 2014 novella collection, Dirty Love, was listed as a “Notable Book” by The Washington Post and The New York Times and named a New York Times “Editors’ Choice” and a Kirkus “Starred Best Book of 2013.” His 2018 novel, Gone So Long, was named on many “Best Books” lists, including selection for The Boston Globe’s “Twenty Best Books of 2018” and “The Best Books of 2018, Top 100,” Amazon. His new novel is Such Kindness (June 2023), and he has forthcoming a collection of personal essays, Ghost Dogs: On Killers and Kin. Dubus has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Magazine Award for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His books are published in over 25 languages, and he is a Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
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