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WSP 395 — Bearing Witness: A Writing Workshop for Challenging Times

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Saturdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 2 days
Date(s): Jan 23—Jan 30
Time: 9:30 am—12:00 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Jan 16
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $220
Instructor(s): Monica Wesolowska
Limit: 24
Status: Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Winter
Live Online(About Formats)
Saturdays
9:30 am—12:00 pm (PT)
Date(s)
Jan 23—Jan 30
2 days
Drop By
Jan 16
0 Unit
Fees
$220
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Instructor(s):
Monica Wesolowska
Limit
24
Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
To bear witness is a powerful act, one that can both preserve and change our vision of the world. How have different writers borne witness during challenging times, and what can we learn from them? We will start by looking at diaries including The Diary of Anne Frank and Marguerite Duras’s The War, discussing both the private and public value of diary writing. From there, we will move into more public forms of writing such as op-eds and essays, including powerful responses to public calamities by Justin Torres and Bryan Doyle. We will round off our time together talking about fictional approaches to real problems, including metaphorical writing, magical realism, and optimism in books such as Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West and José Saramago’s Blindness. With each style we examine, students will complete a writing exercise that explores rhetorical strategies for approaching difficult material, as we learn how to transcend our own private experiences so as to speak for us all. Whether you plan on using your writing for personal benefit or public appreciation, by the end of the course you will have new tools for bearing witness during challenging times and a plan for where to take your writing next.

This course is appropriate for writers of all experience levels.

Monica Wesolowska, Author; Editor

Monica Wesolowska is the author of the memoir Holding Silvan: A Brief Life, which was named a Best Book of 2013 by The Boston Globe. She has published short fiction and nonfiction in many venues, including The New York Times, and has a children’s picture book forthcoming. A former fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, she has taught at UC Berkeley Extension since 2002, and is an independent editor.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)