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CW 170 — Reading as a Writer: A One-Week Intensive

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Monday - Friday
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 5 days
Date(s): Jun 20—Jun 24
Time: 11am—1:30pm; 2:30—5pm
Refund Deadline: Jun 13
Units: 2
Tuition: $605
Instructor(s): Jonah Willihnganz
Limit: 22
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
Live Online(About Formats)
Monday - Friday
11am—1:30pm; 2:30—5pm
Jun 20—Jun 24
5 days
Refund Date
Jun 13
2 Units
Jonah Willihnganz
One of the best ways to become a skilled writer is to become a skilled reader. In this immersion seminar, you will learn to read in a way you were probably never taught in literature courses—not as a critic but as a craftsperson, an apprentice in the guild. You will learn how to X-ray any piece of writing from its design to its prose, so that you can make its strategies your own. Examining contemporary masters like Alice Munro, Joan Didion, and George Saunders, you will learn, for example, what makes a particular physical description effective, how to advance plot with dialogue, and how to subtly develop a piece’s insight. Since the aim of skilled reading is skilled writing, you will try out techniques in short exercises, but we will not critique manuscripts. We will discuss traditional and experimental approaches to fiction and creative nonfiction, and we will look at both design elements (such as plot, point of view, and image systems) and prose elements (patterns that help produce narrative voice, style, and tone). Other authors we will consider include James Baldwin, Ocean Vuong, Louise Erdrich, Ted Chiang, Leslie Jamison, Eula Biss, Pico Iyer, Cheryl Strayed, Colum McCann, Ha Jin, Tobias Wolff, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

Director, Stanford Storytelling Project; Co-Founder, LifeWorks Program for Integrative Learning; Bruce Braden Lecturer in Narrative Studies, Stanford

Jonah Willihnganz has taught courses in writing and literature at Stanford since 2002. He has published fiction, essays, and literary criticism, and his research focuses on how stories and storytelling can heal the mind. He received an MFA in creative writing from Hollins University and a PhD in English from Brown.