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

Quarter: Summer
Instructor(s): Jonah Willihnganz
Duration: 5 days
Format/Location: On-campus
Date(s): Jul 29—Aug 2
Class Recording Available: No
Class Meeting Day: Monday - Friday
 
Class Meeting Time: 12:30—5:30 pm (PT)
Tuition: $660
   
Refund Deadline: Jul 22
 
Unit(s): 2
   
Enrollment Limit: 22
  
Status: Open
 
Quarter: Summer
Day: Monday - Friday
Duration: 5 days
Time: 12:30—5:30 pm (PT)
Date(s): Jul 29—Aug 2
Unit(s): 2
Format/Location: On-campus
 
Tuition: $660
 
Refund Deadline: Jul 22
 
Instructor(s): Jonah Willihnganz
 
Enrollment Limit: 22
 
Recording Available: No
 
Status: Open
 
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 design elements (like 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 Tobias Wolff, Ocean Vuong, Louise Erdrich, James Baldwin, David Sedaris, Eula Biss, Cheryl Strayed, Ross Gay, Colum McCann, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

JONAH WILLIHNGANZ
Director, Stanford Storytelling Project; Co-Founder, LifeWorks Program for Integrative Learning; Bruce Braden Lecturer of 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 from Hollins University and a PhD in English from Brown.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (ISBN 978-0060777050)
(Required) Alice LaPlante, Method and Madness: The Making of a Story(2008) (ISBN 978-0393928174)