This course will provide an introduction to the craft of writing short fiction, focusing on the short-short story. Students will consider fundamental aspects of fiction and the relationship of narrative structure, style and content, exploring these elements in their own work, and in assigned readings in order to develop an understanding of the range of possibilities open to the fiction writer. Readings will be drawn from contemporary writers of Europe, the United States, and Latin America. The course is conducted as a workshop, in which students will have their own pieces of short fiction read and discussed in a supportive, respectful, yet challenging atmosphere.
Field WorkCountry: Brazil
Day: 1 - Rio de Janeiro - Friday, 7 November
For this field lab we will spend the day exploring the samba, a rhythmic dance imported from Africa during the slave-trading days of the 19th century that is now recognized as the “national dance of Brazil,” and is closely associated with the annual Carnival celebration in Rio de Janeiro. Students will learn about the history and development of the samba and other Brazilian-based dances from an authority in Brazilian history. Students will also visit a samba school, where they will observe the many phases of carnival, from costume making and float building to instrument selection and rehearsals. Students will enjoy a meal of Feijoada (a Brazilian national dish) during the day. Academic Objectives: 1. Students will observe and participate in a samba school in Rio, where students will see first-hand the importance of Carnival to Brazilians and the level of engagement in Carnaval preparations by the community. 2. Learning about the history of Carnival, imported from Europe, as well as samba, a dance with African roots, and how these different streams of cultural influence have intertwined in the creation of a uniquely Brazilian Carnaval culture and set of traditions. 3. Applied instruction in samba dancing and other Carnaval activities to be able to experience the beloved tradition of samba, a key element of Brazilian cultural identity. 4. This course will focus on Character and Setting as two primary elements in creating strong works of fiction. In each port of call, students are required to fulfill assignments relating to close observation of people and place. In several ports, they will be asked to interact with the local culture, and to write about it. Writing is an act of empathy and discovery: in the act of entering another character’s life, we learn not only about them, but about ourselves. The stories the students write will be part of a sequence of stories about people in different areas in the world. This will broaden their perspectives, give them a taste (both literal and metaphorical) of the richness of the world, and teach them how to express this richness with words.