Fictions: Memory and Imagination
July 8 – July 13, 2012
Students are drawn to reading memoir and fiction, which they find more accessible than essay, critical analysis, or even traditional autobiography. Memoir and creative non-fiction are the genres that many of us read once we are out of school and college. But what do we know of the process by which memories and autobiographical moments are transformed by imagination into fiction? And how do we understand the “fictional’ elements that find their way into memoir? This workshop pays attention to how we teach fiction and memoir from the point of view of the imaginative elements in both, and investigates, through close reading of diverse texts, the way the flotsam and jetsam of our daily lives are turned into stories. We experience—as writers--how other texts, moments of our lives, and objects from childhood become the building blocks of fiction and also learn—as teachers—how to craft writing prompts that help students become better readers of memoir and fiction and better writers of fiction or the personal essay. Close reading of texts by such writers as Patricia Hampl, Virginia Woolf, Andre Dubus, and Tim O’Brien is complemented by analytical essays and poetry.
Workshop fee: $950. The fee includes tuition and a single-occupancy dorm room on the Bard College campus, meals (beginning with Sunday dinner and ending with Saturday breakfast), and materials. The commuter fee is $750.
Getting here: Click here for detailed information about traveling to Bard via road, rail, or air.
The week's schedule and general information: Participants in the July workshops arrive and pick up keys and workshop materials between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 8. During the July workshops, teachers live in single dormitory rooms (with shared bathroom facilities) on the Bard campus, eat meals together (with vegeterian options), and enjoy the beautiful setting and lively atmosphere of Annandale-on-Hudson in the summer. The first workshop takes place on Sunday evening. On Monday our schedule of four ninety-minute workshop sessions per day begin, the only exception being on Wednesday, when classes end at 1:00 p.m. and participants have an afternoon and evening off to explore. The week’s workshops conclude on Friday, July 13 at 4:00 p.m.
The week includes a number of receptions, and one evening of readings by poets and fiction writers from Bard College and the local area. On Thursday evening, current participants enjoy (and take part in) a celebratory reading of works-in-progress from the week's workshops.
The schedule allows some time to explore the scenic Mid Hudson Valley; participants can visit nearby historic sites such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home and library, Eleanor Roosevelt’s home at Val-Kill, and the painter Frederic Church’s home at Olana; or hike in the nearby Catskills. Bard College athletic facilities, including lovely walking paths, the Stevenson Gymnasium’s swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, and fitness center, are available to workshop participants (schedule here).
SPECIAL NOTE FOR LAPTOP USERS: Not all dorms on campus have wi-fi, but all have internet connection (bring an ethernet cable, just in case). The Stevenson Library (wi-fi equipped) is available for particpant use during the week, as is the Henderson Computer Center.
Also on campus in July, Bard SummerScape performances at the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and other venues bring together an extraordinary schedule of performing arts, featuring an international roster of acclaimed artists in a range of performances. Click here for more information.