This course will examine three geographic and imaginative locations which have spawned some of the most original contemporary short fiction: the American South, Ireland, and the meeting-places of black and white in urban American and South Africa. The readings will include volumes by Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty and Peter Taylor; William Trevor and Mary Lavin; John Edgar Wideman, Toni Cade Bambara and Nadine Gordimer. The reading list is made up of collections, not anthologies, in order to get a sense of a writer's voice and the imaginative world that a collection often creates. The course will also emphasize critical writing and discussion. To this end, each student will write a brief paper on each book. Several sessions will be devoted to workshop critique other student's papers.