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Introduction to Creative Writing: Fantasy and Magical Realism

ENGL 3023.301
Monday 1:45-4:45pm

This class will use two genres of nonrealist writing as an introduction to the core concepts of writing creative prose. We will read work in fantasy and magical realism across the traditions of surrealism, science fiction, slipstream, Afrofuturism, fairy tales, and speculative memoirs, and we will try our hand at creating our own original work in these forms. Core craft concepts—including characterization, point of view, imagery, embodiment, pacing, scene and structure—form the foundation of our study, essential for all prose writing and particularly works of invented worlds and altered realities. In addition, we will discuss concepts such as world-building, entertainment, escapism, wonder, cognitive estrangement, and the grotesque BOTH as vital forces that inform our relationship to the world, AND as tactics to be cultivated through practice. The literature of the imagination comprises a tradition older, more extensive and more varied than the literary realism that is the focus of so much creative writing study. We will find a place in a long historical tradition of storymaking for magical realism and the fantastic. We will also discuss the role of strangeness and defamiliarization as an essential tool for creating work that is resonant and urgent in the contemporary world. Potential readings include: Marlon James, Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Louise Erdrich, Shirley Jackson, Kelly Link, Julio Cortazar, Ursula Le Guin, Mary Shelley, the Brothers Grimm, Pu Songling. Students can expect to write frequently and workshop writing by their peers in a collaborative setting.

English Major Requirements
English Concentration Attributes
  • Creative Writing Workshop Course Minor (AECW)
College Attributes
Additional Attributes