BA, Sarah Lawrence College. Taught at the 92nd Street Y and New York University. Her short story, Alcestis, appeared in The Bluelight Corner: Black Women Writing on Passion, Sex, and Romantic Love; her fiction work has appeared in the anthology Mending the World With Basic Books, 110 Stories: New York Writes After September 11 (New York University Press), and The Heretics Bible (Free Press). Her first novel, Knee-Deep in Wonder, won the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation Award. Her second novel, The Book of Charlemagne, is forthcoming (Free Press/Simon & Schuster). SLC, 2003–
Current undergraduate courses
All great stories are built with good sentences. In this workshop, students will create short stories or continue works-in-progress that will be read and discussed by their peers. Class sessions will focus on constructive criticism of the writer’s work, and students will be encouraged to ask the questions with which all writers grapple: What makes a good story? Have I developed my characters fully? And does my language convey the ideas that I want? We will talk about the writer’s craft in this class—how people tell stories to each other, how to find a plot, and how to make a sentence come to life. This workshop should be seen as a place where students can share their thoughts and ideas in order to then return to their pages and create a completed imaginary work. There will also be some short stories and essays on the art of writing that will set the tone and provide literary fodder for the class.
There comes a moment when writers believe that because they possess a combination of creativity, talent, and experience they are ready begin writing a more substantial project. This workshop is designed for students who have novels or a collection of short stories in progress. Both class and conference time will be dedicated to this pursuit. Questions about theme, narrative structure, and plot complication will dominate class conversation. We will also read and discuss several novels—Faulkner, Rushdie, and Roth, to name a few—for guidance and inspiration. While students are encouraged to enter class with works in progress, it is not a requirement for the seminar. Yet students must have a clear idea about the novels or collection of short stories they wish to pursue over the course of the semester.