Victoria Redel

BA, Dartmouth College. MFA, Columbia University. Author of three books of poetry and four books of fiction, including her most recent collection of stories, Make Me Do Things (2013), for which she was awarded a 2014 Guggenheim fellowship for fiction. Her novels include The Border of Truth (2007) and Loverboy (Graywolf, 2001/Harcourt, 2002), which was awarded the 2001 S. Mariella Gable Novel Award and the 2002 Forward Silver Literary Fiction Prize and was chosen in 2001 as a Los Angeles Times Best Book. Loverboy was adapted for a feature film directed by Kevin Bacon. Swoon (University of Chicago Press, 2003), was a finalist for the James Laughlin Award. Her work has been widely anthologized and translated; her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Granta.com. Harvard Review, The Quarterly, The Literarian, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Elle, BOMB, More, and NOON. SLC, 1996–

Undergraduate Courses 2018-2019

Writing

Memory and Fiction

Sophomore and above , Seminar—Fall

The poet Ranier Maria Rilke wrote about shaping art: “You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn’t pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, but it is still not enough to be able to think of all that.” In this class, we will explore the uses of childhood and memory as springboards for short fiction. How do writers move from the kernel of experience to the making of fiction? How do we use our past to develop stories that are not the retelling of what happened but, rather, an opportunity to develop a fiction with its own integrity and truth? How do we work with what we have half-known or half-observed to shape story and create characters? We will work from writing experiments and readings of short fictions and novels.

Faculty

Previous Courses

First-Year Studies: A Life in Fiction, the Craft of Fiction

Open , FYS—Year

In this yearlong fiction class, we will create a community of writers committed to the craft of fiction—namely, reading and writing every day. In the fall semester, full attention will be given to the short story in all of its possibilities. We will consider the possibilities in a writer’s tool belt: POV, tone, structure, character, diction, tense, narrative, distance, etc. Weekly writing experiments, weekly close reading, and formal annotations of published short stories will be assigned. In the fall, we will approach the short story in a systematic way—building up from the demands of the opening sentence and opening paragraphs to the demands of event and complication and the development of character. We will take a story through to a first draft (workshopped in class) and then to revision (again, discussed in class). Each week, we will read one to three stories to highlight the week’s subject and to build a shared writers’ vocabulary. Conference work will involve additional writing and reading. In the spring semester, our writing group will delve deeper into the narrative possibilities of the story form. We might decide to focus our class reading with regard to certain themes that are emerging out of the class fictions. Additionally, each student will explore the full body of work of an established writer, as well the work of her or his influences, which will be presented to the class at the end of the year.

Faculty

A Life in Fiction

Open , Seminar—Year

In this yearlong fiction class, I propose that we create a community of writers committed to a serious devotion to the shaping and craft of fiction—namely, reading and writing every day. In the fall semester, full attention will be given to the short story in all of its possibilities. Weekly writing experiments, close reading, and formal annotations of published short stories and craft essays will be assigned. In the fall, we will approach the short story in a systematic way—building up from the demands and possibilities of the opening sentence to opening paragraphs and to concerns of event, complication, and the development of character. Week by week, we will take a story through to a first draft (workshopped in class) and then to revision (again, discussed in class). Each week, we will read one-to-three stories to highlight the week’s subject and to build a shared writers’ vocabulary. Conference work will involve additional writing and reading. In the spring semester, our class will delve deeper into the narrative possibilities of fiction. We might focus our reading with regard to themes emerging out of the class fictions. Additionally, each student will explore the full body of work of an established writer, as well the work of her or his influences, and present to the class.

Faculty

Vision and Revision in Poetry

Open , Seminar—Spring

This is an immersive poetry workshop and reading seminar, in which we will discuss books as writers and not as literature students. Each week, students will be expected to write a poem and to read a different book of contemporary poetry. Additionally, we will look at poets of the American canon, including Dickinson, Whitman, Bishop, Hayden, Rich, and others. There will be writing experiments, often based on the week’s assigned book. Students are expected to work on multiple drafts of poems; questions/concerns of revision will be central to class and conference.

Faculty