Chandler Klang Smith

MFA, Columbia University. Smith’s genre-bending novel, The Sky Is Yours (Hogarth/Penguin RH, 2018), was listed as a best book of 2018 by The Wall Street Journal, New York Public Library, Locus, LitHub, Mental Floss, and NPR—which described it as “a wickedly satirical synthesis that underlines just how fractured our own realities can be during periods of fear, unrest, inequality, and instability.” She has served twice as a juror for the Shirley Jackson Awards, worked in book publishing and as a ghostwriter, and taught creative writing at institutions that include SUNY Purchase, New York University School of Professional Studies, and the MFA program at Sarah Lawrence College. SLC, 2018, 2021, 2022–

Undergraduate Courses 2022-2023

Writing

Speculative Fiction Workshop

Open, Seminar—Fall

Speculative fiction is a blanket term for writing that speculates on a world unlike our own. Sci-fi, fantasy, and horror are a few of the best-known categories; but speculative fiction also encompasses the uncategorizable—work that challenges our understanding of causality, time, the self, the mind, and the cosmos…or that just barely cracks the surface of the familiar, allowing the weird to seep through. At its best, speculative fiction uses imagination and metaphor to explore ideas and facets of the human experience that would otherwise remain unexpressed. In this course, we will read short stories and novels by mostly contemporary speculative-fiction authors, with a writerly eye for technique. We will also workshop fiction by students; discuss process and goals; and form a supportive, constructive community where even the wildest visions can flourish.

Faculty

Previous Courses

MFA Writing

Lost in the Maze: Unseen Forces, Conspiracies and Fate in Speculative Fiction

Craft—Fall

“World-building” in speculative fiction often brings to mind the maps on the endpapers of fantasy novels, showing the terrain that characters will traverse on their journeys. But in many great novels and stories, characters start out embedded in the heart of a labyrinth... and never find their way out. In this course, we'll look at fictive universes that trap and delude their inhabitants, sending them on twisting routes to dead ends or keeping them in ignorance of the powers-that-be who are secretly determining the shape of their lives. We'll closely read stories and novel excerpts from authors including Manuel Gonzales, Kelly Link, Victor LaValle, Jonathan Lethem, Kazuo Ishiguro, Samantha Hunt, Mark Z. Danielewski, and others, in order to reverse-engineer the all-encompassing systems they present in their fiction. Ultimately, we'll ponder how writers can use systems to convey meaning, and how characters can find meaning within them.

Faculty

Speculative Fiction Craft: Lost in the Maze: Unseen Forces, Conspiracies, and Fate

Craft—Fall

Worldbuildingin speculative fiction often brings to mind the maps on the endpapers of fantasy novels, showing the terrain that characters will traverse on their journeys. But in many great novels and stories, characters start out embedded in the heart of a labyrinthand never find their way out. In this course, we’ll look at fictive universes that trap and delude their inhabitants, sending them on twisting routes to dead ends or keeping them in ignorance of the powers-that-be who are secretly determining the shape of their lives. We’ll closely read stories and novel excerpts from authorsincluding Manuel Gonzales, Kelly Link, Victor LaValle, Jonathan Lethem, Kazuo Ishiguro, Samantha Hunt, Mark Z. Danielewski, Thomas Pynchon, and othersin order to reverse-engineer the all-encompassing systems they present in their fiction. Ultimately, we’ll ponder how writers can use systems to convey meaning and how characters can find meaning within those systems.

Faculty

Writing

Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop

Open, Seminar—Spring

Speculative fiction is a blanket term for writing that speculates on a world unlike our own. Sci-fi, fantasy, and horror are a few of the best-known categories, but speculative fiction also encompasses the uncategorizable—work that challenges our understanding of causality, time, the self, the mind, and the cosmos…or that just barely cracks the surface of the familiar, allowing the weird to seep through. At its best, speculative fiction uses imagination and metaphor to explore ideas and facets of the human experience that would otherwise remain unexpressed. In this course, we will read short stories and novels by mostly contemporary speculative fiction authors with a writerly eye for technique. We will also workshop fiction by students, discuss process and goals, and form a supportive, constructive community where even the wildest visions can flourish.

Faculty