Matthew Thomas

BA, University of Chicago. MA, The Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. MFA, University of California-Irvine. Author of the novel We Are Not Ourselves, which appeared on The New York Times Bestsellers Book List  and was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and the John Gardner Fiction Book Award; longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and the Folio Prize; named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times; named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Apple, and others; and named one of Janet Maslin’s 10 favorite books of the year in The New York TimesWe Are Not Ourselves is being translated into 19 languages. SLC, 2017–

Graduate Courses

Writing 2017-2018

Fiction Workshop


This fiction workshop will focus on the submissions of the participants alongside a handful of published works that we will read closely with an eye toward gleaning lessons from them to inform our compositional practices. Our discussions will marshal our highest intelligence in the service of helpful, cogent, respectful feedback about what works and what doesn’t in the pages under consideration. Over the course of the semester, and using both submissions and published works as points of departure for our conversations, we will explore the formal underpinnings of narrative art, emphasizing craft techniques such as: managing point of view and time, writing with the five senses, incorporating both showing and telling in one’s work, writing more effective dialogue, creating stakes, establishing voice, cultivating beauty, emphasizing conflict, promoting ambiguity and a multiplicity of interpretive possibilities, and scrupulously earning the kind of affect that is the opposite of kitsch. In-class writing exercises will be few; we will have plenty to talk about in our short time together every week. Supplemental works will be: Pastoralia by George Saunders; Runaway by Alice Munro; Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell; The Sellout by Paul Beatty; Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri; Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill; Dubliners by James Joyce; The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories, ed. Tobias Wolff; and occasional handouts. (Any versions of these books are acceptable, including digital.)