Dan Zevin

Author of four humor books, most recently Dan Gets a Minivan (Scribner); a comic commentator for NPR; and a contributor to print and digital publications, including The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, The Los Angeles Times, and Salon.com. In fall 2017, Crown will release his satirical series of picture books based on the beloved Mr. Men and Little Miss stories. Recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor (2013) and The National Society of Newspaper Columnists award for humor writing (2014). He has taught writing at The Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute, NYU, Fordham University, and Emerson College. SLC, 2012–

Graduate Courses

Writing 2017-2018

Mixed-Genre Craft: Writing With Wit

Craft—Fall

Did you hear the one about the MFA student who blended strong prose with a sense of humor? Probably not, since so many don’t. Or maybe they‘re just not encouraged. In this workshop, you’ll learn to inject humor into your work by connecting with your comic voice. We’ll read and discuss the work of legendary humorists, including James Thurber and Dorothy Parker, as well as contemporary wits such as David Sedaris, Nora Ephron, Woody Allen, Ian Frazier, Merryl Markoe, Fran Lebowitz, and Sloane Crosley. Writing assignments will help strengthen your voice across four basic forms: the personal essay, the comic novel or short story, the topical news column, and the parody piece. We’ll also do some in-class exercises designed to shake off preconceived notions of “literary” prose and help you find the funny in the characters, dialogue, and situations that you create. Whether your goal is to pen a Shouts and Murmurs piece for The New Yorker, a post for McSweeney’s, or just loosen your style with a lighter touch, the first step is the same: Take your sense of humor seriously. Sample reading selections include: The Fun of It: Stories From The Talk of the Town, The New Yorker, Lillian Ross, ed.; I Found This Funny, Judd Apatow, ed.; selected interviews from And Here’s the Kicker: Conversations With Humor Writers (Sachs, ed.) and How To Write Funny, John Kachuba, ed.; Saturday Night, Susan Orlean; Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris; and The Onion.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Writing with Wit (Mixed Genre Craft)

Craft—Fall

Did you hear the one about the MFA student who blended strong prose with a sense of humor? Probably not, since so many don’t. Or maybe they're just not encouraged. In this workshop, you’ll learn to inject humor into your work by connecting with your comic voice. We’ll read and discuss the work of legendary humorists, including James Thurber and Dorothy Parker, as well as more contemporary wits such as David Sedaris, Nora Ephron, Woody Allen, Ian Frazier, Merryl Markoe, Fran Lebowitz, and Sloane Crosley. Writing assignments will help strengthen your voice across four basic forms: the personal essay, the comic novel or short story, the topical news column, and the parody piece. We’ll also do some in-class exercises designed to shake off preconceived notions of "literary" prose and help you find the funny in the characters, dialogue, and situations that you create. Whether your goal is to pen a “Shouts and Murmurs” piece for The New Yorker, a post for McSweeney's, or just loosen your style with a lighter touch, the first step is the same: Take your sense of humor seriously. Sample reading selections include: The Fun of It: Stories from the Talk of the Town, The New Yorker, Lillian Ross, ed.; I Found This Funny, Judd Apatow, ed.; selected interviews from And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with Humor Writers (Sachs, ed.) and How to Write Funny, John Kachuba, ed.l Saturday Night, Susan Orlean; Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris; and The Onion.

Faculty

Writing With Wit

Craft—Fall

Did you hear the one about the MFA student who blended strong prose with a sense of humor? Probably not, since so many don’t. Or maybe they're just not encouraged. In this workshop, you’ll learn to inject humor into your work by connecting with your comic voice. We’ll read and discuss the work of legendary humorists including James Thurber and Dorothy Parker, as well as contemporary wits such as David Sedaris, Nora Ephron, Woody Allen, Ian Frazier, Merryl Markoe, Fran Lebowitz, and Sloane Crosley. Writing assignments will help strengthen your voice across four basic forms: the personal essay, the comic novel or short story, the topical news column, and the parody piece. We’ll also do some in-class exercises designed to shake off preconceived notions of "literary" prose, and help you find the funny in the characters, dialogue, and situations you create. Whether your goal is to pen a Shouts and Murmurs piece for The New Yorker, a post for McSweeney's, or just to loosen your style with a lighter touch, the first step is the same: take your sense of humor seriously.

Sample reading selections including:

  • The Fun of It: Stories from The Talk of the Town, The New Yorker, Lillian Ross, ed.
  • I Found This Funny, Judd Apatow, ed.
  • Selected interviews from And Here's the Kicker: Conversations With Humor Writers (Sachs, ed.) and How To Write Funny, John Kachuba, ed.
  • Saturday Night, Susan Orlean
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
  • The Onion
Faculty