He will be teaching a Fiction/Nonfiction Workshop for us in Dublin.

Josip Novakovich emigrated from Croatia to the United States at the age of 20, and recently to Canada at the age of 53. He has published a novel, April Fool’s Day (in ten languages), a novella in three forms, Three Deaths, and story collection (Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust, Yolk and Salvation and Other Disasters) and three collections of narrative essays as well as two books of practical criticism, including Fiction Writers Workshop.
His work was anthologized inBest American Poetry, the Pushcart Prize collection and O. Henry Prize Stories. He received the Whiting Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, the Ingram Merrill Award and an American Book Award, and in 2013 he was a Man Booker Internatinal Award Finalist.
Novakovich has been a writing fellow of the New York Public Library and has taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Die Freie Universitaet in Berlin, Penn State and now Concordia University in Montreal.
This fall, Esplanade Books will publish his most recent collection of stories in Canada. He is revising a novel, Rubble of Bubles, and putting together another story collection, New and Selected.


Workshop Description:

The Art of the Microforms

A Multi-genre course, concentrating on the short forms, from a short paragraph to vignettes up to approximately 1500 words. The boundaries between narrative poems, lyrical essay, and flash fiction are frequently arbitrary, so let’s not worry about the definition of what we do in the short form, and play. The definition can come later.

Course Objective: To play with words in order to come up with good moments.

Come to class with several short pieces for us to give you constructive feedback now how to revise and improve.

The class time will be divided among the following activities:

  1. Critiquing your work constructively.
  2. Analyzing published paradigms of short form writing.
  3. Sketching and writing vignettes from prompts and assignments.

Even in the short form, the elements of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction can be at play productively, so we will concentrate on plotting stories from the basic motives. Man is his desire, sid Aristoteles. We’ll sketch several stories based on primary motives, desire and fear.

Paradigms of microforms to be discussed and covered:

  1. Examples of quick writing

Grace Paley, Robert Coover

2. Myths, Parables

Story of Jonah, Prodigal Son. Tolstoy’s, Three Parables. Johann Peter Hebe, Man is a Strange Creature.

3. Fables and Fairy Tales

Aesop, Brothers Grimm

4. Short-Shorts

Franz Kafka, Kurt Vonnegut, John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Hemingway

5. Flash Fiction

Lydia Davis, Jonathan Wilson, Diane Williams, Dave Eggers

6. Absurdist and Surrealist Stories

Etgar Keret, Daniil Kharms, Dino Buzzati, Aimee Bender

7. The Lyrical Essay

Death of the Moth, Virginia Woolf

8. Very Short Essay, True Story

Mikhail Iossel, Why…, JN, “Ice”

9 Story as one scene:

The Use of Force by William Carlos William. http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/force.html

10. Prose Poems

Sandra Cisneros, Monkey Garden


Reading list:


Prodigal Son: http://www.allaboutjesurchrist.org/parable-of-the-prodigal-son-faq.htm

Story of Jonah: http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1704.htm

Johann Peter Hebel: http://www.amazon.ca/The-Treasure-Chest-Unexpected-Reunion/dp/1870352432 and http://johnshaplin.blogspot.ca/2011/07/two-stories-by-johann-peter-hebel.html

Tolstoy, Three Parables: http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_pdf/Tolstoy/Three_Prables.pdf

Aesop’s Fable: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21/21-h.htm#link2H_4_0001

Brothers Grimm, Fairy Tales: http://www.pit.edu/~dash/grimm001.html

Franz Kafka Short Shorts: http://franzkafkastories.com/shortStories.php?story_jd=kafka_passers_by

Dino Buzzati, Falling Girl: https://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=1tb7kGoJ3mhPONLIMeWj7ugYJGpJtILy3C5o2uHCQj4k

Lydia Davis: http://www.conjunctions.com/archives/c24-Id.htm

Aimee Bender: http://www.missourireview.com/anthology/we-content/uploads/2011/10/theremembererwithmaterials.pdf

JN: http://www.thebluemoon.com/4/spr99prevnovakovich.html

Mikhail Iossel: http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/why-why-why and http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/mouse.html

Daniil Kharms: http://www.sevaj.dk/kharms/kharmseng.htm

John Cheever, Reunion: http://www.puffchrissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/REUNION.pdf

Ernest Hemingway, A Very Short Story: http://records.viu.ca/~lanes/english/hemingway/veryshort.htm

Robert Coover: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/03/14/going-for-a-beer

Diane Williams: http://www.brooklynrail.org/2005/11/fiction/stories

Eudora Welty: http://grammar.about.com/od/shortpassagesforanalysis/a/Weltyteacher07.htm

Virginia Woolf: http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/everythingsanargument4c/content/cat_020/Woolf_DeathoftheMoth.pdf

Jonathan Wilson: http://www.esquire.com/fiction/napkin-project/wilson-napkin-fiction

Etgar Keret: http://www.theguardian.com/books/interactive/2012/feb/23/unzipping-etgar-keret-short-story

Grace Paley: http://www2.southeastern.edu/Academics/Faculty/scraig/paley.html and http://biblioklept.org/2014/03/08/wants-grace-paley/ and http://radashort.blogspot.ca/2008/06/mather-by-grace-paley.html

Dave Eggers: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/jun/11/shortshortstories.fiction

Kurt Vonnegut: http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html