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CRAFT ESSAYS, ELEMENTS, and TALKS

Radical Empathy via Free Indirect Style: Luis Alberto Urrea’s “Mountains Without Number”

May 17, 2022

  By Anne Elliott • One of the noble aims of fiction is the fostering of empathy across difference, including difference of beliefs. Most difficult for me is finding empathy for those with unpalatable beliefs. Softening my gaze puts my…

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Conversations Between Friends: Gale Massey and Louise Marburg

March 29, 2022

  Gale Massey and Louise Marburg met in 2016 at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference over a tarot card consultation. Discovering a shared interest in exploring the dark side of human nature, they immediately clicked and have been friends and writing…

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alt text: image is a color photograph of a rabbit with its identity obscured by a black bar; title card for Lee Upton's new craft essay "Never Rush a Rabbit"

Never Rush a Rabbit: Prey Animals & Choices in Fiction

March 15, 2022

  By Lee Upton • Probably like many writers I’m protective toward my characters—even though I put them in impossible situations or give them unfulfillable longings. I pretty much pickle them in vulnerability. Sometimes I let them avoid any action…

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Hybrid Interview: Rebecca Kuder

March 8, 2022

  Essay by Jahzerah Brooks • The Eight Mile Suspended Carnival is, at its core, a story about tearing down and building up. In this debut novel set against the backdrop of a working carnival and a wartime munitions factory,…

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lt text: image is a sepia photograph of a forest entrance; title card for the new craft essay "Hauntings of the Past, Hauntings of the Future: Crafting Dreams in Fiction" by @AudreyTCarroll

Hauntings of the Past, Hauntings of the Future: Crafting Dreams in Fiction

March 1, 2022

  By Audrey T. Carroll • Dreams have woven their way into fiction from The Iliad to The Lord of the Rings and beyond. They can, of course, serve all kinds of purposes—deepening understanding of a character’s fears, desires, or…

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alt text: image is a color photograph of sliced watermelons; title card for the craft essay "Gurov's Watermelon" by Patrick Thomas Henry

Gurov’s Watermelon: Prop Work as Character Work in Anton Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Pet Dog”

February 15, 2022

  By Patrick Thomas Henry • Wherever I write, I stow props: photographs and notebooks, found objects, mementoes of life away from the page. Despite my effort to shake off the strictures of my own workshop experiences, I still believe…

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Hybrid Interview: Ira Sukrungruang

December 14, 2021

  Essay by Sam Risak • Author of a combined six books of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College, and president of the literary nonprofit Sweet: A Literary Confection, Ira Sukrungruang…

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The Semantics of Belonging: Asian American Identity and Cost of the American Dream in Ling Ma’s SEVERANCE

December 7, 2021

  By Khushi Daryani • “Only in America do you have the luxury of being depressed,” claims Ruifang from Ling Ma’s Severance (Ma, 226). A recently resurfaced novel due to its uncanny similarity to the global pandemic, it contains several…

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Shaping, Containing, and Dissecting Emotion in Kristen Radtke’s SEEK YOU

October 26, 2021

  By Stephanie Trott • I learned to love long-form graphic narratives during a time often associated with loneliness: college. Neither wunderkind nor department darling, I often felt an imposter in my undergraduate English classes and struggled to determine one…

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Hybrid Interview: Alexandra Kleeman

October 19, 2021

  Essay by Claire Lobenfeld • Alexandra Kleeman’s latest novel Something New Under the Sun is a book about plague. Not necessarily about sickness—although there is an age-agnostic form of dementia in its pages—but the Biblical kind. A novelist moves…

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