Winter Craft Intensive: Chantal V. Johnson


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Editor's Note

Writing Extreme Experiences with Chantal V. Johnson
Sunday, January 21
10 AM  – 1 PM PST / 1 – 4 PM EST

Violence and atrocity, illness and death, oppression and addiction and loss: these are just some of the bad things that happen to people. Being writers, we want to represent extreme experiences, and some might say we have to. But how do we do so in a way that is aesthetically interesting? With the help of writers like Anna Burns, Myriam Gurba, Jackie Polzin, Marie NDiaye, Jade Sharma and Patrick Cottrell, as well as the musicians Lingua Ignota and the horrorcore hip-hop group Clipping, we will learn dissident strategies to depict the extremes of human experience. Then we will experiment, using modes such as comedy, invective, quiet restraint, horror and investigation to produce writing-about-pain that is stylish, innovative and unexpected.

Note: This course is appropriate for both fiction and non-fiction writers. Sharing work will be optional. In order to facilitate distance from difficult subject matter and a turning away from the self and outward to the world, participants will be encouraged to consider not writing solely or directly about themselves, but rather to heap calamities on some imagined person or entity.

The scholarship for this craft intensive has already been awarded.

BIO: Chantal V. Johnson is an attorney and writer. Her debut novel, Post-Traumatic, was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and selected as a New York Public Library book club pick. She has received fellowships and support from The Center for Fiction and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Chantal graduated from Stanford Law School and worked as a tenant lawyer for several years. She lives in Tucson.