Creative Writing Seminars in Jerusalem this Summer

Posted by Naomi Firestone

This summer, the Third Annual Jerusalem Summer Writing Seminars, sponsored by the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University in Israel will be:

June 27-28 9 AM – 4 PM Writing from Character with Elana Feldman

While the impulse to write may come from many sources—an image, idea, or first line—character is what makes a work solid. In this two-day workshop we will investigate character, whether it be character in a narrative sense or the character of a landscape or experience. The seminar will consist of intensive writing exercises and workshopping designed to unearth the most energetic and expressive aspects of character in your work.
Readings include “The Overcoat” by Nikolai Gogol and Curse of the Starving Class, a play by Sam Shepard. During our time together we will also look at works by Yehuda Amichai, Jorge Luis Borges, Haruki Murakami, Grace Paley, and others. This seminar is
open to fiction writers, poets, playwrights and anyone who wants to explore Character.

July 4-5 9 AM – 4 PM Writing Mixed Genre with Clive Sinclair

After the liberation of Buchenwald on April 11, 1945, a group of survivors met to discuss how best to perpetuate the memory of that place. One of them was Jorge Semprun, who recorded the debate in his memoir, Literature or Life. The first speaker said they must tell the truth—present the facts raw—with no fancy stuff. Semprun disagreed. There must be artifice, he said, enough to make it art, and therefore memorable.
But once you have started to cook the books, where do you stop? Is there, in fact, an unambiguous border between history and fiction, autobiography and fantasy, truth and lies? These are the questions we will address in this seminar.
Day One will be dedicated to a close textual reading of three stories by writers whose genius manifests itself in very different ways: “Dr. Henry Selwyn” from The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald; “The Hitchhiking Game” from Laughable Loves by Milan Kundera; and “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe. At the end of Day One participants will be asked to produce a piece of writing no more than 2000 words. On Day Two we will devote an equally passionate analysis of the participants’ work.
Once I taught a seminar on Fragments by Binjamin Wilkomirski without telling my students it was a fake. Even when I revealed the truth, one of the students refused to believe me, arguing that any book that had such a profound effect had to be authentic. The workshop will conclude with a discussion of that proposition.

All proceeds from the Jerusalem Summer Writing Seminars will go towards stipends for our new students.

Costs and Registration:

Each seminar will be limited to 16 participants on a first come first serve basis.

Registration is final only when your payment has been received.

Each 2-day seminar costs NIS 895 or $245 (USD)

If you sign up for both seminars, the rates are NIS 1,770 or $475 (USD)

For more information, please click here: Jerusalem Summer 2010 Creative Writing Seminars.

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