English 143A

Short Fiction

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
2 Summer 2019 Muhammad, Ismail
MW 2-5 246 Dwinelle C

Book List

Gay, Roxane: Best American Short Stories 2018; Harbach, Chad: MFA vs. NYC


In this eight-week course, we will focus on two things: learning about contemporary publishing venues for short fiction—both traditional journals and online platforms—and workshopping the participants' fiction. Together, we will read stories from print magazines (Paris Review, Tin House, Kenyon Review, Zyzzyva, n+1), anthologies (Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories), and online journals (Electric Literature, Narrative Magazine [PANK], failbetter) in order to discuss how journals articulate a coherent aesthetic for the short story form. Via readings like Mark McGurl's The Program Era and Chad Harbach's MFA vs. NYC, we will also consider this form alongside the rise of the MFA program in order to think about how aesthetic forms both emerge from and push against institutional support/constraints. Each student will draft and revise two short stories; each student will respond to the work of other students in workshop and through a short written response. The final assignment is the submission of the two revised short stories workshopped over the course of the class. Students will be graded on the rigor with which they approach their own fiction and their care in responding to the work of their peers.

A course reader including stories from literary journals and excerpts from The Pogram Era will be made available. 

Note that while during fall and spring semesters admission to 143A requires an application process, no application is needed to register for the summer version of the course.

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