There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children. Nelson Mandela
For two days, Claire Keegan, author of Foster (Faber & Faber) will explore fiction writing through the linked theme of The Child in Society. Discussion will include the rights of the child, having and not having children, fathering, mothering, fostering, adopting and neglecting children. Participants will be asked to imagine being a boy, a girl, a parent, a child minder – and undoubtedly there will be talk around housing, fathering, contraception, pregnancy, money, hunger, mothering, sleep and what it means to love and be loved, to mind and to be minded — from different points of view. The lecture will explore and display how time, tension, drama, dialogue and narrative structure are put to use in the following:
Jude the Obscure, a novel by Thomas Hardy
“The River,” a story by Flannery O’Connor
“Sleepyhead,” a story by Chekov, translated by Constance Garnett
‘The Widow’s Son,” by Mary Lavin.
Vera Drake, a film by Mike Leigh
Tuition 350 euro. Reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire Keegan, internationally acclaimed author and fiction-writing coach, will direct this, her most popular fiction writing course, using a novel and two short stories to demonstrate and explore the mechanics of fiction writing and narrative structure.
1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. “Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor
3. “Nobody Said Anything” by Raymond Carver
How do stories begin? How and why does an author make an incision in time and build tension? How is a reader drawn into a narrative? We will also explore the much-neglected middle; the trunk of the story, its denouement and turning points — and ask if endings are natural. Why do stories need to end, to find a place of rest? The discussion around endings will focus on falling action, emotional consequences and inevitability. Participants will also examine the differences between the short story and the novel.
This weekend will be of particular interest to those who write, teach, read or edit fiction — but anyone with an interest in how fiction works is welcome to attend.
Claire Keegan’s story collections include Antarctica,Walk the Blue Fields and Foster (Faber & Faber). These stories, translated into 17 languages, have won numerous awards. Her debut, Antarctica, was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. “These stories are among the finest stories recently written in English,” wrote the Observer. Walk the Blue Fields, her second collection, was Richard Ford’s Book of the Year in 2010, and won the Edge Hill Prize, awarded to the strongest collection published in the British Isles. Foster won the Davy Byrne’s Award, then the world’s richest prize for a single story. NewYorker readers chose Foster as their story of the year. It was also published in Best American Stories is now on the school syllabus in Ireland. Keegan has earned an international reputation as a teacher of fiction, having taught workshops on four continents.
“Every line seems to be a lesson in the perfect deployment of both style and emotion.” Hilary Mantel
“The best stories are so textured and so moving, so universal but utterly distinctive, that it’s easy to imagine readers savoring them many years from now and to imagine critics, far in the future, deploying new lofty terms to explain what it is that makes Keegan’s fiction work.” The New York Times
“Every single word in the right place and pregnant with double meaning.” Jeffrey Eugenides, The New York Times
Keegan is a rarity, someone I will always want to read.” Richard Ford