How Fiction Works: A Study of Narrative Using Works by John McGahern

Linenhall Library, Belfast. May 13 & 14, 2019. 10am–5pm, both days.

Claire Keegan will direct this fiction writing course using works by John McGahern to explore and demonstrate the mechanics of writing and narrative structure.

1. The Leavetaking

2. “Christmas”

3. “Parachutes”

4. “The Conversion of William Kirkwood”

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? Why is a reader sometimes not drawn in at all? Keegan will discuss the structure of a narrative and go into what she calls the much-neglected middle, the trunk of the story. Are endings 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 course will be of particular interest to those who write, teach, read or edit fiction — but anyone with an interest in how fiction or reading works is welcome to attend. To book your place, contact ckfictionclinic@yahoo.com Tuition is £300. A 50% deposit secures.

McGahern

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. New Yorker 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.

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