Picador Seminars by Jennine Capo Crucet

New Revolutions: Contemporary Cuban-American Narratives in U.S. Latino Literature

Tuesdays, 1 pm to 4 pm, GWZ 2 5.16, last session on January 7th, 2014.

The Cuban Revolution of 1959 led to an exodus of Cubans to the United States—one that continues today and which makes Cubans the third largest Hispanic-origin group in the US. In this introduction to contemporary Cuban-American literature, we will examine narratives by writers of Cuban origin who have, to differing degrees, come to call the United States home. Analyses will largely center on the use of voice, setting, and the intersectionalities between ethnic identity and race, gender, sexuality, and class. We will also read for technique in order to discern what made several of these books wildly successful in American letters (several have won some of the country’s most prestigious literary prizes). Questions to be addressed include: What sort of legacy does Cuba’s communist revolution have in these works, and how has that legacy evolved over the last several decades? In what ways has limited access to the island—just ninety miles off the coast of the United States—shaped the trajectory of Cuban-American literature? How do these narratives contribute to the broader classification of “Latino Literature” in the United States and in what ways are they expanding, redefining, or possibly rejecting that label? Students will be responsible for: close readings of each of the chosen works; participating in critical discussions of technique and structure; and responding to the texts via both critical and creative essays.

Students are expected to purchase the following books:

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, Oscar Hijuelos


Dreaming in Cuban, Cristina Garcia

Memory Mambo, Achy Obejas

Waiting for Snow in Havana, Carlos Eire

Loosing My Espanish, H.G. Carrillo


The seminar is part of the MA Module “Immigration, Ethnicity, and Citizenship.” It is also open to advanced Magister students. Please note that the rules for using Picadorscheins apply for this course. Get in touch with your students advisors if you have any questions.

The books have been ordered at the Connewitzer Verlagsbuchhandlung



Workshop in Fiction: Writing the Literary Short Story

Wednesdays, 11 am to 1 pm; GWZ 2 5.16; last session on January 8th, 2014


This workshop course will begin in a generative mode, where students will both complete creative exercises that mine their personal histories (and their imaginations) for material and also hone the individual aspects of the craft of fiction writing (such as characterization, setting, dialogue, plot, etc.). We will also practice close reading for technique and learn to read as writers, examining and then emulating established writers known for their spectacular sentences and paragraphs. The course will then transition into a more traditional story workshop, where we will discuss and critique stories submitted by student writers, all in the effort of improving both these stories and your skills as a critic and editor. Time permitting, each student will have the opportunity to have two stories of up to 25 pages put up for an intensive workshop; detailed critique guidelines will be provided and reviewed prior to anyone’s work being discussed. Come ready to challenge yourself and your voice on the page, and be prepared to work hard with and for your fellow classmates. Dreamers and risk-takers welcome (and encouraged).


Students are expected to purchase the following books:

Reading Like a Writer, Francine Prose

Telling Stories, edited by Joyce Carol Oates


All students are welcome, but the number of spots is limited. Magisterstudents, please note that the rules for using Picadorscheins apply for this course. Get in touch with your students advisors if you have any questions.

The books have been ordered at the Connewitzer Verlagsbuchhandlung

You can apply for this class via email.