Seminars by Picador Professor Fiona Maazel

Picador Professor Fiona Maazel will be teaching the following seminars in the summer term of 2012.

Adventures in Narrative: The “I” in Contemporary Fiction

Mondays, 1-3 pm, GWZ 2 5.16, starting April 30.

In this class, we’ll be reading and discussing works of fiction that depart from convention and consensus reality—that redefine how stories can and often should get told. As notable British author Zadie Smith has noted, “…most avant-garde challenges to Realism concentrate on voice, on where this ‘I’ is coming from, this mysterious third person.” In particular, then, we’ll be focusing on narratives that struggle with issues of selfhood and memory—how one informs the other and vice versa. We’ll be reading four very different, unconventional novels, and some short fiction that address how selfhood is construed from the ashes of our forbearers and what frailties of human design are the result.

Students will be asked to close read and respond to the texts, to submit a final paper on a topic of his/her choosing, and perhaps to engage in creative and expository writing exercises to augment discussion of the texts.

Donald Antrim: The Hundred Brothers
Aleksandar Hemon: The Lazarus Project
Edward Carey: Observatory Mansions
Paul Harding: Tinkers
Short Fiction via PDF

The books have been ordered at the Connewitzer Verlagsbuchhandlung and should be available for purchase there by mid April.

This seminar will be offered as part of the LC-III module. The sign-up will be part of the regular application to the module at the beginning of the next semester



Tuesdays, 1-3, GWZ 2 5.16, starting May 8.

Here’s Thomas Mann: “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” Sound right? It is. Welcome to class. We’re going to workshop your short fiction—two stories (one full length and one short short) that you will revise and turn into me at the end of the semester. Workshopping has its drawbacks, but it’s not a jury. We’ll talk about what works and what doesn’t, and, most importantly: Why. Why doesn’t it work? Writing is a mysterious business, equal parts talent and know-how. One you can’t do anything about. But the other is craft, which can be learned. Dialogue, tone, pacing, point of view, tense, diction, syntax, these are your tools. They can be sharpened. So we’ll be workshopping your material and also reading and discussing published stories, by way of exploring specific feats of craft.

In this workshop you can expect:

  • to have your work discussed seriously and with compassion.
  • to learn how to vet your own work—how to indict yourself, both on and off the page.
  • to relish experimentation; writing is a muscle that needs exercise.
  • to discuss craft—what techniques does this story deploy and why are they successful?
  • to demand of your work as much as you can, and then to demand more.
  • to learn how to discuss each other’s work. How well you read will always be a measure of how well you write.

Short Story Reader

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.

You can apply for this class via email.