Friday, May 24: MASTER CLASSES ($25 for each selection/two per time period to choose from)

 

The Saints and Sinners Literary Festival’s literary program opens with a series of Master Classes by leading authors. Each session is 1 hour and 15 minutes with a lively give-and-take between audience and facilitators. Authors will sign books.

This year’s slate includes:

10:00 a.m.
ELANA DYKEWOMON: RECLAIMING THE SCENE FROM YOURSELF
Ticket Code:
 MCDykewFr10am
Price: $25
Location:
Royal B, Hotel Monteleone
In both memoir and fiction we often have a clear vision of what will happen when we start to write a scene.  We are sometimes trapped by our own expectation of what should, would or did happen in the scenes we create. Instead of allowing them to unfold naturally, we try to force them into our “fixed” idea of what they should be. This is because we think we “know” what happened and what we want to show. Elana Dykewomon, author of seven award-winning books, will lead this workshop in exploring the various ways to reclaim your scene from your own expectations. Bring your preferred writing implements.

10:00 a.m.
FELICE PICANO: TRUE STORIES OR TRUE LIES?
Ticket Code:
 MCPicanoFr10am
Price: $25
Location: 
Royal CD, Hotel Monteleone
Crafting autobiography seems like a cinch, after all, it’s your life, isn’t it? Until you find yourself asking “Wait! Did that really happen?” and “Did it really happen that way?” and “Can I really tell that story?” and “Will I be sued–beaten up–lose my license, passport,(fill in the blank) if I tell this story truthfully?” Felice Picano, author of five memoirs including 2011 prize winner, True Stories: Portraits From My Past, has faced all of these issues and more and will open up to you about how to face and deal with them.

Jess Wells11:30 a.m.
JESS WELLS: THEME IS WHERE THE ART LIVES
Ticket Code: MCWellsFr1130am
Price: $25
Location: 
Royal B, Hotel Monteleone
Go from a wordsmith to an artist by understanding the key role that theme plays in your fiction. Deft handling of theme and it’s multiple facets is what drives plot, characterization, setting, in shortit’s the key to making art. Work with Jess Wells on identifying the theme in your work, crafting the “only to discover that” moment in your plot/story-arc/characterization, and the way to make your characters the embodiment of theme.

Justin Torres11:30 a.m.
JUSTIN TORRES: CLOSE TO THE BONE—WRITING FICTION FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Ticket Code: 
MCTorreFr1130am
Price: $25
Location: 
Royal CD, Hotel Monteleone
We will have a conversation about the transformation of personal experience into fiction. How do we achieve distance? What are the ethical challenges? How do we balance our desire to protect loved ones with our writerly instincts: exposure, invention, drama? Why choose fiction over memoir? What does fiction offer? I’ll talk a bit about my own experience writing and publishing, but this class will take the form of a discussion, not a lecture.

Dorothy Allison1:30 p.m.
DOROTHY ALLISON: A VOICE LIKE THUNDER, A TEXT IN WHISPERS
Ticket Code:
MCAllisoFr130pm
Price: $25
Location: 
Royal CD, Hotel Monteleone
Let’s talk frankly about the performance aspect of reading off the page. What if you are a better reader than you are a writer? Can performance become a part of the craft? Is there a set of rules and exercises that help make this process more useful? Can performative aspects detract from the written work? How do you train yourself to use performance to improve the work on the page? Is performance necessarily a lesser work? Finally, are there ways to write out verbal expressions that enliven performance but seem awkward or obscure on the page? These are just a few of the things we will cover in my workshop on the performative aspects of writing.

1:30 p.m.
BERNARD COOPER: SUDDEN FICTION
Ticket Code: 
MCCooperFr130pm
Price: $25
Location: 
Royal B, Hotel Monteleone
Variously labeled Sudden Fiction, Flash Fiction, Micro-Fiction, and Short-Shorts, a very brief form of the traditional short story has been practiced by American writers since the 1960s. This form of the traditional short story has been practiced by some of our most important and exciting contemporary writers, including John Cheever, Donald Barthelme, Tobias Wolff, Mary Robison, Raymond Carver, and Lydia Davis. How does a writer compress narrative into a precise, distilled form that has the impact of a much larger story? Join Bernard Cooper’s master class to find out.

3:00 p.m.
ANDREW HOLLERANNOT JUST THE FACTS
Ticket Code: 
MCHolleranFr3pm
Price: $25
Location: 
Royal CD, Hotel Monteleone
Getting it right in a non-fiction piece isn’t just about telling the story exactly as it happened. The best creative non-fiction takes its readers on an odyssey before coming back home to its central argument, and writers of non-fiction need to walk a delicate line between staying true to the facts and creating a compelling narrative. In this Master Class, you’ll learn from respected writer and original Violet Quill member, Andrew Holleran about the importance of pace and selection of detail. Using Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood as a model, Holleran explains how the best non-fiction blends the novel’s arc with journalism’s factual rigor to keep readers turning page after page.

Ellen Hart3:00 p.m.
ELLEN HART: IT’S ALL JUST FORMULA — OR IS IT?
Ticket Code: 
MCHartFr3pm
Price: $25
Location: 
Royal B, Hotel Monteleone
You might think mysteries have a formula, but we all know that the best mystery writing offers the pleasures of keeping the reader guessing. Ellen Hart leads us through the intricacies of plotting, hooking the reader from the get-go, and immersing yourself in your story. She’ll demonstrate how the best writers play by the rules, yet bend them to make the form their own.