Creative Writing: The Art of the Short Story

Sue Gee
Gosling Room
Saturday 02 & Sunday 03 July

Saturday 02 July and Sunday 03 July, 10.30am – 4.30pm. Gosling Room
Fees: Members £150
Non-members £200
Concessions: £10 per course (call the office 020 8340 3343)

Course Outline

'In my experience everyone knows what a story is until they sit down to write one.'
Flannery O'Connor

As readers and as writers, on this two-day course we will explore the limitless possibilities of the short story form.  From Hemingway's poignant six words to Katherine Mansfield's sunlit panels of life in a single day; from rain-soaked Ireland to voices from the Caribbean, we will look at how to manage beginnings and endings, structure, time and space, voice and theme, moments of epiphany.

Throughout, we will consider the essential elements of writing fiction. How do you create interesting characters? How do they talk to one another? How do they think? What is their story, and where does it begin?

Through close reading and discussion of two very different stories and extracts from others; and through workshop writing exercises, students will learn how to play to their strengths and will develop confidence and ability. This course is for those with work in progress which they would like to develop further, and for those seeking inspiration as they start out.

‘Cat in the Rain’ by Ernest Hemingway (1925)

‘Chekhov’s Ladies’ by Edna O’Brien (Granta, 2017)

Philip Hensher, ed. The Penguin Book of the Contemporary British Short Story (2015)

E.A. Markham, ed. The Penguin Book of Caribbean Short Stories (1997)

George Saunders, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading and Life (2021)

Tutor: Sue Gee is an award-winning novelist who has also won two London short-story competitions and had stories broadcast on Radio 4. Her collection Last Fling (2013) is published by Salt Publishing. Her most recent book is Just You and the Page: Encounters with twelve writers (Seren Books, 2021). She has taught creative writing for twenty-five years: at Middlesex University, where she ran the MA in Creative Writing from 2000-2008, at the Faber Academy since 2010, and for the Write to Life group at Freedom from Torture.