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Writing Workshop: 10 Weeks Online

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Balancing and Other Acts: Parents Who Write

Stanford Continuing Studies
Online Course:  January 14 - March 22
Instructor: Kirsten Andersen, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford
Cost:  $750 and three textbooks


The Course

Beginning writers are often instructed to write what they know: they set pen to page and write about their professions, their hometowns, their enduring interests and disappointments. Advanced writers operate in much the same way: when at a loss of how or where to begin, they return to the old touchstones of their experience.

And yet, when writers enter parenthood, this approach can become jumbled: some parents are unsure of the value of writing about their lives. The parent-child experience is rich territory for much of compelling contemporary literature: consider the memoir of Anne Enright; the essays of Michael Chabon; the poetry of Sharon Olds. In this multi-genre course, we will consider the work of these renowned writers and more. Students will also be encouraged to write from their experiences as parents. Whether seeking to start a memoir or to finally finish an existing novel, this course will help students establish and sustain a writing practice while navigating the identities of writer and parent.

Students will be assigned weekly reading and writing assignments, receive one "Spotlight" week for critique and be invited to a weekly online chat session. Each student will complete this course with a portfolio of three to five finished pieces.

Read more (including the proposed syllabus) and register here.

Read FAQ about Standford's Online Writer's Studio here.


About the instructor

Kirsten Andersen’s writing has appeared in Tin House, Court Green, and Alaska Quarterly Review, among other journals. Shortlisted for the 2011 National Poetry Series, she was the 2010–2011 Second-Year Poetry Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She received an MFA in creative writing from NYU.

The Literary Mama Blog Editor searches for mama-centric news you can use — including information about publishing opportunities and literacy efforts; essays and writing prompts that motivate and inspire; and announcements about events, classes, and workshops. The current blog editor is Rudri Patel; read her bio here.

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