Airports, Catacombs and Rooftops: Setting in Fiction and Memoir (with Laurie Ann Doyle)

Laurie Ann Doyle

Laurie Ann Doyle


Number of sessions: 1

Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (includes a break for lunch)

Date: Sunday, November 15

Course fee: $95

“Place is character. To know the rhythms, the textures, the feel of a place is to know more deeply and truly about its people.” – Richard Russo

Writer after writer will tell you that setting fuels their drive to write. Every human being has a profound connection to place and time, whether as home, refuge, heritage, or exile. Setting in fiction and memoir is not merely scenery or backdrop but essential to your story’s significance. In this interactive one-day workshop, you learn how a powerful setting can help create a whole world, reveal your main characters, and heighten tension. We’ll read writing by masters of setting, such as Baldwin, Didion, and Garcia Marquez, examining how these authors intertwine sensory detail, point of view, and character to craft memorable settings. As the workshop progresses, you’ll have the chance to free-write a variety of settings yourself, including the place you call home, where you’ve been lost, and a location that’s either exotic or mundane. You’ll have the opportunity to share what you’ve written in a supportive atmosphere. There will be plenty of time for your questions and concerns. My dual goals for this workshop are for you to come away with concrete strategies for creating powerful settings, and to experience for yourself that the crafting of settings can be a writer’s greatest pleasure.

Laurie Ann Doyle is the winner of Alligator Juniper’s National Fiction Award, as well as nominations for Best New American Voices and a Pushcart Prize. Her new book of short stories, World Gone Missing, is shortlisted for the Livingston Press Fiction Prize and a story will appear in the press’s fiction anthology. Other stories, essays, and poems have been published in Jabberwock Review, Arroyo Literary Review, Dogwood Journal, Under the Sun, and many other literary journals. She earned an MFA at University of San Francisco and has had the pleasure of teaching with the UC Berkeley writing programs since 2007.

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