POLITICS & PLACE

With

Christopher Griffin studied literature at Trinity College and University College in Dublin and in US colleges. He taught humanities for 28 years at Strayer University and Irish literature at George Washington University for eight years. He has  taught classes on various topics at Politics and Prose for over 25 years and  will be teaching courses on Irish history and Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist and Ulysses in June 2019.  He was a study leader on 15 Smithsonian Journeys.

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland begins with the abduction of a young Belfast widow and mother of ten.  By examining the tangled web of this disappearance, Say Nothing gives a history of “the Troubles.” Protagonists and events include the Price sisters, Stephen Rea,  Gerry Adams, Thatcher, Clinton, Boston tapes, ambushes, bombings, reprisals, internment, hunger strikes, sectarian assassinations, and trauma. Thursday, April 25, 6-8 p.m.

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Joseph Hartman teaches political theory, constitutional law and American government in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. Prior to his time in the academy he spent more than a decade as a litigation attorney in private practice with a large law firm in Washington, D.C. He earned his Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown in 2015 (where he also served as the Interim Director of the Tocqueville Forum on the Roots of American Democracy). He holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School (1999) and a B.A. in American Government from the University of Virginia (1996). His academic and intellectual interests focus on the relationship between political thought and theology in the Western tradition and contemporary issues relating to public and constitutional law.

This series of six classes will offer an introduction to and exploration of Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville’s seminal assessment of both the American experiment and the implications of emergent conditions of social equality for the future of democracy. Six Wednesdays: March 6, March 20, April 3, April 17, May 1, and (May 15 added) 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. *SOLD OUT* To be added to the waitlist, please email classes@politics-prose.com

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David B. Johnson is a professor of philosophy at Marymount University, and former writing professor at American and GW Universities.  He earned his PhD in Cultural Studies at George Mason University in 2011, and writes primarily about ethics and political theory.  He has two sons and 4 grandchildren, has been enjoying life with his girlfriend, E. Foster Pacine, and lives in Clifton VA.  

In this course, students will engage two works by Arendt, Responsibility and Judgement and The Portable Hannah Arendt as well as essays by Jacques Ranciere and Bonnie Honig in an effort to make some sense of things in dark times. Four Thursdays: May 2 ,9, 16, 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

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Heba F. El-Shazli is an Egyptian-American and an avid lover and reader of literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She is an assistant professor of political science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. Heba teaches courses on governments and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, international relations, and the role of civil society and social movements in democratization. She has a Ph.D. in Government and International Affairs from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs and a Master of Arts degree from Georgetown University. She was the Director of MENA programs at the Solidarity Center (2004-2011) and the Deputy MENA Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) from 2001 until 2004. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org)

This is another series of classes in continuing the series on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to explore the fascinating literature by authors from differing communities writing about the anxiety and alienation of migration – forced or voluntary – both come with a high price of leaving one’s home, family and community…the worry or threat of losing one’s identity and culture is at stake. Six Fridays: March 22, April 5, 26, May 10, 24 and June 7 – Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

With

Elisabeth Griffith

In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment, enfranchising women as voters, passed by one vote, after a 70+ year long struggle.  There were three generations of leadership and continual conflicts follow by schisms over goals, tactics, priorities and racial inclusion.  It's remarkable that a fragile coalition of political feminists, social justice reformers, anti lynching activists and random radicals held together long enough to succeed.  One Saturday June 29, 1-3PM.

With

Christopher Griffin studied literature at Trinity College and University College in Dublin and in US colleges. He taught humanities for 28 years at Strayer University, Irish literature at George Washington University for eight years, and classes on various topics at Politics and Prose for over 25 years.  He was a study leader on 15 Smithsonian Journeys.

This course will look at Irish life in the past century or so, as told in scores of voices, both famous and unknown.  Using texts from 1916 to the present in our anthology, Ireland: The Autobiography: One Hundred Years of Irish Life, Told by Its People, we will hear diverse voices tell their stories and eye-witness accounts of history. Four Fridays: June 7, 14, 21, 28, 2019, 3:30-5:30 pm.

 

With

Brian Taylor is a scholar of US history who focuses on the Civil War era and is interested in issues of citizenship, race and national belonging. He earned his doctorate from Georgetown University in 2015, and since has taught at Georgetown and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His first book, tentatively titled Fighting for Citizenship, is in the production process at the University of North Carolina Press. His next project will focus on the Reno City neighborhood of Washington, DC, a community founded by enslaved men and women after the Civil War. He lives in Laurel, MD, with his wife Diane, son Steve, and three cats.

 

The man who won the war, the man who lost the peace.  So runs the conventional wisdom about Ulysses S. Grant: his skill as a general brought down the Confederacy, but his inadequacies as a president allowed the change wrought by the Civil War to be undone.  Ron Chernow’s Grant challenges this narrative, and in this class we will examine the Civil War era through an in-depth analysis of the life and legacy of one of its central figures. Six Wednesdays: July 10, 17, 24, 31, Aug 7, 14, 6-8PM.  

LOSE YOURSELF IN FICTION

With

Elaine Showalter is Professor Emerita of English and Avalon Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, where she taught courses in English and American fiction. She has written ten books, most recently The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe: A Biography ( Simon &Schuster,2016), and regularly reviews books for the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, the Times Literary Supplement, and other newspapers and periodicals.

In this class, we will study Curtis Sittenfeld, who has emerged as one of the most entertaining and acerbic American novelists of her generation with a satiric but also serious take on families, marriage, class, politics, and female coming of age. Three Tuesdays: April 16, 23, 30, 2 - 4 p.m. Please note: an error was printed in the March Newsletter that attributed this class to Rhonda Shary. The instructor for this class is Elaine Showalter. *SOLD OUT* To be added to the waitlist, please email classes@politics-prose.com

 

With

Supriya Goswami has taught courses in children’s literature, Anglophone world literature, and nineteenth-century British literature and Empire at California State University, Sacramento, George Washington University and, more recently, at Georgetown University. She is the author of Colonial India in Children’s Literature (Routledge, 2012), which is the first book-length study to explore the intersections of British, Anglo-Indian, and Bengali children’s literature and defining historical moments in colonial India. She is currently working on her second book, Colonial Wars in Children’s Literature. She has also published in such scholarly journals as the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, South Asian Review, and Wasafiri.

 

Whether she is writing about the Biafran War or about the immigrant experience in the United States, Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who counts Beyonce, Oprah, and Hillary Clinton among her fans, creates richly textured and layered narratives which are compelling to read. In this class, we will delve into two of Adichie’s bestselling and award-winning novels: Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah. NOTE: April 8th date is cancelled. Two Mondays: 22, 29, 11 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. First class is April 22, second April 29 and adding third date of Thursday, May 2, 11 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

With

Helen Hooper, a fiction writer, was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She has published stories in American Short Fiction, The Common, The Hopkins Review, Bellevue Literary Review and elsewhere. She was MacDowell Colony fellow, a Kenyon Review Peter Taylor fellow and holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and a BA from Johns Hopkins. She has taught literature and creative writing at Stanford and other universities and at the middle and high school levels. She is now writing a novel.

Curl up with Anna Karenina this winter and then join us to sort out what Tolstoy had to say about women, men, motherhood, marriage, city life, country life, happiness and morality. And trains! Six Wednesdays: Feb 27, March 13, 27, April 10, 24, May 8, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

With

Virginia Newmyer has lectured frequently for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and in Great Britain on a wide variety of topics in British history and literature. She also teaches OLLI courses at American University, as well as at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and Jupiter, Florida.

Dr. Susan Willens, emerita professor of English at George Washington University, also teaches at the Smithsonian Resident Associates Program, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and other literature classes.

For more than 10 years, Virginia and Susan have been holding classes at Politics and Prose that examine the threads that join British fiction and history.

In the last days of the Victorian era, writers reached out to new readers on new subjects. With illustrated lectures and discussions, this course will explore some of these daring works of fantastic and speculative fiction along with the historical transformations that inspired them.

Five monthly meetings will focus on the events and the stories that fascinated this important period. The class will have 3 sections, each meeting once a month.

Tuesdays (1901-1): January 8, February 12, March 12, April 9, May 7. Meets 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Wednesdays (1901-2): January 9, February 13, March 13, April 10, May 8. Meets 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Thursdays (1901-3): January 10, February 14, March 14, April 11, May 9. Meets 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

With

Helen Hooper, a fiction writer, was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She has published stories in American Short Fiction, The Common, The Hopkins Review, Bellevue Literary Review and elsewhere. She was MacDowell Colony fellow, a Kenyon Review Peter Taylor fellow and holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and a BA from Johns Hopkins. She has taught literature and creative writing at Stanford and other universities and at the middle and high school levels. She is now writing a novel.

Let’s gorge on “Gingerbread” -- one of the most buzzed-about and delicious novels of 2019. Oyeyemi concocts stylistically dazzling, unclassifiable stories that spin off of classic fairy tales.  Like her previous award-winning books this latest one is a strange and addictive combination of fantasy, magic, comedy, social commentary, empathy, nutmeg and so much more.  The New York Times calls it “exhilarating” and  “a novel that feels prescient, and it deserves to be read carefully, considered and discussed.”  And that’s exactly what we’ll do. Wednesday, May 22, 6-8PM

With
Aaron Hamburger is the author of the short story collection The View From Stalin’s Head (winner of the Rome Prize in Literature), the novel Faith for Beginners (a Lambda Literary Award nominee), and the novel Nirvana is Here. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Subtropics, Details, O, the Oprah Magazine, Boulevard, and The Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, as well as residencies from Yaddo and Djerassi. He has also taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and George Washington University.

In this one-session meeting, we’ll do a deep dive into Sigrid Nunez's National Book Award winning book, The Friend, which explores themes of love and loss, offers a critique of the literary scene, and movingly portrays the bond between humans and pets. One Wednesday, May 29th, 6-8:00 p.m.

With

Melanie (Penny) Du Bois did her undergraduate and graduate work at Harvard, has lived in Europe, and taught literature at universities there and here. She has directed a reading group in Washington since 1989, and last taught at Politics and Prose in 2018. Her recent classes have been on the work of Coetzee, Penelope Fitzgerald, Tolstoy.

Should we think of Sally Rooney’s Normal People as a new, cool Love Story or as a profound study of emotion and identity within social groups?  Readers on either side of that argument - only one of several raised by Rooney’s novel - will delight in her speed and understated, thought-provoking dialogue.  Thursday, May 30, 6-8 p.m.
 
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Sandra Beasley is the author of three poetry collections, including Count the Waves (W.W. Norton), as well as the memoir Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life (Crown). Honors for her work include an NEA Literature Fellowship; distinguished writer residencies at Wichita State University, Cornell College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, and the University of Mississippi; and four D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowships. She is on the faculty of the University of Tampa’s low-residency MFA program, and periodically teaches at The American University.  She is also the editor of Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance (University of Georgia Press).

If you find yourself wanting to track small joys in difficult days, this book is for you. Award-winning poet Ross Gay has combined his signature love of nature with investigations into our contemporary American culture a series of vibrant, funny, lyric essays that span the course of a year.  Monday, June 3, from 7 to 9 p.m.

With

Garrett Peck is an author, historian and tour guide in the DC area. His seventh and latest book is The Great War in America: World War I and Its Aftermath. He frequently leads tours through Politics & Prose, including the Jazz History Tour and Walt Whitman in Washington Tour. Garrett is currently working on a book about how Willa Cather composed Death Comes for the Archbishop, which he hopes to one day turn into a week-long tour of New Mexico. 

In this class, we explore three of Cather’s best works: My Ántonia (1918; the third and best of her “prairie trilogy”); the Pulitzer Prize-winning  A Lost Lady (1923) , and her “best book” (her words), Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927). Three Mondays: May 6, 13, 20, 2-4 p.m.

With

Melanie (Penny) Du Bois did her undergraduate and graduate work at Harvard, has lived in Europe, and taught literature at universities there and here. She has directed a reading group in Washington since 1989, and last taught at Politics and Prose in 2018. Her recent classes have been on the work of Coetzee, Penelope Fitzgerald, Tolstoy.

These three works of the great encyclopedist variously approximate philosophical dialogue, classical satire and prose fiction.  These three short works, semi-secret in his lifetime, thought immortal in ours, are difficult because they ask us to follow a playful, anti-systematic mode of thinking and to set aside our cravings for certainty and righteousness.  Four Wednesdays: May 15, 22, 29, and June 5, 3-5 p.m.
With

Nicole Miller's prize-winning essays have appeared recently in New Letters and Arts & Letters magazines. Her fiction has been published twice in The Mays, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks. She received an M.Phil. in Victorian Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford; a PhD in English at University College, London; and an MFA at Emerson College, Boston, where she held the Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary, she has served as a scholarly reader for British Dialects since 2002. She edits faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English Department and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century British literature at Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.

*SOLD OUT* Over the course of 6 weeks, we will be reading Middlemarch at a pace which allows for a cherishing of the descriptive language, and the construction of the novel as a work of art which deals with themes common to the Victorian novel and the historic era in which George Eliot lived. Six Tuesdays: May 14, 21, 28, June 4, 11, 18, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. *SOLD OUT* To be added to the waitlist email classes@politics-prose.com

 

With

Nicole Miller's prize-winning essays have appeared recently in New Letters and Arts & Letters magazines. Her fiction has been published twice in The Mays, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks. She received an M.Phil. in Victorian Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford; a PhD in English at University College, London; and an MFA at Emerson College, Boston, where she held the Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary, she has served as a scholarly reader for British Dialects since 2002. She edits faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English Department and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century British literature at Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.

A compact but colorful story, written with the economy of poetry and the three-act structure of a contemporary play, while drawing its imposing contextual material from a history three times its size, Thomas Carlyle’s The French Revolution.  A book which Dickens claimed to have read 500 hundred times, The French Revolution— in its grand style and story-telling flourish, if not its subject matter— had been seared into his soul.    Five Thursdays: May 16, 30, June 6, 13, 20, from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm

With

Christopher Griffin studied literature at Trinity College and University College in Dublin and in US colleges. He taught humanities for 28 years at Strayer University, Irish literature at George Washington University for eight years, and classes on various topics (including Joyce’s fiction) at Politics and Prose for 25 years.  He was a study leader on 15 Smithsonian Journeys.

This course is an introduction to James Joyce’s Ulysses, which many consider the seminal novel of the 20th Century.  If Ulysses has been on your bucket list but you never got around to reading this great novel, this course will make it easier for you.  In our four sessions we will look at the overall structure of the novel and concentrate on the more accessible and humorous sections. Four consecutive Saturdays of June 1, 8, 15 (the day before Bloomsday), and 22, 2019, 2-4 pm.

With

Christopher Griffin studied literature at Trinity College and University College in Dublin and in US colleges. He taught humanities for 28 years at Strayer University, Irish literature at George Washington University for eight years, and classes on various topics (including Joyce’s fiction) at Politics and Prose for 25 years.  He was a study leader on 15 Smithsonian Journeys.

In the five chapters of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joyce traces the slow growth of a soul in five stages and its many aspirations and disappointments. If you are ever going to read Ulysses in this lifetime, you might find it useful to first know Joyce’s easier prequel, Portrait of the Artist Four Fridays: June 7, 14, 21, 28, 2019, 6-8 pm

With

Tara Campbell (www.taracampbell.com) is a Kimbilio Fellow, a fiction editor at Barrelhouse, and an MFA candidate at American University. Prior publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Jellyfish Review, Booth, and Strange Horizons. Her novel TreeVolution was published in 2016, followed in 2018 by her hybrid fiction/poetry collection Circe's Bicycle. Her third book, a short story collection called Midnight at the Organporium, will be released by Aqueduct Press in April 2019.

Marlon James’ new fantasy novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf (book one of a planned trilogy) is crossing genres to captivate the literary world with its mesmerizing blend of epic adventure and African mythology. Follow James' protagonist, Tracker the hunter, through his vivid, complex, and dangerous world in a facilitated discussion of the novel. Two Thursdays: July 11 and 18, 6-8PM.
With

Leigha McReynolds received her PhD in English Literature from The George Washington University. Her dissertation was on science and the supernatural in 19th Century British Literature, but her current research focus is contemporary science fiction. She has published and presented on science fiction texts ranging from Ursula K. Le Guin’s short stories to Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. Currently, Leigha is a professor in the writing program at The George Washington University where she uses science fiction to engage students across disciplines.

This class will provide a guided introduction to the varied work of Octavia Butler. We will read Kindred, Wild Seed, and Parable of the Sower to trace how Butler changed representation in science fiction. Three Mondays: July 8, 15, 22, 6:00 to 8:00 pm

With

Leigha McReynolds received her PhD in English Literature from The George Washington University. Her dissertation was on science and the supernatural in 19th Century British Literature, but her current research focus is contemporary science fiction. She has published and presented on science fiction texts ranging from Ursula K. Le Guin’s short stories to Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. Currently, Leigha is a professor in the writing program at The George Washington University where she uses science fiction to engage students across disciplines.

In this class we will discuss Octavia Butler’s “hard” science fiction trilogy, known both as Xenogenesis and Lilith’s Brood. Our discussion of Butler’s post-apocalyptic earth that is saved by alien intervention will raise questions about race, what it means to be human, and possibilities for extraterrestrial relationships. Three Mondays: July 29, August 5, 12, 6:00 to 8:00 pm

WRITING WORKSHOPS

With
Aaron Hamburger is the author of the short story collection The View From Stalin’s Head (winner of the Rome Prize in Literature), the novel Faith for Beginners (a Lambda Literary Award nominee), and the forthcoming novel Nirvana is Here. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Subtropics, Details, O, the Oprah Magazine, Boulevard, and The Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, as well as residencies from Yaddo and Djerassi. He has also taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and George Washington University.

In this hands-on class, we’ll try out specific strategies to make your revision process more effective and efficient, so you can raise the level of any piece of writing you’re working on. Three Tuesdays: April 16, 23, 30, 6 - 8 p.m.

With

Leslie Pietrzyk’s third novel, Silver Girl, was published in February 2018.  This Angel on My Chest, her collection of linked short stories about the death of her first husband, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was named by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best short story collections of 2015. Her short fiction and essays have appeared/are forthcoming in many publications, including The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Southern Review, Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, Gettysburg Review, The Sun, Washingtonian, and Cincinnati Review. Pietrzyk is a member of the core fiction faculty at the Converse low-residency MFA program and lives in Alexandria, Virginia. More information: www.lesliepietrzyk.com

 

 

Explore your creative side in this session, one of a series of stand-alone classes with prompts designed to get your subconscious flowing. Through guided exercises, we’ll focus on writing about places we know, places we remember, and places we imagine. No writing experience necessary! This is a great class for beginners and also for those fiction writers and/or memoirists with more experience who might be stuck in their current projects and are looking for a jolt of inspiration.Our goal is to have fun in a supportive, nurturing environment and to go home with several promising pieces to work on further. Please bring lots of paper and pen/pencil or a fully charged computer. Monday, May 13, 6:30-9 PM

 

With

Joyce Winslow was OP ED/Commentary Editor of the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation and currently writes, pitches and places OP EDs for such private clients as Ambassadors, CEOs, and a former U.S. Secretary of Defense with whom she wrote a book published by the Brookings Institution. She has written and placed some 70 OP EDs in the last few years in top-tier mainstream newspapers, including some she bylined.

Taught by an OP ED editor, you’ll learn the proper structure of an OP ED, how to persuasively make your point and knock down opposing arguments (politely); what editors look for and what red flags to avoid. You’ll learn where/how and who to contact, how to fit your views to the right newspaper, and the format in which to submit an OP ED. This class is being repeated due to popular demand.  One Saturday, May 18, 2 - 5 p.m. *SOLD OUT* To be added to the waitlist, please email classes@politics-prose.com

With
Aaron Hamburger is the author of the short story collection The View From Stalin’s Head (winner of the Rome Prize in Literature), the novel Faith for Beginners (a Lambda Literary Award nominee), and the novel Nirvana is Here. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Subtropics, Details, O, the Oprah Magazine, Boulevard, and The Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, as well as residencies from Yaddo and Djerassi. He has also taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and George Washington University.

Whether you're writing a novel for the first or tenth time, there's always something new to learn about the process. Come to this one-session workshop led by a published novelist to pick up a few writing hacks that will help you start, continue, and finish your book-length project. One Monday: May 20th, 6-8PM

With

John DeDakis is a former Senior Copy Editor on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" and the author of four novels, Fast Track, Bluff, Troubled Water, and Bullet in the Chamber – all part of the Lark Chadwick mystery-suspense series. Bullet in the Chamber deals, in part, with the death of John’s 22-year-old son Stephen in 2011. Bullet in the Chamber is the winner of the Reviewers Choice, Foreword INDIES, and Feathered Quill book awards for 2017. During John’s nearly 45-year award-winning career in journalism (25 years at CNN), he has been a White House correspondent and interviewed such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. He has taught journalism at The University of Maryland – College Park and novel-writing at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. In addition to leading writing workshops around the country and abroad, he edits book-length manuscripts. For more information, visit www.johndedakis.com

A practical 15-point plan that demystifies and deconstructs novel-writing -- from the mere germ of an idea all the way through the creative process, with an eye on getting a finished book into the hands of potential fans. We'll discuss how to tap into your subconscious and life experiences to transform them into a book-length project, populated with interesting characters, a twisty-turny plot, snappy dialogue, and an interesting setting. We'll also look at strategies for finding an agent, marketing the finished product, and facing your writing and marketing fears. Saturday June 1, 10-4PM

With
Aaron Hamburger is the author of the short story collection The View From Stalin’s Head (winner of the Rome Prize in Literature), the novel Faith for Beginners (a Lambda Literary Award nominee), and the novel Nirvana is Here. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Subtropics, Details, O, the Oprah Magazine, Boulevard, and The Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, as well as residencies from Yaddo and Djerassi. He has also taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and George Washington University.
As writers, we always have to write about people whose life experiences and backgrounds are different from our own. (Otherwise, our writing is pure fantasy!) In this two-session workshop, we'll examine identity through as many lenses as possible: in terms of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, class, age, body type, gluten tolerance, nerdiness, and many more. How can we learn to recognize our own blind spots that prevent us from seeing the people and the world around us in full living color? And how can we confront and overcome our fears of causing offense in our attempts to get inside someone whose life experience we don’t share? We'll look at published work and do targeted writing exercises that will spark your creativity. Two Mondays: June 10 and 17, 6-8 PM
With

Tara Campbell (www.taracampbell.com) is a Kimbilio Fellow, a fiction editor at Barrelhouse, and an MFA candidate at American University. Prior publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Jellyfish Review, Booth, and Strange Horizons. Her novel TreeVolution was published in 2016, followed in 2018 by her hybrid poetry/fiction collection Circe's Bicycle. Her third book, a short story collection called Midnight at the Organporium, will be released by Aqueduct Press in 2019.

Did you know W.E.B. DuBois wrote science fiction? Have you ever wondered what would happen if we could really change places with other races—George S. Schuyler and Nalo Hopkinson have some ideas to share. Science fiction is not just about men in a lab, or robots in space--it's also about us, all of us, our families and our communities. Developments in science and technology affect people of all genders, races, and nationalities, so we should all have a voice in exploring the changes we'll face. Join us to read diverse perspectives in science fiction, and to start writing your own worlds of the future.
Four Tuesdays: June 4, 11, 18, 25, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

 

With

Marita Golden is a veteran teacher of writing and an acclaimed award-winning author of seventeen works of fiction and nonfiction. As a teacher of writing she has served as a member of the faculties of the MFA Graduate Creative Writing Programs at George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University and in the MA Creative Writing Program at John Hopkins University. Her new novel is The Wide Circumference of Love.  She is the recipient of many awards including the Writers for Writers Award presented by Barnes & Noble and Poets and Writers and the Fiction Award for her novel After awarded by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

In this day-long seminar you will learn the required elements of a successful non-fiction book proposal. You will learn the elements of the query letter, a successful “pitch”, introduction and samples chapters. Each participant’s book idea/proposal will be discussed and evaluated. New date: Saturday, July 13, 10am-4pm

With

Caroline Bock’s debut short story collection, CARRY HER HOME, won the 2018 Fiction Award from the Washington Writers’ Publishing House. She is also the author of the young adult novels, LIE and Before My Eyes, from St. Martin’s Press. She is a 2018 recipient of an Artists & Scholar Award from the Montgomery County Arts & Humanities Council for her novel-in-progress. Educated at Syracuse University where she studied creative writing with Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolff, she also earned an MFA in Fiction from the City College of New York. Currently, she lectures in English at Marymount University. More at www.carolinebockauthor.com

Home evokes a multitude of conflicts, whether we have left home, or never left home, or work to make a home. We will explore in our own fiction and/or creative nonfiction combining setting and memory and the layered emotions connected to home. Intended for writers working at all levels—we will write together via prompts in the workshop and start out fast with flash fiction/creative nonfiction, and with at-home assignments, move toward a full-length story or essay. Three Thursdays: July 25, August 1, 8, 6-8 p.m.

With

Marita Golden is a veteran teacher of writing and an acclaimed award-winning author of seventeen works of fiction and nonfiction. As a teacher of writing she has served as a member of the faculties of the MFA Graduate Creative Writing Programs at George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University and in the MA Creative Writing Program at John Hopkins University. Her new novel is The Wide Circumference of Love.  She is the recipient of many awards including the Writers for Writers Award presented by Barnes & Noble and Poets and Writers and the Fiction Award for her novel After awarded by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

In this workshop we’ll explore the characteristics of unforgettable fictional characters. Through close reading of excerpts from novels and short stories, and lots of writing assignments and in-class writing we’ll create, confounding, conflicted, maddening characters, the kind that readers can’t look away from and that they never forget. You will learn how to create a character willing to “go there” “say that” and “break the rules.” Four Tuesdays: August 6, 13, 20, 27th from 6:30-8:30 pm

THE WRITING LIFE

With

Nicole Miller's prize-winning essays have appeared recently in New Letters and Arts & Letters magazines. Her fiction has been published twice in The Mays, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks. She received an M.Phil. in Victorian Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford; a PhD in English at University College, London; and an MFA at Emerson College, Boston, where she held the Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary, she has served as a scholarly reader for British Dialects since 2002. She edits faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English Department and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century British literature at Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.

This class is designed as an introduction to the classic guides and current resources available to writers of fiction and memoir who want to learn from the masters. Two Mondays: April 29, May 6, 6:30-9 p.m.

With

Martin Walker

Do you struggle to keep certain core elements straight while trying to construct a compelling plot? Martin Walker understands. This class discusses the three essential supports every plot needs, what a writer needs to know to make them work, and the difference between knowing what you write and simply doing research. Martin’s new title in the Bruno, Chief of Police series is The Body in the Castle Well. One Saturday, June 8, at noon to 2 p.m.

With

Dr. Annie Finch is an award-winning poet, writer, speaker, performer, and teaching artist. Her books include Calendars, Spells, A Poet’s Craft, and the forthcoming The Witch in You: Five Directions to Your Inner Goddess. Annie’s poetry has appeared onstage at Carnegie Hall and in The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, and her book Among the Goddesses received the Sarasvati Award from the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology. After earning a Ph.D. from Stanford University, Annie taught for 25 years at numerous universities and writing conferences and now travels to speak and teach across the country and internationally. She has offered her “Five Directions Workshops,” a transformational path for realizing psychological and spiritual growth through rhythmic language, most recently at Haystack School of Crafts and the Garrison Institute.

 

Acclaimed poet, spiritual writer, and feminist Annie Finch offers an exciting exploration of the mysteries and delights of female-centered spirituality. Four Thursdays, June 6, 13, 20, 27 from 3:00 to 5:00  p.m.

With

Sandra Beasley is the author of three poetry collections, including Count the Waves (W.W. Norton), as well as the memoir Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life (Crown). Honors for her work include an NEA Literature Fellowship; distinguished writer residencies at Wichita State University, Cornell College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, and the University of Mississippi; and three D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowships. She is on the faculty of the University of Tampa’s low-residency MFA program, and periodically teaches at The American University.  She is also the editor of Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance (University of Georgia Press).

There is no one monolithic story of mental and chronic illness. In this complex, capacious essay collection, Esmé Weijun Wang draws upon firsthand experience—of being diagnosed with PTSD, late-stage Lyme Disease, and schizoaffective disorder complicated by Cotard’s Delusion—while employing her skills as an accomplished novelist and a former scientific researcher at Stanford. Monday, June 24, from 7 to 9 p.m.

MEMOIR

With

Howard Norman received the Lannan Prize in fiction. He is the author of eight novels and three memoirs, and a number of books for children. His new novel, The Ghost Clause, which is set in Vermont, will be published in July, 2019.  He has taught for thirty years in the MFA program at the University of Maryland. He is on the faculty of the Napa Valley Literary Conference and the Squaw Valley Literary Conference. He is at work on a memoir, When News Filtered to the Angels, They Were Overwhelmed By Their Loneliness, which is about a friendship with the painter Jake Berthot.

This is a traditional writing workshop dedicated to the reading and discussion of individual writer's memoirs, whether just begun or at a more advanced stage.  During each meeting we will discuss in detail two or three (depending on how the conversation proceeds) memoirs-in-progress.  Each writer will hand in no more than ten pages of her/his memoir, along with a cover letter describing the project. Four Saturdays: April 20, 27, May 4, 11, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

POETRY

With

Annie Finch is the author or editor of six books of poetry, most recently Spells: New and Selected Poems. Her poetry has been performed at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, installed in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and published in Poetry, Paris Review, The New York Times, and The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Her books for poets and poetry lovers include A Poet's Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry, Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters, An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art, and The Body of Poetry. Finch holds a BA from Yale and a Ph.D from Stanford, has taught and lectured widely, and has received the Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award for her lifetime contribution to the art and craft of versification.

Join acclaimed poet, editor, and translator and beloved poetry teacher Annie Finch for a reading and writing journey through the pleasures and paradoxes of the sonnet form. No previous poetry writing experience necessary. Three Thursdays: May 2, 9, 16, 3:30 to 6 PM.

With

Frank Ambrosio is Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. After studies in Italian language and literature in Florence, Italy, he completed his doctoral degree at Fordham University with a specialization in contemporary European Philosophy.

He is the founding Director, with Edward Maloney, of the Georgetown University “My Dante Project” a web based platform for personal and collaborative study of Dante’s Commedia. In 2014, he acted as lead instructor for the launch of an ongoing web-based course (MOOC) on Dante offered by EDX (http://dante.georgetown.edu) which currently has been utilized by over 20,000 students.

His most recent book is Dante and Derrida: Face to Face, (State University of New York Press) (Link)

He has received five separate awards from Georgetown University for excellence in teaching. He is the former Director of the Doctor of Liberal Studies Program, and in 2015, he received the Award for Faculty Achievement from the American Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs.

In October 2009, The Teaching Company released his course, "Philosophy, Religion and the Meaning of Life," (https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/philosophy-intellectual-history/philosophy-religion-and-the-meaning-of-life.html) a series of 36 half-hour video lectures which he created for the "Great Courses" series. At Georgetown, he teaches courses on Existentialism, Postmodernism, Hermeneutics, and Dante.

In addition to his work at Georgetown, he co-directs The Renaissance Company with Deborah R. Warin, leading adult study programs focusing on Italian Renaissance culture and its contemporary heritage. http://www.renaissancecompany.com/

For those willing to undertake the steep ascent of Dante’s seven-story Mountain, nowhere in the legacy of human culture is the process of becoming a “whole person” more closely observed or rendered with deeper psychological and social insight than in the cantos of Dante’s Purgatorio. It is certainly possible to read, understand and enjoy Purgatorio without having read the Inferno. Four Tuesdays: May 7, 14, 21, 28, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.. *SOLD OUT* To be added to the waitlist, please email classes@politics-prose.com

With

Alexander Sens has been a professor at Georgetown University since he received his PhD in Classics in 1991, and currently occupies the Markos and Eleni Kounalakis Chair in Hellenic Studies. His research and teaching focus on Greek poetry, and in particular on that of the late Classical and early Hellenistic periods. He's especially interested in how poets of these ages engage with the antecedent literary tradition in order to create meaning. His most recent book, co-authored with his colleague Charles McNelis, is The Alexandra of Lycophron: A Literary Study (OUP, 2016)

 This course will focus on Homer's Odyssey, and in particularly on Emily Wilson's new translation of the poem.  It will proceed by a mixture of lecture and discussion, always with a focus on close reading, and will cover general questions of epic composition and transmission as well as specific issues attending the poem, including its construction of heroic values and its treatment of issues of gender and sexuality.  In addition, a class and a half will be devoted to Apollonius' Argonautica , a work composed in the period after Alexander the Great that engages closely the Odyssey and that was of crucial importance for later literature like Vergil's Aeneid. Apollonius' reception of Homer raises interesting questions about the status of epic in a post-Homeric world, and about the nature of heroism.  Four Thursdays: June 6, 13, 20, 27, 6-8 pm

OTHER

With

Jerry Webster presently serves as the Shastri, or head teacher, with the Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center in Washington, D.C. He began meditation with a ten full-day retreat in India with the Burmese teacher Goenka in 1974. Since 1976, he is a student of the Shambhala Buddhist tradi-tion and he has taught in this tradition since 1977. He obtained his PH.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland in 1999. He has taught numerous courses in literature for the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University and numerous courses in multiculturalism for Montgomery County Public Schools. He has taught English full-time in public school systems for forty years; he be-gan teaching with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in 1973. During the past four years, he has led five full-day week-long meditation weekthuns and numerous programs along the East Coast, including multi-ple local courses Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Peace Corps, Frederick Community College, and the Frederick Meditation Center. This will be his third course at Politics & Prose

The practice of the four foundations of mindfulness allows one to enter the present more fully. This is a course on mindfulness which involves studying, contemplating, understanding, and em-ploying techniques, called the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, which Gotama Buddha used over 2,500 years ago. Four Wednesdays: June 5, 12, 19, and 26, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.