Learning should be a lived experience. Literature (reading it and writing it) uplifts and gives voice to our students.
The Ethel Walker School Visiting Writer Seminar is a semester-long course in which students have the rare and special opportunity to immerse themselves in a study of one writer’s works, something few students of English at the undergraduate and graduate levels experience. Throughout the semester, students read a critical mass of texts by that writer, developing a deep and abiding knowledge of that writer’s style, form(s), and ideas.
The course culminates with a visit by the author to Walker’s. Through master classes, writing workshops, and readings to the community, students are invited to ask the questions that only the author can answer. At the end of each semester, students in the Visiting Writer Seminar collaborate on a final project in which they conceptualize, layout, design, and publish a class anthology of works, inspired by the writings of the visiting writer.
The magic of this course is created in the collaborative and symbiotic exchange between the writer and the student. Learning and inspiration move from the writer to the student but also, we hope, from the student back to the writer.
Tina Chang, Brooklyn Poet Laureate, is the author of Half-Lit Houses (2004), Of Gods & Strangers (2011), and most recently Hybrida (2019) which was named A Most Anticipated Book of 2019 by NPR, Lit Hub, The Millions, Oprah magazine, Publisher’s Weekly and was named a New York Times Book Review New & Noteworthy collection. She is also the co-editor of the W.W. Norton anthology Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (2008). Chang is the director of Creative Writing at Binghamton University.
Rebecca Makkai is a novelist and author of The Great Believers, shortlisted for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 2018 National Book Awards and winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal. A phenomenal speaker who is beloved by readers, booksellers, and critics, Rebecca has previously published The Hundred-Year House (winner of the Chicago Writers Association Award), The Borrower, and a short-story collection called Music for Wartime. In her engaging and instructive talks, Makkai discusses the strategies she uses in her writing process, from overcoming writer’s block to turning research into realism. For more information on Rebecca Makkai, please visit www.prhspeakers.com.