Nonfiction with Pam Houston

Spend each morning workshop (9:30 a.m. - 12:30p.m.) with Pam Houston and a group of between seven and twelve other writers.This class is open to prose writers working in any number of forms:  personal essays, memoirs, lyric essay, topic essay, collage, and all of the spaces in between. You will be asked to turn in/bring ten copies of a manuscript of no more than 5000 words to distribute to your fellow workshop members. We will spend some percentage of class time on those manuscripts as well as writing we do all together. In class you will work toward demystifying some of the essential components of great prose (image, metaphor, structure, dialogue, character, scene, among others) and turning them into comprehensible tools that are at your disposal. At the same time the class will honor (and hope for) the inexplicable flights of creativity (and madness?) that take a good story and make it great. Please also read Citizen by Claudia Rankine, and A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit prior to coming to the workshop, and if you have time The White Album (the essay, or the whole collection of essays) by Joan Didion.

 Photo Credit: Adam Karsten

Photo Credit: Adam Karsten

Pam Houston’s most recent book is Contents May Have Shifted, published in 2012. She is also the author of two collections of linked short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, the novel, Sight Hound, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton.

Her stories have been selected for volumes of Best American Short StoriesThe O. Henry AwardsThe 2013 Pushcart Prize, and Best American Short Stories of the Century. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA award for contemporary fiction, The Evil Companions Literary Award and multiple teaching awards.

She directs the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers, is professor of English at UC Davis, teaches in The Institute of American Indian Art’s Low-Rez MFA program, and at writer’s conferences around the country and the world.

She lives on a ranch at 9,000 feet in Colorado near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.