R.A. teaches fiction and nonfiction at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Here is a sampling of some of the courses she’s taught recently:
Narrative Corners of the Internet (Undergrad)
A creative writing workshop and cultural studies course aimed at the critical investigation of the production, manipulation, and distortion of narratives on the internet. Students achieve “digital fluency” by reading digital humanistic theory and incorporating digital elements into their short stories.
The Digital Novella (Grad)
In addition to the craft principles and historical survey present in “The Novella,” this workshop aims to introduce students to the hybrid digital/analog work, challenging students to use digital creation methods such as Twine, Twitter, memes, geocaching, podcasting, and even software like Microsoft PowerPoint to complete their novellas.
The New New Journalism (Grad)
A nonfiction course and workshop in longform literary journalism designed to analyze works of “New New Journalism” (i.e. the newest generation of writers in the tradition of Joan Didion and Tom Wolfe) for their craft elements. Students write one 10,000-word piece of researched literary journalism and pose questions about the ethics of reporting. Notable guests include Rolling Stone music critic Kiana Fitzgerald (in-person visit), Things We Didn’t Talk about When I Was a Girl author Jeannie Vanasco (virtual visit), and New York Times reporter Ben Mauk (virtual visit).
Intro to Short Story Writing:
Fiction and Empathy (Undergrad)
In this course, students are encouraged to research a topic they want to learn more about and use that information to write a short story. Students are given the option of conducting this research through participating in a service-learning program or writing a research paper. Topics researched include: grandparenthood, stand-up comedy, action movies, and personality disorders.
Forms of Fiction:
The Novella (Grad)
In this course, students study the novella from the eighteenth century onwards and write novellas of their own. Novellas studied include Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor, Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, Ted Chiang’s The Story of Your Life, Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti, George Saunders’s Bounty, Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain, and Samantha Chang’s Hunger.
Advanced Fiction Writing:
Characters Behaving Badly (Undergrad)
In this course, students study characters at their strangest and most despicable. We try to understand what makes people behave badly and why trainwrecks are so fascinating to read about. Writers studied include NoViolet Bulawayo, Adam Haslett, Yiyun Li, Clarice Lispector, and James Baldwin.
This class is a traditional fiction workshop with a built-in element of professionalization. Students entertain guest speakers including agents, editors, and established writers. At the beginning of every class, students ask “Process Questions,” (questions related in some way to the writing and publication process), and the class endeavors to answer them together. Past guest speakers include agent Ross Harris of the Stuart Krichevsky Agency, editor Kerry Cullen of Henry Holt Publishing Co., and writers Carmen Maria Machado (Her Body and Other Parties) and Andrea Lawlor (Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl).