The Fall Fiction Workshop

Course tutor: Olivia Parkes
When: Wednesdays 19:00-21:00
Date: September 11, 2024
Where: Another Country Bookshop
Number of sessions: 7
Maximum participants: 12
Cost: €265

What kind of stories do you want to tell, and what is the best way of telling them? Open to writers of all levels, this seven-week workshop will allow you to experiment with and develop your own writing, with an eye to generating stories that are efficient, loaded, and urgent. In the first half of the course, we’ll read and discuss short fiction by authors like Joy Williams, Haruki Murakami, Donald Barthelme, and Lydia Davis, and apply what we learn in exercises aimed at generating new material and exploring different approaches to the craft of storytelling.

In the second half of the course, you’ll have the opportunity to workshop your own fiction, gaining invaluable feedback for revision as well as the opportunity to hone your editorial eye. Expect an open and supportive environment in which to explore your interests and obsessions, generate new work, and revise work in progress. Each student will have the opportunity to formally workshop their own writing once, though we will also informally share from the short, spontaneous work generated in the first half of the class. You’ll get detailed written feedback from Olivia on your submission after we discuss your work.

Email us at hello@thereaderberlin.com to sign up!

Olivia Parkes is a British-American writer and artist based in Berlin. Her short stories have appeared in Tin House, Electric Literature, American Short Fiction, Zyzzyva, and The Masters Review, among other publications. She received her MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2021 and is the recipient of fellowships from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Dorothea Konwiarz Stiftung, and the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa, Berlin.

TESTIMONIALS:

I love Olivia’s workshops! She brings such a joyous atmosphere to the group discussion, such a collegiate feel, and yet her observations, and questions to the group are always so deft and incisive. She has a way of drawing out the best in a group, ensuring that we’re reading and thinking, as writers. Everything seems worthy of attention during workshop weeks: writing feels fun, easy and possible. Group feedback on a work in progress is gently shepherded in a particularly useful way by Olivia: the result has been totally invaluable for my writing (and re-drafting). If you’re feeling stuck or lonely in your writing practice, Olivia’s workshops are a great way to open a few doors and let the light in.
– Louise East

I’ve participated in two of Olivia’s workshops, and both experiences were equally fulfilling in different ways. I don’t have much of a writing background, and this was the perfect way to explore the process more. Olivia is warm and engaging, and steers all the different personalities with a light touch, ensuring that discussion is both beneficial and lively. The sessions are a lot of fun! Olivia gives excellent pointers on both the technical and creative sides of storytelling, and I learned a lot about generating as well as revising work. I’d recommend the workshop to anyone, and will certainly join the group again in the future.
– Lauren Kavanagh

Olivia’s workshop is an absolute gem! Her approach to stories and craft is  exploratory and makes storytelling feel full of opportunities. Her writing exercises invite you to approach your creativity in new ways, and her feedback balances exploration and rigorous analysis in service of the writer’s aim. She finds the heart of a piece and goes from there. This was especially useful to witness when discussing our own pieces, which sometimes didn’t quite know what they were yet. Each workshop I’ve taken with her has allowed me to discover something new about my writing. There is much more I could say about her workshop — the great generative exercises, the thought-provoking in-class discussions, the joy of meeting Berlin-based writers — but if there’s one reason you should take this class, it’s to learn from Olivia.

– Victoria Jacobi

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