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Renowned Literary Professionals to Lead Creative Writing Workshops at Drew University
Emily Nemens and Denne Michele Norris present unique learning experiences for students
November 2021 – Next semester, Drew University will welcome two leading literary professionals to lead creative writing workshops: Emily Nemens, novelist and recent editor of The Paris review, and Denne Michele Norris, the new editor of Electrical literature.
“Their presence is a huge opportunity for students, and a big deal for Drew,” said Courtney Zoffness, assistant professor of English and director of Drew’s creative writing program.
Zoffness noted that students will be able to learn from two accomplished authors who bring additional experience and perspective as respected editors.
“Creative Writing Workshops focus not just on generating new work, but on the essentials of editing, and Emily and Denne are uniquely placed to advise on both parts of this process,” a- she declared.
Nemens, whose first novel The Cactus League was named best book 2020 by NPR and Lit Hub, a Los Angeles Times bestseller and New York Times book review Editors’ Choice, is excited to help students get started at the beginning.
“I think it will be exciting to spend time with the beginning of the fiction writing process exploring the elements of fiction, studying and discussing examples of different styles and forms, and ultimately helping students to create their own short fiction,” she said. .
Norris, whose role at Electrical literature recently made her the first black trans woman to lead a major literary outlet, hopes to encourage students to keep writing and expose them to works they might not otherwise encounter.
“My feeling is that it’s my duty to keep young writers writing, moving forward, especially writers from backgrounds or backgrounds that rarely get to the page, or haven’t felt that their experiences, perspectives and stories deserved to be written with authenticity, if at all. As a black woman of trans experience, I take this to heart,” she said.
What do these two pros hope for from the literature of the workshops?
“A few stories, to start!” offered Nemens. “Or at least solid drafts of stories – the hard truth is that some stories are written in a week, and some can take a year or more to perfect. But I hope students come away with not just some confidence in their writing and solid pieces, but also a toolkit to help them continue to work on creative writing outside and beyond the classroom.
“The goal is to give students the feeling that they have a well-developed toolkit to tell their own stories in a way that will be memorable and meaningful to readers,” Denne added.