In this six-week advanced fiction workshop, we’ll commit to a supportive and rigorous workshop process, in which each student will be workshopped twice. I believe in the magic of workshop and in the small utopias that can be conjured in a classroom (yes, even a virtual one!) - and I also believe that the best teacher is great literature itself; to be a great writer a person must first become a great reader. With this in mind, we’ll read and discuss a diverse selection of stories and novel excerpts, old and new, to see what we can steal, what delights us or repels us and why. I’ll also recommend reading tailored to each student based on their work and objectives, and I'll be available over email for guidance and encouragement. This course is for writers who already have some experience of workshop and are looking to hone and amplify what makes their work inimitably theirs.
To apply for the course, please submit a writing sample of up to 10 double-spaced pages. Admission is rolling.
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- You’ll come away with two fully workshopped pieces ready for submission.
- A deepened understanding of the ways fictions work.
- A stronger sense of your own voice, a renewed commitment to your mission as a writer, and a greater confidence and sense of direction in your work.
- A 45-minute one-on-one Zoom or phone call with Hermione for individualized feedback and mentorship.
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
We'll workshop two pieces each week, of up to 5, 000 words. Students will be expected to come to class having made marginal comments as well as having written a letter in response to the work in question, providing feedback, which should be sent to the author after class. We’ll engage deeply – both critically and compassionately – with each other’s work, as well as with weekly readings chosen to help illuminate our way through certain challenges.
Week 1: Introductions, guidelines, goal-setting. Some thoughts on ego-lessness and, via George Saunders, a consideration of how literature might be “a form of fondness-for-life […] love for life taking verbal form.”
Week 2: On dialogue: what works – some tips, tricks, and general principles to write by.
Week 3: Responsible metaphor! How to deploy figurative language with flair, originality, and restraint.
Week 4: Concision and the art of cutting.
Week 5: Getting intelligently dumb: an exploration of intuition, oddness, and the notion of “felt if not understood.”
Week 6: Where next: an open session to help plot next steps, both practical (submissions! Agents! Etc) and imaginative.
Hermione Hoby is a cultural critic and the author of the novels Neon in Daylight, a two-time New York Times editors’ choice, and Virtue, which was published by Riverhead Books with praise from Rachel Kushner, Jia Tolentino, Leslie Jamison and others. She writes about literature, visual art, film, and music, and her pieces have appeared in Harper’s, the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Guardian, Vanity Fair, and elsewhere. Raised in south London, she graduated from Cambridge in 2007, subsequently spent ten years in New York, and now lives in Boulder, Colorado.
"What do you get when a writer of extreme intelligence, insight, style and beauty chronicles the lives of self-absorbed hedonists―THE GREAT GATSBY, BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY, and now NEON IN DAYLIGHT. Hermione Hoby paints a garish world that drew me in and held me spellbound. She is a marvel."
"A RADIANT FIRST NOVEL. . . . [NEON IN DAYLIGHT] has antecedents in the great novels of the 1970s: Renata Adler’s Speedboat, Elizabeth Hardwick’s Sleepless Nights, Joan Didion’s Play It as It Lays. . . . Precision—of observation, of language—is Hoby’s gift. Her sentences are sleek and tailored. Language molds snugly to thought."
“Intense and addictive . . . With a touch as light as a single match, Hoby scorches the earth beneath hollow social activism and performative outrage.”
“[Hoby] might have just written the defining New York City novel of our fraught, socially anxious, and politically tumultuous times.”
“A delicious meditation on morality, nostalgia, and art. . . . Hoby searingly renders Luca’s many worlds and lambasts insincere compassion with nuance.”
“A small book about small things that becomes a big book about everything.”
“Hermione Hoby has a high-wire command of language and a sensitivity for conjuring facets of being that I never knew could be described until I read VIRTUE.”
“Hermione Hoby has a way of rebuilding the world with astounding resonance and vividness. In VIRTUE, with bewitching precision, she captures the ominous beauty and soft underbelly of our protest summers. The result is both a sumptuous portrait of all-consuming attraction and a compassionate indictment of shallow social conscience. I loved this novel, and sank deep into its radiance and rot.”