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On various Saturdays and some weeknights, Queens writers will study and practice craft with some of the best writers from our area. These classes focus on a particular theme, craft technique, or element of poetry, memoir, essay, or fiction writing and include reading, discussion, and lots of writing time. These classes are not critique groups and no one will tell anyone what they were doing wrong with their writing—these classes are a chance to be inspired, to meet fellow writers, and to write, write, write. They are free and open to everyone, no matter their experience with writing or number of publications.


For information about our classes for kids and teens, visit here.

Narrative Structure in Short Fiction

Queens Library at Sunnyside, 43-06 Greenpoint Ave

February 01, 2020

2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

The strongest fiction is written by authors who make meaningful choices about how the form of their story works together with their narrative’s content. This, in a word, is structure.


In this workshop, students will analyze the structure of short stories from different authors like Toni Cade Bambara, Mikhail Bulgakov, Raymond Carver, Marilyn Chin, Lydia Davis, and Etgar Keret. They'll learn how to apply its lessons to their own work, whether they're just starting a story, in the middle of a draft, or in the process of editing.

Instructor: Bill Cheng is the author of Southern Cross the Dog, published by HarperCollins/Ecco in 2013, which was long listed for the PEN Open Book Award and the Center for Fiction's Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. He is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship Grant in Literature, and was a graduate of Hunter College's MFA Program. He lives in Brooklyn.

What's Going On? Writing Active Stories

Queens Library at Forest Hills, 108-19 71st Ave

March 07, 2020

2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Our stories may be smart, thoughtful, beautifully written and somehow still not feel lively on the page. This may be because the characters in the stories aren't actually doing anything. Their minds are vibrant but their bodies are, at best, inert. Our class will focus on how to recognize what kinds of present actions a story needs in order to be captivating. We'll read two stories together and then dissect the actions within each piece. Then we'll figure out how you might do the same in your own work. When you've got the interior and exterior lives feeling vibrant, you'll have a story that really touches people. That's our whole goal.

Instructor: Victor LaValle is the author of seven works of fiction and one comic book. His most recent novel, The Changeling, was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2017 by Time Magazine, USA Today, and the New York Public Library. He has been award a Guggenheim Fellowship, a World Fantasy Award, and the Key to Southeast Queens, among others. He teaches writing at Columbia University.

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Newtown Literary is committed to providing accessibility for people with various dis/abilities. Please email us at least two weeks before an event if you have any accommodation requirements.

Community Partnerships

These classes brought to you in partnership with Queens Library and is made possible, in part, with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 

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© 2019 by Newtown Literary Alliance, Inc.