Support Porch programming and Nashville's literary community by becoming a member!

Master Class with Jonathan Escoffery: The Anatomy of Story

Sep 14
Sep 14
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM CST
Jonathan Escoffery
Online via Zoom
Cancellation & Refund Policy >

The Porch is excited to offer a masterclass with debut author Jonathan Escoffery, whose story collection If I Survive You will be published in September 2022. “This is a compelling hurricane of a book that sweeps the past, present and future together into one inextricable knot,” writes Ann Patchett. “This is where Jonathan Escoffery’s career begins. There are no limits to where he will go.” Rumaan Alam says, “It’s truly a feat that a book of short stories tackling such big stuff--family, love, violence, race--could be so damn funny. Jonathan Escoffery is a writer only just getting started, and his first book is a welcome reminder of what fiction can do.”

Energetic prose and unforgettable characters are often said to be the bedrocks of literary fiction. Fully fleshed out characters have implied histories and futures that never make it onto the page, so what dictates where and when a character’s problems and desires become worthy of dramatization? And what determines where that dramatization ends? And, finally, how do you know when your story is undercooked, over-inflated, or fully realized? In this generative intensive, we’ll use prompts to create story-worthy characters and explore how elements such as repetition, reversals and recognition, and suspense and tension-building can help us determine the contours of the worlds we create. Participants will leave class with numerous tools for testing their current drafts’ “readiness,” as well as ideas for a new story.

Mark your calendar for Escoffery's virtual appearance at Parnassus on Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. Central, cohosted by us!

Use code EARLYBIRD at checkout for 20% off through August 18!

Jonathan Escoffery is the author of If I Survive You, forthcoming Sept. 6th, 2022 from MCDxFSG (U.S.) and McClelland and Stewart (Canada). It will be published in the UK and Commonwealth by 4th Estate Books (Feb 2, 2023), and will be published in translation in France by Albin Michel and in Germany by Piper Verlag (January 26, 2023).

Jonathan is the winner of The Paris Review’s 2020 Plimpton Prize for Fiction and is the recipient of a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts (Prose) Literature Fellowship. His story “Under the Ackee Tree” was among the trio that won the Paris Review the 2020 ASME Award for Fiction from the American Society of Magazine Editors, and was subsequently included in The Best American Magazine Writing 2020. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Oprah Daily, Electric Literature, Zyzzyva, AGNI, Pleiades, American Short Fiction, Prairie Schooner, Passages North, and elsewhere.

Jonathan has taught creative writing and seminars on the writer’s life at Stanford University, the University of Minnesota, the Center for Fiction, Tin House, Writers in Progress, and at GrubStreet in Boston, where, as former staff, he founded the Boston Writers of Color Group, which currently has more than 2,000 members. He has received support and honors from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, Aspen Words, Kimbilio Fiction, the Anderson Center, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Creative Writing MFA Program (Fiction) and attends the University of Southern California’s Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature Program as a Provost Fellow. He is a 2021-2023 Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

What Our Students Say

Jonathan is new to The Porch. Welcome!

more classes

Draft Chat, August 22

Christie Grotheim


Story Basics: A Crash Course on Fiction Writing

Katie McDougall


The Department of You

Dare Williams