A deep-sea ghost shark is filmed for the first time. A dad mows the lawn calmly as a tornado whirls in the distance. A moldy sandwich that looks like Mickey Mouse is selling for 30 thousand dollars. A truck carrying dough overflows after heat makes the dough rise. We live in a weird world (plus, there was that whole 2020 year). In this class, we will focus on starting stories that write toward strangeness, stories that may make the bizarre seem normal and that may make the normal seem bizarre. In writing the weird, we'll discuss how strong images, sensory details, and characterization can be used to create stories that are not just strange, but emotionally resonant.
Lee Conell is the author of The Party Upstairs, a novel released July 2020 from Penguin Press. She’s also the author of the story collection Subcortical, which was awarded The Story Prize Spotlight Award, an Independent Publisher Book Award, and an American Fiction Award. She has received a 2020 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as writing fellowships from the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Vanderbilt University, and the Yiddish Book Center. Her fiction appears in the Oxford American, Kenyon Review online, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere; her stories have won the Nelson Algren Award from the Chicago Tribune, and have been shortlisted in Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize anthology. She’s taught fiction writing at Vanderbilt University, Sewanee: The University of the South, Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital, and the Nashville Public Library. Some interviews and features with Lee can be found at The Millions, Memorious, Split Lip Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, The Collagist, and American Short Fiction.
Lee Conell is a returning teacher the Porch. Welcome back!