Associate Professor of Fiction Writing
N.S. Koenings's first novel, The Blue Taxi , and her short story collection, Theft, were published by Little Brown and Company in 2006 and 2009.
Her fiction is usually set in global peripheries, where her diverse, multi-lingual characters search for safety and love in contexts sharply shaped by violence and Empire. Before dedicating herself to fiction writing and pursuing her M.F.A., she completed an M.A. and Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology with a focus on East Africa, popular histories of revolution, and politics and witchcraft. She has published anthropological work on Tanzanian politics and expressive culture and has worked for human rights in Africa.
Her current interests include difficult women (Helene Cixous, Clarice Lispector, Janet Frame), inflecting English with sounds and knowledge drawn from other cultures and languages, and the history and theory of narrative craft. In addition to fiction-related work, her areas of expertise include ethnography, Islam in Africa, global migrations, racialized histories, gender, and sexuality.
Understanding the limits and possibilities of point of view is an essential step in becoming a writer. This reading and workshop course will introduce members to various kinds of literary point of view. Through focused writing exercises, intensive reading of contemporary U.S. and international fiction told in different modes, members will acquire a language for analyzing point of view in fiction, as well as practical experience in using varied points of view themselves. Most importantly, members will refine their ability to read as writers, mining published work for technical insights and guidance. Students will produce 2 pieces of fiction for the workshop and will also write a critical essay about point of view. Prerequisite: At least one college-level intensive creative writing course featuring significant peer critique. Students must view creative writing as a key part of their Division II concentration. Instructor Permission only: NO PERMISSIONS GRANTED UNTIL FIRST WEEK. NO WRITING SAMPLES. ALL INTERESTED STUDENTS MUST ATTEND THE FIRST CLASS.
This seminar course will take as its starting point the idea that women's lives are complex, valuable, and interesting, and that creative writers can benefit from closely and courageously imagining, exploring, and textualizing them. Our readings will focus on women writers whose work is considered 'difficult' - strange, complicated and provocative; and we will use these writings as a springboard for our own weekly written work. Among the authors to be considered are: Helene Cixous, Clarice Lispector, Toni Morrisson, Janet Frame, Angela Carter, Shirley Jackson, May Sarton, Joyce Carol Oates, Rabih Alamedine, Ramona Ausubel, and others.