Necessary Hero: A Fiction Workshop

Open—Spring

Imagine a hero who is female and grows up in the Appalachian Mountains. Imagine a hero who is male, a Mexican immigrant, and lives near the Oakland shipyards. Imagine a girl from Norway whose family immigrates to North Dakota in the 1870s. What in their characters will begin to distinguish each as a hero? What flaws or beliefs? What innovative actions will their circumstances, culture, or time in history necessitate? The only requirement for each student’s hero is that he or she be human and living on earth. During the semester, each writer will develop a sustained hero’s tale. This will require the accurate imagination of place, time, character, and actions in response to each hero’s challenges and obstacles. Writers will research, as well as reflect on, heroic models from antiquity to the present day. Along with writing exercises suited to the task, we will read tales of heroes from the Americas, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere: Gilgamesh, Odysseus, Buddha, Moses, Joan of Arc, Nana Triban, Pippi Longstocking, Huck Finn, as well as student-selected literary models.