Reading in the Creative Writing classroom
Picking texts for Creative Writing classrooms is always tricky. I want to provide a text that I personally find fascinating, as well as one that addresses a craft or thematic challenge for the students. But I also go through periods of assigning novels I don’t love - simply because hearing that students hate a book you adore can be disheartening. But then I go back out of those periods, simply because I get excited about a book and I want to share it.
This year, I’m really pleased be able to assign Undressing Stone, a book I love by one of my favourite writers, Hazel Manuel. The novel subverts a typical piece of writing advice - to make sure your character isn’t alone on the page too much as introspection can be dull. However, Undressing Stone depicts the inner world of Sian beautifully, creating an ode to introversion.
Luckily, Hazel is also in the UK right now, and she will be coming in to talk to my MA students at the University of Hertfordshire! I’m really looking forward to it!
Check out an interview with Hazel by the Devon Book Club here (with a mention of the University and Cold Crash!)