James Lasdun

James Lasdun - Spring 2014


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Community Writers Workshop

Reaching out - Spring 2014
Each semester the Writers Institute sponsors residencies of varying lengths by authors who have distinguished themselves both for their writing and their teaching. In tandem with these residencies free writing workshops are offered on a competitive basis to members of the community.

Fiction Writing Workshop Offered
by
Writers Institute Fellow James Lasdun

New York State Writers Institute Fellow James Lasdun will conduct a workshop in spring 2014 for writers interested in all aspects of fiction. The focus will be on detailed discussion of students' work but there will also be readings from published novels, novellas, and short stories. These will range from the classic to the contemporary, and will be selected with a view to broadening the discussion of topics such as character, plot, style, and form, as they arise. Participants will be expected to be strongly self-motivated and to submit two works of up to twenty pages each over the course of the semester. These may be short stories or excerpts from longer works.

The workshop is scheduled for eight Thursday nights (March 6, 13, 27, April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1) from 6 to 9 p.m. In addition, individual student conferences will be scheduled. The class will take place on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. This workshop is offered for non-credit, free of charge for non-University students. Enrollment will be limited to ten to twelve students. To be considered, submit manuscripts to the Writers Institute according to the guidelines listed below. Due to the volume of manuscripts received from previous workshops, we must insist that you follow the guidelines exactly.

Guidelines for Fiction Workshop

  1. All manuscripts must be typewritten and double-spaced.

  2. All submissions must include a separate cover sheet with name, home address, work and home telephone numbers, and e-mail address.

  3. Submit 5–20 pages of fiction writing—a short story, part of a short story, or part of a novel. Include a brief statement (50–100 words) describing your interest in fiction writing and what you hope to learn by participating in this workshop. To insure a blind selection process, do not put your name on any of these pages.

  4. Be sure to keep a copy of your work as your manuscript will not be returned to you.

  5. Manuscripts delivered in person will be accepted until 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 12, 2014. Mailed manuscripts must be postmarked not later than Thursday, February 6, 2014. No faxes or e-mails.

  6. Notification of acceptance will be by Thursday, February 27, 2014.  Please do not call regarding the status of your manuscript. We regret that neither Mr. Lasdun nor the Institute can comment on manuscripts by writers not selected.

  7. Mail manuscripts to: Lasdun Fiction Writing Workshop
    New York State Writers Institute
    , University at Albany, SL 320
    1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY  12222

Poetry Writing Workshop
Offered by Writer-in-Residence James Lasdun

New York State Writers Institute Writer-in-Residence James Lasdun will conduct a poetry writing workshop during the spring 2014 semester. This workshop is for self-motivated students who already have some writing experience, and is intended to give participants an opportunity to develop and revise poems within a context of constructive peer-group criticism. Course work will concentrate on students' writing, but will also include close reading of selected texts with a view to discussing specific aspects of the art of poetry, such as voice, metaphor, and the relation of style to subject. Participants will be expected to submit up to ten pages of poetry every second week.  

The workshop is scheduled for eight Wednesday nights (March 5, 12, 26, April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30) from 6 to 9 p.m. The class will take place on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. This non-credit workshop is offered free of charge and will be limited to twelve writers. To be considered, submit manuscripts to the Writers Institute according to the guidelines listed below. Due to the volume of manuscripts received from previous workshops, we must insist that you follow the guidelines exactly.

Guidelines for Intermediate/Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop

  1. All manuscripts must be typewritten.

  2. All submissions must include a separate cover sheet with name, home address, work and home telephone numbers, and e-mail address.

  3. Submit three to five pages of poems, one poem per page, or individual poems up to five pages in length.  Include a brief statement (50–100 words) describing your interest in poetry and what you hope to learn by participating in this workshop. To insure a blind selection process, do not put your name on any of these pages
    .
  4. Be sure to keep a copy of your work as your manuscript will not be returned to you.

  5. Manuscripts delivered in person will be accepted up until 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 11, 2014. Mailed manuscripts must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, February 5, 2014. No faxes or e-mails.

  6. Notification of acceptance will be by Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Please do not call regarding the status of your manuscript. We regret that neither Mr. Lasdun nor the Institute can comment on manuscripts by writers not selected.

  7. Mail manuscripts to: Lasdun Poetry Workshop
    New York State Writers Institute
    , University at Albany, SL 320
    1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY  12222
       

            
Jame Lasdun
James Lasdun is a fiction and nonfiction writer, poet, and screenwriter. Born and raised in England, he has received awards and critical praise for his work on both sides of the Atlantic. Literary critic James Wood has said, “James Lasdun seems to me to be one of the secret gardens of English writing . . . When we read him we know what language is for.”

Lasdun’s newest book, Give Me Everything You Have (2013), is a nonfiction account of his experience of being harassed and stalked (electronically) by a former writing student. Publishers Weekly named it a December 2012 “Pick of the Week,” and said, “This subtle, compassionate take on the subject is rife with insights into the current cyberculture’s cult of anonymity, as well as the power, failure, and magic of writing.”

Lasdun’s first novel, The Horned Man (2002), was a New York Times Notable Book and an Economist Best Book of the Year. Comic and terrifying at once, the novel tells the story of a professor persecuted by a secret enemy—or perhaps by his own paranoid delusions. The London Sunday Times called it an “enormously inventive, superbly written novel [that] puts more seasoned authors in the shade.” The Washington Post called it, “unputdownable… a masterpiece of chilling mesmerizing control.”

A political thriller, Lasdun’s second novel, Seven Lies (2005), tells the tale of a former East German who, by a series of blackly comic and dangerous maneuvers, attempts to invent a perfect life for himself in the United States. The Guardian reviewer called it, “a marvel—exciting, atmospheric and the best summation to date of what it felt like to grow up on the other side of the wall.”

Lasdun’s most recent story collection, It’s Beginning to Hurt (2009), was listed by The Atlantic Monthly as number four of its top five books of 2009. In sharply evoked settings that range from the wilds of Northern Greece to the beaches of Cape Cod, these intensely dramatic tales chart the metamorphoses of their characters as they fall prey to the full range of human passions. One of the stories, “An Anxious Man,” was the inaugural winner of the United Kingdom National Short Story Prize in 2006.

Lasdun first came to public attention with the publication of his story collection, The Silver Age (1985), published in the U.S. as Delirium Eclipse and Other Stories (1986), winner of the Dylan Thomas Award. The Washington Post Book World called Lasdun’s stories “the most auspicious first collection of stories to come out of England” since the mid-1970s. Lasdun is also the author of The Siege and Other Stories (1999). The title story of that collection provided the basis of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1998 film, Besieged.

Lasdun’s first poetry collection, A Jump Start (1988), received the Eric Gregory Award of the United Kingdom’s Society of Authors. His 2001 collection, Landscape with Chainsaw, was short-listed for the T. S. Eliot Prize, and the LA Times Book Prize. His most recent collection, Water Sessions (2012, published in the UK),was praised by the Guardian reviewer for its “fine psychological acuity and astringent beauty.”

Lasdun is also the author of two travel guides with his wife, Pia Davis, Walking and Eating in Provence (2008) and Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria (1997).

Lasdun’s screenwriting credits also deserve mention. With director Jonathan Nossiter, he shared the Screenwriting Award for Sunday at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival (Sunday also received the Grand Jury Prize). Again with director Jonathan Nossiter, Lasdun co-wrote the screenplay of Signs and Wonders (2002), starring Charlotte Rampling,  an “emotional thriller” about an American living in Athens who falls in love again with his wife after having an affair with another woman.

A Writing Fellow at the New York State Writers Institute, Lasdun has taught at a number of American universities, including the University at Albany, Columbia, Princeton, and The New School.

 

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CONTACT INFORMATION:
Science Library, SL 320, University at Albany, NY 12222 | Phone 518-442-5620, Fax 518-442-5621, email writers@albany.edu