Go to New York State Writers Institute
Fall 2007


Fiction Master Class Workshop Offered by

MacArthur Fellow Lydia Davis


New York State Writers Institute Distinguished Writer-in-Residence and MacArthur Fellow Lydia Davis will conduct a Fiction Master Class Workshop during the fall 2007 semester. The workshop is intended for advanced writers �writers who have at least one publication in a literary journal. It will be an intensive five-session workshop.


The Fiction Master Class Workshop is scheduled for Tuesday evenings (October 23, 30, November 6, 13, 20) from 6 to 9 p.m. Classes will be held on the University at Albany�s uptown campus. The workshop is offered free of charge for no credit, and will be limited to ten writers, made up of both non-University writers and a few UAlbany students who are enrolled in the English Department�s Masters or Doctoral programs. We regret that this workshop is not open to students who have taken it previously. To be considered, submit manuscripts to the Writers Institute according to the guidelines listed below.


Guidelines for Fiction Master Class Workshop


         All manuscripts must be typewritten, or printed from a computer, double-spaced.


         All submissions must include a separate cover sheet with name, address, work and home telephone numbers, e-mail address, and the title of your submission and a publication list. Your name should not appear on the pages of your submission itself.


         Please submit no more than 15 pages of fiction, which can consist of a selection of short-short stories, a traditional narrative short story, or an excerpt from a novel. Clearly indicate the title of each piece. Include a brief (100-200 words) description of the project you would like to work on in the workshop. To insure a blind selection process, do not put your name on the pages of your submission.


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


         Manuscripts delivered in person will be accepted up until 1:00 p.m. on Monday, September 24, 2007. Mailed manuscripts must be postmarked not later than Wednesday, September 19, 2007. Faxes or e-mails will not be accepted. Auditing of the class is not allowed.

         Notification of acceptance will be by Friday, October 12. Please do not call regarding the status of your manuscript. We regret that neither Ms. Davis nor the Institute can comment on manuscripts by writers not selected.


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Lydia Davis


Lydia Davis, acclaimed fiction writer and translator is famous in literary circles for her extremely short and brilliantly inventive short stories. In fall 2003 she received one of 25 MacArthur Foundation �Genius� awards. In granting the award the MacArthur Foundation praised Davis�s work for showing �how language itself can entertain, how all that what one word says, and leaves unsaid, can hold a reader�s interest. . . . Davis grants readers a glimpse of life�s previously invisible details, revealing new sources of philosophical insights and beauty.�

Davis�s most recent collection, published this past May, is Varieties of Disturbance, which was featured on the front cover of the Los Angeles Times Book Review and garnered a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Her Samuel Johnson Is Indignant (2001) was praised by Elle magazine for its �Highly intelligent, wildly entertaining stories, bound by visionary, philosophical, comic prose�part Gertrude Stein, part Simone Weil, and pure Lydia Davis.�

Davis is also a celebrated translator of French literature into English. The French government named her a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters for her fiction and her distinguished translations of works by Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Jean Jouve, Michel Butor and others.

Davis recently published a new translation (the first in more than 80 years) of Marcel Proust�s masterpiece, Swann�s Way (2003), the first volume of Proust�s In Search of Lost Time. A story of childhood and sexual jealousy set in fin de siecle France, Swann�s Way is widely regarded as one of the most important literary works of the 20th century.

The Sunday Telegraph (London) called the new translation �A triumph [that] will bring this inexhaustible artwork to new audiences throughout the English-speaking world.� Writing for the Irish Times, Frank Wynne said, �What soars in this new version is the simplicity of language and fidelity to the cambers of Proust�s prose� Davis�s translation is magnificent, precise.�

Davis�s previous works include Almost No Memory (stories, 1997), The End of the Story (novel, 1995), Break It Down (stories, 1986), Story and Other Stories (1983), and The Thirteenth Woman (stories, 1976).

Grace Paley wrote of Almost No Memory that Lydia Davis is the kind of writer who �makes you say, �Oh, at last!�brains, language, energy, a playfulness with form, and what appears to be a generous nature.�� The collection was chosen as one of the �25 Favorite Books of 1997� by the Voice Literary Supplement and one of the �100 Best Books of 1997� by the Los Angeles Times.

Davis first received serious critical attention for her collection of stories, Break It Down, which was selected as a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. The book�s positive critical reception helped Davis win a prestigious Whiting Writer�s Award in 1988.

Davis is currently on leave from her position as Professor of English at the University at Albany.