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Hopscotching Across Languages: Drawing Inspiration from Spanish Language Literature in Translation

July 25 @ 3:30 pm - August 1 @ 5:30 pm


Though we’re not traveling to Granada this summer for obvious reasons, I’m teaching a couple of classes for the next two Saturdays, 3:30-5:30 EST.

Class 2. Hopscotching Across Languages: Drawing Inspiration from Spanish Language Literature in Translation

It is a given that writers must learn to read closely, with attention to nuance and craft, to unravel the methods by which other writers have managed to tell stories effectively and adapt them for their own purposes. In this class, we’ll focus on contemporary writers in Spanish.

Session 1 – Saturday, July 25, 3:30 – 5:30 pm EDT online

In Part One, we’ll look at some canonical writers from the last century such as Borges,  Valenzuela, Puig, Uhart, and Cortázar, and explore how social and political conditions shaped the so-called “Latin American Boom.” Apart from an appreciation of their work on the page, what can we take away from their work? We’ll do some exercises that take the playful spirit of these writers and welcome it into our own writing.

Session 2 – Saturday, August 1, 3:30 – 5:30 pm EDT online

In Part Two, we’ll look at how today’s Spanish language writers are both continuing and radically transforming that tradition today. In particular, we’ll examine writers such as Ariana Harwicz, Andrés Neuman, Cristina Rivera Garza, and Samanta Schweblin, each of whom bends narrative and language, and thus our understanding of reality itself. We’ll also explore the fraught, infinitely rich topic of translation, discussing its complexities and even comparing a passage or two in English and Spanish. What language choices did the translator have to make? What was lost and gained? As we look at translation, we’ll pose the further question of what we can learn from it as we seek to “translate” any event, image, idea, or experience into language. In this case, too, we will do some exercises that use these writers and concepts as points of departure. It isn’t necessary to take both of these, as they will stand alone, although they will also fit together well.

Here’s the complete schedule for all the retreat classes:



July 25 @ 3:30 pm
August 1 @ 5:30 pm