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International Writers' Collective

International Writers' Collective

By InternationalWritersCollective

Master classes and interviews with writers & poets. The International Writers' Collective is an Amsterdam-based learning community. We offer creative writing courses locally and online.
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Julie Phillips Master Class Recording
Julie Phillips Master Class Recording
Award-winning Amsterdam based author Julie Phillips gave a special master class for us on 16 October 2022, moderated by IWC teacher Karen Kao. The class focussed on her newest book in which she examines the relationship between motherhood and creativity through the lens of multiple female artists like Alice Walker, Doris Lessing and Audre Lorde. In The Baby on the Fire Escape: Creativity, Motherhood, and the Mind-Baby Problem, Julie tackles pre-conceived notions about who is allowed to be an artist. Jenny and Karen discuss: Must an artist be alone to create? Do all artists need to be “art monsters” in order to succeed? To what extent does the myth of the “perfect” parent / child / lover continue to burden writers today as we navigate ever increasing roles and responsibilities? ABOUT THESE TEACHERS Julie Phillips is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Hugo Award and the Locus Awards for her biography James Triptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon. Her short form work has appeared in The New Yorker, Ms., The Village Voice and the Dutch daily newspaper Trouw. She is the recipient of a Writing Creative Nonfiction Grant and an alumna of residencies at Hedgebrook and Willapa Bay AIR. Karen Kao is a teacher with the International Writers’ Collective and is the winner of the 2022 Kenyon Review Short Nonfiction Contest and a nominee for the Pushcart Prize, VERA, and Best of the Net. Her debut novel, The Dancing Girl and the Turtle (Linen Press 2017) is the first of a quartet of historical novels set in Shanghai. Karen’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, Pleiades Magazine, Hippocampus Magazine, and Tahoma Literary Review, among others. Copyright © 2022 Julie Phillips & International Writers’ Collective
42:20
November 16, 2022
Jenny Offill Master Class Recording
Jenny Offill Master Class Recording
Best-selling American novelist Jenny Offill gave a special master class for us on 17 July 2022, moderated by IWC teacher Karen Kao. The class focussed on her third novel Weather, her writing processes and influences. Jenny is perhaps best known for her novel, Dept. of Speculation (named one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by the New York Times Book Review) and Weather (shortlisted for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction). She’s also the author of a number of children’s books. Jenny and Karen discuss: the style of fragmentary writing the use of outside voices how curiosity feeds her writing how humor and sadness work together what novelists can learn from poetry, writing for children, and much more The class was held in the garden of  one of our teaching locations in Amsterdam so there is some occasional background noise. ABOUT THESE TEACHERS Jenny Offill is the author of three critically acclaimed novels and four children’s books. Her shorter work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review and Slate among other notable publications. She’s the recipient of a number of prestigious fellowships, including a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She’s taught at MFA programs at Columbia University, Brooklyn College, Syracuse University, and others. Karen Kao is a teacher with the International Writers’ Collective and is the winner of the 2022 Kenyon Review Short Nonfiction Contest and a nominee for the Pushcart Prize, VERA, and Best of the Net. Her debut novel, The Dancing Girl and the Turtle (Linen Press 2017) is the first of a quartet of historical novels set in Shanghai. Karen’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, Hippocampus Magazine, Tahoma Literary Review, The Common, and The Shanghai Literary Review, among others. Copyright © 2022 Jenny Offill & International Writers’ Collective
55:37
September 09, 2022
Faylita Hicks Master Class Recording
Faylita Hicks Master Class Recording
Prize-winning poet and spoken word artist Faylita Hicks gave a special master class for us on 27 February 2022 moderated by Laura Wetherington. The class focused on Faylita’s poetry collection HoodWitch. In speaking about their aspirations for the collection, Faylita described it as “a statement about black spirituality, about transformation, about queerness and being non-binary and what it means to me to be nonbinary.” The class covered topics such as: Combining advocacy and poetry Exploring big questions and abstract ideas in a way that’s accessible Writing across different forms and genres Reading for an audience & much more. HoodWitch was published by Acre Books in 2019. You can get it in paperback from the publisher, Book Depository, Bookshop.org, or also in ebook form from bol.com, Kobo, and most other major retailers. Faylita’s album A New Name for My Love is available on most streaming platforms. ABOUT THESE TEACHERS Faylita Hicks (she/they) is the author of HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019). This debut poetry collection was a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry, the 2019 Balcones Poetry Prize, and the 2019 Julie Suk Award. Hicks is the former Editor-in-Chief of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and the current Editor-in-Chief of Black Femme Collective. They were the 2021 Poet-in-Residence for Civil Rights Corps and are a Fellow at the Texas After Violence Project and the fall 2021 Shearing Fellow for the Black Mountain Institute. In June 2021, they became a voting member of the Recording Academy/Grammys. Their work has been featured in Adroit, American Poetry Review, Ecotone, F(r)iction, HuffPost, Kenyon Review, Longreads, Palette Poetry, Poetry Magazine, The Rumpus, Slate, Vox, VIDA Review, Yale Review, and others. Hicks received a BA in English from Texas State University-San Marcos in 2010 and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada University in 2018. They have been awarded fellowships and residencies from Tin House, Lambda Literary, among others, and won Palette Poetry’s 2020 Sappho Prize. They were a member of the IWC’s Level III poetry course. Laura Wetherington (she/her) is the author of Parallel Resting Places (Parlor Press 2021), which was awarded the 2020 New Measure Prize by Peter Gizzi. Laura’s earlier collection, A Map Predetermined and Chance (Fence Books), was selected by C.S. Giscombe for the National Poetry Series. Her poems have been featured by Poem-A-Day, the Colorado Review, and The Normal School, among many others. Laura is the poetry editor at Baobab Press. She teaches creative writing at Amsterdam University College and poetry classes at the International Writers’ Collective. Copyright © 2022 Faylita Hicks & International Writers’ Collective
54:06
June 06, 2022
Jing-Jing Lee Master Class Recording
Jing-Jing Lee Master Class Recording
Author Jing-Jing Lee gave a special online master class for us on 11 July 2021, moderated by Karen Kao. You can listen to a recording of the first hour of the class. The class focused on Jing’s historical novel, How We Disappeared, which portrays the lives of 'comfort women' in Singapore during World War II. We talk about the craft choices Jing made in her novel, sources of inspiration, the delicate art of writing about trauma, weaving together multiple time periods and points of view, the research needed for historical fiction, how to find and work with an agent, and more. How We Disappeared was published in 2019 by Oneworld. It has been translated into multiple languages and is also available in ebook and audio formats. You can purchase your copy from most major book retailers. To those based in Amsterdam, we recommend our host bookstore Van Rossum. ABOUT THESE TEACHERS Jing-Jing Lee was born and raised in Singapore. She holds a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford. Her debut novel How We Disappeared was shortlisted for the 2020 Singapore Literature Prize and long-listed for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the HWA Debut Crown. She is also the author of the poetry collection And Other Rivers and the novella If I Could Tell You. Karen Kao is a teacher with the International Writers’ Collective. She is the author of the novel The Dancing Girl and the Turtle, a work of historical fiction set in 1930s Shanghai. Her short story “Mrs Yip” will appear in an anthology of Asian literature in 2021. Karen has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the VERA and Best of the Net. Copyright © 2021 Jing-Jing Lee & International Writers' Collective
50:28
August 11, 2021
Laura Wetherington Master Class Recording
Laura Wetherington Master Class Recording
Poet and teacher Laura Wetherington gave a special online master class for us on 21 February 2021.  The class focussed on craft in Laura’s latest poetry collection Parallel Resting Places, which won the 2020 New Measure Prize. Her debut collection, A Map Predetermined and Chance (Fence Books), was selected by C.S. Giscombe for the National Poetry Series. Her poems have been featured by Poem-A-Day, the Colorado Review, and The Normal School, among many others. Laura is a feature writer for the University of Arizona Poetry Center, a reviewer at Full Stop, and the poetry editor at Baobab Press and she teaches in Sierra Nevada University’s low-residency MFA program and with the Collective. The class was moderated by fellow poet Wende Crow, who also teaches with the Collective. Some of the topics covered included writing from a source text, using fake translations, the power of epistolary poems and confessionals, why “failed poems” are an important part of the process and much more.
48:58
February 21, 2021
Megin Jiménez Master Class Recording
Megin Jiménez Master Class Recording
Venezuelan-American poet and short story author Megin Jiménez gave a special master class for us on 1 March 2020 in Amsterdam.  The class focussed on craft in Megin’s prose poetry collection Mongrel Tongue, which won the 1913 Press Prize for First Books. She received her MFA from the prestigious New School in New York. Her poems, stories and essays have appeared in the Best American Poetry Blog, the Kenyon Review, Barrelhouse, NOO Journal, Barrow Street, Denver Quarterly, LIT, Tarpaulin Sky, and other journals. Megin also works as a professional translator and teaches the Collective’s creative writing courses in The Hague. Unfortunately due to a technical hiccup, we only have a recording of the second half of the class where we discussed the writing and publishing process. Topics covered included: Stocking the well of inspiration Getting yourself unstuck Dealing with self-doubt Coming up with titles Finding the right place to submit your work Keeping writing fun & much more https://internationalwriterscollective.com/podcast/megin-jimenez-master-class-recording/
38:41
March 01, 2020
Rebecca O’Connor Master Class Recording
Rebecca O’Connor Master Class Recording
Irish writer and editor Rebecca O’Connor gave a special master class for us on 13 October 2019 in Amsterdam. The class focused on craft in O’Connor’s novel He Is Mine and I Have No Other  and also dipped into her poetry collection We’ll Sing Blackbird as well as  her work as editor of the acclaimed literary magazine The Moth. Some of the specific topics covered were: the importance of setting, the challenges of capturing a teenage voice, the charms of the epistolary novel, the value of a good beta reader, why you shouldn’t give up on that ‘drawer novel’ just yet, and some tips for those who’d like to see their work published in The Moth. https://internationalwriterscollective.com/podcast/rebecca-oconnor-master-class-recording/
01:19:02
November 22, 2019
Caoilinn Hughes Master Class Recording
Caoilinn Hughes Master Class Recording
 Irish writer Caoilinn Hughes, author of the novel Orchid & the Wasp and the award-winning poetry collection Gathering Evidence, gave a special master class for us on Sunday, 28 July 2019 at Boekhandel van Rossum in Amsterdam.  The class focused primarily on Hughes’s novel and dipped briefly into her poetry, as well as addressing issues of craft, process and publishing. Specific topics covered by Hughes in conversation our instructor Karen Kao included: figuring out form, why short stories are a good way to learn, crafting a complex female protagonist, writing in the past tense versus writing in the present, how publishing can kind of mess with your head and how to protect yourself, how to get yourself to sit down and write even when you don’t feel like it or you have limited time, and much more.  https://internationalwriterscollective.com/podcast/caoilinn-hughes-master-class-recording/ 
01:19:08
August 15, 2019
Kristen Roupenian Master Class Recording
Kristen Roupenian Master Class Recording
In this master class with Kristen Roupenian, author of the viral short story “Cat Person”, we discussed:  choosing a narrator, playing with the reader’s expectations, using horror and fantastical elements, learning when to stop revising, becoming a productive procrastinator, dealing with the negative voice in your head, and much more. Roupenian holds a PhD in English Literature from Harvard and an MFA from the University of Michigan. "Cat Person", which was published in December 2017, was the second most read story on The New Yorker website that year, after the Harvey Weinstein exposé. And with close to 5 million views, it may be one of the most popular pieces of online fiction in the magazine's history. The class focused on several stories from Roupenian’s debut collection You Know You Want This, including “Cat Person”, as well as addressing issues of craft, process and publishing, choosing a narrator, playing with the reader’s expectations, using horror and fantastical elements, learning when to stop revising, becoming a productive procrastinator, dealing with the negative voice in your head, and much more. https://internationalwriterscollective.com/podcast
01:29:07
April 04, 2019
Jennifer Clement Master Class Recording
Jennifer Clement Master Class Recording
 In this master class with award-winning author Jennifer Clement, we discussed the challenges of writing about social issues, the role of research, why fiction writers should study poetry, how to fit writing into your day and much more. As the author of four novels, four collections of poetry and a memoir, Clement had many great tips to share, including how to balance writing with a demanding day job: she’s the president of PEN International, one of the world’s largest, most prestigious writers’ associations. https://internationalwriterscollective.com/podcast
01:13:40
January 31, 2019
Joost Baars Master Class Recording
Joost Baars Master Class Recording
In this master class, award-winning poet Joost Baars and Sarah Carriger discussed the art of the line-break, poetry in translation, getting unstuck and more. Some inspiring words for poets and fiction writers alike.  https://internationalwriterscollective.com/podcast
01:22:42
January 31, 2019
Manu Joseph Master Class Recording
Manu Joseph Master Class Recording
 In this master class with award-winning Indian novelist Manu Joseph, we talked about his novel Miss Laila, Armed & Dangerous and getting political in your writing, the art of satire, the challenges of writing from the point of view of characters very different than yourself, the value of humour, finding your voice as a writer and more.   https://internationalwriterscollective.com/podcast
01:32:32
January 31, 2019
Karen Kao Master Class Recording
Karen Kao Master Class Recording
This master class with Karen Kao covered how to write violence effectively, include multiple points of view, incorporate research into historical fiction without being overwhelmed by it, find a publisher and much more. Please be aware that Karen's novel contains a rape scene which is read aloud in the class.  
01:31:58
January 31, 2019
A.M. Homes Master Class Recording
A.M. Homes Master Class Recording
 In this edition, we speak with award-winning American author A.M. Homes. Homes is known for her darkly comic short stories and novels, including perennial favorties such as This Book Will Save Your Life and May We Be Forgiven, which won the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize), beating out short-listed contenders by Zadie Smith, Barbara Kingsolver and Hilary Mantel. We discuss craft in May We Be Forgiven, Homes’s process and advice for writers, including: how to tell if you have a novel on your hands or just a short story that’s gone rogue, the joys and dangers of research, the challenges of memoir, why writing ‘likeable’ or even ‘relatable’ characters shouldn’t be your first (or even your second) concern, how humour can let you tackle dark material, what it means to leave room for the reader, and how to make time for your writing when you have a family.
01:30:05
January 31, 2019