Word Works 2016–2017 Season
Events begin at 7 pm. Check listings for venues.
A season pass includes tickets to all Word Works events. These talks by novelists, essayists, poets, and memoirists draw back the curtain on the process of writing. Each talk by a guest writer focuses on a specific element of craft. The talks are followed by an interview with a noted editor, writer, or critic.
At $12 for general admission per event, Word Works events are the most affordable place around to glean writing wisdom from top-notch writres, and for readers to gain more insight into works that they love.
When you purchase a season pass, you're saving 10% on tickets plus getting exclusive access to VIP passes. VIP passes are sold separately on an event-by-event basis. Check individual event listings for VIP information.
The 2016-2017 Season:
E. Lockhart: In Praise of Style
Sept. 18, 7 p.m. | The Frye Art Museum
Lidia Yuknavitch: The Urgency of Innovation
Oct. 6, 7 p.m. | Washington Hall
Patricia Smith: The Anatomy of a New Book
Nov. 19, 7 p.m. | Washington Hall
Mary Gaitskill: The Inner Weave
Mar. 16, 7 p.m. | Washington Hall
Terrance Hayes: The Craft of Obsession
Apr. 18, 7 p.m. | Washington Hall
Karen Russell: Engineering Impossible Architectures
May 5, 7 p.m. | Washington Hall
Tue, Apr 18 at 7pm
The Craft of Obsession
National Book Award-winning poet Terrance Hayes will look at a poem from each of the late poet Lynda Hull's three books: Ghost Money (1986), Star Ledger (1991), and The Only World (1995). The poems demonstrate the ways a poet can develop themes and strategies from one book to the next. Hull's poems about music and musicians, in particular, show how a poet can both accept and challenge his or her obsessions.
Terrance Hayes is the author of How to Be Drawn; Lighthead, which won the 2010 National Book Award for poetry; Muscular Music, which won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award; Hip Logic, winner of the 2001 National Poetry Series; and Wind in a Box. He is a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania.
Fri, May 5 at 7pm
Engineering Impossible Architectures
As difficult as it is to get a reader to suspend disbelief, it’s even harder to keep his or her disbelief lofted over the course of a story or novel as it progresses. In the same way that you can break a reader’s heart by playing fast and loose with the rules of your Oz, you can also fail a reader by getting sloppy on the Kansas details.
If you’re going to radically rearrange nature in fiction, you have some additional responsibilities to the reader. Namely, that you don’t get tripped out on your godlike power and violate the parameters of the world that you’ve created. An ungoverned and inconsistent world is a world without consequences where nothing is at stake. Karen Russell will discuss the importance of precise details—both concrete and emotional—and a consistent, rule-governed world in fantastical fiction.
An onstage Q&A with Seattle-based writer Diana Xin will follow the talk.
Karen Russell is the author of the short story collections St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and Vampires in the Lemon Grove, as well as the novel Swamplandia!, which was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her work has been featured in The New Yorker’s debut fiction issue and on The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 list, and was chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists.
Diana Xin is a graduate of Northwestern University and holds an MFA from the University of Montana. Her fiction has appeared in Gulf Coast, PANK, Alaska Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. Her essays have been named Narrative Magazine's Top 5 Stories of 2015-2016, winner of Beecher's Magazine 2016 creative nonfiction contest, and is forthcoming in pamphlet form from Red Bird Chapbooks. She is a contributing editor to Moss Lit and a recipient of the Made at Hugo House fellowship.