The Shadows We Cast: Writing the Irish Short Story

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Course Information
Discipline(s): 
Literature
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Credits: 
3
Language of instruction: 
English
Description: 

Over twelve weekly sessions, this course will facilitate student engagement with writing creatively, with a concentration on the short story form. Concurrently, participants will trace the development of the modern Irish short story as a literary genre from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

An exploration of the elements of successful storytelling, such as openings, voice, point of view, characterisation, dialogue, and plot, will constitute the backbone of the course. As part of a reflective process on their practice of writing and of reading, students will keep a journal.

As we write, we will explore the influence of the oral tradition of storytelling and Ireland’s dual linguistic heritage on the short story form. We will examine how the genre reached maturity in the work of James Joyce, Frank O’Connor, and Elizabeth Bowen, tracing international influences and resonances as we progress to consider the treatment of the form by such writers as Mary Lavin, John McGahern, Roddy Doyle, Claire Keegan, Kevin Barry, and Danielle McLaughlin.