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Imagined Realities

When writing a novel set in the past, you’re hoping to animate the period, to imagine what might have happened between the historical events that we know are true, or perhaps to even interrogate what it is we recognize as true, and why. As Peter Ho Davies noted in an interview: “I’ve been attracted over […]

Posted in Craft, Essays

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Drawing the Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

In 2013 I met the cartoonist, writer, teacher, and artist Lynda Barry at a writing conference in Cleveland, OH. I’d been a fan of Lynda’s ever since I read her magnificent novel Cruddy in 1999. That book led me to her comics, which always seemed to pull emotions out of me that I didn’t know […]

Posted in Craft

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2017 Winter Workshop Scholars

  It is both and honor and thrill to introduce you to our inaugural class of winter workshop scholars. All three of these remarkable writers inspired us, both on and off the page, and we could not be more excited to follow their voices in the years to come.  C Pam Zhang’s fiction is in or […]

Posted in Craft

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Announcing the Spring Tin House Craft Intensives in Brooklyn!

The spring 2017 Tin House Craft Intensives are here! Come study with Elissa Schappell, Alice Sola Kim, Samantha Hunt, or Pamela Erens, in classes that range from the Stevie-Nicks-approved spectral to the fantastically real. Applications open now through March 20th–apply early for your best shot! Final deadline is March 20th. April 2nd, 2017: Setting the Clock: Manipulating Past, Present, and […]

Posted in Craft, General

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The Art of the Sentence: Anthony Doerr

All the Light is many things: a historical novel; a coming-of-age book; a detailed homage to the world’s endless detail; a meticulously crafted paean to craft; a meditation on disability and adaptation; a book about trauma, identity, and impossible moral choices. But beneath these concerns, and joining them together, is an abiding preoccupation with the ways we make sense of the world.

Posted in Craft

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The Art of the Sentence: Lucia Berlin

I could see children and men and gardens in my hands.” Could see. The word choice is purposely at once distant and close. Here is the notion of ability, the idea that memory is there for perusal if only the protagonist wants to indulge it.

Posted in Craft

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Coastal Craft: Ada Limón

As we continue to make plans for our upcoming Winter Workshops, we check in with a few of our faculty to discuss their own classroom experiences.  Tin House: What can you tell us about your first workshop experience (as a participant)? Ada Limón: I was an undergraduate at the University of Washington in Seattle and I […]

Posted in Craft

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Coastal Craft: Michelle Wildgen

As we continue to take applications for our upcoming Winter Workshops (SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE IS TOMORROW!), we check in with a few of our faculty to discuss their own classroom experiences.  Tin House: What can you tell us about your first workshop experience (as a participant)? Michelle Wildgen: I’m not sure I remember my first workshop, which […]

Posted in Craft

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Coastal Craft: Melissa Febos

As we continue to take applications for our upcoming Winter Workshops, we check in with a few of our faculty to discuss their own classroom experiences.  Tin House: What can you tell us about your first workshop experience (as a participant)? Melissa Febos:I think it was a local workshop, led by one of my old […]

Posted in Craft

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Correspondent’s Course: High School for Adults

The following books don’t trivialize the highs and lows of adolescence. They capture for adult readers the immediacy of high school and coming of age.

Posted in Craft

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Coastal Craft: Matthew Zapruder

As we continue to take applications for our upcoming Winter Workshops, we check in with a few of our faculty to discuss their own classroom experiences.  Tin House: What can you tell us about your first workshop? Matthew Zapruder: My senior year in college I took a poetry workshop taught by a grumpy visiting Polish poet […]

Posted in Craft, Poetry

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Coastal Craft: Lidia Yuknavitch

As we continue to take applications for our upcoming Winter Workshops, we check in with a few of our faculty to discuss their own classroom experiences.  Tin House: What can you tell us about your first workshop? Lidia Yuknavitch: My very first workshop experience was as an infiltrator, which pretty much describes most of my life […]

Posted in Craft

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How To Write A Kick-Ass Essay, with Ann Hood

Too often, when writers try to write an essay, they stumble on common pitfalls like cramming too much information into too small a space, giving too much back story, or trying to write an essay for a particular column rather than writing an emotionally true one. We all have read memoirs that take our breath […]

Posted in Craft, Essays, Nonfiction

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On the Couch, with Steve Almond and Aimee Bender

From our 2009 Summer Workshop, Steve Almond and Aimee Bender—both the offspring of therapists—discuss how and why less experienced writers manage to sabotage their own fiction. Among the topics covered are: simplicity phobias, the artistic unconscious, OMD (obsessive metaphor disorder), fear of emotional exposure, prose envy, and obfuscation in the service of the id.  

Posted in Craft

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On Defamiliarization, with Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr takes the pre off the dictable with a talk on defamiliarization and how its usage in art can alter our perception of the known world. Like the best of his writing, Doerr’s 2008 Summer Workshop lecture ends up being more than just a display of craft: It’s a blueprint for life itself.

Posted in Craft

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On Dialogue, with Dorothy Allison

Gifted with a voice that could command an audience in any era, Dorothy Allison treated the participants of the 2011 Summer Workshop to a spirited discussion on how characters should speak on the page. Not only ‘he said, she said, none of them said a thing’, but a whole range of language issues–what is said and not […]

Posted in Craft

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Announcing the 2017 Winter Workshops

  Cooler than a polar bear’s toenails……. We are thrilled to announce the faculty lineup for the fourth annual Tin House Winter Workshops. Taking place at the Sylvia Beach Hotel, these sessions combine the rugged beauty of the Oregon Coast with a weekend immersed in all things literary. The program consists of morning workshops, one-on-one meetings […]

Posted in Craft

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Hymns to the Broken: A Manifesto, with Luis Alberto Urrea

When we first asked Luis Alberto Urrea to give the closing lecture at our 2016 Summer Workshop, he responded by saying he would  “throw love notes over the wall,” and “bread to the disrespected.” It was in this spirit, that Luis took to the podium on our final Saturday together, opened a tiny notebook that […]

Posted in Craft

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Correspondent’s Course: Fake Art

At their most compelling, though, fictional works of art within fiction go far beyond the jokes. They work against solipsism and toward expansiveness, engagement. Their inclusion in narrative makes for fiction that is part of a larger, ongoing conversation about representation, identity, invention and self-invention – without getting all tripped up in it, announcing it, or apologizing for it.

Posted in Craft

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The Art of the Sentence: László Krasznahorkai, War & War

  “Seven children squatted in a semicircle surrounding him in the middle of the railway footbridge, almost pressing him against the barrier, just as they had done some half an hour earlier when they first attacked him in order to rob him, exactly so in fact, except by now none of them thought it worthwhile […]

Posted in Craft

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The Art of the Sentence: Christopher Bram’s Gods and Monsters

Reading a novel, I like to live cradled not in the hands of characters but lying full out in their skins and their skulls, becoming them—though not through stream of consciousness, which has always felt to me more like the meaningless flicker of dreams than any consciousness I’ve ever known—no, I like to live in […]

Posted in Craft, Essays, Nonfiction

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Uses of the Elegiac, with Amy Gerstler

“How far can/will the elegy stretch?” Amy Gerstler asked our workshop participants this July. “Are there limits to what conventional or unconventional elegy can mourn, memorialize, honor, metabolize, question? Are there angry, comic, upbeat and/or love elegies? How about some stealth elegies?” In her quest to find out, Gerstler examined poems from Terrance Hayes, Li […]

Posted in Craft, Poetry

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On Pandering, with Claire Vaye Watkins

“Why does the voice in my head have an Adam’s apple?” Written on the occasion of Claire’s “troubling realization that I have been writing to impress old white men,” this call to action was given during our 2015 Summer Workshop. A modified version of this essay can be found in Tin House.

Posted in Craft

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The Art of the Sentence: John McPhee’s Geology

  “I wish to make no attempt to speak for all geology or even to sweep in a great many facts that came along. I want to choose some things that interested me and through them to suggest the general history of the continent by describing events and landscapes that geologists see written in rocks.” […]

Posted in Craft

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Building The Emotional Image, with Natalie Diaz

“An image is more than what we show our readers–it is story, it is history, it is emotion. When we seek the perfect image, we filter our writing and cut ourselves off from the possibilities of meaning and emotion–the things that make both the writer and the reader feel.”- Natalie Diaz In this craft talk, […]

Posted in Craft, Poetry

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