Isn’t great literature supposed to be timeless? Aren’t you shooting yourself in the foot if you load yours up with brand names, pop-cultural references, and characters using social media platforms that might not even exist in five years? In this generative workshop we’re going to say “Yes” to the first question while saying “No” to the second. We’ll look at some of the best contemporary writing about contemporary culture, from writers like George Saunders and Don DeLillo, and we’ll also take a brief look at what counted as “new” in previous eras. Reading, sharing, and discussion will lead to in-class exercises in which we are given the chance to try and say something that has (perhaps) never been said before.
Justin Taylor is the author of the story collections Flings and Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever, and the novel The Gospel of Anarchy. His work has appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, Tin House, and Bookforum. He has taught creative writing at Columbia University, N.Y.U, and Sarah Lawrence College. He lives in Portland, Oregon and on Twitter @my19thcentury.