University of Iowa

Excavating the Anecdote

Weekend July 21 to July 22 2018

Oh, we all have them: those well-trodden stories that are trotted out at reunions, at holiday dinners, after weddings and burials. The WWII memories, the “remember that day” memories, the “there-was-that-one-guy” tales—anecdotes we can’t help ourselves from telling, or hearing one more time. During this weekend, we will revisit the anecdote. We will ask questions of this form. Why that day? Why that person? We will look between the lines and underneath the humor to reflect on what these little stories can teach us.


Our readings will come from the “Readers Write” column of The Sun magazine. Good preparation may include familiarizing yourself with this portion of The Sun, which is easily available online and depends on the personal anecdote. For this retreat, at least, we will follow The Sun: “Writing style isn’t as important as thoughtfulness and sincerity.” Writers at all levels of experience, and in any genre, are most welcome.

Short Story