University of Iowa

Gordon Mennenga

Gordon Mennenga (M.F.A., The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop) grew up in Reinbeck, Iowa and has taught creative writing, literature, and film studies at DePauw University, Oregon State University, and Coe College. He has given readings and workshops in Tennessee, Oregon, Indiana and Iowa. His fiction has appeared in The North American Review, Northwest Magazine, Folio, and other magazines. Gordon has written for Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion and NPR’s Good Evening. He was the recipient of a Nelson Algren Award for Fiction, and his monologue “Shaky Town” was included in the Riverside Theatre’s Walking the Wire show. Gordon’s work as an editor has produced 12 published novels and one memoir. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

Instructor Events

Weekend July 14 to July 15 2018

What do Thomas Pierce, Lorrie Moore, Junot Diaz, Raymond Carver, ZZ Packer and Haruki Murakami have in common? The answer is voice, that certain wild energy readers crave. You can read the first page of a story or novel by any of these writers and know without a doubt who wrote it. The idea of voice is a mysterious combination of writer and character. Voice is the sound of the storyteller; it’s what is in the air and on the page, a combination of speech rhythms, diction, attitude and perception.

Weekend July 21 to July 22 2018

This workshop will examine ways to face the blank page, the blank screen, the place where psychology meets art. We will discuss the psychological aspects of starting a story, a novel, a poem or an essay. (I presume that painters, sculptors and composers all face some version of the blank page.) Many writers speak of what “triggered” their writing, what people, places or things attracted their attention—and why.

Weeklong July 22 to July 27 2018

Think of your favorite contemporary novel: Cloud Atlas, Dept. of Speculation, The Tiger’s Wife, The Truth About Celia, Vanishing Point, The Orchardist. Think of how that novel might have started: a dream, a memory, an image, a crisis, a letter, an obsession, a scrap of gossip. No doubt the novelist did a lot of pacing or smoking or eating or praying or crying or laughing or planning or cutting and pasting.