The University of Iowa

The Inventive Female Voice

Weeklong June 14 to June 19 2020

“Woman must put herself into the text—as into the world and into history—by her own movement.”

Hélène Cixous


Women produced some of the most inventive prose of the 20th century. This class will take its cues from writers such as Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein—both of whom boldly subverted traditional narrative to create forms that rang true to their experience of the world. We’ll touch base with Gloria Anzaldua and Theresa Cha, hybrid writers who crafted fierce political and personal memoirs out of everyday scraps: recipes, worksheets, songs, photographs, and letters to government officials. Our questions: How can female identified people find a frame that fits our unruly experiences of self and body? How do we milk the interruptions, the stolen moments common to our experience as writers? How can we begin to make and break our own rules? This class will be multi-genera, and generative, though time will be allotted to workshop pre-existing pieces. This class welcomes writers of all levels, those who already experiment and those who want to play, explore, and invent.


In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; critique writing you bring from home; provide feedback on writing you produce in our week.


Hybrid Forms
Short Story