University of Iowa

Rachel Pastan

Rachel Pastan is the author of three novels. Alena (2014) was named an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times Book Review, and This Side of Married (2004) was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, but Lady of the Snakes (2008) is her favorite. Her short stories have been published in The Kenyon Review, Mademoiselle, The Georgia Review, and many other places. For several years she worked as Editor-at-Large for the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, where she wrote a weekly blog, Miranda, about the life of the museum. Her current novel-in-progress is based on the life of the Nobel-prize-winning geneticist Barbara McClintock. Pastan teaches fiction writing at Swarthmore College.

Instructor Events

Weeklong July 14 to July 19 2019
Instructor(s): 
Rachel Pastan

Often when we’re writing a story, we start at the beginning and try to get everything done at once: compelling plot, best point of view, engaging characters, beautiful images, and so on. Sometimes this works, but oftentimes it feels like so much to juggle that we get stuck, or don’t feel that the story we end up with is as rich as we’d like it to be.  

Weekend July 20 to July 21 2019
Instructor(s): 
Rachel Pastan

Strong feeling is often what drives us to write. We want our reader to experience the sadness or outrage, the delight or sense of betrayal we feel when thinking about a fictional (or nonfictional) situation. But how do we do that, exactly? How do we tell a story that’s not cold, but that’s not melodramatic either?