Magical Realism: Keeping it Real While Writing the Surreal

Saturday, October 8, 2022

2 - 4 pm Central

via Zoom

taught by Ryan Habermeyer

Click here to register for this free event.

Writers of all skill levels welcome!

We want everyone to have access to literary arts education, but we also want to compensate our instructors for the important and innovative work they do. If you are able, we appreciate a suggested donation of  $15-25 for this class. 


About this class:

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” So begins Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, a quintessential story fusing together the ordinary with the extraordinary, the mundane with the fantastical. This magical realist style is ubiquitous in contemporary fiction: an angel falls out of the sky and creates chaos in a small town (Gabriel Garcia Marquez); women in a factory transform into silkworms (Karen Russell); a mother breathes life into her child’s origami (Ken Liu); and a woman’s lover experiences reverse evolution (Aimee Bender). But how do you make the implausible feel believable? How do you indulge in wild imagination without getting carried away? In this class we’ll explore the craft of magical realism. We’ll discuss strategies and techniques for disrupting audience expectations while balancing realism with fantasy. We’ll examine common pitfalls of speculative writing and how to develop the logic of weird storytelling with powerful emotional effects.

This class is ideal for:

  • Writers interested in different types of fantasy writing: surrealism, slipstream, new fabulism, and science fiction

  • Writers who want to experiment with form and style and voice in speculative storytelling

  • Writers who want to learn the basics of world-building in small narrative spaces

  • Writers who want to weave myth, folklore, and fairytales into their writing

  • Writers who want prompts that provoke and inspire their imaginations

About This Instructor:

Ryan Habermeyer is a creative writer and scholar. His stories and essays have appeared in more than sixty literary journals and he is the author of the prize-winning short story collection, The Science of Lost Futures (BoA 2018). He has published academic articles on the cultural history and social politics of global fairy tales and lectured nationally and internationally on the genre. He is Associate Professor of creative writing and literature at Salisbury University.

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