The writer and the reader are in an intimate bond that crafts the work of art. By sending a novel or short story into the world, the writer is asking the reader to complete the journey they have begun. The reader travels a bridge across time and space, a bridge built by the writer. It is in the combination of the writer, the novel, and the reader that the work of art comes to life and exists – a holy trinity of a sort.
The core elements of fiction—plot, setting, theme, characterization, structure, conflict and resolution—come alive for the reader only through the quality of the writing itself. If the reader is not seduced by the language, none of the rest work. The reader’s cultural, historical, religious, and educational background help to determine their response, but there are universal ideas that all readers will respond to. The foundation for every reader-writer relationship is how those ideas are expressed, how the language is fashioned, how the music of the words distinguishes itself in its clarity, intensity and resonance that makes the novel or short story a wonderment.
Within this context characterization and relationships are of key importance. Characters in emotional and physical isolation do not work as well as those who are engaged in social encounters. In 1624, John Donne suggested, “No man is an island entire of itself”; and in 1852 Matthew Arnold stated, “Yes! in the sea of life enisled”. Within these brackets is the sliding scale of human experience, of how characters are presented to the reader. Relationships in life, in all their variety, are always a challenge, and fictional characters echoing that reality get the strongest response from the audience.
In this workshop, we will examine these elements of language and characterization, and others, among noted writers such as Julian Barnes, Magda Szabo, Sebastian Barry, Sue Monk Kidd, Hillary Jordan, Ian McEwan, Richard Flanagan, Alison Pick and Andre Dubus.
Larry Weller taught in the Departments of English at John Abbott College and Concordia University for thirty-seven years. Throughout this time, he has examined questions of moral and ethical issues as they present themselves in both literary and cinematic works, via the language of novels, poetry and short stories, and the language of imaged expression in film. The areas of literature he has examined have ranged from the traditional to the contemporary. But, in all of them, he has explored how the choices we make in our everyday lives determine who we are as people and how we deal with the consequences of these choices.
He has also worked in cinema, helping to make the film, Varian’s War, which examines the work of American reporter Varian Fry, who is honoured in Israel’s Yad Vashem Memorial for his endeavours in saving 2000 Jewish intellectuals, such as Marc Chagall and Hannah Arendt from the Shoah (Holocaust).
Over the last twelve years, he has given book reviews and film reviews for numerous literary clubs in Montreal, Toronto and Florida, at universities, at major institutions, and for various fund raisers.
Workshop will be held on Sunday, June 9th, 2019, from 1:00pm to 4:00pm at the Ray Twinney Complex (Lounge 1) in Newmarket.
Venue is subject to change.
Deadline to pre-register is Friday June 7th, 2019.
- Jun 2019 Workshop
June 9, 2019
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm