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In a recent interview with Robert Lopez in The Believer, novelist and teacher David Hollander (author of Anthropica and L.I.E.) said: “If you believe, as I believe, that we live in a cage built of language, fiction becomes a way of rattling the bars of that cage. You’re using language to try to rail against the limitations of language.” Get ready to rattle the bars, as we delve into the fraught language of fiction, exploring its constraints and suffocation, and also its unique possibility. When the very origins and rules of English are steeped in racism, misogyny, eurocentrism, and patriarchy, how can we subvert these power structures and reclaim this medium through an individual wielding of syntax, grammar, and style? Can we ever say exactly what we want to say or will language always, on some level, fall short? What kind of love lies in elision? How might a limit become a freedom, and protest a song? Through prompts and exercises and close examination of texts, we will use language (which, if you’re like me, is what hooked me on writing in the first place) to break out of ruts, lazy defaults, and tired patterns, and to stretch ourselves to think more thoughtfully and expansively — and to write with urgency — toward new possibility.

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