Writers can approach characterization very differently, just as readers can react to those characterizations in very personal and subjective ways. There’s no doubt, however, that certain characters in literature come to life more than others. What is the difference between those that are dynamic and memorable and those that are flat and forgettable? What, more importantly, gives a character humanity? What makes them convincing or unique? What does it even mean to be unique? This session will be a conversation on these very questions and how answering them requires us to move beyond the page, beyond the craft itself, and look first at our own humanity and what fascinates and mystifies us about each other. We’ll explore how we can look within ourselves to create not only characters who resemble us but also those who are nothing like us.
Vu Tran was born in Vietnam and raised in Oklahoma. His first novel, Dragonfish, was a NY Times Notable Book. He is the recipient of a Whiting Award and an NEA Fellowship, and his short fiction has appeared in the O. Henry Prize Stories, the Best American Mystery Stories, and other publications. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Black Mountain Institute in Las Vegas, he is currently a criticism columnist for the Virginia Quarterly Review and an Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Chicago, where he is Director of Undergraduate Studies in Creative Writing.
9-9:30 Registration and Socializing
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