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Off Campus Writers' Workshop - OCWW

Peter Hoppock - Craft Elements in Claire Keegan's Late in the Day

  • June 20, 2024
  • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
  • REMOTE

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Peter Hoppock returns to kick off the summer series with a discussion of Claire Keegan’s wonderful short story, So Late in the Day, which first appeared in the New Yorker (February 2022).

Of Keegan, the masterful George Saunders has written: “Simply put, Claire Keegan is one of the greatest fiction writers in the world.” Her entire body of work is about the relationships between men and women. She has a gift for poking at the underlying strengths and weaknesses of her characters.

So Late in the Day charts the unravelling of the relationship between Cathal—an unremarkable office worker—and his fiancée, Sabine, an equally unremarkable Frenchwoman. Their love for one another collapses during the course of an unremarkable Friday—the day before they are to be married. It could be said that the entire story takes place in a kind of “conflict cauldron,” where tension builds inexorably to the very end—indeed, to the very last sentence. Plot? Hardly. Inciting incident? Hmmmm. Rising action? Sort of. Conflict? Not in the way we expect. Resolution? Sometimes. Sometimes not.

“And that is what we are going to discuss,” says Hoppock. “How does this story even work? What is Claire Keegan doing to/with us in her stories, and how does she do it? We’ll examine the above craft elements—and more—in what I expect will be a lively discussion full of passionate —and conflicting—opinions.”

DOWNLOAD DISCUSSION MATERIALS HERE:

Peter Hoppockan OCWW Board Member has published numerous short stories and novellas in a variety of literary magazines, both online and print, including Adelaide, Curbside Splendor, The Write Launch, Dillydoun Review, and more. He has co-edited two anthologies of short stories and creative non-fiction for OCWW, published by Windy City Press: "Turning Points" (2021, and "Meaningful Conflicts" (2023). Most recently, his short story “Blues For Rashid” was selected by Palasatrium: substack.shortstory for their June 2023 publication.

HOSTED BY: Anna daSilva

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