Malinda McCollum


Malinda McCollum is the author of The Surprising Place, winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction. Her stories have appeared in The Paris Review––which awarded her the Plimpton Prize––McSweeney's. ZYZZYVA, Epoch, and elsewhere. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she has taught at the University of Iowa, Johns Hopkins University, and Stanford University. She's currently an assistant professor at the College of Charleston, where she teaches in the MFA and undergraduate creative writing programs.


Malinda McCollum photo

New Suns: A Surreal & Speculative Fiction Workshop

Event status
Attendance Required
There’s nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns. ––Octavia Butler In this workshop, open to writers at any level of experience, we’ll focus on fiction that breaches the parameters of strict realism by incorporating the supernatural, the surprising, and the absurd. We’ll consider why writers invent alternative realities and discuss the challenges of constructing imagined worlds. We’ll also examine how surreal narratives can illuminate real-life issues and tensions by framing them through a different lens. How do the altered realities portrayed in our fiction intersect with the reality we’re living in now? In our first meeting, you’ll submit a short story or novel chapter you’ve previously written that includes surreal or speculative elements. This might be a piece influenced by sci fi, fantasy, fairy tale, or horror, or a narrative that skews reality through exaggeration, experimentation, or satire. Throughout the week, we’ll have in-depth conversations about each writer’s submission, in unsilenced workshops guided by the writer’s questions and aims. We’ll also complete generative writing exercises when we meet, inspired by the pieces workshop members submit. By the end of the week, you’ll have concrete feedback to fuel revision of your work-in-progress and a portfolio of strange scenes and sketches you might expand in the future. In this workshop, we will critique writing you bring from home and generate new writing through exercises and assignments.
Malinda McCollum photo