This seminar offers an multigenre introduction to Creative Writing with a special focus on writing Hong Kong in English. We’ll consider Hong Kong’s many Englishes, and we’ll read local and diasporic Hong Kong poets, fiction writers, and essayists alongside great practitioners of place-based writing from other locales. During class meetings, we’ll discuss not only creative works but also essays on the craft of writing, and we’ll write together in a range of modes, sometimes modeling after the writers we admire and sometimes taking our cues from each other. Coursework will include informal critical and creative responses, as well as more formal critical and creative assignments, giving us many opportunities to reflect on how a given piece of writing works, and to practice different approaches in our own writing. Because creative writing reflects and even produces the concerns of its community, we will not only engage with each other’s writing in a workshop setting, but also actively participate in Hong Kong’s literary communities beyond our classroom walls.
- hone their skills in poetry, fiction, and literary essay-writing, as well as in critical analysis;
- produce a carefully revised creative work in one of those creative genres accompanied by a thoughtful critical reflection;
- practice strategies to make each stage of the drafting and revising process more productive;
- gain experience in careful, constructive evaluation of their own writing and that of others;
- become familiar with the ways in which very different writers united by their connection to a specific place (in our case, Hong Kong) engage with that place’s unique past, present, and future, as well as with each other.
- Hong Kong’s many Englishes and their relationships to each other;
- literary tools across genres, including diction, imagery, figurative language and tone, as well as strategies of voice, characterization and narration including pacing and surprise;
- the drafting process, including generating ideas, beginning a draft, revising, asking for and receiving feedback, and polishing;
- the importance of literary community, including the relationship between writers and their social and political worlds, as well as Hong Kong’s own local writing communities.
10% Participation: Attendance is required. Students are expected to engage actively and curiously in all exercises, workshops, and class discussions. This mark may include deductions for late arrival or absence in class.
10% Literary Event Response: Twice during the semester, you’ll attend a literary event (the events can be in-person or online). Write one 500-800 word response in which you address both events, perhaps comparing and contrasting them, and articulate what, it seems to you, literary community means in Hong Kong.
40% Discussion Board Responses: Each week I’ll post prompts on the discussion board. You’ll write one 100-word-minimum response, and then also write a 50-word-minimum response to someone else’s. They are always due the same week they are posted. Sometimes the prompts will ask for critical responses to assigned readings; sometimes they will ask for creative responses, for self-reflection about your writing process, or for comments on your peers’ work. The responses will be informal, though you should proofread them to make sure your meaning comes across clearly.
40% Final Project and Critical Reflection: Your final project will have both a creative and a critical component. The creative component will be a short work of fiction or creative nonfiction, or a selection of poems (or one long poem). The critical component will be a reflection describing your drafting process and discussing your inspiration, imagined audience, and goals for your creative piece.
Readings will be provided on Moodle, and may include work by Hong Kong writers Nicholas Wong, Mary Jean Chan, Deadcat Chan Lai-kuen, Louise Ho, Agnes Lam, Xi Xi, Dorothy Tse Hiu-hung, Jennifer Wong, Xu Xi, and Tammy Ho Lai-ming, as well as writers from elsewhere including Joshua Ip, Chen Chen, Lawrence Lacambra Ypil, Diana Khoi Nguyen, Charles Simic, Raymond Carver, and others.