OSL Workshop: How Not to Write a Novel

OSL Workshop: How Not to Write a Novel

Amsterdam, UvA and Eye Filmmuseum, 20 May 2022, 13:00-18:00 | Organizer: Prof. Dr. Pablo Valdivia (Groningen); Invited author: Jesús Carrasco | 1-2 EC | Open to: PhD candidates and RMA students; OSL members have first access


THE WORKSHOP IS FULLY BOOKED, please send an e-mail with your name, university and research school to osl@rug.nl. We will put you on our waiting list. If you only want to attend the screening, we have a few places available. Please specify your preference on which part(s) you want to when emailing us.

How not to Write a Novel seems to be a joke but it is not. This workshop delivered by the Spanish writer Jesús Carrasco (De Vlucht 2013, De Grond Onder Onze Voeten, 2016, both published in Dutch by Meulenhoff) tries to be a record of his experience in writing his third novel. But why should the writing of a third novel be so difficult? Why not the second? The answer is simple. The second novel was written just after the first one was finished and before it was published. That means that neither of them was written with real readers in mind. This makes a difference, and this idea is the starting point for this workshop. The paradox of directing a literary work to the readers (without whom fiction writing is incomplete) and, at the same time, the necessity of getting rid of the presence of the readers in order to finish the work free from external influence. It is absurd to write fiction pretending no one is waiting for the text. Writing, unless you write a diary strictly reserved for your own eyes, is an act of communication. Literature is a message in a bottle cast into the sea in the belief that forces that the author can’t control, like the tides in the ocean, will drive the text to the readers on the shores. What the author did wrong in that attempt will give the workshop participants a glimpse of what amazing things can happen when trying to write a novel.


The event will be structured as follows:

13:00-14:30 Workshop and Q&A with Jesús Carrasco

14:30-16:00 Break

16:00-18:00 Introduction and screening of the film Intemperie (Benito Zambrano, 2019)

More details on preparation and assignments will follow soon.


Suggested readings:

Dillard, A. (1990). The writing life. New York: HarperPerennial.

Rilke, R. (2011). Letters to a young poet & The letter from the young worker, translated, edited and with notes and an afterword by Charlie Louth; introduction by Lewis Hyde. London: Penguin.

Roth, P. (2001). Shop talk: A writer and his colleagues and their work. London: Cape.

King, S. (2012). On writing: A memoir of the craft. London: Hodder.

Stevenson, R. L. (1911). “The Ideal House”. Selected Essays (Lit2Go Edition). Retrieved May 04, 2020, from https://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/110/selectedessays-of-robert-louis-stevenson/5116/the-ideal-house/

Woolf, V., & Woolf, L. (1978). A writer’s diary: Being extracts from the diary of Virginia Woolf. London: Triad Grafton.