A Novel Graduation Story

A Novel Graduation Story



This week, I’ve invited my friend Sherrie Flick to describe the novel workshop she taught this past semester at Chatham University, and my former student Ben Gwin to talk about being a student in that course. A little backstory: in the fall of 2006, Ben was a student in my senior seminar in fiction at the University of Pittsburgh. I talk more about that class here. Ben started his novel, his Big Thing in my class, then kept writing, and was eventually accepted into the MFA program at Chatham University. Now he’s getting ready to graduate, and Sherrie is his thesis director, and she’s been keeping me updated on Ben’s progress and that of another former student of mine, Rich Gegick.


Points of View: A Dialogue Between Student and Teacher

By Sherrie Flick and Ben Gwin

SF: This semester I taught a novel writing workshop for the MFA students at Chatham University in Pittsburgh. My goals for this class were four-fold: Generate writing. Learn craft. Make progress as a group. Think and talk about novels, applying the discussions to the work at hand.

I wanted the class to operate less like a workshop and more like a studio (thinking toward a visual arts model, where craft and practice and modeling are pursued/explored actively each class). Continue reading