NAU in Ireland: Intermediate Fiction Writing:
Postponed to Summer 2022. Dates TBD
Faculty Leader: Professor Ann Cummins
Write fiction in the land of grand storytellers. In this class, we’ll draw inspiration from the magical places of County Carlow, in the heart of southern Ireland. In Old Park Forest we’ll practice the art of bringing landscapes to life, as the old storytellers did in faerie tales. We’ll haunt old places like Carlow and Huntington Castles, plotting ghost stories, or crime fiction, or mysteries. On a day-trip to Limerick, we’ll tune our ears to the sounds of rhyme and rhythm and we’ll practice writing the shapely sentence. As we tour, we’ll read. We’ll study the art of writing conversation, listening for colorful dialogue and practicing dialogue driven stories, like the ones Roddy Doyle writes. From contemporary Irish greats, such as Edna O’Brien, Colm Toibin, Anne Enright, and Colum McCann, we’ll study the craft of bringing characters engaged in real world problems to life. And we’ll fish for our own characters in the “must tell” stories of our own lives.
Course: ENG 370W Intermediate Fiction Writing (3 credits) OR ENG 499 (3 credits)
This course may be applied to the NAU English BA, to the Creative Writing Certificate, and it meets the junior level writing requirement university wide. It may be used as general elective credit for a variety of majors (in consultation with degree planners).
June 8 – June 23, 2021
Professor: Ann Cummins
Professor Cummins has taught fiction writing at NAU for 30 years.
Tentative Itinerary (subject to change):
- Depart Las Vegas, Nevada (the airport is subject to change based on pricing for international travel to Ireland)
- Readings from Irish folktales and selected contemporary short stories will be made available to students several weeks before departure. Writing prompts will be provided for students who want to use plane time for writing.
- Arrive Dublin; travel by train to Carlow.
- Afternoon orientation, introductions and tour of campus.
June 10 & 11—Mythmaking & creating lively characters
- Writing prompts drawn from Irish myth, folktales and contemporary short stories
- Group formation for collaborative writing project that will build throughout the course (see syllabus for details)
- Walking tours of downtown Carlow, including Carlow Castle, Carlow Cathedral and other sites of interest
- Scavenger hunt for objects that may be used in character development and plotting
June 12 & 13—Plot & Suspense in ghost stories
- Reading: Selections from Irish ghost stories and horror (Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker)
- Writing prompts for plot development
- Continuation of collaborative writing project
- Bicycle tour to points of interest around Carlow
June 14—Sensual Writing
- Day trip to Old Park Forest and Brownshill Portal Tomb
- Writing prompts designed to engage the senses and interact with place
- Apply sensual writing to collaborative writing project
June 15—Authorial Voice
- Excursion to Huntington Castle
- Reading and discussion of selected short stories (Edna O’brien, Anne Enright…)
- Writing prompts for experimentation with voice
- Informal workshops in reading and listening for elements of authorial voice
- Continue collaborative writing project
June 16—Lively Scenes
- Reading: Dialogue driven stories and short plays (Roddy Doyle, Neil Jordan)
- Prompts for writing dialogue
- Staging fiction: workshopping through performance
- Guest speaker (TBA)
June 17—Musical prose: Rhyme, alliteration, and other techniques for creating rhythmic prose
- Day trip to Limerick—travel by train
- Reading: Excerpts from Angela’s Ashes by Limerick author Frank McCourt
- Prompts for humorous writing (the joke; the limerick)
- One-on-one conferences with instructor
- Finish collaborative writing project
- Prepare for Saturday’s workshop, revising and fleshing out one exercise to a full-length story
June 19 & 20—Stories we need to tell
- Overnight trip to Wexford
- Reading: fiction drawn from social & political conflict/trauma (Colum McCann, Ann Beckett, Colm Toibin)
- Prompts for engaging political/social conflict in fiction
- Guest speaker: Colm Toibin or other Wexford writer
- Workshop: full day of writing workshops
- Morning: Prepare & submit revision plan; turn in course work (a compilation of writing exercises & collaborative writing project)
- Tour Chocolate Garden of Ireland and Walsh Whiskey Distillery
June 23—Check out & departure
A 75-minute orientation will be held in April 2021 on the NAU campus. Students will be given an overview of the class, a list of readings to complete prior to travel, and a writing exercise.
Activities Designed for Cross-Cultural Experiences
Students will interact with locals daily. Much of the instruction will take place at points of interest in and around Carlow. Attempts will be made to engage Irish writers as guest speakers.
Students must have completed ENG 105 prior to enrolling in this class. The pre-requisite ENG 270 will be waived for this study abroad opportunity.
Students must have at least a 2.5 GPA
Since many activities will require walking and (perhaps) bicycling, students must be fit enough to engage in mild exercise. It would be best if students signed a form expressing their willingness and ability to walk and bicycle to sites listed in the itinerary.
See "Costs" above
February 15, 2021