On the Line: Playwriting in Russia 2017

Course Description

This eight-week online course will bring together aspiring writers in Moscow and Smolensk, Russia for an intensive and interactive study of the craft of playwriting. The course title, On the Line, refers to Act II of Henrik Isben’s Hedda Gabler, wherein the title character states, “The journey’ll [marriage] be a long one … a long one yet, I’ve just come to a stopping-place on the line.” This course will be designed to equip young aspiring writers with the tools and discipline to overcome the “stopping places” they may encounter in their future creative pursuits.

Each class will offer live video lectures on the craft of playwriting, in-class readings and in-class writing exercises, and opportunities for students to share and discuss their writing assignments. Weekly reading and writing assignments will challenge participants to further their engagement with the theory and practice of playwriting. During the last class, small groups of students will perform scenes written during the course. After the course concludes, each student will submit their two favorite assignments to the instructor, who will provide written feedback by email. 

The course will begin October 3 and end on November 21. With support from the Embassy of the United States in Moscow, a course facilitator in each location will promote the course, recruit applicants, review applications, and select a group of young adult writers (ages 18-28) for admission to the course. The students chosen to participate will demonstrate an enthusiasm for playwriting and the desire to expand their journey as playwrights “on the line.”

Happening Now

  • Behind the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature, shared by novelists Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke, are translators--one key among them Jennifer CROFT, translator from the Polish, the Ukrainian, and the Spanish. Congratulations!

  • "Resisting English": at NYRB, Adam Kirsch reviews three decades of the translated work of the Japanese novelist and essayist Minae MIZUMURA (IWP '03).

  • Just out in Beirut, the intriguingly titled ['Laughter as Destructive History'] by the Iraqi poet, translator, and editor Soheil NAJM (IWP '07).

  • Death is Hard Work, the fifth title of the Syrian novelist Khaled KHALIFA (IWP '07), published by FSG in Leri Price's translation, is on the long list of the 2019 National Book Awards, in the Translated Literature category.

  • In the travel journal Off Assignment,  journalist and novelist Milagros SOCORRO (Venezuela, IWP '12) recalls a snowy day in Iowa City, and one woman's special gesture.

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