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The Writer's Edge Literary Workshops

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Summer is indeed the time for writing workshops—at least in this city. And while most are populated with published writers admonishing your overuse of adverbs and the word "indeed," the Writer's Edge Literary Workshops strive to provide something different. Perhaps a piece comprised solely of adverbs? Maybe not, but it's at least the only workshop of its kind devoted exclusively to experimental fiction.

So, what exactly is experimental fiction? Workshop organizer and faculty member Lidia Yuknavitch explains that the simplest definition of experimental fiction is that in which the author is "willing to take serious risks" with his/her writing. This can include narrative innovation or unconventional form—anything that defies the set rules of "proper literature" or "interrupts the mainstream." Kathy Acker and Ben Marcus are among the more well-known (or notorious?) experimental writers working today. The workshop's five faculty members—Trevor Dodge (Everyone I Know Lives on Roads), Brian Evenson (The Wavering Knife), Lucy Corin (Everyday Psychokillers), Yuknavitch (Real to Reel), and Lance Olsen (Nietzsche's Kisses and my favorite book from 1994, Tonguing the Zeitgeist)—are prominent in the genre.

In addition to workshops provided by each faculty member, two panel discussions are offered this weekend—one involving trends in experimental fiction and one discussing experimental film. The film panel—featuring filmmakers Holly Andres, Grace Carter, Karl Lind, Andy Blubaugh, and Andi Olsen—convenes on Sunday, July 29, at 3:30 pm in PSU's Smith Memorial Union, Room 238. This event is free and open to the public. Also free and open to the public is a faculty reading on Friday evening at 7 pm. Corin, Dodge, Evenson, Olsen, and Yuknavitch will read from their works in Smith Union, Room 333. On Friday and Saturday nights, an open mic session (a forum for experimental music and an opportunity for workshop students to read their own work) will follow the day's activities at Someday Lounge.

Registration for the entire slate of activities over the weekend costs $300. Space is limited, though. Contact Lidia Yuknavitch at lidiamiles@yahoo.com for further information.

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