with Randy Boyagoda
Writer, critic and scholar Randy Boyagoda is Principal and Vice-President of the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto, where he is also Professor of English, teaches in the Christianity and Culture program, and is the inaugural holder of the Basilian Chair in Christianity, Arts, and Letters. He is the author of two novels; Governor of the Northern Province (2006) was a finalist for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize; his second novel, Beggar’s Feast (2011), has been published around the world to international acclaim, named a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection, and nominated for the 2012 IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize. His most recent book is a widely-acclaimed biography, Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square (2015). He is currently working on a new novel and his most recent work of fiction was a short story that appeared in the Fall 2015 edition of Image. He regularly contributes essays, book reviews, and cultural commentary to publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Globe and Mail, National Post, Financial Times (UK), Guardian, Harper’s, First Things, Commonweal, Paris Review, and New Statesman. He appears regularly on CBC Radio and currently serves as President of PEN Canada, the national writers’ organization that celebrates literature, aids writers in peril, and defends freedom of expression at home and abroad. With his wife and four daughters, Randy lives in Toronto’s East End.
Fiction that engages with faith has its beloved saints—and we hear about them a lot—but how do we step out from their shadow and make something new that speaks to our time and circumstances in a fresh way? This workshop takes up the question of what religiously serious fiction writing, can, should, and even ought to do if it seeks to create something original and fresh beyond the most accomplished models available to us today. We’ll balance reading of published work that achieves this with reading and responding to each other’s work. The workshop will consider the imaginative advantages and disadvantages of writing out of the scandal of religious particularity, and the interplay of experience and authority in telling the story you are called to tell.
Each participant will submit up 2,500 words of fiction in advance for the workshop.