Charles Holdefer, "Your Family and Other Animals: Using Creatures in Your Writing"

Charles Holdefer, "Your Family and Other Animals: Using Creatures in Your Writing" promotional image

In the 21st century, perhaps Jane Austen would write: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that cat videos are even more popular than porn.” Our fascination for other creatures is more than a curiosity about different species. It also tells us something about ourselves.

In this Eleventh Hour presentation, Charles Holdefer will consider how animals have served writers in their exploration of what it means to be human. He’ll look at excerpts from Mary Oliver, Leo Tolstoy and others, with an eye to how these examples can be generative in our own work. Whether by mere allusion or full-fledged characterization, the presence of other creatures can free us from the pitfalls of solipsism and help us “get over ourselves.” It can broaden our creative palettes and add new layers of meaning to our writing.

Charles Holdefer is the author of 11 books, including novels, short stories and critical nonfiction. His most recent works are Don't Look at Me and Ivan the Terrible Goes on a Family Picnic. He grew up in Iowa, attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, then moved to France, where he taught at the University of Poitiers for many years. He enjoys coming back each summer to teach in the Summer Writing Festival.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024 11:00am to 12:00pm
Phillips Hall
16 North Clinton Street, Iowa City, IA 52245
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