Jaimy Gordon is the author of six books, most recently the National Book Award-winning novel Lord of Misrule (McPherson & Co, 2010), set in the world of small-time West Virginia horse racing. The novel was also a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist and won the Dr. Tony Ryan Award for the year’s best book about horse racing.
Gordon’s novel She Drove Without Stopping (Algonquin, 1990) brought her an Academy-Institute Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Bogeywoman (2000) was named an LA Times Best Book of the year. Her short story “A Night’s Work,” an early sketch for Lord of Misrule, appeared in Best American Short Stories 1995.
Gordon has been awarded fellowships from both the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She currently teaches at Western Michigan University and in the Prague Summer Program for Writers..
Workshop: Form in Fiction: Language in Particular
In this workshop we will work and play with fiction on its molecular level -- experimenting with words and sentences, language itself -- and we’ll also try some conceptual approaches to shaping a story that might bring forth language you didn’t know you had in you.
Years of teaching and jurying have shown me that those who judge fiction incline to all kinds of stories -- some judges, on certain days, some kinds of stories more than others, no doubt, but that kind of bias a writer who’s trying to publish or win a fellowship really can’t predict. On the other hand, it’s been my experience that judges -- by which I mean those reading submissions to magazines, applications to graduate programs, manuscript samples for fellowships, and the like -- are always looking for something fresh in the language itself. This area is rarely the focus of the workshop, perhaps because style is such an individual matter that we fear to tamper, or assume it can’t be taught. But I propose to guide some intrepid travelers into the underbrush of language, where we will beat the bushes for ingenious new combinations of words by loosening our associations, tying our writing hand behind our backs, far-fetching some images, translating from languages we’ve never seen before, throwing dice for a way out, heightening voice so it can be heard back in camp -- and I guarantee you will surprise yourself, unblock some streams of consciousness that aren’t on any map, and learn at least where to forage for fresh language for any purpose.
Jaimy Gordon on the Web
- Lord of Misrule - Excerpt 1
- Lord of Misrule - Excerpt 2
- Days of Yore interview by Astri von Arbin Ahlander
- Christopher Lydon Radio Opensource interview
- Bret Anthony Johnston interview for National Book Foundation
- Chapter Sixteen interview
- Leonard Lopate Show interview, WNYC public radio
- Talk of the Nation interview, Neal Conan, NPR