Out of Place: A Prose Workshop — Symposium Workshop with Samuel Delany

First instruction: Take out your notebook and writing utensil, or a laptop (laptops at your own risk). When we start the workshop, break up into pairs and walk up to five minutes in an agreed-on direction.
Second instruction: Stop somewhere you have not stopped before. Sit down on the street, on a stoop, or on the sidewalk; take out your notebook, and describe for twenty minutes where you are. What does it feel like? What does it smell like? Sound like? (If you can’t go to such a place, make one up and see if you can fool us into thinking this is a true account.) What does it look like? Do you learn anything you didn’t know by doing this? Do not write about your partner, but see if, without giving an address, you can make the place recognizable to someone else who might pass through it.
Third instruction: Come back, join the group, and be ready to read what you wrote and discuss what it feels like to be back in place.
Fourth instruction: By groups, read the pieces out loud, and we will discuss as many as we can for up to 5 minutes each. Consider, did having a partner make things easier or harder? How would you change the exercise to improve it?

Samuel R. Delany

Samuel R. Delany’s science fiction and fantasy tales are available in Aye and Gomorrah and Other Stories. His collection Atlantis: Three Tales and Phallos are experimental fiction. His novels include science fiction such as the Nebula-Award winning Babel-17 and The Einstein Intersection, as well as Nova and Dhalgren. His four-volume series Return to Nevèrÿon is sword-and- sorcery. Most recently, he has written the sf novel Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders. His 2007 novel Dark Reflections won the Stonewall Book Award. Other novels include Equinox, Hogg, and The Mad Man. Delany was the subject of a 2007 documentary, The
Polymath, by Fred Barney Taylor, and he has written a popular creative writing textbook, About Writing. He is the author of the widely taught Times Square Red / Times Square Blue and has written a Hugo-Award winning autobiography, The Motion of Light in Water. All are available as both e-books and in paperback. Delany is the author of several collections of critical essays. His interview in the Paris Review’s “Art of Fiction” series appeared in spring 2012. In 2013 he was made the 31st Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master of Science Fiction. In 2015 he was the recipient of the Nicolas Guillén Award for philosophical fiction. His novella The Atheist in the Attic appeared in February. He lives in Philadelphia with his partner, Dennis Rickett.