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Summer Novel Series: Homeward Bound: Place-based Storytelling with Emily Nemens

$65.00 · July 18

In this class we’ll consider the power of place in fiction, focusing specifically on how homes and domestic spaces are represented fiction.

Start Date

July 18

Day(s) of the Week


Class Times

6:30pm – 8:30pm CT




Zoom (online)




In stock


This class is part of our “Summer Novel Series,” a variety of single-session classes on Thursday evenings designed to tackle one element of novel writing in each class. You can take one class, pick and choose, or take all of them! You can find all other classes in the series here.

In this class we’ll consider the power of place in fiction, focusing specifically on how homes and domestic spaces are represented fiction. Homes have so much potential: think about all we learn about character from understanding where they come from, where and how they live (and where/how they want to live), what they chose to surround themselves with. We’ll talk about how to describe physical space, explore more abstracts definitions of place and home, and think about how both (and lots in between) can be deployed in our storytelling.

After discussing stories by Raymond Carver, Jonathan Escoffery, and Yohanca Delgado that take a small, medium, and large-scale approach to the concept of “home,” we’ll explore the topic further with in-class exercises, examples, and conversation. Students will learn how to develop integral and backdrop settings, practice descriptive writing, and leave the class with several strategies for how to develop literary homes for their characters to inhabit. There will be the opportunity to share from the in-class exercises and time reserved at the end for questions.

Students are expected to read three short stories (Carver, Escoffery, Delgado) before the class session to facilitate discussion.

This class will include:

  • In-class peer feedback
  • Optional sharing of student work in class
  • In-class writing exercises
  • Generative exercises
  • Editorial/revising strategies and exercises
  • In-class reading
  • Reading outside of class
  • Discussion of outside texts
  • Craft talks
  • Class discussion

About Emily Nemens

Emily Nemens is the author of the novel The Cactus League, which was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and was named one of NPR favorite books of 2020. Her short fiction has appeared BOMB, The Gettysburg Review, n+1, Esquire, and elsewhere. Emily has spent a dozen years editing literary quarterlies, including leading The Paris Review, which won its first American Society of Magazine Editors’ Award for Fiction under her tenure; she also served as co-editor and prose editor of The Southern Review and is currently sports/senior editor for Stranger’s Guide, a magazine of place-based journalism. She recently served as the 2023 Rachel Rivers-Coffey Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University and the 2022-23 Picador Guest Professor for Literature at the University of Leipzig.