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Friday, April 5 • 3:45pm - 5:00pm
4E: Establishing Authority FULL
Limited Capacity full

From the first sentence, we know if we are in confident, capable hands. The best writers establish authority immediately. By authority I mean that there is a clear sense of control, and that this confidence is earned with particular language, tone, detail, cadence, and, most importantly, by creating urgency, a simple question of “why should I keep reading?”

No matter the form or genre, first, second, or third person, past or present, speculative or hyper-realistic, fiction, poetry, or non-fiction, establishing authority is the first and most important task of the writer. We will look at numerous first pages across forms, including work from Karen Russell, ZZ Packer, Joe Wenderoth, Lydia Davis, Helen McDonald, Carmen Maria Machado, and many more, subjecting the texts to the same cold reading standard I have at Tin House, where we receive upwards of 20,000 submissions a year.

avatar for Rob Spillman

Rob Spillman

Editor, Tin House
Rob Spillman was the Editor and co-founder of Tin House, the seminal literary magazine that published from 1999 to 2019. He is the 2017 recipient of the CLMP Energizer Award for Exceptional Acts of Literary Citizenship, the 2015 PEN/Nora Magid Award for Editing as well as the 2015... Read More →

Friday April 5, 2019 3:45pm - 5:00pm EDT
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor