Sophomore Seminars

Writers' Salon


What does it take to write a novel, a book of short stories, or a collection of poetry? Have you ever wanted to meet a published author to ask questions about the writing life and what inspires their work?

In The Writers' Salon, we will meet and talk with three prize-winning writers from the Bay Area, including Creative Writing instructors here at Stanford, about how to get started. Reading as aspiring writers, we'll explore what makes a compelling story or poem and, importantly, how we can begin to do so ourselves. Questions we will consider include: What makes a compelling character? How do we write believable conversations between characters? What creates tension in a story and how does a writer sustain that tension? How can language itself, whether in a story or a poem, become a writer's focus? From week to week, you will complete a number of writing exercises culminating in a longer story or series of poems that you share with the class.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Keith Ekiss

"I am a Jones Lecturer in Creative Writing and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow. I am also the author of Pima Road Notebook and the translator of two works by the Costa Rican writer Eunice Odio: Territory of Dawn: The Selected Poems of Eunice Odio and The Fire’s Journey, an epic poem about the creation of the world. I am the past recipient of scholarships and residencies from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Squaw Valley Writers’ Conference, Millay Colony for the Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute, and the Petrified Forest National Park."