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Demanding the Impossible: Speculative Fiction and Social Change: Creative Writing with Logan Hoffman-Smith (in person Session 2 22) is a Course

Demanding the Impossible: Speculative Fiction and Social Change: Creative Writing with Logan Hoffman-Smith (in person Session 2 22)


$2,500 Enroll

Full course description

There is a separate application process for this course. If you have not been accepted into the Iowa Young Writers' Studio Summer Residential Program you are not eligible to enroll.

Creative Writing with Logan Hoffman-Smith. Demanding the Impossible: Speculative Fiction and Social Change

When asked about the intersection between science fiction and social change, poet and documentary filmmaker Walidah Imarisha stated: “Science fiction is the only genre that not only allows you to disregard everything that we're taught is realistic and practical, but actually demands that you do. All organizing is science fiction. When organizers imagine a world without poverty, without war, without borders or prisons—that's science fiction. They're moving beyond the boundaries of what is possible or realistic, into the realm of what we are told is impossible. Being able to collectively dream those new worlds means that we can begin to create those new worlds here.” Thus, I am calling all disruptors, change-makers, and darn cool literary rebels to speculate with me through science fiction and push each other to the limits of what writing can materially achieve. In this class, we will work to imagine the impossible through science fiction in both macro and micro contexts, drawing upon our dreams and deepest terrors to craft stories that demand attention. From teen life after environmental apocalypse to dystopian worlds where anyone’s ideal partner can be 3D-printed, we will explore the elements of fiction through stories whose speculative concerns force us to ask hard questions about love, gender, identity, strangeness, and belonging. What does it mean to be machine vs. human? Accepted vs. outsider? Desirable vs. undesirable? I believe speculative fiction works best when it spurs both reader and writer to question their own identities and allegiances, to look deep into the strangeness of their bodies and hearts. This class will be a brave space in which you can explore ideas you are not yet sure about, to take risks that take your writing to the next level. In this workshop, we will also talk about craft, technique, revision, pressure, and how to deal with rejection—what it means to be a writer who strikes against the beaten path. How can speculative fiction allow our writing to be more textured? Our ideas to be human? Literary greats such as Octavia Butler, Larissa Lai, and Sequoia Nagamatsu, among others achieve this with aplomb, and we will explore the mechanics of how their stories achieved this. Additionally, we will talk about the boundaries between “literary” and “genre” fiction and how science fiction can disrupt or straddle the two. 1 Writing can be a lonely pastime in our everyday lives and I hope we can create a supportive and long-lasting community through this shared space. Here’s to a great summer of creativity and writing!

Logan Hoffman-Smith is a queer trans Chinese American Adoptee located in Iowa City. They are an MFA candidate in fiction at the University of Iowa and a Kundiman Fiction Fellow. In their free time, they enjoy bouldering, roller skating, researching the habits of ocean creatures, and picking up unknown neighborhood cats.



The fee for this course, which includes the fee for the 2-week session of the Summer Residential Program, is $2,500. Payment in full is required to enroll in the course.


Note: Your credit card payment will be processed by an external provider and will appear on your credit card statement as “UI Writing—Magid Center."


Cancellation Policy: If you cancel or withdraw before June 1, 2022 a $100 cancellation fee will be deducted from your refund. Thereafter no refunds are available. 




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