Skip To Content
Writing from the Edge of the Known World: Creative Writing with Erin Sherry (in person Session 1 22) is a Course

Writing from the Edge of the Known World: Creative Writing with Erin Sherry (in person Session 1 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 Erin Sherry: Writing from the Edge of the Known World

“She didn’t look back, but stepped off the edge of the known world.” — Kelly Link, Flying Lessons

You’re weird! You’re a weirdo. You’re drawn to the unexplainable, in yourself and others, in the world around you: uncanny interactions with strangers at the grocery store, the monsters under your bed, dreams where everything is the same and yet everything is different. But why are we drawn to strangeness, and how might our writing seek to grab hold of whatever it is that calls to us in the threshold between known and unknown, between what we think we understand, and what we can never understand? Between worlds, between selves? This summer, we’ll attempt to jump off the edges of what we know and (as Ray Bradbury says) find our wings on the way down. We’ll explore the spaces between reality and unreality through writing that is as interested in the bizarre as it is interested in the beautiful. We’ll write and read with an eye towards the strange, from subtle peculiarities (the cat staring fixedly at something you can’t see) to outright fantasy (alien invasions, wardrobes to Narnia, the ghost that may or may not be haunting the space where you’re sitting right now). We’ll tackle the essential elements of craft—the key ingredients to any delicious story, poem, or essay—all while interrogating the allure of what is surreal, unexpected, and surprising all around us. In seminar, we’ll gab about stories from the likes of Kelly Link, Carmen Maria Machado, Italo Calvino, Franz Kafka, and Karen Russell, as well as poems from wizards of weird like Anne Carson, Russell Edson, and Harryette Mullen. Then, in workshop, you’ll submit your own stories or poems for peer discussion. I like to think of workshop as a playground, a forum for invention: so, in addition to reading published works and writing pieces for workshop, we’ll also spend some time together on in-class exercises and writing games designed to foster creativity, imagination, and open some of the doors inside ourselves where strangeness already lives. We’ll talk about what excites and challenges us in a piece of writing, how our inner worlds and obsessions can be brought to life on the page, and learn to provide thoughtful, constructive insights into each other’s writing with an eye towards revision. Write with me. Let’s get weird.

Erin Sherry is a fiction writer from the post-apocalyptic part of Pennsylvania where the movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road was filmed. Prior to joining the Iowa Writers' Workshop as an Iowa Arts Fellow in fiction, Erin served as a publishing specialist for 826 Boston, a nonprofit youth writing organization. She holds a BFA in fiction writing from Emerson College and is currently at work on a collection of stories about, among other cosmic concerns, a woman with a black hole in her belly, a ghost baby on the moon, fathers who bottle stars and daughters who eat them. Her stories have appeared in the Adroit Journal, Groupie Mag, and the Emerson Review.




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. 




Contact the Iowa Young Writers' Studio: