Uneasy Women: Writing Feminist Southern Gothic Fiction
1817 Central Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28205
When asked how she defined the Southern tradition of writing, author Dorothy Allison (Bastard Out of Carolina) said, “It’s a lyrical tradition. Language. Iconoclastic, outrageous as hell, levelled with humor. Yankees do it, but Southerners do it more. It’s the grotesque.” In the wake of failed reconstruction, early 20th Century Southern Gothic writers crafted an eerie world of crumbling plantations, looming church steeples, and urban decay. In this workshop, we’ll examine these traditions, how they’ve changed, and how we might craft them for 21st Century readers by examining excerpts from contemporary female authors including: Toni Morrison, Jesmyn Ward, and Dorothy Allison. We will examine how they subvert traditional gender roles, how they give agency to characters (often deemed outsiders) who have traditionally been victims of the American capitalist patriarchy.
About the Instructor: Beth Gilstrap is the winner of the 2019 Red Hen Press Women’s Prose Prize for her second full-length collection Deadheading & Other Stories (2021). She is also the author of I Am Barbarella: Stories (2015) from Twelve Winters Press and No Man’s Wild Laura (2016) from Hyacinth Girl Press. She was Fiction Editor at Little Fiction | Big Truths for nearly five years. Her work has been selected as Longform.org’s “Fiction Pick of the Week” and recently selected by Dan Chaon for inclusion in the Best Microfiction Anthology. She has been awarded several residencies including Sundress Academy for the Arts at Firefly Farms and Oregon State University’s Spring Creek Project for ideas, nature, and the written word. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter, Denver Quarterly, The Minnesota Review, Hot Metal Bridge, and Wigleaf, among others.
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