Pratt Writer’s Forum
Directors: Gina Zucker, Nelly Reifler
Engineering 307, Brooklyn Campus, Pratt Institute
Welcome to Friday Forum, the bi-weekly reading series and discussion seminar specifically for students in Pratt Institute’s Writing Program. Though the series is curated by faculty directors, the Friday Forum readings are fundamentally student-run. From freshmen to seniors, the writing majors in the course are responsible for researching, introducing, and engaging in discussion the working writers and editors who present, perform, and/or speak about their work.
To our advantage, New York City is the center of North American publishing and the home to various, dynamic literary communities old and new, and this forum is an extension of the living literature that finds its audience here. Friday Forum is a place to consider the ideas, motivations, methodologies, and careers of both local and visiting writers—among them essayists, novelists, poets, journalists, playwrights, screenwriters, editors, translators, critics, and performers—and to join in thoughtful conversations about writing with professionals in the field.
PLEASE NOTE: MICHAEL MAHONEY MEMORIAL READING ON MARCH 26TH WILL TAKE PLACE IN MEMORIAL HALL
- Friday_Forum_Sample_Introductions.pdf (82.86 KB)
PAST READERS INCLUDE: Alice Notely, Michael Kimball, Doug Anderson, Joshua Ferris, Laura Miller, Sasha Frere-Jones, Susanna Moore, Jeffrey McDaniel, Jim Lewis, Anne Landsman, Tao Lin, David Hollander, Hannah Marcus, Aleksandr Skidan, Max Winter, Ralph Arlyck, Vijay Seshadri, Noy Holland, Sam Michel, William Finnegan, Sean Wilsey, Gabriel Cohen, Mary Gaitskill, Amanda Stern, Karrell Roxas, Anna Holmes, Dara Wier, Steve Almond, Kurt Andersen, Starlee Kine, Stephen Rodefer, Albert Mobilio, Eric Banks, Robert Lopez, Eileen Myles, Monique Truong, Wayne Koestenbaum, John Reed, Paul Brill, Elissa Schappell, Robert Spillman, Peter Markus, William Corbett, Ed Barrett, Eric Konigsberg, Ariel Levy, Rachel Cohen, Cole Swensen, Siri Hustvedt, Joe Garden, Alphonso Lingis, Noelle Kocot, Gary Lutz, Jonathan Ames, David McAleavey, Maureen Cummins, Kenneth Goldsmith, Heather Rogers, David Ohle, Franck André Jamme, Jen Banbury, Robert Sullivan, Wayne Koestenbaum, Samantha Gillison, David Hajdu, Claudia Rankine, Karen Brennan, Lynne Tillman, Robert Sietsema, Stacy Doris, Aaron Kunin, Van Jordan, Tom Spanbauer, Rich Maxwell, Akhil Sharma, Laurie Palmer, Dara Wier, John Freitas, Matthew Rohrer, Joshua Beckman, Brian Evenson, Jonathan Green, Cathy Park Hong, Daniel Nestor, Amy Kellner, Nathalie Stephens, Prageeta Sharma, Heather McGowan, Hannah Tinti, Kamila Shamsie, Lytle Shaw, Elaine Sexton, John Edgar Wideman, Lucie Brock-Broido, Lisa Jarnot, A. Alcalay, Kurt Andersen, Alissa Quart, Marjorie Welish, Samantha Hunt, Bhanu Kapil Rider, Thalia Field, Juliana Spahr, Brenda Coultas, Douglas A. Martin, and many other fine writers.
FORMER DIRECTORS INCLUDE: Jen Bervin, Brian Blanchfield, Christian Hawkey, Melissa Buzzeo, Elizabeth Stark, and Lisa Carl.
Rules and Policies
About Friday Forum
Friday Forum is a hybrid class/reading series. Every other week, we hold a reading and Q&A session in Engineering 371. We bring you some of the most interesting and active literary figures working today in New York and beyond. On our off weeks, we prepare for the next week's reading with a discussion group. Here, a smaller group of students will have a conversation lead by either Gina or Nelly about the next reader's work. You will think about questions to ask the reader. And you will begin to plan the introduction which will be given the following week at the start of the reading.
POLICIES, RULES and SUGGESTIONS:
In Friday Forum, attendance and participation are key.
1. You are required to attend every reading. There will be a sign-in roster which will require your signature. You should arrive by 11:50, and the reading will start at noon. If you arrive after the reading starts, you will be considered absent. Prepare for each reading by making yourself familiar with the bio and work that we have linked to on the Friday Forum website: pratt.edu/~fforum. Of course, you are encouraged to go more deeply into your study of each reader, find and read books, read interviews, and think about questions you may want to ask. (Reading attendance is 42% of your grade)
2. You are required to sign up for and attend one discussion group. You are responsible for remembering which group you signed up for on the first day of class. With so many students, two professors, seven readings and six discussion groups, it's just too complicated to make changes in the planning once we have it set, so be sure you have picked the writer you're interested in and a date that will work for you.
It is your responsibility to read and research and obtain work by your chosen author well ahead of the scheduled discussion group. Books by Friday Forum authors will be for sale by Mobile Libris in the classroom at the beginning of each semester; you are strongly encouraged to buy your chosen author's book(s) at this time. Explore the range of the author's work, read as much as you can—especially the author's book(s)— collect reviews, interviews, statements, and other materials. You should research on the net and at the library. For help using the library's databases or to order materials through interlibrary loan, see the reference librarian. If you cannot find a book in the library it is your responsibility to purchase it, as you would a text for any class. You must read more than what is linked to on the Friday Forum website. A lack of adequate preparation for the discussion group will be reflected in your final grade.
Together the presenting group is responsible for reading ALL of its chosen author's available work prior to the discussion group class period. Please note that you are required to read the authors' books(s) in order to receive full credit for your discussion group. Online reading is a supplement; reading only what you can find on the Internet is insufficient and does not satisfy the requirements of the class. An individual student's reading load for a discussion group will vary according to genre—a book of poems, a novel, a memoir, a collection of short stories or articles, or a screenplay. (The most effective approach in the case of authors with multiple books or of a wide range of articles is to meet briefly with your group a full two weeks in advance directly after a reading to delegate responsibilities.) Discussion groups meet in Engineering 114, downstairs.
At the end of the discussion group, we will make a plan for the writing of the introduction speech for next week's reading; it can be done by one person, a couple of people, or a group. You are encouraged to volunteer to work on the introduction. (Discussion group attendance and participation is 38% of your grade).
A concise, well-crafted introduction is expected: generally speaking, one paragraph should cover biography (books, personal and professional background, awards); the other should contextualize the writer's work in a deeper way discussing its themes, style, language, and relationship to tradition. Select emblematic quotes from the author; let your peers know how this writer excels and what compels you about his or her writing. To read some examples of well-written introductions please download the sample introductions PDF above.
Please get your introduction to the teacher who led the discussion group by the day and time given to you by the teacher. (Please email the text in the body of the email, not as attachments.) This way we can edit or suggest changes if they are needed.
3. After the discussion group, those of you who are not writing the introduction are required to write up your thoughts on the author and email them to Gina, Nelly and the students who have volunteered to write the introduction. These responses are due by 5:00 pm on the Monday before the author’s reading unless other instructions are given. Getting your response in late will affect your grade. (Again, please email responses in the body of the email, not as attachments.) The volunteers will then be able to cull from everybody's responses. (Emailed write-up is 20% of your grade).
If you have an emergency that will affect your attendance of either a reading or discussion group, you must contact both Gina and Nelly as soon as possible and bring documentation (doctor's note, for instance) if you want to work on making up the credit.
PLEASE NOTE: There are few requirements but they'll weigh heavily on the grade you'll earn.