For better or for worse, movies affect the way we read and write fiction. Many writers approach their work with a cinematographer’s eye and a screenwriter’s heart, but even for those who rarely watch movies and have no desire to write or see their work adapted for the screen, the language of cinema has already spent over a century seeping into the ways we tell stories on the page. A lot can be said about how it has degraded the art of fiction, but how has it also enhanced and expanded the art? What cinematic impulses do we knowingly and unknowingly bring to our work, and how might we learn from and take advantage of those impulses, the bad as well as the good? In this talk, we’ll consider all these questions, including the most important one of all: what can literature do that cinema cannot?
Vu Tran's first novel, Dragonfish, was a NY Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of the Year. His short fiction has appeared in the O. Henry Prize Stories, the Best American Mystery Stories, Best of Fence, and other publications. He is the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, and has also been a fellow at Bread Loaf, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the MacDowell Colony. Born in Vietnam and raised in Oklahoma, Vu received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his PhD from the Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is a criticism columnist for the Virginia Quarterly Review and is currently an Assistant Professor of Practice in English & Creative Writing at the University of Chicago.
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