Welcome to ENG181: Writers on Writing. This class is shaped around the following questions: What can we learn about writing from writers? How does our understanding of the relationship between reader and writer, reading and writing, or writer and writing change when we look at what authors themselves have to say about their craft?

This writing-intensive course focuses on writing as work: a process of thought, imagination, dead-ends, and fresh starts, even for the most gifted of poets or novelists. In order to see the work that goes into writing, we will focus on authors whose collections are found in Emory’s Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books Library.  A significant portion of our classes will take place in MARBL so that we can closely examine manuscripts of poems or short stories, as well as the essays, notes, letters, and other materials that provide insights into each author’s relationship to his or her work.  Throughout the course, we will also devote attention to students’ own writing.  In order to develop the ability to think analytically about literature and to construct persuasive and well-written arguments based on that analysis, we will develop a vocabulary of literary terms, and all students will be required to participate in a number of in-class writing workshops.


Required Texts:

  • Graff, Birkenstein, and Durst, They Say / I Say [ISBN: 0393912752]
  • Alice Walker, Meridian [ISBN: 0156028344]
  • Salman Rushdie, Shame [ISBN: 0812976703]
  • Additional readings for this class will be made available electronically via Emory’s ReservesDirect. You are required to bring all readings to class with you for the day on which they are assigned.

Recommended Texts:

These are both extremely helpful guides that will aid you in producing clearly written and well-documented academic papers. Although not required, I recommend that you purchase the MLA Handbook online; very reasonable used copies can be found on Amazon.com.  The Handbook will be of particular use to you if you plan to major in the humanities—especially English—as well as for this course, in which all papers must be turned in with correct MLA formatting.