Writing Place – The Geography of the Heart
Workshop by Mahasveta (Gitu) Barua
Joan Didion said, “A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.” When we write, we think carefully about character, plot, dialogue and setting. But often setting can be more than just a separate element. Place can be part of character. All of us remember reading works where the place is so clearly described, that we can see it in our minds. We cannot imagine the action taking place anywhere but that place, and that place – fictional or real – becomes deeply embedded in our memory of the work.
This workshop will focus on how we write place. We will go over some well-known examples of place and then practice writing a place. What place do we claim as ours, that contains our memories, the events of our lives, the joy or pain that we never forget, and that we can carry our readers to?
About the Writer
Mahasveta (Gitu) Barua teaches writing and literature in the English Department at the University of Delaware. She came to the U.S. from India thirty years ago, and her writing reflects the places that she remembers. She received the Delaware Division of the Arts Emerging Writer Grant in 2012, and the Established Writer Grant in 2017. She has been a participant of the Delaware Writers Retreat in 2012, 2014, and 2016. She has also been a Resident Artist at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, supported by a grant from the Mid-Atlantic Writers Association. Currently, her first novel is complete and with an agent, and she is finishing up her series of connected detective stories.