Transgressing Genre, Transgressing Gender
Six Thursdays: July 8 to August 12, 2020, 6:00 to 7:30 pm EST
A cross-genre generative and writing exchange workshop
James Baldwin constantly transgressed the rules and expectations of genre and form—he drew on jazz standards in his prose, and he built song and sermon into his poetry. In the same way, he subverted the expectations of the French conception of le genre, meaning gender, leaning into queer imaginings and reimaginings of what it could mean to be a man. This fiction workshop will focus on blending multiple artistic expressions into your prose, from oral storytelling traditions to musical rhythms, from theatrical flourishes to poetic structures. This workshop will also emphasize the importance of exploring “nontraditional” conceptions of sex and gender. It will provide a creative space where writers are encouraged to, like Baldwin, break free of societal constraints.
2019 Maison Baldwin Residency Fellow Jamie McGhee is a novelist who believes that resistance begins not with the stories we tell, but with the way we tell stories. She sees literature as a postcolonial site of experimentation and play, where writers can overlap genres, cross mediums and break from Western conventions. In 2017, she co-authored a project on James Baldwin with Duke professor Dr. Adam Hollowell. In 2020, her first nonfiction book, a compendium of groundbreaking activists, was published by Macmillan. She currently resides in Berlin, where she is writing a multilingual novel about nationalism.