MFA, writer whose fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and whose forthcoming short story collection is Middle Men (Simon and Schuster, 2013). Mr. Gavin is a former recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Fiction from Stanford University.
My main goal as an instructor is to get each student to think like a writer, which means thinking through the senses. I believe that any student, no matter how talented they are, or how far along they are in their development, can be taught to care about language and to seek out those specific and luminous details that make a fictional character feel memorable and real. The best fiction writers are less concerned with being smart and profound, than with mastering the texture of everyday life. James Joyce summed this up one afternoon in Paris, when he agreed to sit for a portrait by a young Irish artist named Patrick Tuohy. Joyce put on his one good suit and sat for hours as Tuohy, trying to impress the now famous author of Ulysses, began to philosophize about the importance to the artist of capturing his subject’s soul. Joyce, bored out of his mind, finally stopped Tuohy and said, “Never mind my soul. Just be sure you get my tie right.”
Our Students Say it Best!
“Jim is a great, open-minded instructor who is willing to share his experiences. I especially appreciated his love of writing and language—truly inspiring to his students.” — Writers’ Program Student
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Watch a video of Jim reading from his work at the 2013 Writers’ Program Publication Party: