MFA, author of the novels Harry, Revised (Bloomsbury), finalist for the SoCal Independent Booksellers First Novel Award; and Memento Park (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), winner of the 2019 American Book Award and finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize in Jewish Literature. Mr. Sarvas is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and PEN/America.
One of the pleasant surprises of my writing career has been learning from the writers I’ve come to know that the same fears and struggles are shared by prize winners and beginners alike. So how do we manage to start down a road that can seem as overwhelming as it is inspiring? And what propels us forward when all the pieces seem to refuse to fit together? The answer, as always, is that it’s different for every person and every book. But there are some cornerstones I’ve returned to time and time again and I look forward to sharing those with my students. Fundamental to it all is a true passion for reading like a writer—close, careful reading that attempts to unpack a writer’s every choice; an assumption that nothing is accidental, that there’s a governing intelligence behind the work. I like ambitious plans, I think we should go for it, play for keeps, every sentence should swing for the fences. We should aim to write books that will sustain their places upon the shelves of tomorrow. We should treat one another with seriousness, purpose, and respect. We should begin this journey of the novel together, with a well-designed, strong push to get you on your feet, and you should leave my class with a clear path ahead of you, and a strong, supportive cohort behind you.
Our Students Say it Best!
“I really enjoyed Mark’s lectures. His passion for writing, reading, and the elements of storytelling is unrivaled. He’s an honest critic while always maintaining a level of encouragement to students of all levels, from the novice to the MFA recipient.” —Writers’ Program student
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