Hannah Tinti's Blog
January 13, 2014
Once more I’ll be teaching a creative writing class at the American Museum of Natural History, Tuesdays 6:00-8:30 pm, Feb. 25-March 25th. Come and explore the natural world and your own imagination as we wander the museum and its incredible exhibits after dark, pen and paper in hand. It’s like Night at the Museum, but with writers. This class quickly sold out last year, so I’d suggest signing up right away.
December 7, 2013
November 1, 2013
August 29, 2013
For the first time (in a long time) I will be teaching a six-week master class that is open to the public. This writing workshop will be limited to 10 students, and take place in Brooklyn, at the offices of One Story on Tuesdays, 6-9 pm, November 12-December 17th. Deadline to apply is Sept. 30th. For complete details or to apply, please visit One Story’s Education page. I am looking forward to this. We will be painting words. I hope some of you will join me.
June 29, 2013
January 4, 2013
December 4, 2012
I’m thrilled to announce that next February, I’ll be teaching a creative writing class at the American Museum of Natural History, exploring their world-famous exhibits and exquisite dioramas with the written word.
Natural History museums began with curiosity cabinets (Wunderkammer)—small closets or boxes in a person’s home, full of items they personally collected—bird nests, a snake skin, or a coin from China. The owners of these cabinets acted as museum curators: what they chose to go into the cabinets reflected who they were—just as everything we put into our own writing reflects us. Over the years, I’ve often used the American Museum of Natural History as a resource for my own stories and novels, and am extremely excited to share my expertise, as well as my nerdy enthusiasm for all things AMNH, with a group of ready students.
This five-session class will take place entirely at the American Museum of Natural History (located on 81st street & Central Park West in New York City) and meet once a week, every Tuesday, from Feb. 5th-March 5th, 6-8:30 pm. The class will also be held after hours—so we will have the unique opportunity to roam the halls free of crowds. Who knows what magical things might happen? (Think Night at the Museum, but with writers). Each class will be held in a different gallery. We will read excerpts of works by naturalists such as Theodore Roosevelt, as well as literary figures who incorporate the natural world into their fiction and poetry. But the main focus of this course will be to unleash your imagination, drawing on the exhibits for on-site writing exercises. I will also give craft lectures that examine the elements of creative writing, including setting, description and point of view, so that each student leaves with a strengthened grounding of the basics. Notebook, pen, and ability to write on the spot required. This class is open to the public and all writing levels, but space will also be limited, so please sign up early–we are expecting it to sell out quickly. Pricing and further information can be found here.
This week’s Selected Shorts features two stories that explore the place of objects in our lives: “Counting the Ways” by Susan Perabo, performed by Robert Sean Leonard, and “The Pony Problem” by Sloane Crosley, read by Kirsten Vangsness.
Robert Sean Leonard on talismans & swimming inside another person’s soul:
November 11, 2012
Isaiah Sheffer, 1935-2012
As some of you may have heard, the host of Selected Shorts, Mr. Isaiah Sheffer, has passed away. I first met Isaiah about two years ago, but even before I walked into the studios at WNYC I felt like I already knew him–I’d been listening to his voice on Selected Shorts since I was a teenager. Later, after college—when I was holding down three jobs, working seven days a week, saving money and dreaming of moving to New York and becoming a writer—the program, and Isaiah, became even more important to me. Selected Shorts played on Saturdays, during the hour it took me to drive from one job, in a bookstore, to another job, waiting tables all night. My arms would be tired from lugging boxes of books, my hands covered with paper-cuts, and the last thing I wanted to do was work for another eight hours. Then Isaiah’s voice would come over the car radio, and it felt like a dear friend was keeping me company, and giving me what I needed to carry on: reminding me of the magic and the joy of sharing great short stories. I learned about so many writers for the first time by hearing them on Selected Shorts, and the next day I’d find their collections and novels in the bookstore and start reading the rest of their work. I looked forward to hearing Selected Shorts all week, and even though I lived far away and was only a listener, I felt like I was a part of a community. Years later, when Isaiah and Kathy Minton took me out to lunch and asked me to join the team at Selected Shorts, I couldn’t believe my luck. To be a part of this program, which had been so formative and such an inspiration to me, felt like an incredible honor. I was very nervous, and unsure of myself the first time I walked into the studio, but Isaiah, like the generous director and performer he was on stage, took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. He made it look easy—and was patient, even as I flubbed my lines. I was quickly dubbed his “sidekick,” the Assistant to Isaiah’s Magician. Every few weeks we’d meet at WNYC and talk about stories—but most of all—we had fun. Isaiah was full of energy, and would launch into songs, or quips from old movies, or tell a joke and have everyone laughing. Over the past few days, I’ve heard many heart-warming tales from Isaiah’s friends and family and fans, reminding me of all the things about him that were so special: the way he could bring a room to life just by walking into it, the way he put people at ease, and how he always made everyone feel included and a part of things. Isaiah was a true artist and performer, a hero of the short story and the upper west side—devoted to his wife and daughter as well as his “other family” at Symphony Space. I’m so grateful for the twists of fate that led me from that rusty old car in Massachusetts to being across the desk from Isaiah at WNYC. He was a teacher, a mentor, and most of all: a friend. I am going to miss him terribly. Last spring, we performed a duet together on stage at Symphony Space. George & Ira Gershwin’s “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.” I’m never going to hear that song again without thinking of Isaiah singing.