"A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or you feel that some bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie" – Tim O'Brien, How to Tell a True War Story.
We'll follow the character in that story, Rat Kiley, and listen for the thud of truth in his fiction. We'll read an excerpt from Yoram Kaniuk's memoir, "1948", and watch how time and memory reduce a story to its shining core. We'll look at Vassily Grossman, the great chronicler of the Red Army during WWII, and how he used an artillery corps donkey as his protagonist in one war story. And we'll explore, among other things, the minimalist beauty of Yehuda Amichai's war-touched verse. In non-fiction, we will take a look at an advance copy of Matti Friedman's new book, "Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier's Story," out in May; it takes a hard, close-up look at a single outpost in south Lebanon.
Over the course of the day, we'll try our own hands at war stories, real and imagined, writing scenes and dialogue, short-shorts and intros, and tunneling, hopefully, toward a full piece of writing.
Mitch Ginsburg, a former soldier in the IDF's paratroop recon unit, has attempted to grapple with the realities of warfare from different angles --as a soldier, a reporter, and a fiction writer. He has reported for the Wall Street Journal and The Providence Journal and served as a staff writer for the Jerusalem Report and The Times of Israel. A former military correspondent, he has covered several conflicts and been called to front line reserves several times, swinging back and forth from chronicler of events to participant. He has translated several novels, including The World of the End by Ofir Touche Gafla, Thera by Zeruya Shalev, and Second Person Singular by Sayed Kashua, as well as non-fiction books that include two biographies of Ariel Sharon and one work on the Israeli response to the Munich Olympics massacre. An editor at The Ilanot Review, he has published with Tablet Magazine two short stories, both set in and around south Lebanon, and is in the process of writing an army-based novel.
Minimum/Maximum number of participants: 8/14
Cost: 250 NIS for one seminar; 450 NIS for any two half-day seminars.
Location: Talbiya, Jerusalem (More information available upon registration.)
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