Fic­tion: Back to School

Poets and Writers - - The Literary Life -

The cam­pus novel is a work of fic­tion that re­volves pri­mar­ily around an aca­demic cam­pus, most often a col­lege or univer­sity. Some fall into the cat­e­gory of comin­gof-age sto­ries, such as Jef­frey Eu­genides’s The Mar­riage Plot and Elif Ba­tu­man’s The Id­iot, while oth­ers are more fo­cused on fac­ulty, such as Mary McCarthy’s The Groves of Academe and Philip Roth’s The Hu­man Stain. Cam­pus nov­els of­fer the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore char­ac­ters within the hi­er­ar­chi­cal struc­tures and pres­sur­ized en­vi­ron­ment of a closed ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem and the con­trast­ing per­spec­tives of teach­ers and stu­dents be­cause of dif­fer­ences in age, power, class, and so­cial and cul­tural val­ues. Write a short story that fo­cuses on stu­dents and/or teach­ers in a high school or col­lege set­ting, per­haps in­te­grat­ing el­e­ments of com­edy and satire like Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim and Jane Smi­ley’s Moo, science fic­tion like Jonathan Lethem’s As She Climbed Across the Table, mur­der mys­tery like Donna Tartt’s The Se­cret His­tory, sports like Chad Har­bach’s The Art of Field­ing, or su­per­nat­u­ral Gothic hor­ror like Joyce Carol Oates’s The Ac­cursed.

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