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WLT Saturday Craft Seminar: “The Art of Revision” with Peter Ho Davies

December 10, 2022 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM CST



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A few times a year, the WLT hosts Saturday Craft Seminars featuring a presentation and conversation with an author who has recently released a book on the craft of writing. Everyone who buys a ticket will receive a copy of the book and access to the live event on Zoom (see below for full details).

In December, join us for a virtual presentation and conversation featuring Peter Ho Davies, author of The Art of Revision: The Last Word

About the event:

Perhaps the single most common question for any writer about revision is: How do you know when you’re done?

It’s a question that betrays our impatience and uncertainty about the process, but at its nagging, gnawing heart it’s a question that reveals our secret horror of revision as some infinite Sisyphean task. That’s a uniquely unsettling dread for writers. Our stories and novels, after all, are supposed to end, and yet revision – the story of a story, of how a story comes to be written – can appear endless. But the operative word here is “appear.” Revision, at root, is about vision, about seeing and re-seeing. There is a light at the end of that long revisionary tunnel if only we can see it.

This talk, taken from Peter Ho Davies’ THE ART OF REVISION, will chart one winding, personal journey through that tunnel – via memoir and fiction – towards that distant glimmer of light. The subsequent conversation and Q&A will address tips and techniques to help us all along the way.

About the book:

“[A] terrific guide to revising fiction. . . . Full of spirit and sound advice, this survey will be a boon to writers.”—Publishers Weekly

In The Art of Revision: The Last Word, Peter Ho Davies takes up an often discussed yet frequently misunderstood subject. He begins by addressing the invisibility of revision—even though it’s an essential part of the writing process, readers typically only see a final draft, leaving the practice shrouded in mystery. To combat this, Davies pulls examples from his novels The Welsh Girl and The Fortunes, as well as from the work of other writers, including Flannery O’Connor, Carmen Maria Machado, and Raymond Carver, shedding light on this slippery subject.

Davies also looks beyond literature to work that has been adapted or rewritten, such as books made into films, stories rewritten by another author, and the practice of retconning in comics and film. In an affecting frame story, Davies recounts the story of a violent encounter in his youth, which he then retells over the years, culminating in a final telling at the funeral of his father. In this way, the book arrives at an exhilarating mode of thinking about revision—that it is the writer who must change, as well as the writing. The result is a book that is as useful as it is moving, one that asks writers to reflect upon themselves and their writing.

This event will take place on Zoom. All registrants will receive a link to the live webinar and will have access to the recording for a full 30 days after the event. Which means, if you can’t join us in person you won’t miss a thing!

What previous attendees had to say:
  • “LOVED IT! I loved the format very much. Great content followed by great conversation.”
  • “I love the idea for this series, and I can’t wait to learn more.”
  • “I really like this program and look forward to the next installment.”
  • “A great program as always! Thanks WLT staff for your hard work!!”
  • “These are fantastic courses and have been instrumental in helping advance my craft. Thank you!”

Additional details regarding receiving the book:

All ticket holders residing within the United States will have the option of receiving a physical copy or ebook. Unfortunately, we’re unable to offer a complimentary book to registrants outside of the United States unless you can provide a US mailing address. 

All information needed to send books to registrants will be collected at check out. Please be sure to fill out your information carefully before confirming your ticket purchase. An email will be sent to all ticket holders when books are available. Depending on available stock and the date a ticket is purchased, some books will be available after the date of the event but every effort will be made to make books available in a timely manner.

Featured Presenter(s)

PETER HO DAVIES’s most recent books are the novel A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself, long-listed for the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and The Art of Revision: The Last Word, his first work of non-fiction. His previous novel, The Fortunes, a New York Times Notable Book, won the Anisfield-Wolf Award and the Chautauqua Prize, and was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His first novel, The Welsh Girl, a London Times Best Seller, was long-listed for the Booker Prize. He has also published two short story collections, The Ugliest House in the World (winner of the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize, and the Oregon Book Award) and Equal Love (finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and a New York Times Notable Book). Davies’ work has appeared in Harpers, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The Guardian, The Washington Post and TLS among others, and been anthologized in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories. In 2003 Granta magazine named him among its “Best of Young British Novelists.” Davies is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts and a winner of the PEN/Malamud and PEN/Macmillan Awards. Born in Britain to Welsh and Chinese parents, he now makes his home in the US. He has taught at the University of Oregon, Northwestern and Emory University, and is currently on faculty at the University of Michigan.


December 10, 2022
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM CST
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Online via Zoom