William Fiennes gave a class on writing about memory and transformation, at Oxford Central Library.

Top tips

  • The big themes are alive in the smallest transactions.
  • One good image conveys more than pages of assertion and explanation. Put your faith in the power of images.
  • The golden detail carries a whole world on its shoulders.
  • Remember James Salter: ‘Names are the first poems.’
  • Keep asking, What’s at stake? If nothing’s at stake, it’s just an anecdote…

Recommended reading

Joseph Mitchell Up in the Old Hotel
Italo Calvino The Baron in the Trees
Shirley Hazzard The Transit of Venus
Seamus Heaney The Hare with Amber Eyes
Primo Levi The Periodic Table
Ivan Turgenev Fathers and Sons

Related RSL Fellows

William Fiennes 2009