Diary or novel? Fact or Fiction? The routine of teaching auto/biographical texts in Brazil, Sergio Da Silva Barcellos
Every year, during my Seminar at Rio de Janeiro State University I propose a topic related either to Life Writing Theories or, more specifically, about diaries and diary writing. To my surprise, students’ exposure to diaries is invariably connected to fictional diaries. Sometimes, the confusion is not even in terms of fictional-nonfictional, but of the genre. They tend to situate auto-biographical narratives in limbo from where redemption is only possible through a fictional statute. The hesitation in attributing a literary status to nonfictional texts by young readers is recurrent. Is Teaching Life Writing a Sisyphean task?
Sergio da Silva Barcellos received has a Ph.D. degree in Literary Studies. He teaches an annual seminar on Auto/Biographical Studies at the Rio de Janeiro State University, since 2009. He is a founding member of IABA-Americas and a member of the editorial team of Lifewriting Annual.
Another kind of (social) distancing: the life writing process and literary devices as distancing technique and its therapeutic value, Shauni De Gussem
This conference paper describes the way creative writing students of the practical research lab “Real or made-up: life writing between reality and fiction” taught in spring 2020 explored the way literary devices can or cannot create distance between the life of the author and the text produced, all while still aiming to create texts of literary value. After many class discussions about truthfulness, objectivity and memory each student actively examined this aforementioned field of experimentation. Some of them wrote about own trauma and found literary procedures as a distancing technique to be helpful in their therapeutic process.
Shauni De Gussem teaches creative writing and several practical research labs on specific pressing topics to do with writing at Wisper School of Arts. She’s also a guest lecturer in screenwriting at the film school LUCA School of Arts and writes screenplays professionally for Belgian film and television.
Teaching Dawid Sierakowiak’s Diary, Aleksandra Bednarowska
Dawid Sierakowiak’s Diary is one of the most popular autobiographical texts from Litzmannstadt Ghetto. Discovered after WWII, it offers a vivid description of ghetto existence from a point of view of a young man, who is witnessing the demise of his family and the Jewish community. In my paper I will discuss the value of using autobiographical in teaching an undergraduate course on Holocaust Literature. Despite many misconceptions about Holocaust that students might have at the beginning of the class, they relate to Sierakowiak’s experiences, such as his yearning for education or his love for his mother.
Aleksandra Bednarowska is a faculty member in the Department of Modern Languages at the Pedagogical University of Cracow, Poland. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin and received her doctorate at SUNY Stony Brook. She has published articles on German-Jewish women writers, Polish-Jewish writers and Holocaust.
Teaching Autofiction, Shashibhusan Nayak
This presentation critically examines the ways that autofiction can be used across life writing syllabus. It includes advice to help students understand the (sub)genre of autofiction. The main focus of this presentation is the art of teaching autofiction, addressing questions like how to design a course on autofiction? How to explain to the students what autofiction is? Which primary texts need to be examined? Which theoretical aspects can be considered while reading those texts? Since autofiction study is at a nascent stage(here), these questions need to be addressed in detail to lay a strong foundation for autofiction studies in future.
Dr Shashibhusan Nayak teaches English at GP Nayagarh & Indira Gandhi National Open University. His works have appeared in Rock Pebbles, Media Watch, iEnglish, Auto/Fiction & RJLCS. He is the founder of the Centre for Autofiction Studies, editor of Auto/Fiction, and an MLA international bibliography field bibliographer.