Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Novel Writing with Helen Hagemann
Friday’s Prose Class, 7th March continues with writing novel chapters or the short story form / stand-alone piece. The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks is featured in this workshop and writers will look at the way Banks creates scenes. Class will read part of two chapters, there will be two writing exercises and discussion will revolve around the techniques of writing “scenes”. 

Venue: Fremantle Arts Centre, 1 Finnerty St. Fremantle
Room: 2 - Upstairs in the north wing
Starts: Friday (fortnightly) on 7th February, 2014
Time: 10.00am til noon
Cost: $20 (OOTA members), $25 (non-OOTA members)

The Sweet Hereafter
is a multiple first person narrative depicting life in a small town in Upstate New York in the wake of a terrible school bus accident in which numerous local children are killed. Hardly able to cope with the loss, their grieving parents are approached by a slick city lawyer who wants them to sue for damages. At first the parents are reluctant to do so, but eventually they are persuaded by the lawyer that filing a class action lawsuit would ease their minds and also be the right thing to do.
As most of the children are dead, the case now depends on the few surviving witnesses to say the right things in court. In particular, it is 14 year-old Nichole Burnell, who was sitting at the front of the bus and is now paralyzed from the waist down, and whose deposition is all-important. However, she unexpectedly accuses Dolores Driscoll, the driver, of speeding and thus causing the accident. When she does so, all hopes of ever receiving money are thwarted. All the people involved know that Nichole is lying but cannot do anything about it. Only her father knows why, but he is unable to publicly reveal his daughter's motives.The novel captures the atmosphere in a small town suddenly shaken by catastrophe.  [Ref:  Wikipedia]
The Movie
The Sweet Hereafter is a 1997 Canadian film written and directed by Atom Egoyan. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Russell Banks. The film documents the effects of a tragic bus accident on the population of a small town. It took home a Special Grand Jury Prize at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and scored a pair of Academy Award nominations, including Best Director and best adapted screenplay.

But really, it was reading that lead me to writing.
And in particular reading the American classics
like Twain who taught me at an early age that ordinary lives of ordinary people can be made into high art.”           Russell Banks


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    Writing at the Centre is an independent writing class conducted each Friday at the Fremantle Arts Centre, Print Room, upstairs in the main building.


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