As usual I’ll be teaching Creative Writing and Narrative Theory Thursday evenings this fall at Skrivarakademin, Stockholm (located at Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45, near Odenplan). I’m also pleased to announce that well-known poet Moira Egan (native of Baltimore, resident of Rome) will be joining me for a weekend course in short story and poetry writing. This will be Moira’s third course in Stockholm; her previous courses have been extremely popular.
Free trial classes Wednesday evening, August 24th: Creative Writing 6-7 pm and Short story kl 7:15 – 8.15 pm.

Please let me know if you have any questions: kfrato(‘at’ symbol)yahoo.com

Annons

After more than a year of intense work, the second edition of my book Echo 5 (Natur och Kultur publishers, Sweden) has been released. This edition is expanded with many new stories, sample texts, how-to sections on writing and speaking in different ways, audio texts, factual articles, exercises, etc. Five stories are by other authors, the rest of the book I’ve written (a few classic stories remain; many others are new).

Writing books for classrooms is a major undertaking. Textbook authors employ many skills: planning with editors, reading numerous books and articles, drafting, re-writing, editing, proofreading, discussing layout, pictures, typography… everything.

I wrote the first edition in 2013, and one goal then was to write a more intelligent and engaging book than was currently available. I was proud of my work then, but prouder now. I know more now than I did then. For the past decade in addition to teaching young people, I’ve also taught writing classes for adults, and have travelled Sweden meeting and speaking with teaching staffs all over the country –– I’ve been to nearly fifty schools. I’ve also switched jobs twice since writing the first edition, and have worked with a much broader range of young students.

Another benefit is that I’ve included in the new edition many ideas and skills from my book Creative Writing: A Classroom Guide (Natur och Kultur 2019).

I’ve also written a preface for students, as well as an explanation of who Echo was (a nymph from Greek mythology) and why the book borrows her name. Why does it? I chose the title a decade ago because I want those who use the book to cause positive, intelligent echoes in the world. I hope the book itself helps make positive echoes in the world.

As usual I’ll be teaching Creative Writing and Narrative Theory Thursday evenings this fall at Skrivarakademin, Stockholm (located at Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45, near Odenplan). I’m also pleased to announce that well-known poet Moira Egan (native of Baltimore, resident of Rome) will be joining me for a weekend course in short story and poetry writing. This will be Moira’s third course in Stockholm; her previous courses have been extremely popular.
Free trial classes Wednesday evening, August 24th: Creative Writing 6-7 pm and Short story kl 7:15 – 8.15 pm.

Hope to work with you this fall.

Registration is open for my spring 2022 writing courses in Creative Writing and Narrative Theory and Creative Writing and Narrative Theory II at Skrivarakademin, Folkuniversitetet, Stockholm.

The courses have been quite popular since I first started offering them in 2012, and have often had waiting lists. Participants sometimes stay in touch for years afterwards, helping each other with their writing.

I’ve designed the courses to develop skills in a systematic fashion, starting with linguistic issues, then moving on to technical issues of tense, perspective, and flashbacks, before finally working with larger narrative and theoretical issues. If you have any questions, please contact me at kfrato@yahoo.com.

In 2013 when I arrived at the name for the Echo series of high-school English textbooks, my hope was that the books and their stories would reverberate with students throughout their lives. I put great care into researching and writing psychologically complex stories and texts to captivate young people’s imagination.

Natur och Kultur publishers imagined the books would be re-printed a few times before becoming outdated; I determined to make the books as timeless and relevant as possible.

Eight years later, the first book I wrote in the series, Echo Main Issues 5, has been re-printed half a dozen times. I’ve been using the stories and other materials in the books in the classroom ever since, and while the novelty of writing them has worn off, my students’ engagement with them has not. My students are just as interested in the characters and their lives, and find the interactive sections just as compelling.

As the books have gone back to the printers, I’ve made minor corrections. Thanks to the many teachers and students who use the books, the series is still going strong. Do you work with the books? What improvements would you like to see? Please let me know here, or by contacting me at kfrato@yahoo.com. If you have other feedback on the books, please let me know, as well.

Despite the Pandemic, I still plan to run Skrivarakademin’s Creative Writing and Narrative Theory course this spring, with the first meeting delayed until Thursday, February 25th. Classes are scheduled on-location at Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45 in Stockholm (nearest train stop is Odenplan, nearest subway stop is Rådmansgatan), with an online option available for those who wish to participate via video-link from home.

As with the two previous terms, I’ll be offering in-person and online participants. We have engaged groups and attendance is always very high. The last few years, spots have been very hard to get, but due to the Pandemic there are at the moment a few left.

The course meets for ten weeks, and covers basic elements of narrative writing, from punctuation and syntax to story mechanics. We also work with theory, and study professional examples. Many students report gaining both skills and self-confidence, and that they learn better self-discipline and editing skills. We also have a lot of fun together.

And good news: some participants from the fall 2020 class are currently writing a story cycle together with some of my other students. The paperback book is scheduled to be printed and released this May. Watch this space for more news about the project. And please contact me at kevin.frato@folkuniversitetet.se if you have any questions.

Looking forward to working with you this spring.

It’s been a while since I published in Swedish, but in December I published a column in Manus, the quarterly of the Swedish Textbook Authors’ Guild (SLFF).  My column tells the story of travelling to lecture in the north of Sweden with my editor.  During the trip I wondered about the Swedish term for “teaching materials” –– a discussion which eventually led me to question my relationship to my own books, my identity as an author, and the role of textbooks in society.  The text concludes with the assertion that books read in schools convey knowledge young people need to grow up and maintain a functioning democracy.

My writing students have been asking for this course for years, so of course I’ve been careful to avoid offering it.  What more can I possibly teach, after ten intense weeks in the intro course?

But through teaching the course Prosa (Prose Writing) at Skrivarakademin’s Skrivarlinje, and publishing my recent book Creative Writing – a Classroom Guide, I’ve realized I do have a few more things to teach.  And if I’m clever, I can squeeze six more evenings of teaching into an already busy schedule.

So this spring, in addition to Creative Writing and Narrative Theory (which I’ve taught every term since 2012, and which last term had a waiting list) I’ll also be teaching Creative Writing and Narrative Theory II, which will go into greater detail and involve more challenging concepts and skills than the intro course.

Creative Writing and Narrative Theory will meet on ten Thursdays from 6-9:15 pm, starting March 5th.  The advanced course will meet six times, every other Wednesday, starting February 19th.  Participants often continue meeting after the end of these course, and several groups have later cooperated to write and co-publish story cycles.

Please contact me with any questions you might have.

My newest book Creative Writing – A Classroom Guide has received an excellent review from the Swedish BTJ journal for librarians. Reviewer Alan Pejkovic writes in Swedish: “I denna korta, tankeväckande handbok ger författaren många goda tips på hur lärare i undervisningen kan använda sig av kreativt skrivande och går igenom hur skriftligt berättande får elever mer intresserade av läsning, förbättrar deras språkfärdigheter och låter dem uttrycka sin personlighet på ett medryckande sätt.” (BTJ-häftet nr 12, 2019)

… which means: “In this short, thought-provoking handbook, the author gives classroom teachers lots of good advice for working with creative writing; he also discusses how telling stories in writing makes students more interested in reading, improves their language skills, and lets them express their personalities –– all in an engaging way.”

Later the review mentions the book’s section on the workshopping process, as well as the writing exercises, which it notes are challenging and can be adapted to various age group (“Boken lägger fram ett antal intressanta, och ganska svåra, skrivövningar som kan anpassas till olika undervisningsnivåer.”).

In addition, the review mentions the attractive, inviting layout (done by Linn Yngborn), and the extra worksheets and resources available through publisher Natur och Kultur’s homepage.  It notes that the book can be used either in the classroom or by individuals, regardless of whether they are beginners or more experience writers.

Please contact me at kfrato@yahoo.com if you have any questions about the book, or how to use it.  And as always, please contact me if you’re interested in a school visit.

My latest book Creative Writing – a Classroom Guide has just been released by Natur och Kultur publishers, Sweden.  The goal of this book is to improve society through helping students understand stories and how to structure them, by applying theory and practise.

In the theory section, I’ve included completely new ways of teaching story writing through conversation theory and the elements of the narrative.  I also include traditional linguistic tools and narrative mechanics, and I reference authors as widespread as Aristotle, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly, Edgar Allen Poe, and Stephen King. The practical section includes detailed suggestions for structuring workshopping sessions, and I also provides guidelines to protect the integrity of student authors (no value judgments or helpful suggestions, etc.).  Instead of traditional writing prompts or exercises, I’ve included eleven writing challenges –– enjoyable tests of skill that you can make as simple or complex as you like, such as the Poetic Language, Character Names, Tempo, Tonic, and Cityscape challenges.

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Creative Writing – a Classroom Guide, by Kevin Frato (Natur och Kultur, 2019). Cover photo: Cecilia Magnusson

The book also offers textual examples from classic works to illustrate each skill or concept, and also includes four sample of student work, to illustrate the rich variety of stories students write.  Along with the text, you’ll also find easy-to-access online materials, including worksheets with clear layouts and more textual examples.

Whether you’re a teacher interested in working with creative writing in the classroom, or looking for new ideas for the work you already do –– or whether you’re a writer looking for a more structured understanding of the process –– this book provides you with a rich variety of practical and theoretical tools of the trade.

Special thanks on this project to my editors Åsa Gustafsson and Desiree Kellerman.

I’m available to lead workshops on this topic (contact me or Natur och Kultur); you can also sign up for one of my classes at Skrivarakademin, Stockholm.