This year's writer-in--residence Angie Chau plans to encourage interaction among those who attend her one-day workshop on July 11 at Cal State Bakersfield.
"I will have participants share and read each other's work before the actual day of the class," said Chau, the author of "Quiet as They Come."
In a recent email she explained that she's asking those who enroll in advance to send in a story of their own prior to the actual class.
"People can still register I believe," she said, "but limited space is available." Location for the class is the Ablin Room, a conference room on the first floor of the university's Walter Stiern Library.
During the workshop, students will share their work and critique the work of others. The author listed several elements students should keep in mind when making comments.
These include: thoughtful responses about the work of fellow writers; an open mind; a passion for literature: a desire to improve on one's own work and a desire to assist fellow participants in improving their work.
"As the workshop leader," she added, "my goal is to create a space in which students feel free to take stylistic and artistic risks."
In addition, there will be a discussion of some of the essential components of fiction -- character, dialogue, structure, scene, metaphor and image -- and how to utilize these tools to create compelling and memorable stories.
A native of Vietnam, Chau and her parents were among the thousands of so-called boat people who escaped after the fall of Saigon in 1975. After living in Malaysia for six months, the author was 4 years old when the Chaus were allowed to come to San Francisco as refugees where they joined other family members.
In May, she made her first visit to CSUB where she gave a book talk that was open to students and the community at large.
"The turnout for the event and the students were as great as I had anticipated so there were no surprises," she said.
"There was a lovely mix of diversity that fostered good dialogue during the Q&A as well as afterward."
Currently, she is working on a novel called "The Annamits." The title is a play on the word "annam" meaning "pacified south" which is what the Chinese called Vietnam in the ninth and 10th centuries when it was a province of the Chinese Empire. The book, however, is a story of more recent times.
"It is set in Saigon between 1965 to 1975 at the height of American involvement in Vietnam," Chau said. "The novel attempts to show the quiet bravery of civilians who endure day after day under conditions of constant warfare."
The new book is also a sort of prequel to her previously published short story collection and focuses on two characters in particular, Kim Le and Duc Nguyen, at the beginning of their relationship.
A graduate of UC Berkeley, Chau has a master's degree in English from UC Davis, where she was the fiction editor for The Greenbelt Review. Her work has been published in numerous reviews and journals.
"I hope that the workshop will serve as a spark to ignite their creative juices and that it will be just the start for them," Chau said. "Every single one of us has a story to tell."
Her appointment as writer-in-residence was funded by a grant from PG&E, said Curt Asher, interim dean of the library.
Cost for the workshop is $150. To download an application, go to csub.edu/library/writer2013.shtml.