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"Place in Fiction: The Secret Trapdoor to Storytelling" with Brittani Sonnenberg

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St. Edward's University, Moody Hall 204
3001 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704

10/29/2016 From 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM


$49 members (sign in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers

Online registration is now closed for this event.

If you wish to attend, there are still a few seats available for purchase at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. Please arrive at least 15 minutes early and pay with exact cash or check (made out to Writers' League of Texas). The walk-up rate is $59 for members and $119 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

Location Note: This class is held in Moody Hall, Room 204. This is a different building from past years' classes at St. Edward's University. You can find a campus map here.


In one of her best craft essays, Eudora Welty asks the question “What place has place in fiction?” It’s a question every fiction writer should ask themselves. Exploring setting can serve as a secret trapdoor to storytelling in a short story or novel. By delving deeply into where a story is set, a writer gathers crucial clues about character and plot. Because place is so evocative (think about why we send postcards, or what has made Instagram such a popular medium), nailing setting is essential for good fiction writing. In this class, students will discuss:

  • How to choose your setting(s)
  • How to depict setting in a way that captures a reader’s imagination and transports them to another place
  • How to make setting work overtime (i.e., how setting can help evoke other fictional elements like character and plot)
  • How to enjoy writing setting (hint: it’s the only vacation most writers can afford)

Students will be sent a copy of Eudora Welty’s essay “Place in Fiction” before the class. Students should also feel free to bring in samples of writers who they believe are masters at setting to class, as well as scratch paper for writing exercises.


About the instructor:

Brittani Sonnenberg is the managing editor of Tribeza Magazine and the author of the novel Home Leave. She was raised across three continents and has worked as a journalist in Germany, China, and throughout Southeast Asia. A graduate of Harvard, she received her MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan. Her fiction has been published in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2008 as well as Ploughshares, Short Fiction, and Asymptote. Her nonfiction has appeared in Time, Associated Press, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NPR Berlin.

REGISTRATION BY MAIL: If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click HERE for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it.

NOTE: Once a purchase has been made, tickets are not refundable and registration cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster. For policies, please visit our Classes page.


This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at

Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


The Writers' League of Texas would like to thank St. Edward's University for its generous support and commitment to community, ongoing education, and the arts. Visit