A few things you should know before choosing this College
You’ll be joining people from all over the world in this College. In the last two years we’ve had students from Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, France, Sweden, Israel, Nigeria and Russia, as well as Italy.
So the first thing you need when you enrol in Storytelling is a sound knowledge of English; this will be the language you use with your classmates and the language the lessons are given in. You will also write all your copy in English.
Other advantages include curiosity, a spirit of adventure and the ability to adapt – it’s not easy to move to the other side of the world to study for two years. We’ll help you of course, but you must be prepared to use your own resources too, to get by in situations such as renting accommodation and going shopping; these things may seem banal, but in a country like Italy where few people speak English (or speak it badly), it’s really not that simple.
Apart from this you don’t need to have any specific training or previous studies; you’ll be exploring lots of narrative pathways and forms of writing, and you might even discover a talent you never knew you had.
What you’ll be doing over the two years
You’ll work with international writers or Italian authors living abroad. You’ll get the sensation of being immersed in a vast landscape: you might have lessons with a Romanian writer one week, and the next you’ll be working with a story editor from the BBC or an American producer. You’ll follow a path with two main strands – narrative and cinema, but there will be many forays down side paths, especially during the first year: poetry, oral storytelling and body language, drama, documentary, essay writing, journalism, TV series and a focus on particular genres.
You’ll begin writing a lot from day one, even if at first you don’t know which direction you want to take. Don’t worry, it’s all part of the teaching strategy. During the second year some narrative areas will be dropped and others will be introduced – ab initio, or building on what you already know. This will be preparation for the Opening Doors project at the end of the two years. Practice will overtake theory, and in addition to working on your copy you’ll also learn how to analyse what your classmates write in order to sharpen your critical sensitivity and editing skills. There will be cinema and documentary workshops, for which the class will form a crew, a newsroom or a screenplay writing room, depending on the particular project you’re working on and helping each other with.
The teacher and the College coordinator will follow your stories very closely, even during the months when you’re not at Holden.
Each year is divided into three terms – from October to December you’ll be in Turin, from January to March you’ll do your classes online, and then we’ll meet up again in April through to June.
What you’ll be able to do by the time you leave
You’ll have an extremely varied final portfolio; it could contain a script for a short film, short stories, the start of a novel or the concept for a TV series, and you’ll have made at least one short fiction film or documentary on which you worked as a screenwriter, director or producer.
- You’ll know how to edit a literary text;
- You’ll have learned to write screenplays for films and TV, or theatrical dramas;
- You’ll be able to work as a script editor for the cinema or the theatre, a copywriter, a content curator or web content editor;
- You’ll have shot short films or documentaries;
- for any project you start, you’ll know how to take it forward, and having worked with international professionals you’ll have a wide sphere of reference through the contacts you’ve cultivated over your two years here at the school.
Who is he?
He’s a writer. His first published novel An Obedient Father won the 2001 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. His second, Family Life, won the 2016 International Dublin Literary Award. He lives in New York and teaches creative writing at Rutgers University.
When did he begin?
Soon: when he was about 15 Sharma started to write short stories – mostly science fiction stories – and he begun writing his first novel when he was 19. His early ambition, however, was not to become a writer. He went into investment banking and worked in Wall Street for a long time before giving up his job and starting his second novel. His academic career combined business courses with high-profile writing programmes, although he says at the time he didn’t properly realize the eminence of his teachers, besides Joyce Carol Oates (among others, he studied with Russell Banks, Toni Morrison, Paul Auster, John McPhee and Tony Kushner).
He was named on Granta’s 2007 list of best young American writers, but his second novel was published several years after the first one. Why?
Because it took him 12 years and a half to write Family Life. He wrote, deleted, and rewrote more than 7,000 pages, telling the story from different points of view. Here’s the essay he wrote about his titanic effort.
What did he do in those 12 years, while he was writing the novel?
He run. He felt he had no control over his life, so he tried to control his body. He run 17 miles every day and he lost so much weight that even his shoe size changed.
What did he do right after finishing Family Life?
He began writing something new, a short story. And he was astonished to realise how much he had learned through writing the novel. He has now finished a collection of short stories, A Life of Adventure and Delight. And he still believes that writing is not only a matter of pain, but also of fun.
The Master in 2016-2018 program is Stephen Amidon. He has written essays, tales and novels like The Human Capital which was chosen by Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post as one of the five best novels of 2004. A film adaptation of the novel, directed by Paolo Virzì, won best film at the 2014 David di Donatello and Globi d’Oro awards and it was chosen to represent Italy at the 2015 Academy Awards. His last novel is The Real Justine.