Jason Skipper’s debut novel Hustle was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction. His work has appeared in Hotel Amerika, Mid-American Review, and South Writ Large, and he has received awards and recognition from Zoetrope: All-Story, Glimmer Train, and Crab Orchard Review. He teaches at Pacific Lutheran University.
Mentor. Workshops and classes in fiction.
Statement: I like to think of workshops as a time when well-read and learning surgeons gather round a body of literary fiction, understanding every body functions in similar ways, and each is unique. I do my best to approach the author’s work with a surgeon’s objectivity and encourage workshop participants do the same. We should consider the story a being in need of help; suspension of judgment is essential, as is close reading and thoughtful analysis. Both alone and together we should consider questions like: Is enough here for this body to function? What is it trying to say? How is this piece original, and where is it unoriginal? What specifically is working well, and what needs work? In our annotations and conversations, communication using the language of our discipline is essential. At the same time the author should bear in mind their responsibilities to the story: it’s most time effective to submit the piece after their resources have been exhausted; they should listen carefully, take in every possibility, and critically consider these possibilities as they revise to a point where the story can exist on its own out in the world.