Aja Gabel
Enrollment limit: 8 students
$130 new; $120 returning

May we recommend Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?—Writing About Place?

Most of us have grown up on love stories, everything from Shakespeare and Jane Austen to Sweetbitter and ’90s rom coms. All writers write about relationships—to the self, to friends, to family, to the world. And most writers at one point or another take on our most trodden subject matter: romantic love. But when we sit down to write our own, what are we really writing? What structures and tropes should we be aware of? What biases are revealed and how can we make our stories true and new and original? What are we really talking about when we talk about love?

In this one-day seminar, we’ll look at common pitfalls when it comes to writing a love story and creative ways around them. We’ll examine love stories of all different kinds and find original ways into familiar narratives. Students will write and develop their own personal manifestos for love stories and leave with inspiration and tactics to tackle their own work. This seminar is open to students of all levels. It will be held in Silver Lake where coffee, sparkling water, and light snacks will be served.


Silver Lake
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
May 6, 2018

Aja Gabel's debut novel, The Ensemble, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House in May 2018. Aja's prose can be found in Kenyon Review, New England Review,  Glimmer Train, BOMB, and elsewhere. She has taught fiction, nonfiction, and literature at the University of Virginia, the University of Houston, Sweet Briar College, and Pacific University, as well as at undergraduate creative writing conferences and community workshop organizations. She earned her BA at Wesleyan University, her MFA at the University of Virginia and has a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Aja was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown 2012-2013, and she currently lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Bear.

Reviews for The Ensemble

"Aja Gabel's debut novel centers around the four friends who make up the Van Ness Quartet: Brit, Daniel, Henry, and Jana, each wildly different but electric together despite the ups and downs of their career in music. Gabel examines the intricate complexities of their intense friendship, loyalties, and ambitions over a decade and a half in this book, which itself reads quite like a lyrical composition. You'll come for the music and stay for Gabel's realistic portrait of modern friendship." —Buzzfeed

"Aja Gabel's powerful debut offers a sensitive portrait of four young musicians forging their paths through life: sometimes at odds with each other, sometimes in harmony, but always inextricably linked by their shared pasts." —Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere

"With uncommon clarity and empathy, Aja Gabel brings us inside the passionate, complex, and sometimes cutthroat intimacy that exists among the four members of a string quartet. A wise and powerful novel about love, life, and music. I didn't want it to end." —Maggie Shipstead, New York Times bestselling author of Seating Arrangements and Astonish Me