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Writers Conference featuring Junot Díaz

On November 4, 2011, Montco will host the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Junot Díaz. He will have two event. Díaz is a Dominican American immigrant and currently a professor of Creative Writing at MIT. His works offer a literary look at life as an immigrant in New Jersey that focus on class, masculinity, and the language of the street. At times disturbing and yet often hilarious, he offers a window on an often ignored part of America. The extra credit options are listed below and are "stacked": you must read before you can get extra credit for attending events.

Part 1: Reading Díaz Extra Credit:

Read three of the four short stories by Díaz in the Course Documents "Díaz" folder OR read the first chapter of the novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Mark it like you would a class reading, particularly thinking about the fact that you might get a chance to ask the man a question in person. Post a one-page response to his writing, indicating what surprised you about his style, his subject matter, or his tone. Post this response in the extra credit section of the class discussion board.

Possible Points 5 to 8 points depending on the quality of your marks and response.
Due Date: Class Starting Time, Tuesday, November 1.

Part 2: Attend either the Public Q&A with Díaz (ATC 101 3:30 to 4:30, free) or his Keynote Speech (SC 213, ticket required)

Once you've read something by Díaz, you can come see the man speak. If you come to the Q&A, ask a question to extra points: just don't make it a dumb question just to get points. If you come to the Keynote speech, you can get him to sign a book afterwards (but you have to buy your own book). Post a one-page reaction to his public appearance in the discussion board. I can get you a free ticket to his keynote, but you need to tell me on November 1 that you want one.

Possible Points:

Attend Q&A (but stay silent): 8 to 10 points, depending on quality of post
Attend Q&A (but ask question): 10 to 15 points, depending on quality of question and post.
Attend Keynote: 8 to 15 points, depending on quality of post.
Due Date: November 9th, 2011

Attend Saturday Workshops of Writers Conference

Aspiring writers may want to register as a student for the Saturday, November 5th workshops, including an opportunity to speak to a literary agent about crafting pitches. Details about the conference and registration costs can be found at http://www.mc3.edu/writersconf. Because this event will take all of Saturday and cost money, the extra credit value is slightly higher, but you need to post a two-page response that discuss the workshops you attended and what they taught you about being a writer and getting published.

Possible Points: 20-25 points, depending on quality of post
Due Date: November 9th, 2011

Make Your Own Poe Video (Make up an absence)

I was surprised to find that a number of enterprising Poe enthusiasts had made their own video interpretations of Poe's poems and posted them on Youtube. I like this idea a lot, so I will give extra credit to any student who makes their own video of a Poe poem. Here are the rules:

  • The poem must appear in its entirety so that the audience can see/hear the poem and actually digest it (i.e. don't flash it on the screen for a second): the audience has to experience his actual words some way.
  • The video must be burned to CD or given to me on a jump drive to download onto my hard drive.
  • You must post it on Youtube and post a link in the "Extra Credit" forum of the discussion board.
  • You must leave it up all semester.
You may want to check out these examples: "Annabel Lee," "The Raven," or "Alone."
Also, here's a video without words that would not meet my rules, but it was disturbing enough that I thought I'd pass it along: "Annabel Lee."

Deadline: last day of class
Possible points: 8-20 points depending on quality OR removal of one absence.

Read Franklin's Essays

One of the tough choices I had to make for a survey course was to cut some of Franklin's writings. As an extra credit opportunity, you can choose to read and mark all of Franklin's essays in the anthology that are not part of The Autobiography and then offer a two-page informal (but edited) commentary on Franklin's other writings. Post the response in the "Extra Credit" discussion board forum.

Possible points: 5 to 10 points, depending on quality of response.
Deadline: Last day of class

Visit the National Constitution Center

Much of the literature we are reading in this course is based on historical events that actually took place in Philadelphia. For this extra credit option, visit the National Constitution Center and see the "Freedom Rising" performance. Bring your ticket stub (with date) as proof that you saw it and post a page-long, edited reaction to the presentation, focusing on the attitudes and issues the presentation tried to instill in viewers. Post your response in the "Extra Credit" discussion board forum.

Possible Points: 5-10, depending on Quality of response.
Deadline: Last Day of Class

Do a Grammar Revision of Your First Paper

See the instructions for the grammar revision here. Complete the assignment using the graded copy of Paper #1 as a guide. Turn in a typed grammar revision plus my handmarked copy of your first paper to my box by noon on Thursday, December 8, 2011.

Possible Points: 1 to 20 depending on quality and completeness of coverage.
Deadline: Noon, Thursday, December 8, 2011

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