With Pleydell and Matsakis

This class will unpack how special and general relativity theory manifest in Virginia Woolf’s iconic novel, “To the Lighthouse”. Join one of the world’s timekeepers and international authorities on relativity, Dr. Demetrios Matsakis, and seasoned Politics and Prose teacher, Sarah Pleydell, for this two-session workshop that includes lecture, discussion and creative writing exercises designed to illuminate and provoke. Two Sundays: June 4 and 11 from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. ET Online 

With Aaron Hamburger

With a few short but dense books, Keegan has been taking the literary world by storm. Her jewel-like writing with its remarkable concision has earned comparisons to fellow Irish master William Trevor and the great Anton Chekhov. Over three weeks, we'll take a look at three key works of this rising literary star. Three Wednesdays: June 7, 14 and 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET Online

With Garrett Peck

In this class, we'll explore three of Cather’s novels that derived from her Southwestern travels: The Song of the Lark (an outcome from her 1912 trip), The Professor’s House (inspired by her trip to Mesa Verde, Colorado in 1915), and her “best book” (her words), Death Comes for the Archbishop, which she researched and wrote during her 1925 and 1926 travels to Taos and Santa Fe. Three Wednesdays: August 2, 9, 16, from 3 p.m to 5 p.m. ET Online

With Heba F. El-Shazli

Isabella Hammad’s new novel, Enter Ghost, features an actor’s return to Palestine via the staging of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the West Bank which reflects the turmoil within Palestinian society. If you enjoyed her first debut novel, The Parisian, then please join us on another journey into Palestinian society and a quest for self-healing, political knowledge, and a painful awakening. One Tuesday, June 20th, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT Online


Verlyn Flieger, Carl Hostetter

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lost Road sends characters from his contemporary England back into the past of his Middle-earth. His Notion Club Papers brings the same past into the present as a storm from ancient Middle-earth blows through a gathering of Oxford dons, bringing with it old identities and a new language. Four Sundays: June 4, 11, 18, 25 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET Online

With Matt Colburn

Allan Leverone defines the thriller genre thusly "...In a thriller, the crime (at least the biggie) hasn’t been committed yet, but the reader knows who the bad guy is; the question is whether he can be stopped.” Through this lens of using plot to create suspense, we will examine three classic thrillers. Students will deconstruct the plots of the thrillers according to Nigel Watts’s “Eight-Point Story Arc” and analyze how the writers create suspense at both the macro-level of plot as well as the micro-level of sentence structure. Four Mondays: June 5, June 19, June 26, July 10 from 6:30 to 8 pm ET Online

With Leigha McReynolds

The Victorian adventure novel is packed with action, mystery, and intrigue. Three quintessential examples — Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (1883), H. Rider Haggard’s She (1886), and Rudyard Kipling’s Kim (1901) — transport us across the late-Victorian empire. At their heart, these works are concerned with an exploration of identity and empire, asking what does it mean to be British at the height of the imperial age and far away from London? Three Thursdays: June 1, 15, 29 from 1 to 3 p.m. ET Online

With Nicole Miller

Lauded by critics and loved by readers during its year on bestseller lists, Demon Copperhead is an old yarn spun in a new place. In this retelling of David Copperfield, Barbara Kingsolver has created a novel with similarities and deviations from its inspiration. This class will discuss the familiar elements of the narrative, and pore over the raw invention which gives Demon Copperhead such vitality as a novel of awakening in the midst of the American opioid crisis. Two Mondays: July 10 and 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. ET Online

With Alyssa Falcone

In this novel, Elena Ferrante, acclaimed author of the “Neapolitan quartet” (the My Brilliant Friend series), explores the life of fourteen-year-old Giovanna, a moody teenager with an explosively dramatic family. One Sunday: July 23 from 2 to 4 pm EDT

With Leigha McReynolds

Since the 1950s science fiction writers have asked: what political and cultural institutions might perpetuate the human race far into time and space? Isaac Asimov’s Foundation (1951) offers the most influential answer to this question, while Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire (2019) illustrates how the genre has expanded to reflect our current moment. Join this class to discuss how galactic empires imagine a future shaped by our social and political presents. Three Wednesdays: July 12, 19, 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. ET Online

With Kara Keeling

Elizabeth Gaskell, a popular Victorian novelist, wrote a series of short stories for publication in Charles Dickens’s magazine, Household Words. Later gathered together, they became the charming novel, Cranford, a fictionalized portrait of the small-town social world in which Gaskell grew up. Join us for discussion of this short novel and its insights into Victorian class structure and social manners. Two Mondays: July 24 and 31, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET Online

With Peter Grybauskas

Join scholar Peter Grybauskas in exploring how an English defeat against Vikings in August 991 inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s scholarship, his only published play, and even some aspects of The Lord of the Rings. Three Sundays: August 6, 13, 20, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. ET Online

With Tara Campbell

Writers of color are on the vanguard of inventive and thought-provoking science fiction, fantasy, horror and other stories that fall under the umbrella of speculative fiction. Let’s celebrate New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color, Volume 2 (March 2023) with a discussion of the stories, examining the varied pasts, presents, and futures they explore. Note class has been rescheduled with new dates: Three Thursdays: August 10, 17, 24, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET Online

With Michele L. Simms-Burton

Join former Howard University and University of Michigan professor Michele L. Simms-Burton for lively and spirited discussions of the illustrious and adventurous career of and works by Edwidge Danticat. Four Saturdays: September 16, 23, 30, and October 7 from noon to 2 p.m. ET Online


With Joyce Winslow

Created for beginning and intermediate fiction writers, this course hones techniques writers often overlook or use haphazardly. You’ll learn the reason for sensory details and which dominate your writing to the exclusion of others. Four Thursdays: June 22, 29, and July 6, 13, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. ET Online

Sandra Beasley

Join Sandra Beasley as we use selected readings from The 2022 Best American Essays to talk about compelling approaches in contemporary creative nonfiction. We’ll look at writers who braid multiple generations of a family story, or weave in outside research; essays structured in numbered sections; and bold experiments such as dialoguing with Chat GPT. Five Wednesdays: August 16, 23, 30, September 6, 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET ONLINE

With Bob Levey

Join prize-winning former Washington Post columnist Bob Levey for a spirited, detailed look at how to write a compelling piece of informed opinion. Students will examine approximately eight pieces by famous writers, and will learn how to approach and create a worthy column, blog, review or essay. Four Wednesdays: September 6, 13, 20, 27 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. ET Online


With Victoria Pedrick

What makes the Odyssey so intimately readable? Tales of trying to make it home? Or tales of keeping there at all? Cyclops, Scylla & Charybdis, Sirens, are bywords for the perils amidst the unknown that Odysseus faces – patient waiting is another byword that earns Penelope her renown for fidelity. Yet Odysseus’ own blunders, foolishness, and misapprehensions don’t get as much press, as neither do Penelope’s deadly plots. (Re)read the Odyssey in this summer course, the perfect time for wandering & adventure, to be reacquainted with this ancient epic and to learn anew how complicated are the stories that we call heroic actually are. Six Mondays: July 10, 17, 24, 31, and August 7, 14, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. EDT


With Jerry Webster
Joan Halifax’s work Being with Dying springs from decades of work with the dying, counselors, and caregivers. Halifax is willing to stand on the edge of our experience and bear witness to all that transpires even in the most difficult of times. Her Buddhist ecumenical approach provides great benefit to people of all traditions. This class will explore Halifax’s teachings more deeply within the context from which these teachings arose for her, using meditative practices and exercises in class that she describes in Being with Dying. Four Tuesdays: August 1, 8, 15, 22, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET Online


With James M. Banner

In this course, which will feature informal introductory reflections followed by discussion, noted historian James Banner opens the door to discussion on the subject of the nature of revisionist history. We’ll confront the paradox of the always existing presence of the past—the reality that makes historical issues and arguments confuse and unsettle people, affect politics, and, as they’ve recently done in public disputes over monuments and commemorations, divide communities. Two Wednesdays: June 21 and June 28 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. ET Online