Hisham Matar

Nov 2020

I don't agree with the previous post. I definitely think Professor Hisham is knowledgeable and funny and says the most wonderful things. But as a writing student, I feel isolated and intimidated in his class, and most of the other students in the class feel the same way too even though we don't say it because he's a superstar professor or whatever. The workload is also way too much - it's both a writing workshop and a literature class and it gets old by the 4th week or so. After the excitement of learning from someone as distinguished as him dies down, all that's left is the feeling of not being a good enough writer. He's very prescriptive of what he expects from his students as writers and universalizes/homogenizes the writing experience in a way that makes it feel like only certain types of writing is worthwhile and only certain types of people can be/are writers. Have I left having learned anything from this class? Yes, I read more intentionally now and I love words more. But as a writer? I feel crippled - I'm terrified to write anything new and am even considering why I'm even a writer. So, if you've been writing for a long time and have taken other writing courses, maybe this class (fiction Writing) is for you. If not, there are other writing classes - you might come here and feel like your wings have been clipped.

Oct 2020

Want to be taught by a Pulitzer award-winning, Booker Prize-shortlisted writer who knows exactly what he's doing? TAKE THIS CLASS. Professor Matar is incredible - he is patient and kind and speaks so poetically - just being in his class will make you not only love writing and reading more but make you want to live as an artist. His reading choices are diverse and lovely - from all over the world and it's just insane to have him speak so casually about his writer friends(Zadie Smith, Jhumpa Lahiri etc) and all the writing societies he's been a part of. He's so so down to earth and really ready to listen to your voice as a writer. I love how he balances technique and literary philosophy in his classes. He doesn't prescribe a way of writing at all, just simply makes sure you're staying true to your voice as a writer. 10 out of 10. Really. I have no idea why there are no other reviews of him.