In early August, Joshua Furst, adjunct assistant professor of writing, and Alicia Meier, Communications and Global Programs Manager, both from Columbia University’s School of the Arts, travelled to Chile in an exploratory mission to discuss possible joint projects with local authors and universities. Their visit followed a very successful Advanced Creative Writing Workshop held in conjunction with the Rio Center and Instituto Vera Cruz in São Paulo.
Joshua’s novel “The Sabotage Café” won the 2008 Grub Street Fiction Prize and was named a best book of the year by the Chicago Tribune, the Rocky Mountain Newsand the Philadelphia City Paper. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed book of stories, “Short People.# His children’s book, “The Little Red Stroller,” will be published in 2019. A contributing editor at the Jewish Daily Forward, he has been published in Esquire, Nerve, Salon, The Chicago Tribune, and Conjunctions, among many other periodicals.
In Santiago, Alicia and Joshua they met with members of the Creative Writing School at Universidad Diego Portales (UDP), where Joshua also participated in a conversation with students of the course on literary translation. The also held several meetings with Chilean most renowned fiction writers, including Alejandro Zambra, Carla Guelfenbein, Matías Celedón, María José Viera Gallo, Paulina Rafael Gumucio, Arelis Uribe and Alberto Fuguet. In addition they joined the Santiago team in a working session with the director of Universidad Católica’s book editing extension course, Kristina Cordero.
During their trip to Chile, they also travelled to Valparaíso to meet with faculty members and students of Universidad de Playa Ancha.
Their discussions focused on the possibilities of establishing “Word for word” programs between Columbia and UDP writing students, holding a Creative Writing Advanced Workshop similar to the one held in Brazil, and other forms of collaborations between Columbia and local authors.