Benjamin Lytal’s first novel, A MAP OF TULSA, was published by Penguin in 2013. Before that, he worked for many years as a book critic, focusing on new fiction, and before that as an editorial assistant in poetry at the New Yorker magazine. He’s currently at work on a second book, a hybrid of fiction and memoir. He says, “One thing I love about teaching is the chance to formulate all the different reasons that great literature is great. My reading diet is stuffed with contemporary books and classics, fiction and poetry, works both famous and relatively obscure. All these texts inevitably influence my own writing, and I hope they will influence my students too. By “influence” I don’t just mean imitation: I mean opening up students' sense of what is personally possible for them, what they want to do and can do in their writing.” He’s excited about the three week intensive course because “a writing workshop is at its best when the participants develop a lively rapport. Students will quickly begin to teach each other things they didn’t themselves know they knew. By the end of three weeks I expect we’ll all be different writers than we were at the beginning."