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Who Gets to Write Fiction?: Opening Doors to Imaginative Writing for All Students

Who Gets to Write Fiction?: Opening Doors to Imaginative Writing for All Students

Current price: $34.95
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2023
W. W. Norton & Company
The MIT Press Bookstore
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Writing and sharing fiction allows adolescents to glimpse other lives

The current curricular emphasis on analytical writing can make it feel risky to teach creative writing in ELA classrooms. But the opportunity to write fiction in school opens many doors for young people: doors the author argues are critical to the development of our students, our education system, and even our democracy.

This book will delight English teachers weary of focusing relentlessly on argument and information writing. Veteran teacher Ariel Sacks vividly describes the many academic, social–emotional, and community-building advantages of teaching imaginative writing in the classroom, not least of which is the impact it has on equity for marginalized students. Her book is a teacher-to-teacher text that folds in detailed, practical guidance about how to design lessons and meet standards, while presenting a powerful central argument: that the writing of fiction should be treated not as a luxury for some, but as a center of the English curriculum for all students.

About the Author

Ariel Sacks has been an ELA teacher leader for over two decades, and is the author of two previous books for literacy educators. She lives in New York City.

Praise for Who Gets to Write Fiction?: Opening Doors to Imaginative Writing for All Students

This book has profound implications for teaching. Ariel Sacks shows us how to humanize this test-driven profession with courage, wisdom, and the gorgeous, clear writing of an accomplished storyteller. It is not just the progression of assignments from most accessible to most complex, but the articulate defense of imaginative work that is inspiring, rigorous, and necessary for the overall well-being of us all. You simply must study this book with your colleagues.
— Penny Kittle, cofounder of the Book Love Foundation

Ariel Sacks provides a comprehensive playbook for English Language Arts teachers on why and how to engage students in fiction writing. The book shares stories and practical tips for making imaginative writing accessible for all students, using a framework that promotes equity and literacy. I highly recommend it for any teacher of writing.
— Starr Sackstein, chief operations officer of Mastery Portfolio and author of Hacking Assessment

Ariel Sacks is one of the more thoughtful and expansive thinkers around literacy that I’ve come across over the course of my career. From the outset of Who Gets to Write Fiction?, the reader recognizes the sense of the urgency with which Sacks treats literacy in her former and present students. Here’s to hoping that, with this book, more of us can incorporate fiction as imaginative dreaming in our work with students!

— José Vilson, educator, executive director of EduColor, and author of This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education

As someone who has taught fiction writing and written fiction about teaching, I found so much to love about this book. It’s a thorough and useful guide that addresses the why and the how of writing fiction with students. Teaching students to read like writers will help them communicate better throughout their lives—and better enjoy the fiction they read. This book will help teachers do these things and so much more.”

— Roxanna Elden, educator and author of Adequate Yearly Progress: A Novel

Who Gets to Write Fiction? is a clarion call to return fiction writing to the curriculum. Sacks persuasively argues that inspiring students to write stories promotes agency, encourages risk-taking, moves writers away from dull, formulaic writing, and lends voice to students who are often marginalized. The cultivation of creativity in schools should not be a luxury, and this book provides a valuable roadmap on how to bring fiction writing back to its rightful place—your classroom. Highly recommended.

— Kelly Gallagher, author of Write Like This and Teaching Adolescent Writers

This is a book I wish my own teachers had had! Ariel Sacks empowers literacy educators to give serious space to imaginative writing in a way that awakens  academic and social–emotional learning. With concrete examples, Sacks also shows how this work can shift power dynamics between and among teachers and students. I suspect Who Gets to Write Fiction? will call many English teachers back to the heart of their choice to teach.

— Elena Aguilar, author of The Art of Coaching and Onward