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What can writers learn from ‘South Park’?

Manzanita Writers’ Series hosts author Arthur Bradford for workshop, reading

Published on February 14, 2017 10:00AM

Arthur Bradford will read from his short story collection “Turtle Face and Beyond.”

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Arthur Bradford will read from his short story collection “Turtle Face and Beyond.”


MANZANITA — At first glance, the crude animated show “South Park” might appear to offer few lessons for the serious fiction writer, but O Henry Award-winning author Arthur Bradford discovered that the unconventional way this show is produced actually offers valuable lessons for anyone engaged in a creative pursuit, especially writers.

Hosted by the Manzanita Writers’ Series, Bradford will lead the first workshop of the 2017 season “What Can Writers Learn From South Park?” from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Hoffman Center for the Arts.

Bradford has published two books of fiction and is also an established documentary filmmaker. He brought his writer’s sensibility to a recent film project in which he documented the creation of the TV show “South Park” for Comedy Central. The film, “Six Days to Air” was nominated for an Emmy Award, in part because of the unprecedented intimate access to the writer’s room of the show.

In the workshop, Bradford will show clips from his film and discuss which lessons apply to writers in general. Participants should come prepared to write as the lessons will then be applied to short writing exercises after which participants are encouraged to share and comment on each other’s work.

This is a fiction/non-fiction writing workshop. Tuition is $40. Register online at hoffmanblog.org

The Manzanita Writers’ Series will also host Bradford as its featured author for a reading later in the evening, to be held at 7 p.m. at the Hoffman Center.

Bradford will read from his short story collection “Turtle Face and Beyond.” The book is a strangely funny assortment featuring prosthetically limbed lovers, a snakebitten hitchhiker turned wedding crasher, a lawyer at the end of his rope, a ménage à trois at Thailand’s Resort Tik Tok, and a whole host of near disasters, narrow escapes, and complicated victories. “Turtle Face and Beyond” was a finalist for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction in the 2016 Oregon Book Awards.

Bradford’s writing has appeared in Esquire, McSweeney’s, Vice, Men’s Journal and other publications. His first book, “Dogwalker,” has been translated into 10 languages. He’s also published two children’s books, “Benny’s Brigade” and “43 Monsters.”

Bradford is also creator and director of the acclaimed “How’s Your News?” documentary series, versions of which have been broadcast on HBO/Cinemax, PBS, and Channel Four England.

Following Bradford’s reading and a question-and-answer session, there will be an Open Mic, where up to nine local or visiting writers will read five minutes of their original work. The suggested theme for the evening’s Open Mic is “A Good Idea That Turned Bad.” Admission for the evening reading is $7. The Hoffman Center for the Arts is located at 594 Laneda Ave.



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