Writer in Residence writing assignment
Read David Macfarlane’s Likeness: Fathers, Sons, A Portrait, choose one of the following topics and submit a short, 500-word essay relating to your chosen topic. 
Deadline: Midnight, September 1.
  • In 500 words, and citing specific examples, discuss the structure David has used in the book and assess how effectively it helps him to tell this story. 
  • In Likeness, Macfarlane quotes film director Josef von Sternberg: “To know what to reveal and what to conceal, and in what degrees to do this, is all there is to art.” Apply this statement to Macfarlane’s own book.
  • In what his publisher might call a "platform-building" review for the Literary Review of Canada "David Macfarlane is the award-winning author of several books. His latest is Likeness" — Macfarlane criticizes what he calls the "tyranny of pitches... Personally, I hate the damn things." That said, how would you have written a 500-word pitch to a publisher for Likeness
  • In Likeness, Macfarlane uses John Hartman’s portrait of himself as a portal to explore many seemingly disparate topics — football, golf, acid, Hamilton, his childhood friend Donnie’s murder, his son and his son’s illness, his mother's pretensions, his father's distance, how painting works, his own life as a magazine writer, and more — to create what his publisher calls "an occasionally hilarious, sometimes heart-breaking meditation on love, memory, and the fathomless depths of grief." Does his approach work for you. Why? Why not?