Buenos Aires has this way of bringing creativity out in people. If you’re feeling the creative itch, one of the city’s many writing and literature courses might be just the thing to assuage your need to create. It could also be a nice way to get a dose of your own language and culture while living your personal version of the South American Dream. Whether you are planning to add a valuable experience to your resume or are just interested in exploring a new hobby, Buenos Aires is Latin America’s bookworm capital.
Here is a list of 5 recognized educational institutions where you can get your literature game on.
International House is one of the most prestigious English teaching training colleges of the world. With almost 150 worldwide branches and the main head office in London, IH has landed in Argentina in 1976 and has been expanding ever since. There are two venues located in Recoleta and Belgrano which offer the very same training as the International House World Organization in England. Apart from offering ordinary English and Spanish language and teacher training workshops, IH specializes in post-proficiency literature, media and culture. Delivered by the Director of the School Bruce Thomson, who holds a BA in English and American Literature from the University of Kent, the classes take place once a week (Wednesdays) and last for one hour and a half (7 to 9:30 PM). The course program centers around an intensive debate regarding novels, short stories, poetry, film, TV, folk tales, myth, British and American media and English language through the ages. It is aimed at natives, teachers, translators or any proficiency student.
ICANA was founded almost 90 years ago with the purpose of strengthening bonds between The United States and Argentina.The Institute’s fundamental aim is to spread the English language and the (North) American culture and values by means of strengthening their bonds with the South American community. Every year more than 5000 students enroll in their courses, its popularity is probably linked to the fact that their programs are practical and efficient. The U.S Embassy supports the Institute directly as it offers students and teachers the possibility of taking refresher courses, winning scholarships, participating in professional training programs and facilitate access to study in prestigious U.S universities. Moreover, every month ICANA gives its students the opportunity of joining a weekly cultural course.
These meetings are destined to advanced English learners or native speakers who are willing to develop certain language skills. The literature workshop was designed to promote reading habits as well as to develop the critical analysis of specific works of fiction. Novels, short stories and poems will be studied from a historical, psychological, linguistic and socio-cultural points of view. Students will be asked to follow deep investigations regarding the analysis of central characters as well as to do some research about the author and its context. Totally unmissable!
Walrus Books is much more than possibly the most exciting English bookstore in Buenos Aires: it is actually a cozy shelter for literature and creative writing lovers. The Walrus School was founded by Rachel Engelman in 2012, an expat and literature devotee who attended Skidmore College where she majored in Literature with a focus on creative writing. She has studied fiction under Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Steven Millhauser and oral-storytelling in Ghana as well as Jewish Literature in New York. Once settled in Buenos Aires, Rachel discovered that Argentines were hardcore book lovers who considered reading and writing to be not only a pastime hobby but in fact an all-consuming passion. So she approached the founder of Walrus Books and offered to run some courses there and the rest is history.
The school has been open ever since and now includes almost ten different teachers from all around the world: translators, journalists, writers, teachers, editors: professionals who hold bachelor degrees and a Masters in Literature and Creative Writing. The school has been offering an eclectic range of specific courses since it started: The J.D Salinger Seminar, The Beats and their Precursors, The Experimental Short Story, J. D Salinger and Wes Anderson, The Art of Travel Writing, Love Hate, Madness and Fried Chicken, and many more.
Currently, there are 6 courses on offer, which generally last for 8 weeks and cost around 1,000 pesos plus a photocopy fee for materials: Contemporary Short Stories from Around the World; The Postmodern Short Story;Experimentation, Parody, Pastiche; Beat Poetry: origins, development, influence; Macbeth and the Nature of Evil; Memoir: The New Favorite Genre, Literature Through the Eyes of a Translator. This place is definitely heaven on Earth for lovers of the written word.
Casa de Letras
If you’re looking for something in Spanish – Casa de Letras, which is a Spanish language writing school located in the Monserrat neighborhood, has been teaching and developing the art and craft of oral and written narrative for ten years now. This cozy French style house caters to literature lovers, people who need writing assistance and those who are looking for an activity to boost their creative output. The staff includes highly qualified and experienced teachers and authors such as Leopoldo Brizzuela, Silvia Hopenayn, Walter Romero, Hebe Uhart among others.
The school offers the option of taking either in class or online courses as well as enrolling in summer school or signing up for short programs. Attendance courses are divided into six different branches: Oral Tale, Writing Tutoring, Narrative Writing, Non- Fiction, Children’s Literature, and Reading. Each course has been thoroughly designed for students to develop their creative skills by means of attending practical classes and acquiring a general overview by attending theoretical ones. The school has a detailed three-year training program which has been outlined in different modules and whose aim is to form writers. Here it is: the first creative writing school in Buenos Aires. So for all those who need assistance or a structure to help them get organized and finally turn their ideas into black and white, Casa de Letras is definitely your ideal solution.