Hosting the seminar remotely via an online conferencing service was not the only first of the day. McPhee, a 1953 Princeton alumnus, also welcomed a new guest speaker to class — McPhee’s former student David Remnick, a 1981 alumnus and editor of The New Yorker.
In a note McPhee later sent to his students, he wrote: “Searching for the mot juste for the way you shaped that seminar with David Remnick, the word ‘stupendous’ comes along readily. David, to say the least, was up to the challenge. If you were impressed by him, he was no less impressed by you.”
In this profile, McPhee reflects on his writing process, what he learns from students and the structure of his renowned writing course.