Developing Your Personal Essay - Remote!

8 Wednesdays from 6:00pm-9:00pm (EST), starting May 6th
Remote! (Live Zoom Meetings)
See Map
Level: Intermediate
Adult (18+)
13 seats max
Only 1 spot left!

This workshop is designed for intermediate and advanced essay writers who are already working on personal essay projects and want to receive regular feedback on them in a supportive and constructively critical environment. Typically, each week, three students will bring in 5 to 7 pages (approx. 1,500-2,000 words maximum) of a personal essay draft (or part of a draft) to be workshopped, and will receive oral feedback "live" in class. The workshop will also include discussions on craft of personal essay writing, and readings of exemplary works in the genre, including but not limited to: Dinty Moore, Brenda Miller, Suzanne Paola, Roxane Gay, Brian Doyle, Bernard Cooper, Philip Lopate, Jacquira Diaz, Ryan van Meter, and others. In-class writing prompts will allow students to try their hand at different elements of personal essay writing. By the end of the workshop, students will have received solid feedback on at least two excerpts or complete essays (depending on enrollment), to guide their drafts towards revision. The instructor will offer written feedback on one complete draft or excerpt of any single essay. Note: Since the content of personal essays often reflect intimate issues, controversial views, and real-life situations, we will ensure that conversations around the work and its content takes place in a safe, supportive, and respectful space. 

This class will be hosted using live Zoom meetings! You will be able to participate in class via Zoom videoconference from wherever you’re most comfortable. All you’ll need is a laptop or a phone! About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting via Zoom–no need to download anything or sign up for Zoom in advance! If you have questions about remote learning, please feel free to reach out to [email protected] for more information.

For a glimpse at how remote learning works, look no further than the deep Zoom discussion of writing and literature below:

Scholarship Information

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -


grubstreet Image
Ethan Gilsdorf
See Bio

Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "Supportive Environment"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"


  • Craft Lessons
  • In-Class Writing
  • Instructor Feedback
  • Workshop
  • Lecture
  • Class Discussion
  • Reading Homework
  • Writing Homework


  • Personal Essay
  • Literary Journalism
  • Nonfiction

Commitment Level



Need a scholarship?

Learn more