Go There: Writing About Difficult Subject Matter

8 Tuesdays from 6:00pm-9:00pm, starting June 18th
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max
Only 3 spots left!

There could be many reasons why you haven’t gone there in your writing: the content is too personal, too graphic, too political, too violent, or too disturbing. You don’t want your work to be misunderstood or miscategorized, or you worry about how your family or friends would feel about what you reveal. When you try to find ways to weave controversial topics into your story you can’t seem to strike the right balance. You want to write; you need to write, but with all the mental gymnastics, your writing process becomes paralyzed and then you and the story get stuck.

In this 6-week course we will write difficult material without turning your stories into what some like to call “Literary Suffering Porn.” We will explore techniques to help us uncover the stories we want to write, to help us find the balance between subject and story, and to help us understand how our narrators fit into the narrative whole.

This class is geared to writers of any level. Although it is designed primarily for personal narrative writers, fiction writers can also benefit. Each week, we will produce new material and read work by authors who have had to tackle difficult topics in their writing. You are also welcome to bring a work-in-progress. Most importantly, all of the writing, workshopping, and voluntary sharing will be done in a safe space which we will all create together. By the end of this class you should have developed a unique way deal with any and all difficult topics you have been struggling with in your writing. Authors whose work we might look at include:  Michael Ondaatje, Elizabeth McCracken, Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Grace Talusan, and others.

Please note: Class does meet on July 23rd or July 30th.

Did you know that we have scholarships available for all GrubStreet classes? To apply, click the "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button in the top right corner of this pageIn order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your scholarship application and await our Scholarship Committee's decision before registering for the class. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

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Daphne Santana-Strassmann
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Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "Frequent Deadlines"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"


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


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction
  • Personal Essay
  • Nonfiction

Commitment Level



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