Making the Personal Universal in Nonfiction - Remote!

6 Mondays, 6:00pm-9:00pm (EST), starting on September 14th
Remote! (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: Intermediate
Adult (18+)
13 seats max
Only 2 spots left!
The power of writing lies in its ability to convey universal truths about what it means to be human. But in nonfiction, we’re up against a seemingly paradoxical task: making our personal, specific narratives feel large and ubiquitous. And for those of us with “weird,” unusual stories, it can be especially difficult to write and market our memoirs or personal essays for a wide audience.

This six-week class will address strategies for giving your specific story universal appeal. Each week, we’ll look at writers who’ve successfully turned their “niche” stories into far-reaching bestsellers – Kathryn Harrison, Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, Jerald Walker, Jesmyn Ward, Helen Macdonald, among others – and discuss tactics for applying these lessons to our own writing. The first few classes will focus on craft lessons, in-class exercises, and low-key workshops of student work. The last few classes will focus on workshopping one longer piece by each student; this will involve written feedback from your instructor and fellow students on transforming your personal narratives into poignant, resonant stories.

Expect to leave this class with lots of new writing and a toolbox of ways to make your nonfiction "sing" for the masses.

Please Note: Class will not meet on October 12th (Indigenous Peoples Day) 

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.

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Katie Bannon
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Previous Students Say

  • "Supportive Environment"
  • "Inundated with Great Info"


  • In-Class Writing
  • Instructor Feedback


  • Book-Length Memoir
  • Personal Essay
  • Nonfiction

Commitment Level



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