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Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Learning from Women and Gender-Non-Conforming Writers (Online)

6 weeks online; no live meetings. Class opens May 1st
Online (WetInk)
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Level: Intermediate
Adult (18+)
13 seats max

As writers, we are constantly trying to generate empathy––to have our readers understand what it is like to be in our shoes. Therefore, some of the richest material out there has come from stepping beyond the boundaries of the “traditional” canon and taking a look into the lives and lesser-heard perspectives of marginalized writersWith that in mind, in this class, we will celebrate and learn from some of the incredible contemporary women and gender-non-conforming writers of nonfiction, with a special emphasis on queer and trans women, and women of color, and use their work as a jumping-off point for our own. (Note: while our readings will focus on women and gender non conforming folks, by no means is this course only for students who identify as such. We welcome students of any gender identity to take the course!)

Each week, we will study both the works of these writers and interviews with each of them discussing their craft, taken from the site Fiction Advocate’s interview series Non-Fiction by Non-Men. The reading list will include but is not limited to: Eula Biss, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Nicole Chung, Edwidge Danticat, Daisy Hernández, Samantha Irby, Margo Jefferson, Morgan Jerkins, Suki Kim, Scaachi Koul, Michelle Kuo, and Nina MacLaughlin.

You will also use what you learn to write your own essays, inspired by the works we have read. Each week, students will be assigned readings by several contemporary women and/or gender-non-conforming authors, a writing assignment based on a prompt shaped by the readings, and a couple classmates' essays to read and provide feedback on. The instructor will also provide feedback on your essays each week.

You will leave this course with the beginnings of several new pieces of your own nonfiction writing, a broadened knowledge of the range and possibilities in writing contemporary nonfiction, a better sense of the many diverse voices expanding the boundaries of nonfiction, and an understanding of useful techniques and strategies for conducting interviews, figuring out your own writing process, and understanding the craft of creating nonfiction. Plus, you will have the chance to be a guest interviewer in the Non-Fiction by Non-Men series and publish an interview of your own on Fiction Advocate.

(Though this class highlights primarily female and non-binary writers, we have several other classes featuring writers often underrepresented or marginalized by the literary industry, including an upcoming class on writing queer fiction , and a few others that are still in the works. If there is a particular topic or identity you'd like to see explored, please email [email protected].) 

*NOTE that while our handy dandy "Schedule" tab states a 6-7pm class time, there are actually no live meetings for this class! Assignments will be given on a weekly basis. Students will have access to the online class portal starting at 5pm on the first day of class. Instructions for logging onto the online portal will be emailed to registered students before 5pm the first day of class.

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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E.B. Bartels
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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

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