Personal Narrative Essentials: Using Research and Immersion - Remote!

Friday, September 25th, 10:00am-5:00pm
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max
Only 4 spots left!

Whether returning to your hometown, interviewing a family member, embarking on a hiking excursion or exploring the city archives, immersion and research can enhance your personal narratives. In this one-day intensive seminar, we’ll examine immersion writing, also known as "gonzo" or "stunt" journalism, and explore the opportunities afforded by reporting and investigation in your memoirs and essays. Inspired by masters such as A.J. Jacobs, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Bryson, and Robin Hemley, and via exercises, you’ll learn the basics of personal field reporting, researching and interviewing. A short “field” exercise (which can be completed indoors or out) will allow you to get out there into the streets of Boston to apply what we’ve We’ll end by designing a research and/or immersion plan applicable to any current or future project. Wear walking shoes and dress for the weather, and bring a small pocket notebook, and a device with camera and voice/video recording capabilities. 

Part of The Personal Narrative Essentials series taught by Ethan Gilsdorf. Take every class in the series or simply choose the craft topics that are relevant to the challenges you face in your work. Classes include:

Personal Narrative Essentials: Finding Your Narrative Arc

Personal Narrative Essentials: Structure and Form

Personal Narrative Essentials: Using Research and Immersion

Personal Narrative Essentials: Playing With Voice

Personal Narrative Essentials: How to Publish

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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Ethan Gilsdorf
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Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "Lots of Practical Tips"
  • "Inundated with Great Info"


  • Class Discussion
  • In-Class Writing
  • Lecture
  • Craft Lessons


  • Personal Essay
  • Literary Journalism
  • Nonfiction
  • Publishing & Promotion

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