New Class!

Writing the "Hermit Crab" Essay: Borrowing Readymade Forms to Structure Your Work (2-part) - Remote!

2 Saturdays from 10:30am-1:30pm (EST), starting December 5th
GrubStreet HQ (Remote)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max

Hybrids in the truest sense, "hermit crab" essays borrow their structures from ordinary, extra-literary sources (a recipe, a police report, a pack of cards, an obituary…) to use as a framework for a lyric meditation on the chosen subject. In the best examples, these borrowed structures feel less contrived than inevitable. Using a readymade form can—ironically—be an incredibly liberating way to work, exciting for both new writers as well as more advanced practitioners. In this three-hour seminar, we will analyze a few exemplary hermit crab essays, discuss the importance of choosing the right “shell”, generate new work, and review it (as time allows).

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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Kim Adrian
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Previous Students Say

  • Inspired Me to Write More
  • You'll Be Inundated with Great Info


  • In-Class Writing Prompts
  • Generate New Work
  • Class Discussion
  • Lecture
  • Craft Lessons


  • Personal Essay
  • Nonfiction

Commitment Level



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