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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Research and the Personal Essay

Apply for Scholarship
  • $85.00 Non-Member
  • $75.00 Member

Class Description

A strong personal essay begins with your story and ends with a connection to something bigger. In this workshop, we’ll explore what it’s like to use research as a tool to help bridge that gap.

We’ll begin class by reading and discussing two examples of writers who use research in their work — excerpts from Finding Beauty in a Broken World by Terry Tempest Williams and 25 Sightings of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker by Re’Lynn Hansen.

We’ll follow the reading with a few writing exercises to begin to carve out the bones of your own personal essay. Then, we’ll spend some time browsing jstor.org for a piece of research that will work to amplify the elements in your essay. We’ll end class with one final writing exercise to braid the research and personal essay together.

You’ll leave this class with a working understanding of the tools writers use to select and use research in their personal essays, and which types of research best work for your own writer’s voice.

This is a personal essay workshop best fit for creative nonfiction writers with some experience.

Scholarships Format/Location

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 detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. Please visit the Resources tab to access the video-conference link.

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!