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

Writing Family in the Personal Essay

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

Class Description

Family is a popular source of inspiration for a personal essay, and it can be challenging to write the raw truth when we’re writing about people closest to us — especially if we imagine them ever reading it.

In this seminar, we’ll focus on the dynamics of writing about family that are still living. We’ll read and discuss two examples of writers who have written about living family, including excerpts from The Glass Essay by Anne Carson and The Man Who Could Move Clouds by Ingrid Rojas Contreras. After each reading discussion, we’ll explore a prompt to begin your own essay on family.

We’ll also tackle the hard questions in an open discussion: “What if they read this?” “Am I painting a fair portrait?” “Should I change their name if I want to publish this?” We’ll share experiences and you’ll receive guidance on how to navigate these conversations.

There will be time at the end to read a few lines of what you’ve written with the group, if you’d like to share. By the end of this workshop, you will have a working understanding of the role voice and characterization play in family writing, and the bones for a new essay on family.

This is a personal essay workshop best fit for creative nonfiction writers. All levels welcome."

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!