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

Writing Letters

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

Class Description

The word epistle comes from the Latin “epistula”, which means “letter.” Writers use the letter form to write personal essays, poems, and fiction because the form provides a container to hold an exploration of events and experiences.

Writing in the letter form quickly builds intimacy with readers because a letter is addressed to a particular person. Letters are a way of testifying, of sharing something internal, of unloading, of finding common ground, and also of raising your voice.

Ta-Nehisi Coates and James Baldwin, several generations apart, used the epistolary form to respond to the disaster of racism in American history. Alice Walker’s The Color Purple is an epistolary novel in which an impoverished black teenage girl, Celie, tells her story through writing letters to both her sister and God. Epistolary poems are poems that read as letters, like Elana Bell’s “Letter to Palestine,” which renders the political in a confessional voice.

In this class, we will examine epistolary writing across the genres, and explore how stories can be told effectively as letters. And, of course, we will draft our own epistles. This class is ideal for writers who enjoy experimenting with form or who would like to practice experimenting with form.

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!