Skip to Content


If this is your first time on our new site, please !


Forgot your password?

Don't have a Grub profile?

Enter your email and we'll send you directions on setting (or resetting) your password.


Wait, I remembered! Let me .

Enter your email, a password, and your name. We'll send you an activation link in an email.

Create your account here. Later you can fill out your full profile.


Nevermind. I just need to .

  • Workshop
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)
  • 5 Weeks

Go There: Writing About Difficult Subject Matter

No Longer Enrolling

  • $355.00 Non-Member
  • $340.00 Member

Class Description

There could be many reasons why you haven’t gone there in your writing: the content is too personal, too graphic, too political, too violent, or too disturbing. You don’t want your work to be misunderstood or miscategorized, or you worry about how your family or friends would feel about what you reveal. When you try to find ways to weave controversial topics into your story you can’t seem to strike the right balance. You want to write; you need to write, but with all the mental gymnastics, your writing process becomes paralyzed and then you and the story get stuck.

In this 6-week course we will write difficult material without turning your stories into what some like to call “Literary Suffering Porn.” We will explore techniques to help us uncover the stories we want to write, to help us find the balance between subject and story, and to help us understand how our narrators fit into the narrative whole.

This class is geared to writers of any level. Although it is designed primarily for personal narrative writers, fiction writers can also benefit. Each week, we will produce new material and read work by authors who have had to tackle difficult topics in their writing. You are also welcome to bring a work-in-progress. Most importantly, all of the writing, workshopping, and voluntary sharing will be done in a safe space which we will all create together. By the end of this class you should have developed a unique way deal with any and all difficult topics you have been struggling with in your writing. Authors whose work we might look at include: Michael Ondaatje, Elizabeth McCracken, Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Grace Talusan, and others.

Did you know that we have scholarships available for all GrubStreet classes? To apply, click the "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button in the top right corner of this page. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your scholarship application and await our Scholarship Committee's decision before registering for the class. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

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!