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  • Workshop
  • Online: On-Demand
  • Introductory

Intro to the Personal Essay

No Longer Enrolling

  • $370.00 Non-Member
  • $355.00 Member

Class Description

Ready to get your life stories out of your journal and into the world? If you want to learn the art of writing personal essays, but have no idea where to begin (or you need a refresher), this course is for you. Over six weeks, you will learn the essentials of the personal essay, and put them into practice by writing your own essays.


Each week, we will discuss an element of craft, including scene and summary, reflection, narrator and character, and revision, and study published examples from authors like James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, Joan Didion, Jenny Boully, Michael Pollan, Alexander Chee, and more. To put what we learn into practice, we’ll use prompts and different essay forms to inspire our own drafts. During the second half of the class, you’ll have the chance to workshop and revise at least one of these essays with the entire class.


By the end of the course, you will have generated three essay drafts, as well as one revised draft, and the insight and inspiration to continue developing your essays.

Class Format

This is an Online: On-Demand class that will take place on our asynchronous online learning platform, Wet.Ink. Weekly lessons and assignments open each Wednesday. Students will receive an invitation to Wet Ink before 5pm on the first day of class!

*Note that while our handy dandy "Schedule" tab states a 6-7pm class time, there are actually no live meetings for this class! Assignments will be given on a weekly basis. Students will have access to the online class portal starting at 5pm on the first day of class. Instructions for logging onto the online portal will be emailed to registered students before 5pm the first day of class.

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.

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 is an Online: On-Demand class that will take place on our asynchronous online learning platform, Wet.Ink. Weekly lessons and assignments open each Wednesday. Students will receive an invitation to Wet Ink before 5pm on the first day of class! All video lectures for Online: On-Demand courses have closed captioning available. To enable, click "cc" on the toolbar of each video lecture.