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

Writing and Publishing the Risky Personal Essay

No Longer Enrolling

  • $550.00 Non-Member
  • $525.00 Member

Class Description

Heartbreak, death, trauma, abuse, loss, messy relationships: these are tough subjects to write about well, but the effort often yields amazing results. How do you write about dark and deeply personal matters in a way that's not too sentimental, self-indulgent, insular, or raw? In this workshop, you'll study exemplary work by essayists in a variety of magazines and journals—from Salon and the New York Times to The Rumpus—to see how these authors do it. At least two essays by each student will be workshopped in class. In addition to the workshops and readings, there will be short, weekly (and required) at-home writing exercises, where you'll apply some key craft lessons about scenes, summary, structure, beginnings and endings, characterization, and time travel to your own work. We'll also discuss the issues of memory, psychic distance, tone, and voice, as well as challenges related to having real, living people, especially family and friends, as characters in your personal essays. We'll look at strategies for revision, and (if the schedule allows it) try to workshop one revised section of one essay. Finally, we'll look at where you might publish your essays once you've revised them. Note: This class is for daring writers.

Want to know more? Check out Ethan's interview with Cheryl Strayed on GrubWrites.

Note: This class will not meet on June 30th, July 21st, or August 25th.

Did you know that we have scholarships available for all GrubStreet classes? To apply or find out more, check out our scholarships page.

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!