Personal Essay & Memoir Six-week Workshops

“In the best nonfiction, it seems to me, you’re always made aware that you are being engaged with a supple mind at work. The story line or plot in nonfiction consists of the twists and turns of a thought process working itself out.”

~Phillip Lopate~

Two six-week sessions begin—

Wednesday, March  14—10 AM to 12:30 PM

Tuesday, March 30— 6 PM to 8PM

by Zoom videoconference


The root word of essay is  “assai,” which means “an attempt or first examination.” The writer uses her or his powers of observation and personal experience to look more deeply into the world. The personal essay combines exposition and storytelling to create narratives that can stand-alone or gather in a collection.  Short memoir is often considered personal essay, with or without outside research.  

In personal essay, the narrator is the curious first person who explores topics and ideas in a vivid and engaging way.  Topics often emerge from ideas gathered in careful (or accidental) observation. Essayists apply a first person point-of-view to write about travel, nature, personal experience, childhood memory, food, ideas and culture.  

Essays are valued by magazines and literary journals. They vary in structure—linear, segmented, collage, hermit crab and list essays, long form and flash nonfiction.  A favorite craft article about essay structure is “Picturing the Personal Essay,” by Tim Bascom, published in the journal, Creative Nonfiction. 

In this workshop, participants will read, write and study personal narrative with an emphasis on storytelling. Participants will complete one weekly timed-writing prompt, read assigned published essays, and will receive peer commentary at two class meetings, using a strength-based critique process.  

Participants write a first person narratives that weave outside research with personal experience, and will learn fictional techniques to tell true stories. Each participant will practice and refine peer critique and revision skills.

If you love to write, are by nature a curious person, and enjoy the give-and-take of a collegial group of writers, enroll today!  Email for an invoice and a Zoom link.



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