Personal Essay Workshop

“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 of personal essay workshop begin: 

Tuesday, June 16—10 AM to 12:30 PM

Wednesday, June 24— 10 AM to 12:30 PM

at Mellwood Arts Center at the Shape & Flow Writing Studio #123

Cost:  $175

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 at the world. The personal essay combines exposition and storytelling to create personal narratives that can stand-alone or gathered in a collection.

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, food, ideas and culture.  

One example of a personal essay that weaves storytelling, exposition and reflection, is “Live Free and Laugh,” by yours truly, Kimberly Crum

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, eight participants will read, write and study persona narrative with an emphasis one storytelling with Kimberly Crum and a group of peer writers. 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 process.  

Participants will learn how to write a first person narrative that weaves outside research with personal experience.  Use fictional techniques to create supporting anecdotes.  Each participant will practice and refine both 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!  E-mail If you are interested or undecided, I will be pleased to converse with you by phone or at Studio 123.  It can help us both to discuss your writing goals.  

Once you’ve requested enrollment, I will e-mail an electronic invoice that you can pay by credit card or check.


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