Personal essay writing is a form of expression, a means of telling a story, a way of arguing a point, and a therapeutic exercise. It can be any or all of those things, depending on the author's intentions. In this course, participants will learn about what makes a personal essay successful and interesting to readers, based on sample essays that will be provided in the first meeting. Additionally, the first meeting will include in-class exercises that will prepare people to work on a personal essay at home. Each participant will craft a personal essay according to the topic of his or her choice and bring it in for a structured critique session in the second meeting. The instructor will also impart advice on working with editors and getting published. All are welcome in this course, whether you see yourself as a career writer, have an op-ed you want to polish and get published, or seek a creative outlet or hobby.
Anyone can take this course, whether you have some experience writing or none at all. It will benefit beginners as much as it will people who have been writing for awhile. It does help if you have a fairly solid idea of what you want to write about.
I have been a freelance journalist for the last two years and I have published personal essays in literary magazines and websites such as n+1, Killing the Buddha, Guernica Magazine, and others. During that time, I have taken workshops in personal essay writing with Gotham Writers Workshop, The New School Writing Program, Brooklyn-based poet Montana Ray, and the Sackett Street Workshop. I recently edited an op-ed that was published in the NY Times.
I am currently completing a manuscript for a collection of personal essays about the six years I spent doing cultural anthropology research in Latin America, Africa, and other places. I also have taught anthropology at the college level in New York City and am committed to a student-centered learning experience that motivates and inspires participants to do their best work and learn from each other. My website holds my published writing and more information about my book and my background.
Aug 8 – Aug 15, 2012
2 Session Local Class