What makes a successful work of personal narrative? What lifts mere experience into shapely art? In this workshop, students will study—partly through reading iconic and experimental essayists, mainly through the submission of their own writing—the art of the personal essay. We will explore elements of the craft such as the construction of a trustworthy narrator, varieties of structure and the fashioning of a satisfying conclusion. Readings include work by writers such as Annie Dillard, Joan Didion, James Baldwin and David Foster Wallace. Writing assignments include several short essays, one longer essay and an extensive revision.
Supplemental Application Information: Please submit 3-5 pages of literary nonfiction (essay, memoir, narrative journalism, etc, but NOT academic writing). Also, please write a substantive letter of introduction explaining who you are as a writer, what you consider to be your writerly strengths and weaknesses, where you hope to take your writing and why you would like to participate in this workshop.