With participants’ permission, sessions may be recorded and can be accessed as archival material.
The hallmark of the personal essay or memoir is intimacy. How does such a writer build a relationship with her reader, establishing herself as a trustworthy companion worth sticking with until the last page?
This workshop will explore the art of transforming lived experience into literature. We will read and discuss extracts from great personal essays, use them as a jumping off point to write and consider our own work, with a focus on transforming oneself and others into characters, creating a sense of closeness with the reader, uncovering the political dimensions of personal experience, and turning memory fragments into a seamless body of work.
Each class will incorporate reading and discussion of exceptional essay writing. From week 2, two participants per week will be asked to carry out a short writing exercise to be discussed for the following week – these solo writing exercises would normally have taken place during classroom hours but as the workshop will take place via zoom instead this writing time will take place offline outside class hours. (This is not mandatory). In the final week, four participants will have their writing work discussed. Each person will have one writing exercise considered over the course of the workshop.
In advance of each week’s class, tutor will send out two readings for students to consider in class. Each week, the facilitator AND two allocated students will discuss the readings. After week one, tutor will also circulate the short writing exercises to the class. These should be read in advance of the workshop. Each week, the facilitator AND two allocated students will discuss the writing exercises.
- Week one: Introductions and Discussion of readings. Allocated Short writing exercise (500 words) for following week.
- Week two: Each week, the class will discuss 1-2 pieces of essay writing. Each week two students will be asked to discuss the essay writing. Discussion of short writing exercise. Each week Two further students will be allocated a writing exercise for the following week.
- Week three: Discuss 1-2 pieces of essay writing. Discussion of short writing exercise. Two further students will be allocated a writing exercise for the following week.
- Week four: Discuss 1-2 pieces of essay writing. Discussion of short writing exercise. Four further students will be allocated a writing exercise for the following week.
- Week five: Week five will be primarily dedicated to considering the writing exercises carried out by the remaining participants. Questions, sum up, follow on suggestions.
Instructions for participants will be emailed on purchase. And we’re here to support anyone with any questions.
You will need
- A good Wifi connection
- Access to a Laptop, Tablet, PC or Mac with a microphone & camera
Rachel Andrews’ essays and criticism have appeared or are forthcoming in outlets including the London Review of Books, n+1, Brick literary journal, the Stinging Fly, Longreads, Gorse, Banshee, the White Review, the Irish Times and the Dublin Review. In 2018, she was...Read More
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