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The Personal Essay is Dead. Long Live the Personal Essay!

A recent New Yorker headline may have proclaimed the personal essay "boom" over, but we know better. Alive and thriving, the essay form can encompass storytelling, reflection, argument, lyricism, humor, reportage—you name it. In this class we’ll think about the essay as endlessly flexible vessel for our stories and voices, exploring the work of diverse contemporary essayists as models and considering the wide-ranging desires and demands of the marketplace (what does one do with a given essay? Where might it find its readers?). With the help of generative exercises, we’ll draft new work and share it in a supportive atmosphere. Our goal will be to relax into the process, expand understanding of what a personal essay can be, and hone our skills as we write and provide feedback to other writers. Students will receive written feedback from the instructor on drafts. 

About the Instructor:

Susannah Felts is the cofounder/co-director of The Porch. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in StorySouth, Oxford American, Literary Hub, Longreads, The Sun, Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, and other publications. She's the author of a novel, This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record (Featherproof Books), and a contributing writer for Chapter 16, Humanities Tennessee's site for literary culture. For her full bio, please see our About Us page.  

Earlier Event: August 31
Foundations of Fiction
Later Event: September 6
Mixed Levels Fiction