There are infinite variations of the “personal essay,” which makes the format both exciting and daunting. The essay might be a mix of personal anecdotes with bigger sociopolitical commentary, and the essay’s structure might mimic, or enhance, the overall point the author is trying to make. The essay could be linear, non-linear, fragmented, or infused with dialogue and scene-setting that almost make them sound like short stories. We’ll look at examples by James Baldwin, Richard Rodriguez, Eula Biss, Valeria Luicelli, and others to help us craft our own personal essays. This workshop is designed for writers who already have completed drafts, as well as writers just getting started.
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Yurina Yoshikawa holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University and teaches fiction and non-fiction writing at The Porch Writers’ Collective. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, NPR, Lit Hub, The Japan Times, and elsewhere. She was the winner of the 2020 Tennessee True Stories Contest and a 2021 recipient of the Tennessee Arts Commission. She is a viola player and a board member of the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra. She has lived in Tokyo, Palo Alto, and New York before settling down in Nashville, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and two sons. For more information, visit www.yurinayoshikawa.com.
"Yurina is brilliant and so kind! You can tell she is passionate about writing, and she made difficult concepts easy to understand with a lot of examples and practice. She was also very mindful of making sure all students in the class were heard and had ample opportunities to participate at whatever level we were comfortable with."
"Yurina is a consummate professional as a teacher and sharer of knowledge. She was encouraging and helpful and constructed the class expertly with opportunities to participate. I learned things I'd never been taught before so it was challenging yet fun. I will be taking the next level class with Yurina at the Porch."
"Yurina is a wonderful instructor. She deeply engages with students and tailors lessons to meet budding writers where they are as she guides them towards where they could be as artists. More than that, she listens to her students and cultivates a safe, respectful and nurturing workshop environment. I will definitely seek out more classes with Yurina in the future!"