Close to Home: Writing Personal Nonfiction Drawn from Life

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In this generative writing workshop, students will use the raw materials of their own lives to develop multiple drafts of a personal essay or other work of nonfiction. In the first half of this multiple-day workshop, we will work with lectures, readings, and assignments by the instructor to produce ideas and rough material, using writing techniques that bring us into a meaningful connection with our day-to-day lives, our surroundings, and our memories and past experiences. In the second half, students will meet with the instructor for individual guidance on both the first and second drafts of their new work. In these conferences, we will discuss ways of making our work stronger, more personal, and more distinct, as well as how to sustain an interested and productive relationship with our beyond the workshop.

Age: Adults, 20 +

About the instructor

Evan James is the author of Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe: A Novel and I’ve Been Wrong Before: Essays. He has taught creative writing at The University of Iowa (where he received an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop), Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, and The Center for Fiction. His essays have appeared in Oxford AmericanTravel + LeisureThe Iowa ReviewThe Yale ReviewThe New York Times, and other publications.He was also a 2017 Creative Nonfiction Fellow at the Elizabeth Kostova Fellowship’s Sozopol Seminars. He lives in New York.