E.B. Bartels

Nonfiction mafia.

Winter classes at GrubStreet!

I am teaching a bunch at GrubStreet this fall and winter, and I hope to see you in one of my classes, either online or in person! Register today!

Jumpstart Your Writing
November 2 – December 14, 
Fridays from 6pm-9pm

  • Great course to either get back into your writing or to try creative writing for the first time!
  • Meets in person at the GrubStreet Headquarters in Boston.
  • 6-week course. (No class on November 23, the day after Thanksgiving!)
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships available!

Whether you’ve never written creatively before, or you’re a more experienced writer looking for a recharge, your mission in this course is simple: devote three hours of your week to writing. Through a series of engaging writing exercises, we will mine our experiences and imagination for material and bring what we find to life, constructing characters and settings, shaping vivid dialogue, zooming in on imagery, and exploring the nuances of voice. We will discuss the process of writing and the strengths and weaknesses of the work we produce in class. With an eye on craft and an openness to inspiration, we will read and discuss short pieces written by a variety of writers, such as Eula Biss, Alexander Chee, Edwidge Danticat, Brian Doyle, Scaachi Koul, Celeste Ng, Mary Ruefle, Marjane Satrapi, David Sedaris, Lindy West, and others. 

In the words of Robert Frost, “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” This class is designed to be a supportive and generative experience that allows for those surprises that make writing exciting and worthwhile.

Did you know that we have scholarships available for all GrubStreet classes? To apply, click the “APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP” button in the top right corner of this page. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your scholarship application and await our Scholarship Committee’s decision before registering for the class. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

6 Weeks, 6 Essays: Online
ONLINE, November 6 – December 11

  • The perfect class if you want to learn about and experiment with different types of essays!
  • 6-week course.
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships available!
  • Did I mention it is ONLINE so you can take it from ANYWHERE?!

Sometimes the smallest moment (or the shortest essay) holds the greatest revelation. In this online class you will write six personal essays between 500 and 1,000 words. You’ll generate a lot of material, refine your skills, explore challenges in style and voice, and take a fresh look at your life experience. By working in a shorter format, you’ll also find ways to tighten your prose and improve your storytelling skills. We’ll look at examples of published essays and discuss as a class, as well as hold smaller discussions of each other’s work to provide feedback and support.You will come out of the course with fresh drafts of multiple essays and the insight, inspiration, and knowledge of craft to begin tackling revision.

*Note that while our handy dandy “Schedule” tab states a 6-7pm class time, there are actually no live meetings for this class! Assignments and deadlines will be given by your instructor. Students will have access to the online class portal starting at 5pm on the first day of class. Instructions for logging onto the online portal will be emailed to registered students before 5pm the first day of class.

Did you know that we have scholarships available for all GrubStreet classes? To apply, click the “APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP” button in the top right corner of this page. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your scholarship application and await our Scholarship Committee’s decision before registering for the class. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

6 Weeks, 6 Essays
January 25 – March 1, Fridays from 6pm-9pm

  • The same as 6 Weeks, 6 Essays: Online but IRL!
  • Meets in person at the GrubStreet Headquarters in Boston.
  • 6-week course.
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships available!

In this fun, intensive class, over the course of six weeks, writers will produce six short essays (between 500 and 1,000 words each). Each week we will look at model essays, including pieces by, but not limited to, Eula Biss, Roxane Gay, Brian Doyle, Margo Jefferson, Natalia Ginzburg, David Sedaris, Leslie Jamison, and Daisy Hernández. Students will respond to prompts based on the works we have read and bring copies of their completed essays to class each week, where they will read them aloud and receive on-the-spot feedback in brief workshop sessions. At the end of the class, students will leave with a path forward to possible publication for their half-a-dozen essay drafts!

Did you know that we have scholarships available for all GrubStreet classes? To apply, click the “APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP” button in the top right corner of this page. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your scholarship application and await our Scholarship Committee’s decision before registering for the class. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

Of Mice and Writers: Writing about Non-Human Animals
Friday, February 1, 10am-5pm

  • NEW course!
  • Meets in person at the GrubStreet Headquarters in Boston.
  • One-time six-hour class (with an hour break for lunch).
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships available!

For as long as stories have existed, humans have included non-human animals in their tales (or should I say… tails). From Anansi the Spider to Aesop’s fables, from E.B. White’s pig to Jean Craighead George’s wolves, from Helen Macdonald’s hawk to Samantha Irby’s cat to Sy Montgomery’s octopus to Porochista Khakpour’s dog, animals show up in all forms of literature: fiction and nonfiction, adult and children’s, poetry and prose, ancient and contemporary. This session will explore how authors approach writing about animals, both domesticated and wild, in both fiction and nonfiction, and address some of the common questions that come up when writing about non-humans: avoiding sentimentality, grappling with anthropomorphism, and developing animal characters that are more than thinly-veiled allegories. In addition to reading literary excerpts featuring animals, this session will include several writing exercises to help you tackle writing about your own feathered, scaly, or furry friend.

Did you know that we have scholarships available for all GrubStreet classes? To apply, click the “APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP” button in the top right corner of this page. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your scholarship application and await our Scholarship Committee’s decision before registering for the class. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP): Writing Critters: Writing about Non-Human Animals
Saturday, February 9, 12pm-4pm

  • NEW course!
  • Open to writers aged 13-18 years old.
  • ***100% COMPLETELY FREE!*** 
  • Meets in person at the GrubStreet Headquarters in Boston.
  • Includes free pizza for lunch!

Class Description: 

For as long as stories have existed, humans have included non-human animals in their tales (or should I say… tails). From Anansi the Spider to Aesop’s fables, from E.B. White’s pig to Jean Craighead George’s wolves, from Samantha Irby’s cat to Sy Montgomery’s octopus, animals show up in all forms of literature: fiction and nonfiction, adult and children’s, poetry and prose, ancient and contemporary. This session will explore how authors approach writing about animals, both domesticated and wild, in both fiction and nonfiction, and address some of the common questions that come up when writing about non-humans: avoiding sentimentality, grappling with anthropomorphism, and developing animal characters that are more than thinly-veiled allegories.

Takeaways:

In addition to reading literary excerpts featuring animals, this session will include several writing exercises to help you tackle writing about your own feathered, scaly, or furry friend.

Who Should Register?

For high school writers age 13 – 18 ONLY. Writing notebooks will be available, but feel free to bring your own.

*If you are registering on behalf of your teen, add their email information in the “For a Friend or Child?” field on the right-hand side of the screen before you check out. This will send them a direct link and reminder to create their own profile with GrubStreet. 

(After adding the class to your cart, click “Checkout” and click “Add” next to “For a Friend or Child?” on the right-hand side to fill in their email. This is an easy way of linking the class to your child and encourages them to create their own account.)

Parents/guardians must also complete this permission form online before the start of the class.

 

Let me know if you have any questions! I hope to see you around GrubStreet, either virtually or IRL, soon!

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“‘Good and Mad’ Helped Me Understand The Woman Who Makes Me Angriest” on Electric Lit!

For the full piece, see it on Electric Literature.
Published on October 24, 2018.

I am proud to have another piece up on Electric Literature today, but especially this essay because EVERYONE should read Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister. Not only is the book inspiring, it also helped me figure out some of my issues with my grandmother.

A big thank you to Jess Zimmerman, for publishing me again, and to Jaime Green, for all her editorial support/feedback/encouragement on this essay!

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Hope Ewing

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on October 15, 2018.

Photo credit: Tuan Lee

Hope Ewing is the author of Movers and Shakers: Women Making Waves in Spirits, Beer and Wine, published by Unnamed Press on October 9, 2018. She has worked as a grant writer, a letter writer, a story writer, a memo writer, a screenwriter, a copy writer, and a food and drink writer. Ewing received her MFA from Columbia University, where she worked as the Web Editor of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. She likes hard cheese, soft eggs, gamey wine, California vermouth, and agave in any form. Ewing currently lives in Los Angeles.

Get involved with Pangyrus!

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I’m the new general nonfiction editor for the literary magazine Pangyrus, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Submissions will reopen in January 2019, and I can’t wait to read your stuff.

In the mean time, there are a couple of ways that you can get involved with Pangyrus right now:

Pangyrus co-sponsors a series called Resistance Mic! which happens at the Oberon Theatre in Harvard Square. The Resistance Mic! Season Opener is TONIGHT (Tuesday 9/25) at 8pm and there are still tickets available. See you there?! If that’s too last minute for your taste, then save the date for the rest of the 2018-2019 Resistance Mic! season: Tuesday 11/13/18, Tuesday 2/9/19, and Tuesday 4/16/19. Tickets are $10 and you can buy them here.

If going to live shows isn’t your thing and you’re more of a curl-up-on-the-couch-and-read type, don’t worry because Pangyrus Vol. 5: The Resistance Issue will be out in October! You can get a copy of your very own if you subscribe to Pangyrus for $3/month via our Patreon. Come on, this issue features REGIE GIBSON. He’s the best. 

Also, while we are at it, consider supporting our Patreon in general. Pangyrus is still a relatively new literary magazine, and they’ve already done so many great things in the few years since they published their first issue in spring 2015. Help us be able to do even more great things and pay our authors the big bucks they deserve! Plus, for a small monthly donation, you can get a Pangyrus notebook or mug or drawstring backpack, and who doesn’t want that?!

Catwalk Art Residency!

My desk at Catwalk.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I just spent the better part of two weeks at my very first writing residency. I was lucky enough to be granted a residency at the CATWALK Institute in Catskill, New York, where I was given the time and space to work on my book — and only my book — for twelve days.

The art residency program at CATWALK is really special. The artist studios and residences are located in and around the historic home of Hudson River School painter Charles Herbert Moore. The 1865 house is surrounded by 65 acres of trees, meadows, ponds, deer, chipmunks, turtles, hawks, coyotes, and sweeping dramatic views of the Hudson. Being in a new place was inspiring, productive, and invigorating; the Catskills are an excellent place for going for walks when you hit a wall while writing.

Me on a hike to the appropriately-named Inspiration Point.

Plus, the best part of CATWALK is they give you a studio and then they leave you alone. It is a highly self-directed residency, which means you can structure your days however you want: yoga in the morning, writing midday, a hike in the afternoon, reading during dinner. Or maybe you prefer to sleep in, go for a walk during lunch, and then stay up all night writing. It’s up to you, and it’s goddamn lovely.

Oh, and did I mention that my writing studio was located in the TOP OF A TOWER? Yeah, no big deal, just my literal childhood dream coming true.

Yes, my writing studio was in there.

However, none of this would have been possible without certain individuals, and I want to thank Purcell Palmer, founder and owner of CATWALK, along with residency manager May Beattie and property manager Chuck Irwin, for inviting me to be part of this magical residency program, and for everything they did to make my stay in Catskill so comfortable and valuable.

Also, I want to encourage all Columbia School of the Arts, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Vassar alumni to apply! Take advantage of this incredible opportunity. You won’t regret it, I promise.

View from my writing studio. Did I mention it was in the top of a tower?

“Sy Montgomery Wants Us to Embrace Our Inner Animal” on The Millions!

For the full piece, see it on The Millions.
Published on September 18, 2018.

I am really excited to have this essay up today on The Millions because I am absolutely obsessed with Sy Montgomery’s new memoir. Her book, How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals, comes out on September 25th, and everyone should buy it, read it, and follow its advice. (Don’t worry, there will be plenty of copies available at Newtonville Books, where How to Be a Good Creature also happens to be my most recent staff pick!)

 

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Nicole Chung

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on September 10, 2018.

Nicole Chung is the author of All You Can Ever Know (available from Catapult on October 2, 2018), a memoir about her experience as a Korean adoptee raised by white parents. Her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, GQ,Shondaland, ELLE, Longreads, BuzzFeed, Vulture, and Hazlitt, among others. Chung is the editor-in-chief of Catapult magazine and the former managing editor of The Toast. Find her on Twitter @nicole_soojung.

Now editing nonfiction for Pangyrus!

I am excited to officially announce that I am the new nonfiction editor of the Boston-based literary magazine Pangyrus

Look! I am on the website and everything:

So you know what this means? Pitch me your nonfiction writing! Submissions reopen on September 20, so check out our guidelines and send in your stuff. I can’t wait to read it!

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Morgan Jerkins

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on August 13, 2018.

 

Morgan Jerkins is the author of the New York Times bestselling essay collection, This Will Be My UndoingShe graduated from Princeton University with an AB in Comparative Literature, specializing in nineteenth-century Russian literature and postwar modern Japanese literature, and she has an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York TimesThe AtlanticELLE, Lenny Letter, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, and BuzzFeed, among many othersHer next two projects, Why We Get Out and Caul Baby are forthcoming from Harper Books. Jerkins is based in New York City.

“How Reading True Crime Stories Helps Us Face Our Own Fears” on Catapult!

For the full piece, see it on Catapult.
Published on August 9, 2018.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 10.25.27 AM

In general, having an essay on Catapult is a dream come true, but I am especially excited to share this piece about my inherited anxiety and love of true crime. Shout out to my grandfather, who does not read my blog or use the Internet! Thanks, Puppy, for passing on both your obsessive worrying and your passion for dark and depressing reading material!

AllisonandAJontheAT

Together hiking the Appalachian Trail from April to October, 2015!

E.B. Bartels

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