Spring and summer classes at GrubStreet!

by E.B. Bartels

It may still be snowing in Boston (!!!!), but it’s time to start thinking about taking a spring or summer class at GrubStreet! Here is the upcoming list of courses I will be teaching in the next few months. Sign up today!

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6 Weeks, 6 Essays
Starts NEXT WEDNESDAY!
Wednesdays, April 11 – May 16, 10:30am-1:30pm

  • 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!

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Non-Fiction by Non-Men
Mondays, June 4 – August 6, 6pm-9pm

  • New class!!!
  • 10-week course.
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships available!

We don’t know about you, but if we read another essay about shooting elephants or drinking war buddies under the table at a Barcelona bar or hanging out by a famous Concord pond, we’re going to throw ourselves into the Charles. If you’re looking to learn about nonfiction writers outside the range of those typically taught in English class, take this ten-week course to study and learn from some of the greatest contemporary women and non-binary folks writing nonfiction, with a special emphasis on women of color and LGBTQ individuals. In each class, we will study both the works of these writers and look at interviews with each of them discussing their craft, taken from the site Fiction Advocate’s interview series Non-Fiction by Non-Men. The reading list will include but is not limited to: Margo Jefferson, Michelle Kuo, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Edwidge Danticat, Suki Kim, Nina MacLaughlin, Samantha Irby, Eula Biss, Daisy Hernández, and Scaachi Koul. In addition to reading and studying works by these writers, for each class you will be expected to respond to writing prompts inspired by the works we have read. You will leave this course with the beginnings of several new pieces of your own nonfiction writing, a broadened knowledge of the range of individuals writing contemporary nonfiction, and an understanding of useful techniques and strategies for conducting interviews. Plus, you will have the chance to be a guest interviewer in the Non-Fiction by Non-Men series and publish an interview of your own on Fiction Advocate.

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Intro to Creative Nonfiction: Online
ONLINE, June 12 – July 17

  • My first ONLINE course with GrubStreet!
  • 6-week course.
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships available!
  • Did I mention it is ONLINE so you can take it from ANYWHERE?!

What defines creative nonfiction? Writers can’t even agree on the name: “Few seem willing to embrace the term,” writes essayist and memoirist Dinty W. Moore, “though by this point, almost everyone uses it.” And yet, the fundamentals of creative nonfiction are as old as Montaigne, and the genre has thrived in recent decades—from the tell-all memoirs of Mary Karr to the online personal essay boom. More readers are feeling “reality hunger,” it seems, craving stories based in fact. Intro to Creative Nonfiction Online will introduce you to this inventive form, with the flexibility of scheduling your own weekly attendance.

In this six-week course, we’ll explore what creative nonfiction is, what it isn’t, and what it might be, examining a mix of published nonfiction works—personal essays, memoirs, criticism, lyric essays, narrative journalism, flash nonfiction, autobiographical comics, nonfiction poetry, and hybrid genre work—to better understand the array of styles and approaches writers bring to true stories they tell. Focusing on voice, details, perspective and language, we’ll analyze work that fits neatly within nonfiction norms as well as boundary-pushing work that lives on the fringe, and apply this craft awareness to our own writing. Authors may include, but are not limited to: Hilton Als, Eula Biss, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Doyle, Roxane Gay, Leslie Jamison, Margo Jefferson, Maxine Hong Kingston, Maggie Nelson, and Mary Roach.

During the six weeks of class, students will respond to six short prompts inspired by our reading each week. This class is classified as a survey, which means the focus is on introducing students to new topics and forms of writing. Though student work will be discussed, the emphasis is not on formal, instructor-driven critique, but on learning, class discussion, and writing exercises. While there are no live meetings to attend, students will be expected to complete weekly readings and exercises by a specified day each week and to contribute to online class discussions. At the end of the class, students will have the opportunity to submit one revised piece to the instructor for feedback, and recommendations on next steps. Please expect to devote 4-6 hours/week to this class, in which you’ll gain a strong foundational knowledge of creative nonfiction, along with a sense of its possibilities and where such work is being published. This class is ideal for novice writers or more experienced writers looking to delve into this ever-evolving and flourishing genre.

*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.

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Week of Drama: Playwriting and Screenwriting
Monday, July 30 – Friday, August 3, 10:30am-3:30pm

  • 5-day teen writing camp.
  • Open to writers aged 13-18 years old.
  • Scholarships available!

Do you know all the words to every song in Hamilton? Are you constantly watching old movies on Netflix? Do you live for the spotlight? Are the Academy Awards your personal Super Bowl? Then this week-long course on playwriting and screenwriting is for you! Designed for theatre geeks, musical nerds, film buffs, and series bingers we will study what makes for great dialogue, character development, pacing, and plot structure when it comes to plays and movies. During this course, you will have the chance to try your hand at writing your own original play or screenplay and also learning the art of adapting a work for the stage or screen as we study famous screenwriters and playwrights from Jordan Peele to Wes Anderson to Mindy Kaling to Nora Ephron to Suzan-Lori Parks to Martin McDonagh to, of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Writing notebooks will be available, but feel free to bring your own. For writers age 13 – 18 ONLY.

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August Week of Creative Writing for Teens: Section A
Monday, August 6 – Friday, August 10, 10:30am-3:30pm

  • 5-day teen writing camp.
  • Open to writers aged 13-18 years old.
  • Scholarships available!

In this week-long general creative writing course, we won’t discriminate based on genre! Whether you’re working on your first novel or writing memoir, short stories, poetry, plays, or fan fiction, this is an opportunity to improve your skills and learn about new forms. Each day will be filled with exercises designed to get you creating, and to expose you to new genres you may not have previously explored. What is flash fiction anyway? Does nonfiction have to be 500-page biographies of dead presidents? Do my characters have to be likable? How can I make my reader feel the way I am feeling? Do I have to stay confined to one genre? We’ll explore these questions and more! This class is geared toward creative, energetic, and open-minded writers all of levels who aren’t afraid to try something new. Writing notebooks will be available, but feel free to bring your own. For writers age 13 – 18 ONLY.

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Let me know if you have any questions!

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