E.B. Bartels

Nonfiction mafia.

Category: Massachusetts

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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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?!

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!

“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.

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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!

Looking for an August activity? Sign up for a GrubStreet teen writing camp!

If you are a writer between the ages of 13-18 and you are looking for something to do in August, then consider signing up for one of GrubStreet’s awesome TEEN WRITING CAMPS! Scholarships are available for all classes.

In particular, you should enroll in a Week of Creative Writing from August 6-10, taught by yours truly. It’s going to be so fun. Let me know if you have any questions!

Plus, there are always free snacks at GrubStreet, so I don’t really know what else you want.

Terrence the tortoise is a celebrity!

In case you missed it, I now share my home with a celebrity. Terrence the tortoise (a.k.a. @theofficialmrt) was featured in the summer 2018 issue of Wellesley Magazine, in a piece called “The Heart of a Pet” by Lisa Scanlon Mogolov. The fame is really going to his head, and he is becoming insufferable to deal with. But it’s okay, I still love him. I mean, just look at that cute illustration by Miranda Sofroniou! What a guy.

Mortified Podcast – again!

As you may know, I’ve become a bit of a regular reader at the Mortified show at Oberon, thanks to the best-ever Mortified producer, Sara Faith Alterman. Not only that, last year I was featured on episode 89 of the Mortified Podcast, reading my traumatizing childhood pet stories. Now I am excited to share that I am back on the Mortified Podcast, this time talking about the most stressful part of middle school: the dreaded 8th grade dance.

Check out episode 140: How I Survived Eighth Grade, featuring Bo Burnham and Elsie Fisher of the new movie Eighth Grade! Listen here or on iTunes.

Just a reminder!

My summer classes at GrubStreet start very soon! If you are considering signing up, stop stalling and register today.

Please contact me if you have any questions. Hope to see you around GrubStreet (either in person or virtually) this summer!

GrubStreet summer classes: teen edition!

Are you a teenager who wants to take a creative writing class this summer? Then you should consider signing up for one of the two week-long teen writing camps I am teaching at GrubStreet: Week of Drama: Playwriting and Screenwriting runs from July 16 through July 20, and August Week of Creative Writing for Teens: Section A runs from August 6 through August 10. Keep reading for more information!

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Week of Drama: Playwriting and Screenwriting
Monday, July 16 – Friday, July 20, 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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Again, let me know if you have any questions! Sign up today!

GrubStreet summer classes: adult edition!

Are you an adult who wants to take a creative writing class this summer? Then you should consider signing up for one of the two classes I am teaching for GrubStreet starting in June: Non-Fiction by Non-Men, taught at the GrubStreet Headquarters in Boston on Monday nights from 6pm-9pm, or Intro to Creative Nonfiction: Online, which you can take from anywhere! Keep reading for more information.

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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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Let me know if you have any questions!

AllisonandAJontheAT

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

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