E.B. Bartels

Nonfiction mafia.

Category: Nonfiction Mafia

Fall classes at GrubStreet!

Hey, are you totally bummed you didn’t get to take a class with me at GrubStreet this summer? Good thing I am teaching a whole bunch this fall.

Sign up now! Contact me with any questions.

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Creative Nonfiction I
Fridays, September 15 – November 17, 6pm-9pm

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

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.
 
In this 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, lyric essays, narrative journalism—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: Hilton Als, Eula Biss, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Doyle, Roxane Gay, Leslie Jamison, Margo Jefferson, Maxine Hong Kingston, Maggie Nelson, and/or Mary Roach.

During ten weeks of class, students will submit at least two manuscripts up to fifteen pages each, and learn to critique the work of their peers. 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.

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FREE Brown Bag Lunch Writing Series
Wednesday, October 18, 12:30pm-1:15pm

  • Open to all writers.
  • ***100% COMPLETELY FREE!*** 
  • No registration necessary!

Do you work downtown and want to fit some writing into your day? Or do you have a schedule that gives you free afternoons instead of evenings? Join our FREE Brown Bag Lunch Writing Series.

Bring your lunch and come on over to GrubStreet on Wednesday, October 18th from 12:30pm – 1:15pm. For 45 minutes, you’ll meet fellow writers and get your creative juices flowing with some cool writing exercises. Led by one of our award-winning instructors or ambassadors.

Best of all, you’ll leave lunch with some new ideas to ponder for the rest of your day and beyond. No need to RSVP — just come!

*Be sure to arrive early, as space is limited!

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Young Adult Writers Program: Playwriting for Drama Queens and Kings
Saturday, October 21, 12pm-4pm

  • Open to writers aged 13-18 years old.
  • ***100% COMPLETELY FREE!*** 
  • Includes free pizza for lunch!

Has someone ever told you to stop being so dramatic? If so, disregard that advice and come take Drama Queens and Kings! Through acting and improv games, you will generate material to create the beginnings of your own play and figure out what it takes to make drama exciting, interesting, and, well, dramatic. In addition to theatre exercises, you will work off writing prompts to help inspire engaging dialogue and read excerpts from great playwrights, both contemporary and classic. By the end of the class, you will have one or more scenes that you will be able expand into a play. Writing notebooks will be available, but feel free to bring your own. For writers age 13 – 18 ONLY.

Join GrubStreet’s Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP), a FREE creative writing workshop for Boston-area high schoolers. Our students come from a wide variety of high schools in the Boston area and enjoy cool writing exercises, mingling with fellow young writers, snacks, and an optional open mic. After four great years, YAWP has already been recognized by the Boston Globe as Boston’s hub for writing teenagers. You must be 13-18 years to register.

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Writing About Family
Saturday, November 11, 10am-5pm

  • 6-hour seminar.
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships available!

Course description and sign-up link coming soon!

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Young Adult Writers Program: Writing Inspired by Found Objects
Saturday, November 18, 12pm-4pm

  • Open to writers aged 13-18 years old.
  • ***100% COMPLETELY FREE!*** 
  • Includes free pizza for lunch!

Have you ever found an old photograph at a flea market and wondered: who are these people, and what is their story? That’s how Ransom Riggs wrote Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, structuring the plotline entirely around found photographs. Using Miss Peregrine as our model, this course will be all about looking for inspiration for your writing in the objects that surround you, creating narratives out of things that already exist. We will look at an array of items––old photographs, video footage, antique maps, even junk and trash––and find the stories and poems hidden within. You’re welcome to bring in your own items, but objects will be provided––you just need to find their story. We will even take a trip to the antiques store next to GrubStreet for inspiration! This course will also explore the relationship between images and words, looking at examples such as Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck and Tom Phillips’s A Humument. A great course for those who are visual artists in addition to writers. Writing notebooks will be available, but feel free to bring your own. For writers age 13 – 18 ONLY.

Join GrubStreet’s Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP), a FREE creative writing workshop for Boston-area high schoolers. Our students come from a wide variety of high schools in the Boston area and enjoy cool writing exercises, mingling with fellow young writers, snacks, and an optional open mic. After four great years, YAWP has already been recognized by the Boston Globe as Boston’s hub for writing teenagers. You must be 13-18 years to register.

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Miranda K. Pennington

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on August 14, 2017.

Miranda K. Pennington is the author of A Girl Walks into a Book: What the Brontës Taught Me about Life, Love, and Women’s Work (Seal Press, 2017). Her work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar online, The Ploughshares blog, and The Catapult Podcast. Pennington received her MFA in creative nonfiction from Columbia University, where she also was a University Writing Instructor. In addition, she has taught academic writing at Touro College, SUNY Empire State, and the LEDA Institute, and she has led creative writing workshops for the AmpLit festival and Uptown Stories. This fall, Pennington will join the writing faculty of American University in Washington, D.C.

Kids, stay out of trouble and sign up for my GrubStreet class!

Are you a writer between the ages of 13-18, looking for something to do the week of August 7-11? Well, lucky you! Sign up for my GrubStreet class There’s a Story in That: Making Stories from Real Life for Teens. This teen writing camp course meets Monday, August 7 through Friday, August 11, from 10:30am-3:30pm daily.

Here’s the course description:

When you hear “nonfiction” you probably think of the 500-page biographies of presidents that your grandfather likes to read. But nonfiction is so much more than that! It’s a huge genre that encompasses everything that isn’t fiction! There is so much out there. Learn about the power of true stories as we use writing prompts to find and create personal, true stories from the elements of real life––using photographs, text messages, emails, and objects. You can create an exciting plot line from the most ordinary experiences, and in this workshop, we will look at how to turn real-life stories into tales that are as captivating as any novel! We will also examine the many different ways you can approach writing nonfiction. We will look at examples that range from the confessional tell-all narrative to the hybrid researched-personal story to the family myth, and then students will get a chance to try on each of these sub-genres themselves through a series of writing exercises. Readings may include excerpts by Eula Biss, Margo Jefferson, Claudia Rankine, Marjane Satrapi, and/or Brian Doyle. All you need to bring is a positive attitude. Writing notebooks will be available, but feel free to bring your own. For writers age 13-18 ONLY.  

Contact me with any questions! Hope to see you there, all my former students who read my blog!

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Scaachi Koul

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on July 12, 2017.

Scaachi Koul is a senior writer for Buzzfeed News. In addition to Buzzfeed, Koul’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Hairpin, and Jezebel, among others. Her debut collection of essays, One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter, was published by Doubleday Canada and Picador USA in May 2017. You can follow her on Twitter at @scaachi. Koul is based in Toronto.

You can still sign up for Writing Family History at GrubStreet!

Kicking yourself for not signing up for my class Nonfiction: Writing Family History at GrubStreet? Good news! There is still time to enroll! The class meets for 10 weeks on Thursdays from 6pm-9pm, and the new start date is Thursday, June 29, 2017 and the last class will be Thursday, August 31, 2017.

Here is the course description:

As a nonfiction writer, you often pull material from your own life, and that means you may end up writing about the people closest to you: your family. But this brings up some tough questions: How is it possible to create a well-rounded portrait of someone you don’t want to upset? How can you ever get past the thought: what will my grandmother think when she reads this? In addition, when writing about family members who have passed or about intimate family history, how can you avoid falling into the trap of nostalgia and sentimentality? These are exactly the questions that we will tackle. In this ten-week course, you will write several short pieces, including a profile of someone near and dear to you, as well as a retelling of a family story that happened before your time. Through discussion of published works, craft lectures, and workshops, we will delve deeper into the elements of nonfiction that can elevate a personal piece of writing. You will leave the class with several short works based on your family history that you can continue to develop into polished personal essays or memoir pieces. Readings may include excerpts by Mary Karr, Maxine Hong Kingston, Alison Bechdel, Margo Jefferson, Tobias Wolff, Phillip Roth, David Sedaris, Janet Mock, and Vladimir Nabokov.

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.

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Mary Mann

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on June 14, 2017.

Mary Mann is the author of Yawn: Adventures in Boredom. Her essays and criticism have appeared in Smithsonian, The New York Times, The Believer, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications, and she holds an MFA from Columbia University’s writing program. Mann is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship and a 2015 CATWALK Art Residency, and she is the associate editor of the New York Times bestselling collection Women in Clothes. She is currently employed as a writing associate at The Cooper Union. Mann lives in New York with her fiancé, Grant, and dog, Maya.

Sign up for Writing Family History at GrubStreet!

Have you always wanted to write about your grandmother but aren’t sure how she will react? Do you want to put your sister on blast for all the stuff she did to you as a kid? Do you want to pay tribute to a deceased loved one but are afraid of becoming sentimental? How do you attempt writing about that aunt you’ve never met? Want to conquer your fears of unpacking all that family drama? Then come take my 10-week nonfiction class at GrubStreet this summer on writing about your family:

Nonfiction: Writing Family History
June 15 – August 17, 2017, 6pm-9pm on Thursdays

  • 10-week course.
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships are always available for GrubStreet courses.

There is still time to sign up! You know you want to!

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Sarah Dickenson Snyder

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on May 15, 2017.

Sarah Dickenson Snyder is poet based in Massachusetts and Vermont. She is the author of The Human Contract (Kelsay Books, 2017) and the chapbook Notes From A Nomad (Finishing Line Press, 2017). Snyder’s poetry and prose have appeared in Bloodroot Literary Magazine, Teachers & Writers Magazine, Comstock Review, Damfino Press, Chautauqua, West Trade Review, The Main Street Rag, and Passager, among other magazines and anthologies. In May of 2016, she was a 30/30 Poet for Tupelo Press, and she has been selected to be part of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. In addition to writing poetry, Snyder worked as an English teacher for thirty-seven years.

Upcoming classes at GrubStreet!

If you’re looking to take some fun writing classes on creative nonfiction, you’re in luck! I am teaching several classes at GrubStreet this spring and summer that I will now proceed to shamelessly plug.

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Young Adult Writing Program (YAWP): Stranger Than Fiction — The Power of True Stories
Saturday, April 22, 2017,
 12pm-4pm

  • Happening THIS Saturday!!!
  • Open to writers aged 13-18 years old.
  • ***100% COMPLETELY FREE!*** 
  • Includes free pizza for lunch!

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Nonfiction: Writing Family History
June 15 – August 17, 2017, 6pm-9pm on Thursdays

  • 10-week course.
  • Open to all writers.
  • While not free, scholarships are always available for GrubStreet courses!

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Teen Camp: There’s a Story In That — Making Stories from Real Life
August 7 – August 11, 2017, 10:30am-3:30pm daily

  • 5-day writing camp.
  • Open to writers aged 13-18 years old.
  • Again, while not free, GrubStreet scholarships are available!

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Even if nonfiction isn’t your thing, you should definitely consider taking a course at GrubStreet! There are so many amazing teachers there (such as Heather Wells Peterson, Eson Kim, and Annie Hartnett, just to name a few) and a huge variety of classes for every age, schedule, and interest. GrubStreet classes range from one-off Saturday sessions to multi-week workshops to year-long courses that cover everything from slam poetry to sci-fi to the famous novel/memoir incubator.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, and I hope to see you around GrubStreet soon!

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Dodai Stewart

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on April 12, 2017.

Dodai Stewart is a writer, editor, and self-described pop culture junkie. Stewart is the Editor In Chief of Fusion.net, and the former Deputy Editor of Jezebel.com. Her writing has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, Glamour, and the New York Times, amongst others. You can find a sample of her writing here, and you can follow her on Twitter @dodaistewart. Stewart lives in Manhattan with her misanthropic Chihuahua.

AllisonandAJontheAT

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

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