E.B. Bartels

Nonfiction mafia.

Category: Nonfiction Mafia

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Anya Yurchyshyn

 

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on April 9, 2018.

Anya-Yurchyshyn

Anya Yurchyshyn is the author of My Dead Parents: A Memoir, published by Crown in March 2018. Yurchyshyn received her MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University, and her work has appeared in Esquire, Oprah MagazineN+1BuzzfeedTwo Serious Ladies, Mod Art, GuernicaElimaeand NOONYurchyshyn’s story “The Director” was included in Best Small Fictions of 2015She lives in New York and teaches at Columbia.

On Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 7pm, Anya Yurchyshyn and E.B. Bartels will be in conversation in an event at Newtonville Books in Newton, MA. If you are in the Boston area, come see Non-Fiction by Non-Men in real life!

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Conversation with Anya Yurchyshyn at Newtonville Books

One week from tonight (actually, exactly one week from RIGHT NOW) I will be in conversation with Anya Yurchyshyn at Newtonville Books. Anya’s debut memoir My Dead Parents is phenomenal, and I am excited to chat with her about her book, her writing and research process, and what it’s like to write about family. I hope to see you there! Think of it as Non-Fiction by Non-Men Live.

 

Reading with Anya Yurchyshyn in conversation with E.B. Bartels

Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 7:00 PM

Newtonville Books
10 Langley Rd
Newton, MA 02459

Newtonville Books welcomes Anya Yurchyshyn, author of MY DEAD PARENTS: A MEMOIR, in conversation with E.B. Bartels. All events are free and open to the public, first come, first seated, no registration required.

About MY DEAD PARENTS: Anya Yurchyshyn grew up in a narrow townhouse in Boston, every corner filled with the souvenirs of her parents’ adventurous international travels. On their trips to Egypt, Italy, and Saudi Arabia, her mother, Anita, and her father, George, lived an entirely separate life from the one they led as the parents of Anya and her sister – one that Anya never saw. The parents she knew were a brittle, manipulative alcoholic and a short-tempered disciplinarian: people she imagined had never been in love.

When she was sixteen, Anya’s father was killed in a car accident in Ukraine. At thirty-two, she became an orphan when her mother drank herself to death. As she was cleaning out her childhood home, she suddenly discovered a trove of old letters, photographs, and journals hidden in the debris of her mother’s life. These lost documents told a very different story than the one she’d believed to be true – of a forbidden romance; of a loving marriage, and the loss of a child. With these revelations in hand, Anya undertook an investigation, interviewing relatives and family friends, traveling to Wales and Ukraine, and delving deeply into her own difficult history in search of the truth, even uncovering the real circumstances of her father’s death – not an accident, perhaps, but something more sinister.

In this inspiring and unflinchingly honest debut memoir, Anya interrogates her memories of her family and examines what it means to be our parents’ children. What do we inherit, and what can we choose to leave behind? How do we escape the ghosts of someone else’s past? And can we learn to love our parents not as our parents, but simply as people? Universal and personal; heartbreaking and redemptive, My Dead Parents helps us to see why sometimes those who love us best hurt us most.

Spring and summer classes at GrubStreet!

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!

Writing From Found Objects class at GrubStreet!

Have you been stuck in a creative rut? Are you looking for a low commitment but super fun writing class? Have no plans for this Friday, March 23rd, from 10:30am-1:30pm? Perfect! Sign up for my class Writing From Found Objects at GrubStreet! This one-time, three-hour session is guaranteed to get you back into a writing flow. Plus, you get to look through my collection of old photographs from Russian flea markets. What more could you want?!

Here’s the course description:

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. Have you ever looked at a page of an old book and thought: is there is a poem in here somewhere? That’s how Tom Phillip’s created A Humument, making beautiful paintings and found poems out of each page of an unknown Victorian novel he stumbled on one day. Using these two texts as our models, 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 may even take a trip to the antiques store next to GrubStreet for inspiration! This course will also explore the relationship between images and words, which makes it a great course for those who are visual artists in addition to writers. This will be a generative class, and hopefully you will leave the session feeling inspired and with the beginnings of several new pieces of work!

Sign up here!

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Ali Barthwell

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on March 19, 2018.

Ali-Barthwell-2

Ali Barthwell is a writer, comedian, teacher, Chicagoland native, and an alumna of Wellesley College. She was a recipient of the Puma/LOL Second City Diversity Scholarships in 2010. Barthwell also participated in The Bob Curry Fellowship at The Second City, and she was a member of The Second City touring company from February 2015 to August 2016. Barthwell is an instructor at The Second City, and she performs with the improv group Sweet Tease. She writes recaps for Vulture, and her other written work can be seen in New York Magazinethe Chicago Tribune, The A.V. Club, and Second City Network. Ali is a former staff writer at Cards Against Humanity. She tweets about lipstick and Black Panther at @wtflanksteak.

Columbia Selects at KGB Bar

Are you in New York and looking for an activity this Thursday night?

I’ve got you covered:

Columbia Selects: MFA Readings at the KGB Bar

Thursday, March 1, 2018, 7pm, 85 E 4th Street, New York, NY 10003

Curated by Bryan VanDyke and Emily Austin.

What is Columbia Selects? The first Thursday of each month the Columbia MFA program hosts a reading series featuring Writing Program alumni. These fresh talents are finished with or near to finished with their first books, but do not yet have a book contract and/or an agent. In recent years, many of our featured writers have achieved critical and commercial success. This is your chance to glimpse who you’ll be reading in 2019!

Our lineup this month:

Umair Kazi‘s translations of Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz have appeared in Circumference: Poetry in TranslationPleiades, and Inventory. His interview with the author Mohsin Hamid was published in Guernica. He has a JD from the University of Iowa College of Law, and an MFA from the Columbia University School of the Arts. He’s currently working on a novel about the kidnapping and captivity of his auto-fictional protagonist by the literary deep state, and a collection of short stories about people who are terrified of bridges. He grew up in Karachi and Iowa and now lives in New York.

E.B. Bartels is from Massachusetts and writes nonfiction. She received her MFA from Columbia University, and her nonfiction has appeared in The RumpusThe ToastThe ButterPloughshares online, and the anthology The Places We’ve Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35, among others. Her essay “Hair Piece” was a nonfiction honorable mention in the New Millennium Writings 36th Competition, and her short nonfiction piece “Vulnerable” was the winner of the 2018 Eldridge Tide & Pilot Book Story Contest. E.B. also writes a monthly series, called Non-Fiction by Non-Men, for the site Fiction Advocate, where she interviews women who write nonfiction. E.B. is currently working on a narrative nonfiction book about the unusual and creative ways that people mourn and remember their pets around the globe, investigating everything from mummification to taxidermy to cloning to animal fur sweaters to pet cemeteries. Learn more about E.B. at ebbartels.com.

Arielle Angel is a Miami-born, Brooklyn-based writer. She has been awarded residencies at Hub-Bub, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, the Brush Creek Foundation, Jentel, and Abode Farm. She was also a 2016 Tent Creative Writing Fellow at The Yiddish Book Center. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in GuernicaOff AssignmentProtocolsPoor Claudia, and Jewish Currents.

http://www.kgbbar.com/

Come for the talent. Stay for the camaraderie and cocktails.

 

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Edwidge Danticat

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on February 14, 2018.
(Happy Valentine’s Day!)

Edwidge Danticat is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection, Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist, The Farming of Bones, The Dew Breaker, Create Dangerously, and Claire of the Sea Light. She is also the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States, Best American Essays 2011, Haiti Noir and Haiti Noir 2. She has written six books for children and young adults—Anacaona, Behind the Mountains, Eight Days, The Last Mapou, Mama’s Nightingale, Untwineas well as a travel narrative, After the Dance. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. She is a 2009 MacArthur fellow. Her most recent book, The Art of Death: Writing the Final Storywas published by Graywolf Press in July 2017.

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Mandy Len Catron

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

Mandy Len Catron is the author of How To Fall In Love With Anyone: A Memoir in Essays. Originally from Appalachian Virginia, Catron now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her writing has appeared in the New York TimesThe Washington PostGlamour, The Rumpus, and The Walrus, as well as literary journals and anthologies. Her essay for the New York Times Modern Love series (“To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This”) was one of the most popular articles published by the New York Times in 2015. Catron writes about love and love stories at The Love Story Project, and she teaches English and creative writing at the University of British Columbia. You can follow Catron on Twitter (@LenMandy), and on Instagram (@LenMandy) to see her drawings and photos of her dog, Roscoe.

There’s still time to sign up for Writing About Family!

Are you totally bummed because you think you missed your window to sign up for my Writing About Family class at GrubStreet? Well, don’t be! There is still time to enroll. The class now starts January 24 and runs through March 28: 10:30am-1:30pm on Wednesdays for ten weeks. 

Also, to clarify: the definition of “family” in this course is extremely broad. We will be looking at examples from writers who define family in all kinds of ways — from biological to adopted to chosen, from parents to children to friends, from human to non-human. This course will be helpful for anyone attempting to write nonfiction about people (or animals) they love or hate, but, for better or for worse, are bound to by some familial-feeling kind of force.

Sign up now!

 

2017 Reading Round-Up

Happy new year, devoted blog readers! While 2017 was a total disaster in a lot of ways, it was, at least for me, a great year for books. Here’s the breakdown of what I read this past year, my top 17 books that were published 2017, plus some of my reading resolutions for 2018.

WHAT I READ:

THE GENRE BREAKDOWN:

  • Fiction: 11
  • Nonfiction: 29
  • Graphic novels/comics: 5
  • Graphic memoirs: 9
  • Poetry: 8
  • Drama: 2
  • Young adult/middle grade: 6
  • Picture books: 40*

*Most of these were for research purposes. There are a lot of kids’ books out there about how to cope with pet death, FYI.

THE DEMOGRAPHIC BREAKDOWN:

  • Books by women of color: 22
  • Books by white women: 56
  • Books by men of color: 4
  • Books by white men: 28
  • Books by LGBTQ folks: 18

THE REASON-FOR-READING BREAKDOWN:

  • Books for research purposes: 52
  • Books for the Nobles 9th grade English curriculum: 4
  • Books for fun: 54

E.B.’s TOP 17 BOOKS PUBLISHED in 2017:

I would just like to say that a lot of really great books were published in 2017. Narrowing it down to 17 was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. This list could have easily been twice as long, but “34 books published in 2017” didn’t have quite the same ring to it. But, ugh! Making choices is so hard! Sigh. Anyway, let me present to you, my top 17 books published in 2017, in alphabetical order by author’s last name.

  1. The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
  2. How To Fall in Love with Anyone by Mandy Len Catron
  3. From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty
  4. Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro Memoirs by Beth Ann Fennelly
  5. Hunger by Roxane Gay
  6. Fetch by Nicole J. Georges
  7. Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett
  8. Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
  9. Alfie (The Turtle that Disappeared) by Thyra Heder
  10. We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby
  11. One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul
  12. Reading with Patrick by Michelle Kuo
  13. Yawn: Adventures in Boredom by Mary Mann
  14. A Surprise for Mrs. Tortoise by Paula Merlán
  15. Animals Strike Curious Poses by Elena Passarello
  16. A Girl Walks into a Book by Miranda K. Pennington
  17. After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

E.B.’s READING RESOLUTIONS for 2018:

  • I need to pay more attention to who is writing the books I am reading for research and try to diversify the voices I am quoting in my own writing. (Turns out there are a lot of white ladies who like to write picture books about pets dying.)
  • I need to continue to read more books by people of color and LGBTQ folks. (Especially men of color. That 2017 statistic was shameful.)
  • I didn’t tally the exact numbers, but I know that most of the books I read this year were by American writers (Scaachi Koul was one of the most “exotic” as she is, gasp, Canadian) and I want to try to read more work by international authors.
  • And I want to continue to remind myself that if I don’t love something I am reading… I don’t have to finish it. I’m going to die before I get to read everything on my To Read list on GoodReads, so, live it up. Life is short. Read what you want to be reading.

Here’s to a 2018 full of even more great books!

 

AllisonandAJontheAT

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

E.B. Bartels

Nonfiction mafia.

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a collection of sorts