E.B. Bartels

Nonfiction mafia.

Tag: EB Bartels

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Mira Jacob

Shout out and major THANK YOU to Erin Greene who made this interview possible thanks to her CITYterm connections!

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on May 14, 2019.

Mira Jacob is the author and illustrator of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations. Her critically acclaimed novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick, shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award, and long-listed for the Brooklyn Literary Eagles Prize. It was named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, the Boston Globe, Goodreads, Bustle, and The Millions. Her writing and drawings have appeared in The New York TimesElectric LiteratureTin HouseLiterary HubGuernicaVogue, the Telegraph, and Buzzfeed, and she has a drawn column on Shondaland. She currently teaches at The New School, and she is a founding faculty member of the MFA Program at Randolph College. She is the co-founder of Pete’s Reading Series in Brooklyn, where she spent 13 years bringing literary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry to Williamsburg. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, documentary filmmaker Jed Rothstein, and their son.

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“How I Stopped Being Afraid of My Own Brain” on Electric Lit

For the full piece, see it on Electric Literature.
Published on May 8, 2019.

My grandmother, Genevieve Beckers Bartels.

Writing nonfiction is always personal, in my opinion. You are putting your thoughts, feelings, and point of view out there, even if you are hiding behind the safety of research or criticism. This essay that I published today on Electric Literature is, at its core, a book review, but it is also the most personal thing I have published to date.

Thank you for reading it, and for your thoughtfulness and your care with this subject matter. A special thank you to my editor, Jess Zimmerman, who helped me so much with shaping this piece and clarifying my ideas, and, of course, thank you to my dad who helped me with this essay, and with so many other things, more than he realizes.

But if you only take one thing away from this piece, it better be that you need to go out and buy and read Marin Sardy‘s book The Edge of Every Day ASAP!

There is still time to sign up for Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Online!

If you are regretting not signing up for my Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Online course at GrubStreet, have no fear! The new class start date is May 1 so you still have plenty of time. Sign up today!

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Learning from Women and Gender-Non-Conforming Writers (Online)
ONLINE, May 1 – June 5

  • Based on my interview series Non-Fiction by Non-Men.
  • Open to all writers of all levels.
  • 6-week course.
  • Scholarships available!
  • Did I mention it is ONLINE so you can take it from ANYWHERE?!

As writers, we are constantly trying to generate empathy––to have our readers understand what it is like to be in our shoes. Therefore, some of the richest material out there has come from stepping beyond the boundaries of the “traditional” canon and taking a look into the lives and lesser-heard perspectives of marginalized writers. With that in mind, in this class, we will celebrate and learn from some of the incredible contemporary women and gender-non-conforming writers of nonfiction, with a special emphasis on queer and trans women, and women of color, and use their work as a jumping-off point for our own. (Note: while our readings will focus on women and gender non conforming folks, by no means is this course only for students who identify as such. We welcome students of any gender identity to take the course!)

Each week, we will study both the works of these writers and 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: Eula Biss, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Nicole Chung, Edwidge Danticat, Daisy Hernández, Samantha Irby, Margo Jefferson, Morgan Jerkins, Suki Kim, Scaachi Koul, Michelle Kuo, and Nina MacLaughlin.

You will also use what you learn to write your own essays, inspired by the works we have read. Each week, students will be assigned readings by several contemporary women and/or gender-non-conforming authors, a writing assignment based on a prompt shaped by the readings, and a couple classmates’ essays to read and provide feedback on. The instructor will also provide feedback on your essays each week.

You will leave this course with the beginnings of several new pieces of your own nonfiction writing, a broadened knowledge of the range and possibilities in writing contemporary nonfiction, a better sense of the many diverse voices expanding the boundaries of nonfiction, and an understanding of useful techniques and strategies for conducting interviews, figuring out your own writing process, and understanding the craft of creating nonfiction. 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.

(Though this class highlights primarily female and non-binary writers, we have several other classes featuring writers often underrepresented or marginalized by the literary industry, including an upcoming class on writing queer fiction , and a few others that are still in the works. If there is a particular topic or identity you’d like to see explored, please email programs@grubstreet.org.)

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Grace Talusan

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on April 16, 2019.

Grace Talusan is author of the memoir The Body Papers, winner of the 2017 Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing for Nonfiction. She was born in the Philippines and came to the United States with her parents at age two. She has published essays, long form journalism, fiction, and book reviews in BrevityCreative NonfictionBoston MagazineThe Boston GlobeThe Rumpus, and many others. She has degrees in English from Tufts University and the University of California, Irvine. Her writing has been supported by the Fulbright, Hedgebrook, Ragdale, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and others. She teaches writing at Tufts University and GrubStreet, and in fall 2019, will be the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University.

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Maya Rao

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on March 26, 2019.

Maya Rao is a journalist and the author of Great American Outpost: Dreamers, Mavericks, and the Making of an Oil Frontier (PublicAffairs, April 2018). In addition, she is a staff writer at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Rao’s work has appeared in The AtlanticAwlPhiladelphia Inquirer, Houston Chronicle, and Longreadsamong others. You can follow her on Twitter at @Mrao_Strib.

Spring & summer classes at GrubStreet!

It’s that time of the year: robins are out, snow is melting, and it’s time to sign up for spring and summer classes at GrubStreet! Here’s what I am teaching:

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6 Weeks, 6 Essays (Online)
ONLINE, April 17 – May 22

  • Open to all writers of all levels.
  • 6-week course.
  • 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.

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Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Learning from Women and Gender-Non-Conforming Writers (Online)
ONLINE, April 17 – May 22

  • Based on my interview series Non-Fiction by Non-Men.
  • Open to all writers of all levels.
  • 6-week course.
  • Scholarships available!
  • Did I mention it is ONLINE so you can take it from ANYWHERE?!

As writers, we are constantly trying to generate empathy––to have our readers understand what it is like to be in our shoes. Therefore, some of the richest material out there has come from stepping beyond the boundaries of the “traditional” canon and taking a look into the lives and lesser-heard perspectives of marginalized writers. With that in mind, in this class, we will celebrate and learn from some of the incredible contemporary women and gender-non-conforming writers of nonfiction, with a special emphasis on queer and trans women, and women of color, and use their work as a jumping-off point for our own. (Note: while our readings will focus on women and gender non conforming folks, by no means is this course only for students who identify as such. We welcome students of any gender identity to take the course!)

Each week, we will study both the works of these writers and 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: Eula Biss, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Nicole Chung, Edwidge Danticat, Daisy Hernández, Samantha Irby, Margo Jefferson, Morgan Jerkins, Suki Kim, Scaachi Koul, Michelle Kuo, and Nina MacLaughlin.

You will also use what you learn to write your own essays, inspired by the works we have read. Each week, students will be assigned readings by several contemporary women and/or gender-non-conforming authors, a writing assignment based on a prompt shaped by the readings, and a couple classmates’ essays to read and provide feedback on. The instructor will also provide feedback on your essays each week.

You will leave this course with the beginnings of several new pieces of your own nonfiction writing, a broadened knowledge of the range and possibilities in writing contemporary nonfiction, a better sense of the many diverse voices expanding the boundaries of nonfiction, and an understanding of useful techniques and strategies for conducting interviews, figuring out your own writing process, and understanding the craft of creating nonfiction. 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.

(Though this class highlights primarily female and non-binary writers, we have several other classes featuring writers often underrepresented or marginalized by the literary industry, including an upcoming class on writing queer fiction , and a few others that are still in the works. If there is a particular topic or identity you’d like to see explored, please email programs@grubstreet.org.) 

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Happy Hour Writing Session
Friday, May 10, 5:30pm-6:30pm

  • ***100% COMPLETELY FREE!*** 
  • Meets in person at the GrubStreet Headquarters in Boston.
  • There will be alcohol!
  • Did I mention it is 100% completely free???

What’s more satisfying than leaving work behind on a Friday afternoon? Rounding out the week with a free writing session, of course! Maximize that Friday feeling and kick off your writing weekend. Leave work behind on Friday, May 10th, from 5:30pm-6:30pm and come on over to Grub HQ. In 60 jam-packed minutes, you’ll meet fellow writers and get your creative juices flowing with some great writing exercises. Free drinks (beer, wine, coffee, water) and snacks provided. 

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Jumpstart Your Memoir
May 28 – July 2, six Tuesdays from 10:30am-1:30pm

  • The perfect class if you want to figure out how to start your memoir!
  • Open to all writers of all levels.
  • Meets in person at the GrubStreet Headquarters in Boston.
  • 6-week course.
  • Scholarships available!

This course has a very clear mission: to get you started on your memoir. Through a series of targeted writing exercises, we will explore the terrain of memoir writing: mining for material, constructing settings, shaping vivid dialogue, and honing your voice. We will discuss the process of memoir writing and review the strengths and weaknesses of the work we produce in class using a workshop format. We will also read and discuss short published texts in regards to the craft. In addition, we will review excerpts of powerful memoirs and learn how to apply similar methods in our own works. The class will offer a supportive and productive atmosphere for writers of every experience level.

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Writing the Risky Sh*t
Monday, July 29 – Friday, August 2, 10:30am-3:30pm daily

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

Class Description:
This class is for writers in all genres who like “depressing” books. If you’re drawn to reading and writing about the most difficult things that life throws at you, let’s spend five days getting right into the darkest sh*t possible. Together, we’ll learn that dark writing doesn’t have to be bad or gushy writing. There are ways to write about tough sh*t without sounding like sh*t.

In this week-long writing camp, we’ll discuss how to tackle heavy topics that come up in life and, therefore, in writing: violence, depression, mental illness, abuse, trauma, racism, classism, sexism, antisemitism, xenophobia, not to mention sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. We will discuss what works, what doesn’t, and why, by looking at a range of fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose. We’ll explore works by writers like: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Alison Bechdel, Alexander Chee, John Green, Mira Jacob, Mary Karr, Carmen Maria Machado, Grace Talusan, Angie Thomas, and Nayyirah Waheed, and more.

Takeaways:
You’ll leave this course with at least five drafts of new stories, essays, or poems, a complete toolkit of approaches on how to write about the hard stuff, a long reading list of new writers to check out, plus a sense of relief having spent a week getting in touch with all of your #feels.

Scholarships:
Classes marked as “full” can still have scholarship spots available. So apply!
GrubStreet is happy to be able to offer some full scholarships for our teen writing camps. Please wait to hear from our Scholarship committee before registering for the class, as scholarships cannot be applied retroactively. Scholarships are distributed on a rolling basis, right up to 48 hours before class start. However, the sooner you apply, the better your chances of receiving a scholarship.

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Please let me know if you have any questions! I hope to see you around GrubStreet this spring and summer!

GOOD GRIEF!

It’s official!!!

On January 30, I sold my book Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter, to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt! My editor is the wonderful Naomi Gibbs, known for editing many incredible books, including some of my favorites from the past couple years: Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee, Tango Lessons: A Memoir by Meghan Flaherty, and After the Eclipse: A Mother’s Murder, a Daughter’s Search by Sarah Perry. A publication date is not set yet (likely sometime in 2021) but the one thing I know for certain now is I have to turn in a complete draft of the book by the end of January 2020. HERE WE GO!

Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Alanna Okun, interviewed by Céillie Clark-Keane

Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrate your *~*love*~* of nonfiction today with the second Non-Fiction by Non-Men interview of 2019! This one also features one of my former GrubStreet students, Céillie Clark-Keane, as a guest interviewer, in conversation with Alanna Okun! Enjoy.

For the full interview, see it on Fiction Advocate.
Published on February 14, 2019.

Alanna Okun is a writer, editor, and crafter living in New York. She is currently a deputy editor at Vox, and she has previously worked at Racked and Buzzfeed. Her work has appeared in The New York TimesBrooklyn MagazineApartment TherapyThe Billfold, NPR, Vogue Knitting, The Hairpin, and other places. She has appeared on The Today Show and Good Morning America, as well as other local and national television and radio shows. Okun’s first book, The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater, was published by Flatiron Books in March 2018.

This month’s guest Non-Fiction by Non-Men interviewer is Céillie Clark-Keane. Céillie lives in Boston, where she she currently works as a managing editor. She has a Master’s in English Literature from Northeastern University, and her work has been published by Electric LiteratureBustleEntropyand more.

Wellesley Writes It: Dr. Crystal M. Fleming

In case you missed it, I am back editing for Wellesley Underground as their Wellesley Writes It editor. Check out my first piece since taking over the series: an interview with Dr. Crystal M. Fleming, Wellesley ’04 and author of How To Be Less Stupid About Race.

Here’s the beginning of the interview:

Crystal Marie Fleming, PhD, is a writer and sociologist who researches racism in the United States and abroad. She earned degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard University and is associate professor of sociology and Africana studies at Stony Brook University. Fleming writes about race, sexuality, and politics for publications including The RootBlack Agenda ReportVoxand Everyday Feminism, among others, and she has tens of thousands of followers on social media. She is the author ofResurrecting Slavery: Racial Legacies and White Supremacy in France, which was published by Temple University Press in 2017, and How To Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide, which was published this past fall by Beacon Press. Dr. Fleming is also writing a children’s book Rise Up! How You Can Join the Fight Against Racism, to be published by Henry Holt in fall 2020.

Wellesley Underground Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Shelly Anand, and Wellesley Underground’s Wellesley Writes It Series Editor, E.B. Bartels, had the opportunity to speak with Crystal about her new book, her evolving education around race and racism at Wellesley and Harvard, and her thoughts on the state of race and racism in the U.S., France, and the world.

Crystal: Thank you so much for taking the time to check out my book and to feature it on Wellesley Underground.

Shelly: We saw people talking about it on Twitter and both E.B. and I had a chance to read it over the holidays.

Crystal: Thank you for reading it!

E.B.: Of course! I am always excited to read a book by a fellow Wellesley alum.

Shelly: We were both interested in hearing about your process for how this book came about and when you realized that you wanted to write it. How did you make this book become a reality? What sparked the idea of I need to write a book about how people need to be less stupid about race?

Crystal: The short version is after the 2016 election I was feeling a lot of things: disbelief, despair, and anger, but also really motivated to write a book for the general public. My first book, Resurrecting Slavery, was an academic book, which was based on my dissertation. That came out in 2017. And while I was really happy with that professional milestone, I didn’t want to restrict my writing to a small group of academic specialists. So, I wanted to write something for a broader audience but I wasn’t sure what it was going to be. Then, finally, the idea for How to Be Less Stupid About Race crystallized in the aftermath of the 2016 election. As you can tell from the title, it was really about me being fed up with a lot of the racial ignorance I saw across the political spectrum. After I came up with the title and the pitch, I found a literary agent (Michael Bourret of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret), wrote a chapter that spring, and then really completed the bulk of the writing between summer 2017 and early 2018.

Shelly: E.B. and I loved the book’s blend of your personal experiences, pop cultural references, and citations to academic works in sociology and critical race theory. How did you find the balance in what voice to use, as both an academic and a younger black woman on social media?

Crystal: That’s a good question.  I would say that blogging and social media really helped me bring together the academic topics with language that could, hopefully, reach more people. I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to write clearly about my scholarly work and interests on social media, where millions of people have read my writing over the years. I wanted to write beyond an academic context so my blog was a space for me to reactivate my creative writing and to share some of my thinking in public and that was very different from strictly academic manuscripts. Once I started writing on my blog, and then eventually on Twitter, I developed a new way of distilling and explaining really complex ideas.

The great thing with social media is that people will tell you what they think about what you are writing. Sometimes folks will ask you: “What do you mean by that?” That helps with that distilling and clarifying. I started getting feedback from people and what I found was that a lot of people understood what I was saying, which was pretty reassuring.

Academics usually don’t receive any special training for writing in an accessible manner, so it took me a long time to develop that skill and find my own voice.  I really wish graduate schools and doctoral programs included more opportunities to learn to write clearly so that academics can broaden our teaching and impact, but instead we typically learn to write with a lot of jargon.

Go to Wellesley Underground for the complete conversation!

P.S. If you enjoy this conversation with Dr. Fleming and you live in the Boston area, be sure to come to her talk at Framingham State University at 4:30pm on Monday, February 4, 2019! I will be there!

Calling all animal-loving writers!

Do you like animals? OF COURSE.

Do you like writing? YES, DUH.

Then I have the *perfect* class for you: Of Mice and Writers: Writing About Non-Human Animals. It’s happening a week from today on Friday, February 1, from 10am-5pm, at GrubStreet.

Here’s the course 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 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.

Do you wish you could take this course but you’re under 18? GREAT NEWS.

I am also teaching a *free* version of this class for teen writers as part of GrubStreet’s Young Adult Writers Program on Saturday, February 9, from 12pm-4pm. It’s called Writing Critters: Writing About Non-Human Animals.

Sign up today! You know your pet is just begging you to write their biography!

AllisonandAJontheAT

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

E.B. Bartels

Nonfiction mafia.

Mara Wilson Writes Stuff

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Hope Ewing

Words, Booze, Feminism, for hire.

Beard

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Pedals to Petals

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i don't like fun

a collection of sorts