Personal Essay Class at the Grotto, 3 evenings in sept/oct

Super-talented FC member and writer extraordinaire Chris Colin will be teaching a personal essay class at the Grotto this fall. You don’t want to miss this opportunity. Details below.


Fall Writing Classes at the Grotto Now Enrolling

The Personal Essay, for Publication

Instructor: Chris Colin
Number of sessions: 3
Meeting times: Tuesday evenings, 6:30-9:30; Sept. 21, Sept. 28, Oct. 5
Course fee: $175

I like sandwiches. My fridge is sticky. Dad wore a beard. Our lives are full of banal but vital little bits, and god knows we should get more of them on paper. But spinning those bits into a publishable personal essay — the kind enjoyed by people other than our mothers — requires a specific and sometimes counterintuitive approach. This three-week workshop will help anyone from absolute beginners to practiced writers onto this path.

We will dissect the many approaches to a successful personal essay, from the straightforward to the unconventional. There will be reading, there will be writing. Did you spend six months on a desert island, sending smoke signals and gnawing porcupine? Cool, we’ll get you writing about it. But incredible personal histories are absolutely unrequired for this course, and for this genre. Some of the most memorable and affecting essays come from the most ordinary experiences, the most perceptive and polished from people who’d never picked up a pen before.

No need to arrive with a draft already written, but be prepared to write — and eventually workshop — over the duration of the class. Note: Class limited to 12 students.

Instructor bio: Chris Colin is the award-winning author of What Really Happened to the Class of ’93, and a former editor. His essays have been published in the New York Times Magazine and other sections of the paper, as well as several anthologies. He’s also written for Mother Jones, Smithsonian, Men’s Journal, Conde Nast Portfolio, McSweeney’s, the New York Observer, San Francisco magazine, Women’s Health magazine, 7×7 and other publications, and was the longtime “On the Job” columnist for SFGate.

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