In this generative workshop we will study and practice the art of the miniature personal essay. Works of 500 to 1,500 words are among the easiest to publish and the hardest to write. To reach true emotional depth in few pages requires skillful economy of language and strength of heart; you have to get to core of your experience, and swiftly. We will examine works by the form’s masters, sharpen our tools of craft—especially story structure, pacing, and the art of both showing and telling—and produce our own original drafts.
Melissa Febos is the author of four books, including the nationally bestselling essay collection, Girlhood, which is a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and named a notable book of 2021 by NPR, Time, The Washington Post, and others. Her craft book, Body Work (2022), is also a national bestseller, an LA Times Bestseller, and an Indie Next Pick.The recipient of a 2022 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a 2022 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, and the Jeanne Córdova Nonfiction Award from LAMBDA Literary, Melissa’s work has appeared in publications including The Paris Review, The Sun, The Kenyon Review, Tin House, Granta, The Believer, McSweeney’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Elle, and Vogue. Her essays have won prizes from Prairie Schooner, Story Quarterly, The Sewanee Review, and The Center for Women Writers at Salem College. The recipient of an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, she is an associate professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program.
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