The New School

Essay Writing: Truth and Culture

Fall 2017

Essays in their myriad forms are everywhere — blogs, books of poetry, newspapers, digital magazines, and emerging publications of every kind. It could be argued that the essay is our most contemporary form, combining the immediacy and intimacy of a personal voice with the exploration of broader themes. Essays can push the culture into its most vulnerable corners, shining the light of reality into dark places that some would prefer remain hidden. Still, it is the essayist’s job to reveal–not necessarily shock the reader with–the truth. In this class, we will read work from Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard, Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and The Best American Essays (2013) edited by Cheryl Strayed. We discuss the history, purpose, and evolution of the personal essay, all while attempting to write some of our best work to date. For more information and to register as an Open Campus (continuing ed) participant, click here. [New School undergrads register as with all other courses]


Nov 11 & 18, 2017

This intensive workshop focuses on short nonfiction, as both finished work and scaffolding for compression, lyricism, and experimentation in longer prose narratives. The course explores a variety of short (500-750-word) nonfiction forms, including memoir/personal essay, argument, social commentary, meditation, reflection, criticism, and cross-genre hybrids in both print and online publications. Participants write, critique, and revise eight original works during two consecutive Saturday workshops. For details and to register, click here.