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Proposal to the Page: How to Bring Your

Nonfiction Book Idea to Market 

Date: Saturday, February 29
Time: 10 am - 3 pm (with one-hour lunch break) 
Instructors: Lauren Markham and Lindsay Whalen
Ages: Adult 
Genre: Publishing
Price: $150          

Join journalist and author, Lauren Markham, and biographer and book editor, Lindsay Whalen (formerly of Penguin Press), for a day-long intensive on how to hone a winning idea, how to craft a proposal, how to find an agent, and how to manage expectations and challenges at every stage along the path to publication. 


Assigned reading will include the proposal for Markham's critically acclaimed 2017 debut, The Far Away Brothers, and the first half of the workshop will be a case study, tracing Markham's progression from idea to book, with special focus on the proposal structure and content. 


Whalen will provide her own insights from her time evaluating proposals as an editor, and from her own experience selling her proposal for her first book (the authorized biography of Mary Oliver, forthcoming). The second half of the class will allow participants an opportunity to ask questions about their own work, with feedback and guidance provided. 

Lauren Markham

Lauren Markham is writer and educator based in Berkeley who writes fiction, essays, and literary journalism. Her book, The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life, was published by Crown in 2017, and was the winner of the Ridenhour Prize, the Northern California Book Award, silver medal winner of the California Book Award, shortlisted for a Lukas Award and the L.A. Times Book Prize, and longlisted for a PEN America Award. 


Lauren's essays and reportage have appeared in outlets such as Harper’sGuernica, The Guardian, the New York TimesThe New RepublicOrion, and Virginia Quarterly Review, where she is a contributing editor. In addition teaching at Left Margin LIT, she also teaches in the MFA in writing programs at Ashland University and the University of San Francisco. 

More about Lauren:

Lindsay Whalen.jpg

Lindsay Whalen began her career as a book editor at Penguin Press, where she worked for seven years and assisted in the publication of many prize-winning works of narrative non-fiction, including Julie Salamon’s New York Times Bestselling biography, Wendy and the Lost Boys and David Nasaw’s The Patriarch, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography in 2013. She was the acquiring editor of Paul Greenberg’s American Catch and Novella Carpenter’s Gone Feral, among other titles.


Lindsay is a graduate of Brooklyn College’s MFA in Fiction, where she was the recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship and the Lainoff Short Story Prize. She is a former Leon Levy Center for Biography fellow, and her authorized biography of Mary Oliver is forthcoming from Penguin Press.

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