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Exploring the Essay

Dates: 7 Wednesdays, September 18 - October 30
Time: 7 pm - 9:30 pm 
Instructor: Lauren Markham
Ages: Adult 
Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir 
Price: $475     WAIT LIST ONLY
Music of the Mind

In this class, we'll explore the many forms of the essay as both writers and as readers. From personal essays to lyric reporting to memoir to more experimental incarnations of the form, we'll discuss how the essay functions on the level of story, of art, of argument and of meaning.


How does the essay work on a mechanical level? How do we make others care about our own stories? How do we make facts come alive on the page? With these questions in mind, we’ll work on our own writing while also reading a range of essays from giants of the form, including Jesmyn Ward, Luis Alberto Urrea, Nicole Chung, Rebecca Solnit, Lily Hoang, Joan Didion, and Matthew Power.


During the course of the class, each student will workshop a longer piece of writing in a supportive workshop environment; we'll also work on a number of shorter pieces via in-class exercises. This class is designed for experienced writers seeking support with a project or their writing practice, as well as those who are new (or new-ish) to the craft.  

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 New York TimesThe Guardian, The New RepublicOrion, and Virginia Quarterly Review, where she is a contributing editor. She has published fiction in NarrativeThe American Literary Review, and Drunken Boat. 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:

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