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Trimming the Fat: The New Personal Essay

Date: Saturday, March 31 
Time: 10 am - 3 pm (with one-hour lunch break) 
Instructor: Sunisa Manning
Ages: Adult 
Maximum Enrollment: 9
Genre: Nonfiction
Price: $150

The personal essay is undergoing a renaissance. Bold new essayists such as Sarah Manguso and Maggie Nelson have turned it toward topics like motherhood and sexual identity while trimming the fat from the form, creating associative essays of epigrammatical snippets.


This one-day class will take a close look at the associative essays of Eula Biss, whose collection Notes from No Man’s Land won the National Book Critic’s Circle Award. We’ll dissect her work to learn about structure, tone, and patterning. Using in-class writing prompts, we'll write piecemeal sentences, revise them, and discuss what makes them effective (or not). We'll also explore the line between blather and brutal lies.  

This class welcomes nonfiction writers of all backgrounds and skill levels. 

Music of the Mind

Sunisa Manning's fiction and essays have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Rumpus, Atlas and Alice, and elsewhere. She’s been a writer in residence at Hedgebrook and The Hambidge Center. Sunisa is a current Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State, and will be a 2018 SF Writer's Grotto Fellow. She lives in Berkeley CA, where she’s editing her novel.

More about Sunisa:

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