In this craft class we will read a wide variety of nonfiction by both emerging and award-winning writers and work together to examine how these pieces function and what tools the writers use to achieve their goals. My focus when teaching nonfiction is always the tenet that you are the expert on the story of your self, and we’ll center that idea in our class discussions. By the end of this course each student should have a more robust library to reference when thinking about nonfiction, an expanded vocabulary to talk about the craft of writing memoir, and both the practical skills and the enthusiastic spark necessary to tell their own stories.
Students are responsible for completing weekly reading assignments and coming to class ready to discuss the reading each week. Students will also be asked to keep an observation journal that they will be encouraged to update daily but required to update weekly. We will work on writing prompts together every class and students will be encouraged, but not required, to complete those writing assignments outside of class.
June 8th to July 6th, 2023
Thursdays, 6:00pm-8:00pm EST
Who Should Take This Class?
Anyone who is interested in nonfiction writing and learning more about themselves and how to tell their own stories will feel at home in this class. Queer writers are especially encouraged to sign up, as the syllabus heavily features queer writers and my own lived experience is deeply informed by my queer community, but everyone is welcome. If you want to read carefully, observe closely, think deeply, and build a writerly community, this class is for you.
Vanessa is relentlessly supportive of her students' work, honoring their voices while encouraging them to continue improving their technique and understanding of genre. — Naomi Solomon, Director of Education at 826NYC
I would not be the writer I am today without Vanessa’s feedback – every time she asked me to rewrite something with emotions at the center, new meanings emerged. — Mary Ann Thomas, Asking For Elephants
Shout out to Vanessa for making me feel so freaking happy and included every time she spoke. — Camper Feedback from Autostraddle Camp 2018
Vanessa is an extremely talented and generous teacher. She brought warmth and attention to each student's contributions, whether they were sharing work or sharing thoughts on a reading or just saying something in the chat -- she was conscious of making every person feel seen and included, which is a true gift and craft. She shifted the content of the course in order to best meet the desires of the class, which I really appreciated, and she was able to really foster a sense of community and place even though we were all tiny Zoom screens floating in space together. I cannot speak highly enough of this experience (and have already convinced two people to take her upcoming courses!). — former student
Vanessa is an amazing teacher! I'm so inspired by her and the way she encourages all of us. It was a really spectacular experience, I love the space she created for all of us. — former student
I loved this workshop so much and I absolutely do not want it to end! — former student