8-Week Introduction to the Personal Essay
Class Begins Sunday, January 13, 2019
$495 New Student | $470 Returning
Did you know that Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir, Wild, which later became a blockbuster movie starring Reese Witherspoon, was based off of one of Strayed’s personal essays? In this course we will read that piece, in addition to many others, in order to identify and investigate the fundamental techniques for writing personal nonfiction. We will also consult selected chapters from Lee Gutkind’s You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, which will guide our weekly discussions of topics ranging from narrative frame and rendering scenes to ethical concerns and fact checking.
Each week, we will talk about the assigned readings, participate in writing exercises, and—most importantly—discuss each other’s work. Students will have two opportunities to have their work critiqued (up to 20 pages each time), and they will receive feedback from the instructor as well as their classmates. In addition to providing written feedback, students will also be expected to adhere to respectful and open-minded workshopping standards. No prior nonfiction study or workshop experience is required.
NOTE: Students are required to purchase a copy of Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction, edited by Lex Williford and Michael Martone and You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, by Lee Gutkind.
Class size limited to 8 writers
Meets Sundays 6:30PM to 8:30PM / January 13, 2019 to March 3, 2019
Class meets at The Drawing Board at 75 & Campbell: 1900 Jay Ell Dr / Richardson, TX / 75081
Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this class.
Instructor Mag Gabbert holds a PhD in creative writing from Texas Tech University and an MFA in creative writing from UC Riverside. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, 32 Poems, Stirring, Carve Magazine, Sugar House Review and The Nervous Breakdown, among other places. She currently teaches creative writing for the Graduate Department of Liberal Studies at Southern Methodist University and serves as an editor for Iron Horse Literary Review.
"I highly recommend these classes. I just completed the Personal Essay course with Mag Gabbert and it was great."
"Enrolling in Mag Gabbert's Non-Fiction Essay class was one of the best things I have ever done to further my skills as a writer. Our group developed a kinship that encouraged one another, gave honest feedback during our workshops and we were all truly sad to see the 8 weeks come to an end. Mag was amazing at introducing us to new ideas, pieces, essays, and books while showing us various skills, styles, and nuances of the writer's we studied. I look forward to much better writing as a result of this very positive experience."
“I really enjoyed the class! The workload was challenging, but manageable. Mag is an excellent instructor. I really appreciated her insights and expertise.”
"Last year I became acquainted with Writing Workshops Dallas and started taking some of the classes they offered. My knowledge and skills as a writer have grown and improved tremendously as a result. I find myself scanning every e-mail Blake Kimzey sends to announce the upcoming classes in anticipation of learning more and more. Yesterday I participated in Mag Gabbert's Submitting to Journals and Magazines. I had never considered submitting in this manner, but having learned all that she had to share of her knowledge, I may now. Mag is very knowledgeable and open to share what she knows and the tools that she uses to become published. I highly recommend her classes, whatever the subject matter might be. I also took her 8-week Non Fiction Essay class and it was AMAZING."
“I just completed the nonfiction essay class with Mag Gabbert. Excellent class. Great group to work with. Mag is a tough editor but that is greatly appreciated! I highly recommend it. It was good to get the creative juices flowing again!”
"Hello all future students of Writing Workshops Dallas. I took the Non-Fiction class with Mag Gabbert. First let me say that I had never participated in a writing workshop before so this experience was a nerve-wrecking one for me. With that said, Mag made this class go above any of my expectations. I learned something new from each and every class. She created a safe environment to be open and honest yet made sure everyone was aware to be respectful. She heard your thoughts with such an open mind. Every writing exercise was challenging and helped open a new side of me I wasn't even aware existed. She made the reading assignments fully enjoying. I am definitely looking forward to taking another class at the Writing Workshops Dallas (preferably one with Mag Gabbert). Your fellow classmates also really help make this experience a great one. I was fortunate enough to have a class that included a variety of backgrounds. This was definitely well worth the money."
"I just completed Mag Gabbert's Introduction to Poetry class and highly recommend it. In six weeks my knowledge of poetry has been greatly expanded and therefore my enjoyment of poetry as well. Mag's approach to teaching and workshopping is engaging and conversational as well as encouraging. If you have any reservations about taking this class, or if you have any fear for having your work critiqued, please put those aside and take this class! It's a truly safe and professional environment focused entirely on helping the writer improve."
"I took the non-fiction essay course with Mag Gabbert. She is a great class leader and committed to writing. The class always has momentum. For someone like me who is nervously sharing their writing for the first time it's a safe and constructive environment. Your classmates will also be a source of inspiration and development. Enjoy."
"Ashley (Mag) Gabbert's personal essay class was an adventure! An eight-week immersion in analyzing quality essays and trying to attain that in our lengthy writing assignments. Fascinating to get feedback from the wide range of reader types represented as students in the class. Best feedback of all came from Gabbert pushing you to transform good writing into great.”
"I highly recommend the Creative Nonfiction class with Ashley (Mag) Gabbert. I loved the opportunity to polish my writing and get feedback from the class and Mag. Mag's insight and suggestions for my personal essays helped me to be a better writer. The small class setting was intimate and allowed each of us to contribute to discussion. The required texts will be a useful reference as I continue my writing life. I definitely plan on taking another workshop from Writing Workshops Dallas and Mag Gabbert!"
"Mag Gabbert's seminar on Submission for Publishing was just what I needed. The submission process is daunting and unfamiliar for someone without a formal education. The gaps created by me learning through trial and error were all filled at this seminar. Mag's delivery was crisp and on task which I appreciated. She answered all questions in a succinct, understandable, and very human way. I highly recommend this seminar and plan on taking more classes starting in 2018."