Booked Out: Online: The Practice of the Personal Essay with Rosie Schaap
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Starts: *Tues 6 July 2021
Time: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Duration: 6 Weeks
Course Level: Beginner/Emerging
All Irish Writers Centre remote courses take place on Irish Standard Time (GMT+1)
*Please note that no class will take place on Tues 27 July and this course will end on Tues 17 August
“The essayist,” Phillip Lopate writes, “attempts to surround a something—a subject, a mood, a problematic irritation—by coming at it from all angles, wheeling and diving like a hawk, each seemingly digressive spiral actually taking us closer to the heart of the matter."
The personal essay is an inherently supple, even experimental form; informed and animated by a writer’s unique life experience and voice, it presents an unusual opportunity to luxuriate in thought, to engage deeply with a something that troubles you, enchants you, or otherwise keeps you awake at night.
In this six-week course, students will closely read essays by Jo Ann Beard, Emily Bernard, Mary Ruefle, and others as we survey the personal essay in many forms, including the braided essay, the collage essay, and the lyric essay. Workshop discussions of students’ writing will be at the core of our two-hour sessions. We’ll consider the decisions essayists must make (what to reveal, and what to withhold? what to compress, and what to expand?) and our dual obligation to telling the truth and to writing engaging narratives.
Students will write and revise one substantial personal essay (up to 3000 words), and will compose several shorter works generated by weekly writing prompts. They will hone essential narrative skills (such as scene-building and character development), and also deepen their acquaintance with the history and discourse of the personal essay.
Rosie Schaap is the author of Drinking with Men: A Memoir and Becoming a Sommelier. From 2011 to 2017, she was a columnist for The New York Times Magazine. Her essays appear in anthologies including Eat Joy: Stories & Comfort Food from 31 Celebrated Writers and Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York. She has taught creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University since 2016. A native New Yorker, she lives in the Glens of Antrim.
Praise for Drinking With Men
Named one of 2013’s best books by National Public Radio, Library Journal, BookPage, and Maclean’s
“A wonderfully funny and openhearted book from a generous, charismatic writer… There’s no substitute for the kind of community you can find in a good tavern. And no American writer can explain it better than Rosie Schaap.” —National Public Radio
“Beautifully composed…detailed and genuine...” —Library Journal
“Funny, smart-as-hell, moving.” —Salon
“Phenomenal… Schaap is an expert storyteller.” —Food & Wine
“Schaap brings a poet’s touch to her memoir, which brims with insight and wisdom.”
Praise for Becoming a Sommelier
Named one of 2019’s best wine books in The New York Times
“Ms. Schaap…is clear and precise in her writing…If you are curious about life as a sommelier, this charming book makes an easy, nutritious appetizer.” —Eric Asimov