Nonfiction | Seminar

1-Day Nonfiction Seminar: Writing About Social Issues

The current fraught socio-political climate is motivating nonfiction writers to engage with social issues on the page. The personal has always been political, and the political has always been personal. The writer has long played a role as a witness, conscience, and predictor of social change.

In this 1-day seminar for writers of any level, participants will explore these roles and be introduced to some of the key considerations when taking on social issues in their writing. We’ll discuss our motivations for writing about social issues and the implications of doing so. We’ll also explore how to write compellingly yet responsibly about social issues through discussion of assigned readings and in-class writing exercises. This class can stand-alone or serve as an introduction for Kavita’s six-week workshop, Writing About Social Issues.

COURSE TAKEAWAYS:

- Readings that demonstrate how to effectively write about social issues

- Understanding our motivations for writing about social issues and the implications of doing so

- Thinking about writing from experience versus writing from your opinion

- Understanding how our perspectives and those of others can illuminate a social issue

- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes

COURSE EXPECTATIONS:

- Readings: Students are expected to complete the assigned readings prior to the class.

- Social Issues: Students should come prepared with a social issue in mind that they’d either like to explore or have explored in their writing

- Writing Exercises: Students will complete in-class writing exercises

Kavita Das

Kavita Das writes about culture, race, feminism, and their intersections. Nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize, Kavita’s work has been published in Tin House, Longreads, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, Kenyon Review, NBC News Asian America, Guernica, Quartz, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her first book, Poignant Song: The Life and Music of Lakshmi Shankar (Harper Collins India) was published in June 2019. Kavita is also at work on a collection of personal essays. You can find her writing at kavitadas.com and connect with her @kavitamix.

Testimonials

"Kavita Das' professional resume speaks volumes to her skill and knowledge base on social justice, but her comprehension is further exemplified, and amplified, in her writing. Anyone who has read Kavita Das' contributions to the larger discussion in national periodicals can see her attention to not only speaking out but also listening, a crucial point in any kind of social justice work. In reading her work and personally witnessing how carefully she analyzes and empathizes with others in various situations both in conversation and in action there's no doubt she's one of the strongest voices on social justice issues as well as a steadfast advocate in all aspects of her life."

Jennifer Baker Anthology Editor for EVERYDAY PEOPLE

"I’ve been a fan of Kavita Das’s work for years. Both her political and literary practices—if the two can even be separated,—demonstrate a compassionate, sensitive, critical, and rigorous approach to the ways we shape meanings, identities, lives, and communities. I read Kavita to discover new, better ways to think, write, and examine the ways we live. "

Alison Kinney author of HOOD and Catapult instructor

“In her work, Kavita explores themes of identity, gender, politics, race, and culture with probing insight and refreshing candor. Her breadth of experience in both the literary arena and the social change sector makes her a multitalented writing teacher and an exceptionally insightful editor.”

Leigh Stein author of LAND OF ENCHANTMENT and Catapult instructor