Online | Nonfiction | Workshop

4-Week Generative Nonfiction Workshop: Elements of Flash Nonfiction

In this generative four-week course, beginners to flash nonfiction can expect to read, discuss, and write essays less than 1,000 words. Dinty W. Moore has written of flash essays that “the compression necessary to tell a story in a package this small means that every sentence should accomplish more than one task.” This class will focus on how to do that–on what sets the very brief essay apart from longer prose works, and on how writers can make short essays feel like self-contained worlds. We will take a broad overview of the flash essay, looking at a number of sub-genres including experimental essays, list essays, borrowed form essays, and epistolary essays.

Each week, we will read work from writers like Roxane Gay, Natalie Lima, and Beth Ann Fennelly. We will work on generative exercises inspired by the readings, and will workshop weekly to give and receive feedback from peers.

Expect a friendly, generative environment focused on trying out new things and encountering new essays. Writers will leave this class with a deeper understanding of the flash form and how to apply diverse techniques to write and revise very short essays. 

Our class platform works best on laptop or desktop computers. Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features. The Zoom calls will have automated transcription enabled. Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility. 

Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.  


- After reading discussions and craft talks, students will be able to articulate what makes a short short essay effective and will be able to talk with peers about drafts.

- Students will leave the class with a wide variety of sources through which to read flash nonfiction and a variety of prompts for further exploration.

- Students will walk away with at least four formally diverse drafts.

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Each week participants will hand in a short memoir or flash essay (under 500 words) for group workshop and can submit a portfolio of 3 revised flash nonfiction pieces to the instructor for written feedback at the end of the course. Participants can expect to read 2-3 flash essays a week before class as well as one craft essay.


Weel 1: What is flash nonfiction?

Week 2: Point of View

Week 3: Research in Flash

Week 4: Formal experimentation

Krys Malcolm Belc

Krys Malcolm Belc is the author of The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood. His essays have been featured in Granta, Guernica, Brevity, the Rumpus, and elsewhere. Krys lives in Philadelphia with his partner and their four young children. Photo credit Mark Likosky.Photo credit Mark Likosky.


"Thank you so much for your class earlier this month. It was really wonderful. I just wanted to send along that I pitched the essay [and it] just published today! This essay wouldn't have been possible without your craft intensive, which really encouraged me to experiment with form and pursue the ‘tasting notes’ aspect of the essay. It's one of the things I'm most proud of writing this year. So just, a huge thank you. Wishing you and your loved ones tons of good things for the new year!"

former student

"I was thrilled to receive this acceptance, and doubly so when I realized you were the editor. The genesis for this piece came from your workshop in the Lit Cleveland Flash Nonfiction Festival, which I thought was by far the most valuable session (though the others were also good!)."

former student

"Belc's illustrated memoir-in-essays delves into what the experience of giving birth taught him about the rigidness of medical and legal systems and the deftness of those determined to exist beyond binaries. It's a powerful, necessary book--one that every single obstetrician should be assigned in medical school."

Evette Dionne Bitch

"Krys Malcolm Belc's singular memoir-in-essays traces how his experiences conceiving, birthing, and breastfeeding a child helped to clarify his gender identity . . . 'motherhood' doesn't describe Belc's own experience of pregnancy and parenting. The Natural Mother of the Child attempts to bridge that gap, offering an alternative interpretation of what it means to grow a family."

Keely Weiss Harper's Bazaar, A Best LGBT Book of the Year