Food helps us connect to our senses, on and off the page. Everyone eats, but food is so much more than fuel. Food is part of our lives, our culture, our struggles, and our dreams.
In this six-week advanced workshop, we’ll explore how we can use food as a lens to tell our stories. We’ll start with the tangible: the spray of an orange as it’s peeled, the glug of wine being poured, the ooze of cheese from its rind. Then we’ll delve into all the places those moments can take us, from memories and fantasies to love and loss. We’ll use food as a tool to help us better understand our characters, their world, and ourselves.
We’ll start each class with a prompt, and we’ll discuss food writing—and writing that goes beyond what we think of food writing—from a short story about a dinner party by Roald Dahl to an essay by Kiese Laymon about grocery shopping as a young Black boy with his mom. We’ll each work in-depth on one story, which we will workshop and revise.
Students can expect assigned readings from important food writers, weekly workshops, an in-class critique of one writing submission, discussions about the path to publication, and a one-on-one meeting with the instructor to discuss works-in-progress and future writing goals. This class is advanced: perfect for those who have taken Hannah’s Introduction to Food Writing and are excited to keep reading and writing; or for those who are already working on pieces that involve food, whether short stories, novels, personal essays, or memoir, and are looking to take their work to the next level.
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 Zoom desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Generate new writing that uses food in a fresh, substantive way
- A deeper understanding of the landscape and possibilities of food writing, and an exploration of food’s place in multiple genres
- Thoughtful, intensive peer and instructor feedback on one food-related essay submission
- One productive, personal conference with the instructor to discuss your writing goals and areas for improvement
- Access to a nurturing community of writers and readers
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Students will be responsible for reading and discussing weekly readings (up to 40 pages each week), as well working on one longer piece of any genre (or multiple shorter pieces), up to 20 double-spaced pages. We will read and give feedback on each other's work as well.
Week 1: Starting with the five senses - food can bring us into the physicality of moments - then going beyond to wherever our stories take us
Week 2: Our lives through food - how food can develop and inform character in memoir and fiction
Week 3: Making meaning - food as a way to write about morality, values, and culture
Week 4: Food problems and solutions - from #metoo to cultural appropriation - how can we imagine a better world through food?
Week 5: Reporting, journalism and ethnography: dispatches from food worlds
Week 6: Pitching & food writing business - practical tips to help you publish and succeed
Hannah Howard is the author of the memoir Feast: True Love in and Out of the Kitchen and the forthcoming book Plenty: A Memoir of Food and Family. She is a graduate of Columbia University and the Bennington Writing Seminars. Hannah writes for SELF, New York Magazine, and Salon.com, and lives in New York City.
"Hannah is both a brilliant writer and a brilliant editor. Her own prose is stunningly beautiful, and she's also able to give perceptive feedback on others' work. She hones in on issues big and small and comes up with creative solutions help guide a writer's progress. Anyone would be lucky to have Hannah as a reader and editor!"
"First off, Hannah is a lovely writer, winning, warm, honest—youthful, too, full of energy and passion, which, given her versatility and prowess (along with her urban education), makes her all the more suitable a candidate to instruct and inspire writers with a range of skills, from a range of backgrounds. Hannah has proved herself to be an insightful and generous reader, quick to put her finger on what is and isn’t working and how to fulfill the promise of a piece of writing with the writer’s original intentions always in mind."
“Hannah Howard tells her story with honesty, insight, humor and deliciously descriptive prose. Feast is a gripping, moving memoir, a book that lives up its name.”
“Feast is a beautifully rendered account not only of coming of age as a woman in the fraught, fascinating world of food, but of coming of age as a woman in her own skin, and body, and mind. Hannah Howard writes with exceptional candor, insight, and intelligence.”
"Feast is a beautiful, heartbreaking, and life-affirming story that anyone who has ever struggled to define a healthy relationship with food will be able to relate to. I couldn’t put it down.”
“Heartfelt, heartbreaking, and courageously generous, FEAST is one of the most memorable and important debuts I’ve ever read. With beautiful lyricism and unflinching storytelling, Hannah Howard weaves together addiction, love, fear, sexism, insecurity, ambition, and trauma in a way I’ve never seen done before. As with everything, with every life, Feast isn’t a story about one thing, but rather how intersecting, manifold, and even contradictory things make up a life. It’s a story about the miraculousness of becoming yourself. A must-read for anyone who’s ever wanted to escape their body, for anyone who has loved deeply and wrongly, for anyone who has dared to forgive themselves.”