Online | Nonfiction | Workshop

6-Week Nonfiction Workshop: Queer Aesthetics

From Barrie Jean Borich to David Lazar, essayists often declare the genre of essay within creative nonfiction as a queer form. In this course, open to writers of all experience levels, we will delve into the study of queer aesthetics through popular essayists including Melissa Febos, T Clutch Fleischmann, and Carmen Maria Machado. We will determine what makes an essay queer by examining form, content, and style. We will explore why queer aesthetics are crucial to the art of personal writing and how they challenge the preconceived notions of a static universality. While the focus is queer essaying, an emphasis on the study and development of craft remains the foundation.

We will begin with a lecture style talk on queer aesthetics and then move into whole class discussions on the readings. The first three weeks will consist of lecture, discussion, and short writing prompts based on the readings. The last three weeks will be the workshopping of one full essay from each student. Every student will receive intensive instructor and classmate feedback.

Students will leave this class with a deeper understanding of how queer aesthetics inform the genre of creative nonfiction as well as how to utilize these techniques, forms, and styles within their own work. All will leave with one workshopped essay ready for revision and multiple short experiments ready to develop.

*No class on May 30th

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.

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


- A critical understanding of queer aesthetics in essaying and how apply it in both forms and style within your own work.

- Intensive written and oral feedback from the instructor and from classmates with a clear path for revision on a full length essay.

- Shorter writing experiments that can be used to develop into longer complete essays.

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


The first three weeks will have two to three published essays to read along with recommended essays for further readings if they choose, and two short writing assignments(500 words or less). Students will be assigned two other peers to give short and brief written feedback on their short writing experiments. The last three weeks will consist of three student workshops per class.

Each student will submit a full draft of an original essay for workshop—length can vary from 1500 to 4000 words. The students will have to provide a feedback letter for the workshopped essays making a maximum total of 9 letters (depending on enrollment).


Week One: Intro to Queer Aesthetics in CNF, signing up for Workshop order, and discussion of assigned readings. First writing prompt given.

Week Two: Discussion of assigned readings. First short experiment due. Students will give short and brief written thoughts on two of their peers' experiments (small groups will be assigned) Second writing prompt given.

Third Week: Discussion of readings. Students will give short and brief written thoughts on two of their peers' experiments.

Week Four: Group One Workshop

Week Five: Group Two Workshop

Week Six: Group Three Workshop.

Kat Moore

Kat Moore has essays in Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Image, Hotel America, Passages North, Diagram, The Rumpus, Entropy, Hippocampus, Whiskey Island, Salt Hill, and others. Her fiction can be found in Cheap Pop Lit, Hobart, and Craft. An essay of hers appears in the anthology Bodies of Truth: Personal Narratives on Illness, Disability, and Medicine. She was a 2021 Bread Loaf Writer's Conference Scholar in Nonfiction and her work has been supported by the Tin House Winter Workshop 2022 and a 2016 SAFTA Residency. She has taught workshops on the collegiate level at the University of Memphis and University of North Texas.


"'The End of the World' is a powerful, intricate, and compelling memoir essay. While other writers might have sensationalized the lurid aspects of heroin use and addiction, Kat Moore uses intimate detail and a matter-of-fact narrative to show just how quotidian the day-to-day-life of a junkie can be. Superb writing and voice. "

Dinty Moore On Kat Moore's "The End of the World"

"The essay is both staggeringly lovely and sad and so personal."

Former Whiskey Island Editor Amber Taliancich. On "The Wounds" by Kat Moore

"This class offered a challenge but Professor Kat presented the assignments after fully explaining the concepts and walking us through the practices. This was one of the most open helpful communities I have ever had in a creative/workshop classroom."

Former Student

"I loved this class so much and I learned a lot from it! I was a little apprehensive to take a creative nonfiction course due to the fact that I struggle with nonfictional writing, but this class has changed my outlook! It's one of my favorite genres to write in now. I had no idea how diverse nonfictional writing could be and I loved the challenge of writing in the different essay formats we had to emulate!"

Former Student

"The professor really brought this class to life! I loved her enthusiasm and kindness and honesty! She really wanted everyone to succeed and I loved her presence in our discussions. She helped me to really understand the different essays we read and how they could be applied to our own writing. Also, sharing our work within small groups really helped as well."

Former Student