Nonfiction | Workshop

8-Week Nonfiction Workshop: Interrogating the Self

Often times, the worst part of the writing process is beginning. Which story should one document? How should one recount what happened? Will anyone care? All of these are important questions that are not as arduous to answer as you may think.

In this course, you will be encouraged to think about the most visceral memories that have remained embedded in your mind for years. No matter how random or irrelevant they may seem, through holistic exercises (How do you physically feel as you document this? How might you be able to navigate psychological barriers when writing about trauma?) and reading practices you will discover that everything has a link to your identity and how you navigate the world.

You will gain confidence as you learn to identify the power in your own voice, create the textual links between the experience itself and the emotional processing of said experience, and learn how to play with narrative styles while crafting a tale that will allow your readers to trust you as their guide.

No matter if your goal is to write for yourself or to publish, this class will provide you with the necessary tools to suture your most profound and messiest moments and reconfigure them into cohesive narratives that'll prepare or strengthen you in this life of arts and letters.

The class is suited for students at any stage of the writing process.

COURSE TAKEAWAYS:

- Each student will be workshopped at least twice during our session

- Reconcile the distance between memory and understanding in order to create a cohesive narrative

- Read, analyze, grow from great writers including but not limited to Vivian Gornick, Joan Didion, Hilton Als, Haruki Murakami, Gabrielle Bellot, Jenny Zhang, and more!

- 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:

- Submit up to 25 double-spaced pages for workshop (Minimum: 10 double-spaced pages)

- Critique letters must be at least a page long, single-spaced

- Readings will only require 1 hr at most a week

Morgan Jerkins

Morgan Jerkins is the author of the New York Times bestseller, This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America. Her other work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and The Atlantic, among many others. She teaches nonfiction at Columbia University's MFA program.

Testimonials

"But Jerkins is everything a young essayist should be: willing to float a bold thesis and interested enough in a larger truth to complicate or even undo it."

Melissa Febos NEW YORK TIMES Book Review

"From one essay to the next, Jerkins weaves the personal with the public and political in compelling, challenging ways."

Roxane Gay

"If being called a Voice of the Generation is a curse, it is a curse that Jerkins is well-positioned to conquer by doing the work of constantly pushing herself to top her last effort, not through sheer luck of the zeitgeist."

Erin Keane for SALON

"I would highly recommend it for anyone, regardless of level or experience as a writer, to take her class."

former student

"Both the group conversations and one-one-one feedback were helpful and gave me more confidence to...succeed as a freelancer."

former student

"She broke the whole process down into manageable pieces and went further in depth each week. The whole experience--including peer interaction adeptly led by Morgan—left me more than prepared to start tackling freelance projects with confidence."

former student