Nonfiction | Workshop

Obsession as Engine

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"When young writers ask me what they should be writing about, I always say the same thing: write about what you can’t get rid of by other means." - Steve Almond

Dear writers, what's haunting you? Maybe it's a strange story from your family history you're not sure you should tell, a past relationship that left you wounded, or a landscape you keep revisiting in memory. Maybe you tried writing fiction about your fixation but the true story still keeps you up at night. In this workshop, we'll examine literary nonfiction and hybrid work driven by authorial obsession, and learn techniques to transform the raw material of our personal experiences into compelling text that resonates with readers. Submission and publication strategies will also be discussed. Essayists, memoirists of all ages, and writers of genre-bending or hybrid work are encouraged to apply!

During this six-week intensive workshop, each student will workshop twice. Students will also meet with the instructor for an individual conference.

Leigh Stein

Leigh Stein is the author of four books, including the satirical novel Self Care, forthcoming from Penguin in 2020, and the memoir Land of Enchantment. She has also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, ELLE, Allure, BuzzFeed, Slate, and Poets & Writers


”Her enchantingly funny and insightful debut novel THE FALLBACK PLAN … has a universal quality, capturing a generation’s angst quite like FRANNY AND ZOOEY did when it was published in 1961.”


"Stein seems poised to become the Lena Dunham of contemporary fiction."


“THE FALLBACK PLAN is to this generation what Rick Moody’s THE ICE STORM was to the previous generation, and THE CATCHER IN THE RYE before that.”


"Not only is Leigh a sympathetic reader, an excellent and super fast editor, but she also has great ideas about where your work could find a good home and shine there. She is happy to give you the benefit of her vast contemporary reading and enormous network of fellow writers. I learned more from her in 9 months than from all my previous teachers. I only wish I could take more classes from her. See you in class?"

former student

"Leigh is such a wonderful teacher. She considered the work of each student so carefully and drew on her incredible editing skills as well as her vast knowledge of multiple writing fields and styles to provide perceptive, detailed feedback and advice specific to each of us. In the energizing environment of her class, we were encouraged to learn from each other, to think of our work in the context of the larger literary community, to aim high and to get there. Leigh's remarkable accomplishments are matched only by her generosity. I feel very lucky to have taken a class from her."

former student

"Leigh Stein is proof that we write because we must. And when you answer that call, Leigh helps the words arrive and find the best place on the page. You learn to challenge yourself, through image, metaphor, and all the tools in Leigh's bag until the work is done."

former student