Nonfiction | Master Class

Pitching & Publishing Personal Essays

Writing personally can be difficult and questions like these often come up:

- What will my family and friends think?

- Why would anyone care what I have to say?

- Where will I publish something so personal?

In Pitching & Publishing Personal Essays you'll get the inside scoop on how to make your pitches stand out from the crowd, finding (and keeping) your audience, and which outlets are suited for your work. Students will be given in-class prompts related to contemporary lit magazines and encouraged to expand and submit their work by a self-imposed deadline.

There will be an Q&A/conversation regarding the emotions that are often triggered when writing hyper-­personally. Chloe and Ashley will be answering your questions in a collaborative, judgment-free environment. All skill levels welcome - this class is perfect for anyone seeking structure and motivation.

*From 1-4pm, writers will be split into two groups. Each group will work with one instructor for eighty minutes; after a short break, they'll switch to the other instructor for the remaining eighty minutes. From 4-5pm, Ashley and Chloe will lead the Q&A and discuss venues for personal writing. 


-the support of a nurturing community of writers and readers and access to engaged mentors

-greater familiarity with publications looking for personal writing, and information about how to pitch and submit your work 

-strategies for dealing with invasive question about personal writing (and the comments!) as well as how to navigate the difficult terrain of writing about loved ones

-helpful advice about creating structure and developing self-imposed deadlines so that you meet your writing goals 

-more confidence as a writer, on and off the page 

-exclusive access to our alumni newsletter, a monthly roundup of submission opportunities (prizes, residencies, lit mags, grants, and more), plus a 10% discount on all future classes

Ashley Ford

Ashley C. Ford lives in Brooklyn by way of Indianapolis, IN. She is currently co-editing the anthology Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture with Roxane Gay and writing a memoir. Ford is a weekly contributing writer to Elle.Com with work appearing in The Guardian, BuzzFeed, Fusion, The Butter, and other publications. She's spoken at SXSW for Real Simple Magazine, gave the Keynote at Earlham College, emceed events for Girls Write Now, and was a featured writer on Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl book tour.

Chloe Caldwell

CHLOE CALDWELL is the author of the essay collection I’ll Tell You in Person (Coffee House/Emily Books, 2016), the critically acclaimed novella, WOMEN (SF/LD, 2014), and the essay collection Legs Get Led Astray (SF/LD).  Chloe’s nonfiction and essays  have appeared in The New York Times, Buzzfeed, New York Magazine, Longreads, Vice,, The Rumpus, and many anthologies including "Goodbye To All That: Writers On Loving and Leaving NYC" and her essay "Hungry Ghost" was listed as Notable in the 2016 Best American Nonrequired Reading. She lives in Hudson, New York with her family. 


“Chloe Caldwell tells you all her secrets in a controlled mania so that we can devour them in a more compulsive fashion. I couldn’t stop reading this book, and when I was finished I kept looking around to see where my awesome new friend went. She’s right in here, brimming with most excellent girl-dom, a commitment to experience that feels religious. I love this person’s life and I love the way she writes about it – funny and blunt and chatty and truthful.”

Michelle Tea author of BLACK WAVE, VALENCIA, and HOW TO GROW UP

“Chloe Caldwell is one of our great stylists, one of our most candid and electric voices. Caldwell has the rarest gift: Her writing has charisma. I would follow it anywhere.”

Diana Spechler author of WHO BY FIRE, SKINNY, and the NEW YORK TIMES column "Going Off"

“WOMEN by Chloe Caldwell is a beautiful read/a perfect primer for an explosive lesbian affair/an essential truth.”

Lena Dunham author of NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL

"Where would we be without Ashley Ford’s essays?"

Saeed Jones author of PRELUDE TO BRUISE

"I love her rawness and her honesty and the way she’s willing to write about herself."

Roxane Gay author of BAD FEMINIST and AN UNTAMED STATE

"Ashley Cassandra Ford helps me not lose hope."