Nonfiction | Workshop

The 6-Week Essay Machine

"It's a very subtle magic Ryan has, but ultimately he allows you to receive all his wisdom and become a better writer. He's the best." - former student

In this class, writers will come in with nothing, and leave with five short essays ready to show the world. By focusing on topic selection, time-saving editing techniques, and clear parameters for your essay, you can and will write better, sharper essays than you did before.

Unlike a workshop class, we will generate each of these essays within the course of our six weeks together. Because of the built-in time constraint, these pieces will be short and easily-digestible, targeted toward readers of literary magazines and high-profile digital publications. You don’t want to waste your reader’s time, and this class won’t waste yours. The first week will quickly focus on strategies and principles, with the next five weeks building upon those lessons to rapidly create exciting non-fiction pieces.

All students will give each other feedback and will get detailed feedback from me every week. Each essay will be better than the next, and you’ll leave the course with confidence, clarity, and some great writing. Best of all, the essays will probably surprise you, because you didn’t even know you were going to write them!


- thoughtful, intensive peer and instructor feedback on prompt submissions

- a one-on-one conference with the instructor to discuss your writing style, goals, and areas for improvement

- access to a nurturing community of writers and readers

- detailed information about the path to publication, from preparing a personal essay for submission to pitching editors to figuring out what venues are right for your work

- introductions to new forms of criticism and creative nonfiction, and practical tools for using those forms to tell your stories

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

Ryan Britt

Ryan Britt is a critic and essayist living in New York City. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Vice, The Awl, The Morning News,, and elsewhere. He is the author of the essay collection Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths.


"Ryan Britt’s debut collection is a wisecracking, intimate and intelligent voyage through universes both real and imagined. But to a certain kind of reader –- the kind whose teenage weekends were spent at sci-fi conventions and comic book stores—it is also something much more. LUKE SKYWALKER CAN'T READ is a glorious geek manifesto, illuminating the essential and often misunderstood essence of geekdom: not the pursuit of esoterica-obsessed loners but a vital and complex community, a far-away galaxy where fellow misfits meet to swap the ray guns, talismanic rings, and radioactive potions for their daily battles back on Planet Earth."

Stefan Merrill Block author of THE STORY OF FORGETTING and A STORM AT THE DOOR

"Ryan Britt is one of nerd culture’s most brilliant and most essential commentators: frank, funny, deeply knowledgeable and always opinionated. He’s the Virgil you want to guide you through the inferno of geekery."

Lev Grossman #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of THE MAGICIANS trilogy

"Ryan Britt is an uncontrolled experiment—a genre omnivore who has spent his time on this earth flying to other galaxies. His essays are reliably smart, surprising, provocative, and funny."

Karen Russell Pulitzer Prize finalist for SWAMPLANDIA!

"Witty, fun and warm. If Luke Skywalker had a favorite book, it would be this one."

Ophira Eisenberg host of NPR's Ask Me Another and author of SCREW EVERYONE

"LUKE SKYWALKER CAN'T READ is personally revealing, effortlessly funny, carefully researched, and optimistic about the place of sci-fi/fantasy in the greater world of popular entertainment."

Cecil Baldwin narrator of WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE

"Whether he’s exploring paradoxes in BACK TO THE FUTURE, the fundamental illiteracy of the average Stormtrooper, or being tied up and held over a rooftop by a couple of dominatrices, Ryan Britt is an amiable, perceptive, and highly entertaining observer of the sci-fi scene. I gulped down these essays like Dracula downing a pint of blood."

Teddy Wayne author of LONER

"Ryan Britt is an inspiring writing teacher. I first met him when I enrolled in his memoir class in 2011, during a time when I was teaching at one of the worst public middle school in Brooklyn. My life was hell, and I couldn't write. Honestly, Ryan's class teased the words out of me. Ryan creates a climate of humor and support, but he is also real; he doesn't blow rainbows when the work is seriously flawed. He actually maintains the right balance of rainbows and real, so when I realized Ryan believed in me, I started to believe in me."

former student

"Ryan is smart, funny, and understands what makes a good story. His teaching style is clear, giving specific examples of structure or form, and versatile, supporting students with interests as diverse as health system reform or satire of spinning classes. Ryan helped me to strengthen an editorial on opioid addiction and incarceration, which was picked up by the HUFFINGTON POST, and complete several personal essays that I am compiling for a book. Participating in Ryan’s workshops has benefited me professionally. I publish 5-10 journal articles annually and am expected to give feedback to colleagues and mentees on their writing. My writing is clearer and the persuasiveness of my discussion sections have improved. I am better able to articulate constructive critiques. Accordingly, I recruited Ryan to teach medical students about persuasive writing for a health advocacy elective, and I have referred friends who are interested in writing to Ryan’s workshops."

former student

"Ryan's classes were my favorite place to fail; where I was never afraid to go out on a limb and really try something new. And I think that's because he creates such a great community amongst his students. We were inspired to be open and thoughtful with our critiques without any anxiety or judgement. And with this kind of curated support, you tend to work harder, write strategically and ultimately gain a bit more confidence. It's a very subtle magic Ryan has, but ultimately he allows you to receive all his wisdom and become a better writer. He's the best."

former student