Nonfiction | Workshop

The 6-Week Essay Machine

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!

*no class September 30 or October 14


- 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!

Brian Gresko

Brian Gresko is the editor of the anthology When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transformative Experience of Fatherhood. His writing has appeared in Salon, The Atlantic, The Rumpus, the L.A. Review of Books, and Poets & Writers Magazine, among others. He co-runs the  reading series at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn, and teaches for Sackett Street Writing Workshop and Catapult. Brian conducts the Authors in Conversation series for Slice Literary Magazine. Brian received his MFA in Creative Writing from The New School.


"Brian's supportive listening and willingness to see the potential value of his student's ideas created the perfect atmosphere, encouraging our creativity and imagination. His class was well organized, extremely well-informed and offered plenty of practical details and advice about publishing."

former student

"I took Brian's workshop in non-fiction and worked on two pieces with the class, while also reading and giving feedback on students' work. That experience reignited my writing process in a serious way. I continued to work on the second piece from the class with Brian one-on-one, and he encouraged me to submit it for publication. He helped me understand the submission process, and tracked down contacts at the publications on my short list. That piece kinda blew up on the Internet and the next thing I know I have a literary agent and am working on a full-length book project. Will you get an agent by taking Brian's class? Unclear. But you will gain an honest understanding of both your strengths and tics as a writer, and hopefully a kick in the motivation pants while you're at it."

former student

"In Brian's class, I felt like I “leveled up,” learning creative strategies to organize and make my work more readable and interesting. I gained an excitement and enthusiasm for writing that I didn't have before - an energy that I plan to keep flowing now that the class is done!"

Kristen Lem author of HAIKU TO FALL IN LOVE TO