WHAT: The Personal Essay - A Workshop with Alison DeLory
WHEN: Wednesdays, October 12 - Nov 2. 7:00-9:00 PM
WHERE: WFNS Office, 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax
COST: $120/Members, $180/Non-Members.
Personal essays yield many nuggets of wisdom that inform everyday life. In the book Good Prose, Richard Todd calls personal essays, “The natural medium of ideas.” In this four-part workshop you will be coached to write a personal essay (think Globe and Mail “Facts and Arguments” column) in the creative nonfiction style of writing, translating one of your experiences to a larger theme. You’ll experiment with creating a braided essay in which you put yourself, your story, into a contextual experience. You’ll write in first person as the authenticator of that experience.
You’ll explore an original or unexpected idea, or take a fresh apprehension of a generalized wisdom. You’ll learn to write with nerve + confidence + humility. Your essay should be bold but not boastful. This is similar to memoir writing but also different in that you will write first about your ideas and second about your memories as they support and inform your ideas. The goal is not to struggle to remember things exactly as they happened, but to reflect on them so you better understand them. Your readers don't necessarily have to agree with you. The ultimate goal is to use your personal voice to connect with the reader. Essays can examine the contradictions in your own thinking, and in your own life. They may help you (and by extension, your reader) work something out. You may not be an authority on the topic at the outset but you will be closer at the end.
Come to the workshop with a topic in mind or not, and spend the first two weeks learning creative nonfiction writing techniques and being inspired by the masters. You’ll begin to draft your own essay in week three and with feedback from your peers and instructor, will have a more polished piece completed at the end of the workshop that you may wish to submit for publication.
ABOUT THE PRESENTER: Alison DeLory is a writer, editor, publisher, teacher, and consultant in Halifax. She is the author of two children’s chapter books, Lunar Lifter (2012) and Scotia Sinker (2015), and a story in the young adult creative non-fiction anthology Becoming Fierce: Teen Stories IRL (2014). She has written news, feature stories and essays for publications including The Globe and Mail, The Chicago Tribune, Chatelaine, Today’s Parent, Ryerson Magazine, Dalhousie Magazine, The Medical Post, Halifax Magazine, and Canadian Traveler. She was a finalist twice in the Atlantic Writing Competition and received the 2014 Progress Women of Excellence Award in the Communications and Public Affairs category. Alison teaches part-time at Mount Saint Vincent University in communication studies. For more see: www.alisondelory.com.