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Popularized by such luminaries as Montaigne and William Hazlitt and James Baldwin, and given contemporary shape by writers such as Annie Dillard and Barry Lopez, the personal essay is an eclectic literary form that can include elements of memoir, philosophical contemplation, and psychological rumination. It is, above all, a meditative narrative of your personal involvements, of your engagement with your surroundings, of what matters most to you in the world: those objects, events, hobbies, and persons who define you or give your life its shape and meaning. During this discussion-based and generative workshop we will aim to compose a 12-20 page personal essay while studying examples of important essays by masters of the form.

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Instructor: William Giraldi

William Giraldi is author of the novels Busy Monsters and Hold the Dark (now a Netflix film), the memoir The Hero's Body, and a collection of criticism, American Audacity. He is Master Lecturer in the Writing Program at Boston University.