Successful essays capture the reader from the opening paragraph, carrying them along with vivid scenes, fresh ideas and engaging writing. Whether you wish to pursue a personal curiosity, or to contribute to public discussion and debate, the essay is an important forum for communicating with the world at large. An essay is a dialogue, and knowing how to start that conversation is a must.
In this 5-week course, you will look at different topics and types of essay writing, introducing subgenres including personal memoir, reportage, criticism and biography. Successful essays often cross boundaries, both literally and metaphorically, and it’s important to understand the rules before you can challenge them. Working with award-winning essayist Rebecca Harkins-Cross, we will explore how the essay can absorb readers and what makes an essay captivating, supported by generative writing exercises to refine your technique and spark original essay ideas to follow through on.
We will conclude the course with the practicalities of pitching an essay. You will gain insight into what publications are out there, and meet an editor who regularly receives pitches from emerging and established essayists. Students should walk away from the course with a finished essay draft, ready to polish and submit to a literary magazine or competition. This course is open to writers of all levels and experiences.
This program will also include the rare opportunity to have your essay copy-edited by our Editor-in-Residence at Allen & Unwin. You will work towards providing a 2000–3000 word piece, which will receive two rounds of revisions returned to you following the conclusion of the course.