On May 6, 2017, CNFC founding member Andreas Schroeder gave a much-anticipated workshop about the personal essay as part of the organization’s annual conference. An audio recording of this workshop is now available for all CNFC members.
The personal essay is one of the most flexible forms in creative nonfiction. It can include elements of every other genre there is. It can be lyrical, rhetorical, formal, or informal. Its apparent looseness (“a sally through a mazy mind,” as Cynthia Ozick describes it), can make it seem that anything goes. But in fact, because there are no apparent rules and each essay is a world unto itself, it’s one of the most difficult forms to write. This workshop explored this exciting form and demystified some of its more challenging aspects.