FREE Telling Your Story: A Personal Essay Workshop
Our life stories are a means for connection—a tender offering in a troubled era. Part reportage and part reflection, personal essays can reveal hidden truths about ourselves, our families, and our societies. This interactive and generative writing workshop will begin with a one-page reading to inspire group discussion, followed by timed prompts that guide individual writing sessions. By weaving together community narratives, we can craft a vision for our future that includes hope and the capacity for unexpected change. This class is being held in partnership with Humanities Washington.
Kristen Millares Young
Kristen Millares Young is the author of Subduction, a novel forthcoming from Red Hen Press on April 14, 2020. A prize-winning investigative journalist, book critic and essayist, Kristen serves as the 2018-2020 Prose Writer-in-Residence at Hugo House. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Guardian, the New York Times, Poetry Northwest, Crosscut, Hobart, Moss, Proximity, Seattle’s Child, Pacifica Literary Review, KUOW 94.9-FM, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Miami Herald, the Buenos Aires Herald and TIME Magazine. Her personal essays are anthologized in Pie & Whiskey, a 2017 New York Times New & Notable Book, Latina Outsiders: Remaking Latina Identity and Advanced Creative Nonfiction: A Writer's Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury of New York and London, 2021).
Kristen was the researcher for the New York Times team that produced “Snow Fall,” which won a Pulitzer and a Peabody in 2013. Her stories have been recognized by the Society for Features Journalism, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Kristen has been a fellow at UC Berkeley’s Knight Digital Media Center, the Jack Straw Writing Program, and the University of Washington Graduate School, where she was a Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Scholar.
Kristen graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a 2003 degree in History and Literature, earning her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington in 2012. She teaches creative writing in English and Spanish at Hugo House, the University of Washington Continuum College, the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference and the Seattle Public Library. Kristen serves as board chair of InvestigateWest, a nonprofit news studio she co-founded in 2009. InvestigateWest’s reporting has led to the passage of fifteen new laws to improve the environment and the lives of foster families, people of color caught in the criminal justice system, health care workers, and advocates for government transparency.
Teaching philosophy: What do powerful writers know? They know that personal experience – each human being’s subjective perception of the world – is the single largest factor for determining how that person views the world. What do powerful writers do? They take their lived experience and, using both recollection and imagination, transform it into words that compel others to feel what the author has found and portrayed. What do powerful writers discover through careful examination of their work? They learn that their characters and plots often reach for epiphanies unfounded by the scenes provided in their narratives. That recognition compels writers to seek revelations from other sources, whether readings or workshop commentary, and to revise their work, again and again. In revision awaits transformation. Why does writing matter? Writing teaches us to understand the world around us. In turn, it helps us to be understood by others. There can be no greater hope.
Writers I return to: Come to my class. We’ll get into all of that and more. Or you can take the easy way out and check out my instagram @kristenmillares, where I post the covers of favored books.
Favorite writing advice: Ass in chair.