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Personal essays don’t always have to be so personal. By including details like place, culture, social commentary, current or historical events, etc., an essay becomes much more memorable and engaging to your reader. We’ll look at work by James Baldwin, Joan Didion, and Tressie McMillan Cottom, and we’ll also have an opportunity to share and discuss our works-in-progress. Together, we’ll figure out how to make your personal essay more outward-looking, more inclusive, and less personal.
Santi Elijah Holley has contributed to The Atlantic, Tin House, VICE, Atlas Obscura, Pacifica Literary Review, Longreads, and elsewhere. He is a recipient of the 2017 Oregon Literary Fellowship for nonfiction, and his work has been cited by the 2018 Best American Essays anthology. Holley lives in Portland, Oregon.