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Read Essays Like a Writer

August 31 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

$45 – $70

INSTRUCTOR: Mark Dostert

TIME: Saturday, August 31, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. CDT

PRICE: Early bird price: $45 for members, $60 for nonmembers. The deadline for early bird pricing is Sunday, August 25. After Sunday, August 25: $55 for members, $70 for nonmembers. Become a member here. Apply for a scholarship here.

LOCATION: Writespace, 1907 Sabine Street, #125, Houston, TX 77007 (map)

LEVEL: All levels

CAP: 15

In order to write publishable essays (that is, essays that appeal to and connect with strangers), it is important to understand why exemplars of the form are so successful and effective. What is it that keeps readers connected to the narrator and the issues an essay raises, both individual and collective, concrete and abstract? What “raw materials” has the author used to construct this text? Which authorial choices allow us to “see” and “feel” the architecture of a successful essay? How can we then emulate these techniques in our own work?

In this three-hour class, Mark Dostert will facilitate a focused examination and annotation of two flash essays by Rick Bragg and “Lessons from Mary” by Andre Dubus III.

As our initial point of discussion, we will examine how each author uses the “Big Five” literary elements, focusing on what the author is doing and why the author is writing what they are writing. We will also explore why it is necessary to write vertically as well as horizontally.

Students will receive a PDF copy of both essays and are urged to read the selection closely before class meets so that we can dive right into our analysis and make valuable use of our time together.

This event is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. This project is generously funded by the Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, and Mid-America Arts Alliance.

​This project is generously funded by Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.


August 31
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
$45 – $70
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1907 Sabine Street Ste 125
Houston, TX 77007
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City of Houston District
Houston Cultural District
Arts District Houston