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Read Essays Like a Writer

February 25 @ 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm

$45 – $70

INSTRUCTOR: Mark Dostert
TIME: Sunday, February 25, 3:00–6:00 p.m. CST
PRICE: Early bird price: $45 for members, $60 for nonmembers. The deadline for early bird pricing is Monday, February 19. After Monday, February 19: $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? Both the concrete and the abstract? What “raw materials” has the author used to construct this text? What authorial choices allow us to “see” and “feel” the architecture of a successful essay? How can we then emulate it in our own work? How can we use these essays to evaluate our own aspiring essays?

In this three-hour class, Mark Dostert will facilitate a focused close reading examination and annotation of “The Displaced” by Viet Thanh Nguyen and “The Thrill of the Hunt” by Rick Bragg.

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

Students will receive a PDF copy of both essays upon registration and are urged to read both closely before class meets so that we can dive right into our analysis and make the most 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.


February 25
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
$45 – $70
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(713) 487-5603
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City of Houston District
Houston Cultural District
Arts District Houston


1907 Sabine Street Ste 125
Houston, TX 77007
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