Helping Writers to Rise and Thrive

In the Garden of Memory: Art of the Essay

Wednesdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m., Beginning Sept. 14
Sophfronia Scott
Seven weeks, $295

You’ve managed to write a stack of pages about an event or interesting experience from your life. What do you do now to refine it into a viable essay? And what will make people want to read it? Successful nonfiction writers are able to draw in an audience by making certain connections in their narratives to create a kind of shared experience or universal appeal. Noted journalist and essayist Sophfronia Scott will take students on an exploration of the techniques these writers use such as narrative tension, voice, timing, character development and lyricism to help communicate very personal experiences to the broadest possible audience.

This seven-week course is for writers who have done some work with essays or memoir and are interested in developing pieces into publishable essay form. We’ll look at the work of nonfiction writers including Brian Doyle, David Lazar, Joan Didion, Eula Biss, Tracy K. Smith, and Charles Baxter among others. Students will bring in 5-7 pages from their essays to workshop in class. We’ll also look at where students can find suitable publications online and in print to send their completed work.

Sophfronia Scott has more than 20 years of experience as a professional writer. She honed her craft working with some of the toughest editors in the world during her career at Time and People magazines. There she developed the uncanny ability to whittle massive amounts of facts and ideas into a single cohesive, compelling form. When she published her first novel, “All I Need to Get By,” with St. Martin’s Press, one prominent reviewer referred to Sophfronia as potentially “one of the best writers of her generation.”

She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard and an MFA in writing (fiction, and creative nonfiction) from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sophfronia now focuses on writing novels, short stories, and essays and her work has appeared in journals such as Killens Review of Arts & Letters, Saranac Review, Ruminate, Numéro Cinq, Mid-American Review, Barnstorm Literary Journal and Sleet Magazine in addition to More,, and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Sophfronia teaches Revise and Edit Your Work: From Punctuation to Publication and In the Garden of Memory: Art of the Essay.

Her latest novel, The Light Lives Here, a re-imagining of Dangerous Liasons set in 1930s and 1940s Harlem, explores themes of love, faith and lost innocence. It will be published by William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins.

Find out more about Sophfronia on her website,

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