Personal Essays: A 7-Week Workshop *FULL*

Course tutor: Sanders Isaac Bernstein
When: Wednesday evenings, 19:00-21:00 (no class October 11)
Date: September 13, 2023
Where: Another Country Bookstore
Number of sessions: 7
Maximum participants: 12
Cost: 200 euros

*This class is now full!*

If you would like to be put on a waiting list for a forthcoming class with Sanders in Winter 2024, drop us a line at

Personal essays can be as unique and heterogenous as each of us. Though sometimes maligned, the personal essay is a vital and vibrant contemporary genre. Able to draw on the techniques of fiction, the forms of poetry, and the conceptual argumentation of an analytic essay, these essays can take whatever shape you wish to give them—whatever you can imagine.

Do you seek to crystallize the impersonal significance of your personal experience? Are you looking to develop a conceptual argument through lived experience? Or, do you simply want to experiment with new forms?

Over the seven weeks of this workshop, you’ll have the chance to deepen your own writing practice by learning from the writing of each member of the course as well as the essayists who have come before us. Along with reading each other’s work, we’ll also read and discuss writers like Maggie Nelson, James Baldwin, Leslie Jamison, and Zadie Smith.

The course will be built around 35 minutes of exercises and 3 25-minute workshops every week. We’ll begin each session by exploring a mode of composing the personal essay—from the poetic composition of the lyrical through the conceptual development of the critical-creative, as an advertisement or as a letter, incorporating images or responding to the thought of other writers—to help us reflect on our own writing and those of other members of the workshop. There’ll be reading, exercises, time for workshop, and you’ll receive workshop letters to return to—meaning that you’ll come out of this not only with vital feedback for future revisions, but also greater resources for future writing.

This workshop is open to writers of all genres and all experiences. Please come to the course ready to workshop at least one piece.  An evening of readings is planned for mid-November!

(This workshop will consist of 4 weeks, a week-long break, and then a final 3 weeks.)

Email us at to sign up!

Sanders Isaac Bernstein is a writer living in Berlin. His work has appeared in, Los Angeles Review of Books, Hypocrite Reader, Ploughshares, Slow Travel Berlin, London Magazine, Majuscule, and The Bad Version, a literary magazine he founded and edited from 2011-2014. He holds degrees from Harvard College, the University of Oxford, and the University of Southern California, where he recently completed his doctorate in literature. If you’re looking for him in Berlin, chances are you can find him at the Berlinische Galerie. He likes the dimensions of the upstairs gallery very much—and can hardly tear himself away from that Fred Thieler.

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