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Voice in Creative Nonfiction Writing (in-person class)

September 26 @ 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT

Brendan Wolfe

Instructor: Brendan Wolfe
$189 Members | $210 Nonmembers
Tuesdays, 9/19/23 – 11/7/23 | 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET

Before signing up for this in-person class, please read the following statement about requirements to enroll:

By registering for an in-person offering, you attest that you have been vaccinated for Covid-19. WriterHouse strongly recommends any student at greater risk for contracting Covid-19 wear a mask. In the event of significant Covid-19 upticks, students must be prepared for the mask policy to change and to transition to a virtual platform if necessary. No refunds will be issued if in-person classes/seminars need to transition online.

Voice is the character you create out of your nonfiction narrator. It comes not from what the narrator does or thinks but from how he or she expresses those things. A narrator might be confident or insecure, funny or serious, ironic or sincere, lyrical or prosaic.

But however we describe that voice, remember that we’re not talking about you the author. We’re talking about the you you create on the page. The character. It’s neither a complete picture of you nor a dishonest one. It’s just one possible you.

And that voice is the key to capturing your readers’ attention and their sympathy.

In this class we’ll:

  • Identify different narrative voices
  • Discuss what makes a voice work or not work in an essay;
  • Learn techniques for creating narrative voice;
  • Try out different voices through writing exercises;
  • Workshop short essays with an eye toward how voice serves the author’s goals.

On the first day, bring a half- to one-page example of a fiction or nonfiction narrative voice that you love. It should be from a published work other than your own.

Brendan Wolfe is a professional genealogist and the author of three books, including Finding Bix: The Life and Afterlife of a Jazz Legend, about a journey the New York Times kindly noted was “well worth reading about.” His personal essays and reviews have been published in Colorado Review, The Morning News, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Mud Season Review, among others. For twelve years Wolfe edited Encyclopedia Virginia, and has written numerous historical essays, including “History Writ Aright” and “The Train at Wood’s Crossing,” the latter of which was honored by Bunk magazine as the best historical narrative of 2019. It will be included in an anthology of essays about lynching forthcoming from the University of Virginia Press. Wolfe lives in Charlottesville with his daughter, Beatrix.

Register By Mail: Print the Fall 2023 Registration Form and mail it with your payment to the address on the form.

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September 26
1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
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Brendan Wolfe


508 Dale Avenue
Charlottesville, 22902 United States
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