Not only is Leigh a sympathetic reader, an excellent and super fast editor, but she also has great ideas about where your work could find a good home and shine there. She is happy to give you the benefit of her vast contemporary reading and enormous network of fellow writers. I learned more from her in 9 months than from all my previous teachers.
— Julie Hart
Leigh Stein is just such an overwhelmingly generous, thoughtful thinker and writer and teacher!
— Beth Boyle Machlan

2019 writing WORKSHOPS

4-Week Online Nonfiction Seminar: How to Build a Writing Career with Essays (online)

Tuesdays, 8:00-9:30pm EST, Mar. 5—Mar. 26
Co-taught with digital editor and freelance journalist Laura Feinstein

A personal essay can strike a nerve. It can get people talking. It can open doors to agents and book editors. Many of the memoirs and essay collections sitting on bookstore shelves today began as a single essay published in a widely read column like Modern Love, or on a highly trafficked website like Salon or BuzzFeed or Jezebel. If you're a writer working on a book-length project, one of the best things you can do for your career is distill your unique personal story into an essay that will start a conversation and potentially attract a literary agent's attention. This four-week seminar, led by a writer whose viral essay led to a book deal for her memoir, and a digital editor with years of experience publishing fresh voices, will teach you how to craft an amazing essay and pitch it to a venue where it has the potential to change readers' lives—and your own.

6-week advanced memoir workshop (online)

Mondays, 8:00-9:30pm EST, Mar. 25—Apr. 29
Apply here

Mary Karr says you're too young and must wait. Your mom advises, "Make sure it has a point, like Eat, Pray Love." Your best friend from third grade wants to know if he gets any lines. At parties, people laugh at you when you tell them what you're working on.

Congratulations, you’re a memoirist!

This advanced workshop will provide a support group for writers working on book-length projects based on their own personal experiences. We’ll look at different tactics for chronology and structure, how to hone in on a voice that will carry the reader from cover to cover, and what to do about the bigmouth in your head that says you need permission to write it all down. The instructor will also discuss the path to publication, including whether to finish the manuscript or submit on proposal, and will bring in one or two industry professionals to speak to the class.


Saturdays, April 6 and 13

Full details here.

6-week memoir workshop at the 92y (nyc)

Thursdays, 6:30-9:00pm, Apr. 4—May 23
SOLD OUT (waiting list only)

The memoir is a genre driven by obsession: what happened (how could that have happened), what was said, what was lost, what was broken, what was mended.

This class is for writers who are haunted by a true story they feel compelled to tell. In this workshop, we'll learn strategies for telling that story, by playing with chronology and structure, balancing the voice of wisdom and hindsight with the voice of innocence, and writing vivid scenes that capture another time and place. The workshop will include assigned reading, writing exercises and discussion of student work.

Every Sunday, I send out a newsletter with my best advice for writers who are trying to finish their books. Subscribe here:

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