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Online Nonfiction Writing Workshop with Kerri ní Dochartaigh

October 23, 2023 - November 27, 2023


The Course

Writing Through Emergency

How do we write of this earth? How do we write of this earth in these times? In this writing course you will seek to find ways to write of the natural world— our kith and our ki and our kin alike— in light of the various crises of our age. We will consider what it means to be a human animal living alongside other humans as well as other-than-humans; and how we might give voice to the in-between-ness of our relationships, one with the other.

Together we will explore texts that unravel and challenge our views on how we might write the world around us— of which we are but one part. We will look at technique; examine old and new writings of the natural world; consider authorial voice and discuss themes of responsibility, diversity, and the importance of form when it comes to writing through emergency. We will consider the barriers faced by many in trying to share their essential stories. We will spend time with words crafted by displaced peoples; members of the disabled community; writers from a plethora of minoritized backgrounds and those from the LGBTQIA+ community. In giving voice to the experience of living with imposed otherness, these writers give voice to the aching need to move forward as a race from the myth of separation. We will give ourselves space to mold our own words through weekly writing exercises designed for those who feel drawn toward stewardship, kinship, and community, and we will work together on ways to write heartbrokenness and grief, joy and hope; as a means to bridge the gap between fear and action. We are less separate from the other beings of this earth than we have been led to believe.  This course makes room for a new and healing narrative of kinship.

You will leave the class with the knowledge that there is never simply one voice, one way to tell one story; the stories of this earth are multilayered, cacophonous; they glisten in the cracks in between. You will have been supported through entering into an even deeper relationship with your own self, your creativity, and the other beings you share this earth with. The interconnectedness of the living world, in all its gorgeous and transformative layers, will thread itself into your being. Moth and moss,  fixed and fluid, feathered and slimy, seen and unseen; there is still so much to protect, to hold up to the light, to hold close. There is still time.

Duration: This class meets over six consecutive Mondays from 12:30-3:30 pm ET (5:30-8:30 pm Ireland time) from October 23 through November 27.

Application window: September 1-15, 2023


The instructor

Kerri ní Dochartaigh is a mother, writer and grower. She writes about place, nature and motherhood for The Guardian, BBC, Emergence Magazine, The Irish Times, and others. Her first book, Thin Places, was published in North America by Milkweed in Spring 2022, for which she was awarded the Butler Literary Award 2022, and highly commended for the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing 2021 in the UK. Cacophony of Bone was published by Canongate in May 2023 and was on the longlist for the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing. It will be published by Milkweed in Fall 2023. She is working on a book about mothering through emergency, whilst rewilding a native Irish meadow. She lives in the west of Ireland with her family

Read (or listen to!) and excerpt of her work here.


October 23, 2023
November 27, 2023
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