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Writing Workshops

On Writing Grief with Diane Zinna (Sold Out)


2 Sessions via Zoom

Out of stock

Saturday & Sunday 2:00 pm EST - 4:15 pm EST November 21 to November 22, 2020

This workshop has reached its capacity. To join the waitlist, please email Thierry Kehou at

In this class, we will explore ways to write experiences of grief, particularly our own. How does distance from a painful event affect the way we tell a story? How does fictionalizing a close experience of grief affect the way it is received and how we write it? Which structures are best to hold what we have to say?

We will explore concepts of sentimentality and reader resistance. We’ll consider how sound, sentence structure, and story building can all be used to communicate feeling. Together we will read very short selections from a variety of genres by writers who, by making themselves vulnerable, can make us feel seen, and we will share, when comfortable, sections of our own writing with each other. Finally, we will explore what happens after we tell our stories. What does it mean to complete a story about pain that might not be finished for us?


    • Introduction to the class and each other
    • The idea of grief as a “crossing over”
    • An exercise: Letters to ourselves before a moment of grief
    • Fictionalizing a true grief experience—how is it written differently?
    • Considering other “containers” for grief
    • Ways into writing grief
    • And now that you’re here: the sound of grief with some short examples.


    • Honoring your way of expressing grief
    • Fictionalizing a true grief experience—how is it received differently?
    • On sentimentality and reader resistance
    • An exercise: How we fear our work will be received
    • Where are you taking me? Sentence building and story building
    • Ways out of writing grief and tools for the journey
    • Goodbyes and ways to stay connected

Capacity: 20 students

This workshop will take place online via Zoom. Participants will receive instructions for access prior to the first session.

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Led by

  • Diane Zinna - Diane Zinna

    Diane Zinna

    Diane Zinna

    Diane Zinna is originally from Long Island, New York. She received her MFA from the University of Florida and taught creative writing for ten years. She was formerly the executive co-director at AWP, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, which hosts the largest literary conference in North America each year. In 2014, Diane created the Writer to Writer Mentorship Program, helping to match more than six hundred writers over twelve seasons. Her debut novel, The All-Night Sun, was recently longlisted for The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. Diane lives in Fairfax, Virginia, with her husband and daughter.