Research and the Personal Essay: An Online Masterclass with Eula Biss

We are thrilled to welcome back writer and teacher Eula Biss for this two-part, online masterclass, suitable for all writers who want to explore the process of integrating research into the personal essay.

An inventive research process can enliven a personal essay and drive the writer into a more expansive understanding of their own experience. This class will explore craft issues specific to working with research in a personal essay, including the challenge of writing prose that isn’t overburdened by information and the question of when to bring the research process to the page and when to hide it.

Our first session will be devoted to strategies for crafting a voice or tone that can incorporate research. The second session will be devoted to sentence-level problems and the question of when to bring the research process to the page and when to hide it. Throughout, we’ll approach research as an integral part of the creative process — as a source of extended metaphor, as a way to produce happy accidents, and as a means to deepen the mysteries of the essay. Ample time will be reserved for questions, and several prompts will be suggested for writers who want to use these classes as an opportunity to generate new work.

Dates and Times: Tuesdays July 9 and 23, 7-8:30pm 

Tuition: $195 (includes a PDF of all required readings and a 15% discount on a selection of suggested books chosen by Eula Biss)


Eula Biss is the author of four books: Having and Being Had (2020), On Immunity (2014), Notes from No Man’s Land (2009), and The Balloonists (2002). Her work has been translated into a dozen languages and has been recognized by a National Book Critics Circle Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New America Fellowship, and a 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library. She is currently at work on a collection of essays about how private property has shaped our world.

For the past twenty years, Biss has taught writing in large lecture halls and small community bookstores, at public elementary schools and private universities. She developed a commitment to progressive education at Hampshire College before earning an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. She lives a mile from Lake Michigan, where she swims in sun and shadow.

“She's a poet, essayist and a class spy…believer and apostate, moth and flame.” -New York Times

Event date: 
Tuesday, July 9, 2024 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Tuesday, July 23, 2024 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Event address: 
Evanston, IL 60201