Spring Craft Intensive: Hillary Brenhouse


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Editor's Note

Tending the Garden: The Careful Work of Editing Essays with Hillary Brenhouse
Sunday, April 21
11 AM – 2 PM PST/ 2 PM – 5 PM EST

The work of an editor has much to do with striking a fine balance: making the most of someone else’s writing, helping to shape and fine-tune and identify opportunities for expanded thinking, and then knowing when to get the hell out of the way. How to make as significant an impact as possible when editing essays without imposing your own voice, grammar, narrative solutions, imagined audience, and personal biases on the writer? How to effectively edit for structure and at the sentence level, for style and clarity, while respecting the creative process? How to establish a writer-editor relationship built on confidence and trust? This is a class in the particulars of editing essays for aspiring editors and already-editors at any level interested in tackling nonfiction work capably and thoughtfully.

Students will come away with a range of editorial strategies, from big-picture techniques for improving narrative flow and devising a gripping reader experience to methods for making sentences sharper and more coherent. We’ll review a range of successful edits—real narrative, argument-driven, and first-person essays by outstanding writers in various stages of the editorial process—and the delicate dance of writer-editor communication. There is no single way to edit just as there is no single way to write, but this session will make a toolkit available to participants that they can refer back to as they tend to nonfiction pieces, deciding what to weed and what to water and coax into growth.


The scholarship for this intensive has already been awarded.

BIO: Hillary Brenhouse
is a writer and editor. Previously, she was editor-in-chief of Guernica, editorial director of Bold Type Books, and a senior editor for The Guardian. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, TIME, VICE, the New York Times, The Oxford American, Slate, and elsewhere. She has also independently edited multiple books of essays and journalism. You can find her on Twitter @hbrenhouse.