Writing Through Grief; Creating Powerful Prose After Loss or Trauma


stormgirlSunday, March 30, 11–5


What are a writers’ tools for bringing emotionally difficult material to the page and moving through trauma to create powerful work? In this 6-hour workshop, we will examine the answer to that using tools such as leading examples of grief writing and innovative writing exercises to learn ways to confront tears, find joy, and meet on the page.

This workshop will convene a group of creative minds for a facilitated, craft-focused discussion of our writing. Participants will gain strategies for writing about trauma in pursuit of insight, a sense of wholeness, and connection to readers. Because a well-written memoir about grief or loss demonstrates that the writer has moved forward enough to look back. But how does a writer’s “back” shape their “forward?” If we intend to write well about our loss, looking back on positive and negative experiences involves more than just capturing slippery memory on the page. Looking back creates forward motion in the story. In this workshop, participants will discuss examples from classic memoir, and generate new material from writing prompts generated by the workshop. Participants will receive a reading list for further exploration and take-home prompts.

In this workshop, you will learn:

  • How to bring emotionally difficult material to the page
  • How to move through your trauma to create powerful work
  • How to generate new material with writing exercises
  • How to apply leading examples of the genre to inspire your own prose
  • Writing prompts to inspire your creative expression
  • And more

Testimonial: “I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the Writing Through Grief workshop with Jessica Handler. It was a great experience! I really loved how Jessica combined lecture and hands-on, less formal instruction. The writing prompts and feedback were great. I believe everyone in our group felt very supported – but also challenged. I know I learned a lot.” Bess Kercher

The Shocking Real Life “Creating Powerful Prose After Grief or Trauma”

Enroll in The Shocking Real Life “Creating Powerful Prose After Grief or Trauma” on Sunday, March 30, 11–5

This class is sold out. Thank you! Click HERE for other classes

Cost: $150

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jhandlerJessica Handler is the author of Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief (St. Martins Press, December 2013), and she has been hosting writing workshops on this subject since 2008. Her first book, Invisible Sisters: A Memoir (Public Affairs, 2009) is one of the “Twenty Five Books All Georgians Should Read.” Her nonfiction has appeared on NPR, in Tin House, Drunken Boat, Brevity, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and More Magazine. Honors include residencies at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, a 2010 Emerging Writer Fellowship from The Writers Center, the 2009 Peter Taylor Nonfiction Fellowship, and special mention for a 2008 Pushcart Prize. www.jessicahandler.com is the author of Invisible Sisters: A Memoir. She has been the Peter Taylor Nonfiction Fellow at the Kenyon Review, and her work has received “Special Mention” for a 2008 Pushcart Prize. Invisible Sisters is an Atlanta magazine “Best of 2009 Must Read” selection.

Reviews of Jessica Handler’s work:

“Some memoirs are affecting because they are universal, some because they are unique. Jessica Handler’s Invisible Sisters derives its gut-punch power from being both…. Handler tells this story with the lyrical elegance and cool remove of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking—the highest praise possible for any memoir of loss…. There is an undeniable burden in being ‘the only one left,’ but there is true grace in the act—and art—of first remembering, then surviving.” Teresa Weaver, Atlanta magazine review

Invisible Sisters is both heartbreaking and hopeful. Even as Jessica Handler tells us of her family’s losses, she reminds us to celebrate life. Handler shows us how to move forward without being afraid to look back. This book is a gift.” Ann Hood, author of Comfort and The Knitting Circle

“Invisible Sisters is an unsentimental but deeply moving look at the ways in which loss––loss past and the loss that is still to come––can shape lives. Jessica Handler’s book is a quiet, near-hypnotic tour de force.” Michael Wex, author of Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods

Invisible Sisters chronicles the ambush of a happy family and its devastation in the face of every hope and effort. What Jessica Handler has rescued from grief, bravely and without self-pity, is the story of her own hard-won survival. The book in which she discovers a self separate from the anguished role she seemed destined to play haunted me from its very first page and has not let me go.” Rosellen Brown, author of Tender Mercies and Before and After

“With a sure grasp of revelatory detail, the author recalls homely verities from a vanished life. Her memory piece is an elegy for her dead sisters, who are not quite lost as long as they live in her thoughts. A heartfelt, painful family saga, skillfully told by a survivor.” Kirkus, February 1, 2009

The Shocking Real Life Learning Center Location:

We are located in the historic Virginia Highlands artsy community in Atlanta, Georgia at 695 Pylant St., Atlanta, GA, 30306! Click HERE for directions from your location to our space!

We’re located just north of Downtown Atlanta in the Virginia Highlands area. Our Atlanta creative writing students come from Fulton, Dekalb, Cobb, and Gwinnett County. They come from midtown, Marietta, Norcross, Sandy Springs, near the perimeter, outside the perimeter, on Peachtree or north of metro Atlanta. That includes Suwanee, Lithonia, Lawrenceville, Kennesaw, Emory, Douglasville, Decatur, Chamblee, Conyers, Buford, Alpharetta, Saturn, Pluto, and the occasional escapee from the nearest black hole.

For a full calendar of classes offered at The Shocking Real Life Academy, scroll to the bottom of the screen.

Refund policy: Enrollment is limited. If you need to cancel your registration for a class or seminar, please notify jennbradley@gmail.com by email as soon as possible. Refunds, minus a $15 administration cost, will be remitted for cancellation notifications made up to two weeks in advance of elected seminar. For cancellations made up to one week in advance of the elected seminar, a credit, good for three months, will be issued towards a future Shocking Real-Life class or seminar of the same price. Any cancellation made within one week of the elected seminar results in forfeiture of the registration fee.