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Turning Research into Narrative


Every writer needs to research, whether you're building the world of a historical novel, writing your first nonfiction essay, or simply want to place your characters in a different city. In this workshop, food historian and author Sarah Lohman will show you how to be a responsible researcher and ] how to turn that knowledge into a compelling narrative.
The first half of the class will be a primer on researching. We'll cover:
  • Beyond the Google search: Google Books and Ngram viewer
  • How to find primary sources and when to trust secondary sources.
  • How to access academic articles and scientific studies (and why you should).
  • How to research historical figures using and Newspaper databases.
  • When you need to go to the library/archive (and when you don’t).
  • The importance of research experiences - go touch a thing, see a thing, and do a thing.
We'll practice analyzing sources throughout class and there will be plenty of time for Q&A.
Then, in the afternoon, you'll look at examples of Lohman's work to understand how to convert raw fact to narrative. We'll cover the do and don'ts of incorporating and citing research and you'll complete a short research project and convert it into a narrative piece.
If we all write "what we know," the bookstore would be a pretty boring place. Come learn the rich detail good research adds to a novel and how sniffing out an untold story is a significant journalistic accomplishment.

Instructor: Sarah Lohman is a culinary historian and the author of the bestselling book Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. She focuses on the history of food as a way to access the stories of diverse Americans. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and NPR. Lohman has lectured  across the country, from the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC to The Culinary Historians of Southern California. Lohman is currently based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Her current book project, Endangered Eating: America’s Vanishing Foods will be released with W.W. Norton & Co. on October 24, 2023.

Details: Turning Research into Narrative takes place Saturday, December 2 from 10am-3pm (with a 1 hour lunch break) in person at the Literary Cleveland offices, 13002 Larchmere Blvd, Cleveland OH 44120.

Prerequisite: None

Genre: Nonfiction

Level: All levels.

Format: Craft talk & Generative Workshop.

Location: This class takes place in-person at the Literary Cleveland offices, 13002 Larchmere Blvd, Cleveland OH 44120.

Size: Limited to 35 participants (including scholarships).
Scholarships: Two scholarship spots are available for this class for writers in Northeast Ohio. Apply by August 21.

Cancellations & Refunds: Cancel at least 48 hours in advance of the first class meeting to receive a full refund. Email

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