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Advanced Essay Writing: The Hermit Crab Essay

Have you ever read a nonfiction essay written in letters, lists, or emails? If you answered yes, you have read a hermit crab essay.

The hermit crab essay is a nonfiction essay in which the writer adopts an existing form to contain their writing, such as recipes, to do lists, and/or field guides.

In this six-week course, you will read through examples of hermit crab essays and discuss their meaning, construction, and mechanics. Through a series of writing exercises and peer workshops, you will produce your own hermit crab essay that uses unexpected forms to create unique writing.

Instructor: Negesti Kaudo is a Midwestern essayist who holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Columbia College Chicago. She is the youngest winner of the Ohioana Library Association's Walter Rumsey Marvin grant (2015) for unpublished writers under 30. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and alumni of the Ragdale Residency and Winter Tangerine workshop. Kaudo has worked as a copywriter, a sex toy columnist, and an adjunct writing instructor. Her work has appeared in Fourth Genre, Best American Experimental Writing, Seneca Review, and elsewhere. Her debut collection, Ripe: Essays was published by Mad Creek Books / The Ohio State University Press in 2022.


Details: Advanced Essay Writing: The Hermit Crab Essay takes place Thursdays April 6, April 13, April 20, April 27, May 4, and May 11 from 6:30-8:30pm remotely through Zoom.

Genre: Nonfiction

Level: Advanced

Format: Craft and generative workshop with writing outside of class and peer feedback.

Location: This class takes place remotely online via Zoom.

Size: Limited to 12 participants (including scholarships).

Suggested Sequence: Follow this class with a craft and/or generative nonfiction workshop, a feedback course, or a publishing course.

Scholarships: Two scholarship spots are available for this class for writers in Northeast Ohio. Apply by December 1.

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

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