Personal Essay Crash Course

Personal Essay Crash Course

A workshop and presentation by Jenna McGuiggan
Saturday, February 29 at 1 pm

"Is my story worth telling?" Many writers confront this question when writing personal essays.

Popular culture sends us mixed messages when it comes to writing about our personal experiences. On one hand, we’re told that our stories matter; on the other, we’re warned against being narcissistic navel-gazers.

While the idea of "navel-gazing" has negative connotations today, the term stems from a Greek idea meaning "a contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation." We’ll consider how contemplation of the self can lead writers to larger truths, which in turn enables us to write essays that resonate with readers.

There are two options for this session: 

On-site at Creative Nonfiction

Online via Webinar

1 pm - 4:00 pm 

$25 if registered by 2/17/2020 *
$35 if registered after 2/17/2020

Join us live »
Space is limited to 25 attendees

1 pm - 2:15 pm EST

$12 if registered by 2/17/2020
$15 if registered after 2/17/2020

Attend online »

* In-person session includes a writing workshop, a copy of True Stories, Well Told, and a highlighter.

Location // 607 College Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Our workshop and gallery space is wheelchair accessible. Metered on-street parking is available.

Doors open at 12:30 pm, event begins at 1 pm. Snacks, coffee & tea will be provided.


Jennifer (Jenna) McGuiggan co-authored Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: A Visual History (Clarkson Potter, 2019). Her essays have appeared in The Rappahannock Review, Essay Daily, Flycatcher, New World Writing, and online for Prairie Schooner and Brevity. Her work has been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and chosen as a finalist in contests from Prime Number Magazine, Hunger Mountain, and the Orison Anthology. Jenna received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is currently writing a book of linked essays that explore longing and belonging, from where we live to what we believe. Through her business,The Word Cellar, she works as a freelance writer and editor and hosts an online membership community for writers.

Questions? Please call us at 412-404-2975 or email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at