The Begin Again Series Week 4: Epistolary Writing — Writing Letters

The word epistolary comes from the Latin “epistula”, which means “letter.” Writers use the letter form to write personal essays, poems and fiction because the form provides a container to hold an exploration of events and experiences. 

Writing in the letter form quickly builds intimacy with readers because a letter is addressed to a particular person. 

Letters are a way of testifying, of sharing something internal, of unloading, of finding common ground, and also of raising your voice.

Ta-Nehisi Coates and James Baldwin, several generations apart, used the epistolary form to respond to the disaster of racism in American history.

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple is an epistolary novel in which an impoverished black teenage girl, Celie, tells her story through writing letters to both her sister and God. 

Epistolary poems are poems that read as letters, like Elana Bell’s “Letter to Palestine,” which renders the political in a confessional voice.

In this class, we will examine epistolary writing across the genres, and explore how stories can be told effectively as letters. And, of course, we will draft our own epistles. 

This class is ideal for writers who enjoy experimenting with form or who would like to practice experimenting with form.

When: April 27th, 7-9pm
How much: $30 suggested donation
For registration & inquiries: with “Writing Letters” in the subject line.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s