Off Campus Writers' Workshop - OCWW

Heather Sellers - How to Write What Scares You (Without Scaring Away Your Reader)

  • January 26, 2023
  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM



When we are writing weighty, challenging subject matter—war, illness, trauma, terror, overcoming {overcoming what?}—it can be challenging to keep our readers with us. We seek to witness powerful events and speak our truth, and yet we’re called to write poems, fiction, and memoir that transport and transform others.  In this presentation, writers review five simple practices that support powerful, memorable writing, no matter how intense and difficult the subject.

Heather Sellers is the author of two new poetry collections, Field Notes from the Flood Zone and The Present State of the Garden.  Her textbook, The Practice of Creative Writingis in its fourth edition and follows two books on craft, Page After Page and Chapter After Chapter. Her collection of linked short stories is Georgia Under Water, and a memoir, You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know, was featured in O, the Oprah Magazine and is an O book-of-the month club pick and Editor’s Choice at the New York Times. Her recent essays appear in The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, The Sun, and O, the Oprah Magazine. Her essay “Haywire” was selected for the Best American Essays by Leslie Jamison, and “Pedal, Pedal, Pedal” won a Pushcart Prize in 2018. She regularly speaks to audiences about prosopagnosia (face blindness), most recently at NASA. Sellers directs the writing program at the University of South Florida.

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