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6-Month Online Essay Collection Mentorship Program with Iowa Prize-Winner Kendra Allen, Will Return in 2021
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$2,900.00

6-Month Online Essay Collection Mentorship Program with Iowa Prize-Winner Kendra Allen, Will Return in 2021


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Program Will Return 2021

Contact us HERE to be notified when this program returns.

We are very excited to offer a limited enrollment 6-Month Online Essay Collection Mentorship Program with award-winning memoirist/essayist Kendra Allen, author of the collection When You Learn The Alphabet (University of Iowa Press) and winner of the 2018 Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction. This is an immersive course designed to shepherd hardworking writers to THE END of their manuscript and identify next steps for the project (revision, querying agents, publication, etc.). 

So, you’re not a memoirist today. You don’t have time to sit down and figure out your life’s story or even comprehend why you want to tell it all. So let’s just tell some of it. This is not to say that everything you’ve seen isn’t still on the line, but so is everything else that interests you. 

The essay collection—if it hasn’t already rose—is on the rise. This course is about creating your own. This is about finding your own style, your own stories, and most of all, your own voice. This is about admitting things about yourself and the world and daring to maybe laugh about it. This is about nothing and everything at once. This is about linking themes and subject matter in a way that moves through not only time, but also perspective. This is also about figuring out a way to do so without boring your reader to death.

Maybe the collection inside of you is a series of essays about character development—or lack thereof—on various HBO series Maybe it’s a series of letters to your mother. Maybe it’s a series of essays about your experience being the 6th man on your college basketball team. Maybe it’s a manifesto about capitalism and white supremacy being the root of everything bad in America. Maybe it’s a set of vignettes on every time your body has felt joy. Maybe it’s a series of essays about writing. Maybe these are narrative essays or cultural commentary or both. Maybe your “essays” are hybrid. Maybe they’re genreless. Either way, writing an essay collection is a completely personal act that requires vision.

The essay collection, if anything, is about conjunction. Together we’ll write and revise towards a better understanding of self’s place in society and story. This online workshop is about bringing multiple ideas together to make a final product make sense and working towards bringing your manuscripts to a publishable position throughout these next few months.

The Ideal Applicant has the discipline to be an online student and the desire to complete an essay collection during the program. The goal is to have a full draft at the end of the six months. 

Writers at the beginning of their writing journey and those who have written several pieces are welcome to apply. 

Applicants are those writers who are looking for an intensive experience without the cost of a top flight graduate program or the need to travel. Interested applicants will want to be a part of a thriving and intimate cohort and understand that growth in craft requires critique, consistent work, openness to revision, and an eagerness to grow. Accepted applicants will agree to be punctual in submission of work. This is in fairness to Kendra, the other students in the course, and themselves.

NOTE: If you are more than 6 days late without prior approval of an extension with Kendra, you will forfeit that month’s submission. We will resume our time the next month.

How It Works:

Upon acceptance into the mentorship program, you will schedule an initial one-on-one call with Kendra to discuss your writing and your goals, allowing Kendra to get a sense of your previous experience and attitude toward feedback. Together, you’ll create a work plan for the next six months. 

Revision is writing. Revision will be a key part of the mentorship. Writers will get monthly personalized deadlines to turn in new work AND revised work. The bulk of the mentorship will consist of Kendra giving extensive feedback and advice within the manuscript itself, as well as via follow-up emails that will develop organically. Critique will include detailed notes on each individual essay, as well as general feedback on writing tics and areas of natural strengths and weakness. Kendra may recommend craft books or articles, or send scans of novel excerpts, etc. that she thinks will help the writer.

The number of pages due will depend on the writer and their project, which can be worked out in the initial conversation (or organically as you go). In that monthly submission, you will also send a letter (2-3 pages) detailing the craft topics you’re exploring, notes on books you will have read during that month (whether directly related to the project or not), and your areas of concern and victory that month. Sharing your own sense of victory is as important as sharing the areas of challenge. 

There will be mostly writing, but as someone who believes reading is fundamental in order to get better at making sentences, we will also read and discuss the ways in which writers construct their own collections. Think of it as a two for one: a workshop AND a book club. *Also open to recommendations for class book list 

Thanks for reading. Can’t wait to read and work with your words. Let’s wonder, read, organize, write, workshop, read, revise, write, and wonder some more.

NOTE: You do not need to purchase all the books on this list. The instructor will inform you on what will be read closer to course’s start time. Think of this list as an interactive guide for whenever you feel moved to read a book of essays.

POTENTIAL BOOKS TO BE READ TOGETHER (AND ALWAYS ON YOUR OWN ACCORD):

  •  Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillian Cottom

  • Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

  • They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib

  • I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi

  • We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby

  • Betwixt—and—Between: Essays on the Writing Life by Jenny Boully

  • White Girls by Hilton Als

  • Mourning Diary by Roland Barthes

  • The Collected Schizophrenias: Esme Weijun Wang

  • Loving in the War Years by Cherrie Moraga

  • How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon

  • Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

  • My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education by Jennine Capo Crucet

  • Once I Was Cool by Megan Stielstra

This Six-Month Mentorship Consists of the Following:

  • One-on-one initial consult via phone, email, or GChat

  • Personalized calendar for achieving your project goals

  • Accountability

  • Access to mentor via email for six months

  • Monthly critique of pages, including line edits and bigger-picture notes and questions (done in Microsoft Word using Track Changes)

  • Personalized readings and assignments based on your specific development needs

  • A private portal within Wet Ink for the cohort for encouragement and sharing resources

  • Access to a community of dedicated writers

  • Continued access to the portal after the end of the term, potentially to include future students who complete the next mentorship.

 Mentor’s Monthly Input:

  • Emails that discuss individual monthly goals and progress

  • In-line comments and critique on submitted manuscript pages

  • Based on each month’s accomplishments, mentor will suggest new readings or exercises to aid in growth

  • Available to answer questions and provide encouragement via portal 

Mentee’s Monthly Responsibilities:

  • Send pages to mentor based on individual project goals negotiated with mentor

  • Process-reflection letter discussing achievements and areas of growth for the month

  • Participate in group discussions online via private portal

  • Read articles or craft books mentor may assign to aid growth in specific areas

  • Participate in email conversation with mentor to review individual progress and areas of growth

Application Process:

Complete Application Questionnaire at the top of this page and submit a ten-page writing sample using standard manuscript format to blake@writingworkshopsdallas.com. Please title the email “SAMPLE: 6 Month Essay Collection Mentorship with Kendra Allen”.

Tuition Payment:

Full tuition for the 6-month program is $2,900. Accepted writers must commit to the full six months and meet all assigned deadlines. Once accepted into the program, writers can pay the tuition in full or in two equal payments of $1,450 (1st payment made by February 3rd, 2020, and 2nd payment made by March 15th, 2020).

Important Dates for 6-Month Essay Collection Mentorship with Kendra Allen:

  • 1/20 - Application Deadline

  • 1/27 - Acceptance to Program Announced

  • 2/3 - 2/7 Initial consults via phone/Gchat/email scheduled

  • 2/17 Packet #1 Due

  • 3/2   Latest you’ll receive feedback from Kendra on Packet #1

  • 3/23 Packet #2 Due

  • 4/6   Latest you’ll receive feedback from Kendra on Packet #2

  • 4/27   Packet #3 Due

  • 5/18 Latest you’ll receive feedback from Kendra on Packet #3

  • 6/8   Packet #4 due

  • 6/22 Latest you’ll receive feedback from Kendra on Packet #4

  • 7/13 Packet #5 Due

  • 7/27 Latest you’ll receive feedback from Kendra on Packet #5

  • 8/17 Packet #6 Due

  • 8/31 Latest you’ll receive feedback from Kendra on Packet #6

  • 9/1-9/4 Individual wrap-up consults via phone/Gchat/email with Kendra

Additional Program Information:

  • Tuition is $2,900

  • Class size limited to 10 writers

  • Program dates: February 3, 2020, to September 1, 2020

  • NOTE: Shifting some dates around may be necessary but any changes will be communicated well in advance, if possible.  

Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this mentorship program.



Mentor Kendra Allen is the author of the award-winning essay collection When You Learn The Alphabet (University of Iowa Press), winner of the 2018 Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Kendra has an MFA from the University of Alabama. Her work has also appeared in brevity, december, and The Rumpus, among others. Kendra tweets @KendraCanYou.


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