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Greater Than the Sum of the Parts: Transforming Personal Essays into a Book

September 6, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT

Virtual Event Virtual Event


What order? What structure? Which essays? What about previously published work? Demystifying how to transform your essays into a book.

Personal essays are a popular genre, and essayists often consider turning their work into a collection. But forming a book from essays can feel daunting and perhaps intimidating. Do they have to all have the same theme? Does it matter if they’re different essay forms, or in different voices? Beyond order and structure, sometimes the biggest challenge is figuring out which essays even fit in the book!

However, just as the act of writing essays is often a place of discovery—unearthing something forgotten or finding something new—the act of grouping essays into a book can mimic this journey of discovery. As we shape a collection into a book, we learn something new about ourselves, those around us, or the world we inhabit.

Join this webinar for practical tools and ideas to help you transform a group of essays into a book. Using these techniques and approaches, you will learn something more about your writing and the larger story of your work.

In this webinar, you will:

  • RECOGNIZE how the same mindset of discovery we bring to writing essays also serves us as we organize a book
  • DISCOVER practical ways to identify the theme and connective tissue in your possible book of essays
  • LEARN hands-on techniques for organizing your essays
  • BECOME ultimately empowered to gather your essays into a book

This webinar will best serve intermediate to advanced writers:

  • who are actively working to shape a book of essays OR
  • who wonder if a book of essays might be somewhere in their future

However, writers looking to organize a collection of other works–such as short stories or an anthology—will certainly glean useful information. Even beginning writers will learn strategies they can carry with them into their writing lives.

Closed captioning is available. ✔
All registrants receive the recording. ✔


PATRICE GOPO writes stories steeped in themes of place, belonging, and home. She is the author of two essay collections: Autumn Song (University of Nebraska Press American Lives Series) and All the Colors We Will See (a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection). Her debut picture book, All the Places We Call Home, is based on one of her essays. In addition to other honors, she is the recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship and a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award. Patrice lives with her family in North Carolina.



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September 6, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT
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Patrice Gopo
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