Teaching and Classes
"One of, if not the best teacher I've ever had in my life. ... I would probably rearrange my entire schedule so I could be in his class again."—Former student
"I found this last class to be both nurturing and challenging ... You are masterful at creating an atmosphere for both. I loved the class, and I can’t wait for the next one!"—Another student
I'm always teaching writing classes in Boston --- creative nonficiton, memoir, personal essay, freelance writing, op-eds, marketing (see below) --- and sometimes I offer classes and workshops elsewhere. If you want me to lead a writing workshop, give a talk (about writing, gaming, or geek culture), or work with me one-on-one in a private consultation, or teach your students, group or corporate team how to play D&D, contact me here. I look forward to working with you.
My current offerings:
Here is the current schedule of adult writing workshops and seminars I'm offering. These are open the public and do not require students to enroll in any degree program.
ONLINE At 24PearlStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center Online Writing Program:
In BOSTON at GrubStreet:
Freelance Essentials: How to Write and Sell Your Op-Ed, Friday, July 29th, 10:00am-5:00pm. Register here.
The Narrative Personal Essay 101, Friday, August 12th, from 10:00am-5:00pm. Register here.
Writing and Publishing the Risky Narrative Personal Essay, 12 Tuesdays from 10:30am-1:30pm, starting September 20th. Register here.
Master Narrative Personal Essay, 12 Tuesdays from 6:00pm-9:00pm, starting September 13th. Register here.
The Personal Essay in Progress, 8 Thursdays from 10:15am-1:15pm, starting October 6. Register here.
Kindly things his former students have said about him:
"I loved having Ethan as a teacher. I think my writing has made some major advancements because of his guidance."
"I will suggest Ethan to anyone interested in Non-fiction. He is a fabulous professor, very knowledgeable, and always willing to help. He's also just a really wonderful person."
"Ethan devoted a lot of time to his students, and knowing my strengths and weaknesses with writing (and seeing them from the beginning of my battle with nonfiction), he was able to help me improve."
"I am profoundly appreciative of the time and thought Ethan gave to my writing ... Reading his edits and speaking with him had the wonderful effect of inspiring me to write *more*..." -- Nancy U.
"I was so impressed with how engaging he was both as a writer and an instructor. He kept the class moving at a good pace, and he made it fun, even the scary workshopping, which can be so harsh. I felt like he set strong guidelines for workshopping which kept it from feeling personal, and he really stuck to the positive criticism and what would help and improve our writing. He was also very good at drawing out people like myself who don't speak as much, and got everyone involved. I loved the projects, and I am sad the class ended. I look forward to taking more classes with Ethan, as it makes me want to write."-- Karen L.
"Ethan Gilsdorf has an ability to make even dry facts entertaining. I found his seminar to be well-structured, informative and interesting, his teaching style honest and straightforward. His myriad experiences, handouts, and anecdotes made for a rewarding introduction to the field." -- Jessica Lee
"Ethan was always prepared and offered wonderful feedback. He really cares about his students developing throughout the semester and pushes us to try new things in our writing."
"Workshopping is very effective. And not only did we workshop, but Ethan provided us with outside reading and sometimes writing exercises within class. Early on, Ethan gave us an example of the type of letter he wanted us to write each classmate when critiquing their pieces. It was the most in-depth letter I'd ever been expected to write in a workshopping class. Even though it took longer to construct, I feel that this longer letter method was very helpful."
"Ethan's feedback was always constructive and straight forward. He respected us and never sugarcoated anything. I also appreciated that he put a lot of effort into showing us different writing styles and authors to aid us in our mission to find our "voice.""
"He was very engaging, and it often felt like we were a friendly group rather than a class."
"Ethan's practical teaching style made Arts and Culture Writing seem very accessible. In addition to talking about his own experience, he had us brainstorm story ideas from a press release to illustrate many of his points. He covered a wide range of material that was useful for both new and seasoned freelancers, and the packet of resources and story examples he provided will be invaluable." -- Julia Maranan
"I want to commend you on your seminar last night. For me, as an outsider to the writing community it was a revelation and also an eye-opener! ... You made everything clear and I was impressed by the usefulness of what you told us ..."-- Gerald Zeitlin
"A firehose of knowledge on the craft and business of feature writing."
"Ethan was a great instructor. He gave practical, constructive feedback from the perspective of a writer who know what editors look for, and took the time to give us meaningful feedback. ... This workshop gave me a very necessary kick in the ass to get my writing into high gear."
"[Ethan] had great energy and humor to sustain interest through the course of a big data dump. [He's] strong at bouncing off questions and ideas from the class. ... Thanks for a very useful class."
"Ethan did a terrific job with last night's seminar. He has a dry sense of humor and was human and versatile... both of which kept his multitudes of information engaging."
"The handout was terrific, a handbook, actually. He was very available in one to one and in group, generous about follow up if we wanted it. I [recommend] keeping him on your teaching staff."
"GREAT introductory course! ... Ethan's knowledge of the field is thorough..."
"Ethan's enthusiam for his subject is evident ... "
"Ethan has a nice blend of humor, genuine style and general experience."
About Ethan Gilsdorf as a teacher:
Ethan Gilsdorf teaches classes in freelance journalism, book promotion, poetry, memoir, personal essay, op-ed writing, reviewing, general journalism/feature writing, and the business of freelancing writing and the writer's life for such institutions as Grub Street, Mediabistro, Emerson College, Somerville Public Library and elsewhere. He is also is co-founder of Grub Street's Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP) in Boston.
He has led poetry workshops for youths and adults of all ages. He has also taught English composition and poetry at Louisiana State University. As a lecturer, guest speaker, and visiting writer, he has given lectures and led writing and craft workshops at numerous colleges, schools, summer programs and writers conferences, such as The Muse and the Marketplace, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bryn Mawr College, University of Southern California, University of Notre Dame, Wheaton College (MA), Marlboro College (VT), Boxboro Elementary School (MA), the Putney (VT) School Summer Programs, Oxbridge Summer Program (Paris), High Mowing School (NH), and Menlo College’s (CA) European study abroad program. He has volunteered in the Boston Public Schools system as a writing and English tutor/career enrichment speaker, tutor, guest lecturer and poetry workshop leader (Brighton High School, Monument High School, Madison Park High School, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, and elsewhere).