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Photography by Danielle Villasana

WORKSHOPS + SEMINARS

WORKSHOPS + SEMINARS

WORKSHOPS + SEMINARS

Excavating The Travel Essay

Four sessions; January 10,17, 24, 31; 12-2pm ET

$295

This course is for anyone who wants to write travel essays that are as vivid as they are insightful. We'll mine old travel journals, photos, correspondences, and conduct original research to write a rich and layered essay. Perhaps it's a story of transformation abroad, of a place that moved you or a stranger who changed your life, a journey that still haunts you, or simply of a distant meal you'll never forget. Or maybe it's a story of migration and identity in a foreign landscape. Over four sessions we’ll push the boundaries of the genre while remaining committed to the heart of the story.  

 

The course begins by reading a broad range of travel essays to understand how different techniques impact the reader. When would an anecdote be more effective than a statistic? How should a writer portray a culture they know little about? We'll break away from the clichés, tropes, and stereotypes that plague travel writing in order to tell an authentic and dynamic story.

 

Next, we'll dive deep into structure and craft. Whether you're writing a chapter in a memoir, a magazine feature, a letter, or deep captions for a photo essay, we'll cover the pillars of a solid travel story—curiosity, sense of place, a moment in time, local characters, rich context, narrative arc, sensory details—as well as techniques to illustrate it skillfully.

 

During the course, each participant will write an original travel essay of up to 2,000 words. The stories will be shared with the group and we’ll generate feedback together. Each student will meet virtually with the instructor for comments and edits, including a personalized list of recommendations for places to submit it to.

 

Between sessions, participants can join the community forum for daily writing exercises, Q+A, and craft discussions led by the instructor.

*One full scholarship is available for a promising writer with a background historically misrepresented or underrepresented in the

travel writing genre.

VIRTUAL

Upcoming Workshops

 Crafting the Perfect Pitch

Skills for Writing & Reporting Abroad

VIRTUAL

IN-PERSON WORKSHOPS

Image by Adli Wahid

The Frontier of Travel Writing

Master Class

Istanbul + Turquoise Coast

AUGUST 2021

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See an unfiltered view of one of the world's best cities—Istanbul!—while sharpening your writing skills in this experiential class. This isn't your typical writing workshop: it's designed to cut through the fluff and explore real issues in travel writing, such as the risks and ethics of writing abroad, and how to craft a truly authentic story that embodies the complexities a place.

 

Most importantly, we won't do it alone: We'll meet local journalists, see the streets through the eyes of documentary photographers, taste the cuisine of Istanbul's best chefs, and break bread with local communities. After Istanbul, we'll head to a private seaside retreat to use as our writing studio. 

 

This course is structured through writing prompts, on-the-ground reporting, panel discussions, and group workshops to produce a publishable travel feature.  

Detailed health and safety guidelines will be issued in Spring 2021. All group sessions and meals will be outdoors and private accommodations are available. Local health protocols will be followed. 

WHAT WE'LL DISCOVER

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Day 1

CAPTURING PLACE

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Explore Beyoglu

Dinner with a Turkish writer

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Image by Daniel Burka

Day 3

WRITING SCENE

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Urban photography or sketching class

Custom exhibition with artists

Image by David Monje

Day 7

CULTURE WRITING

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A local's perspective tour

Travel writing ethics panel

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Day 7

PUBLISHING YOUR WORK

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Writing retreat

Group reading

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Day 2

LAYERING HISTORY

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Historian-led Sultanahmet tour

Film screening on a rooftop

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Day 4

FOOD WRITING

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Culinary tour

Turkish wine tasting

Dinner with local chef

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Day 6

PERSONAL ESSAY

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Fly to Mediteranean town, Kas

Private seaside writing retreat

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Day 8

CONCLUSION

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Sailing trip

Farewell dinner

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WHO WE'LL MEET

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DANIELLE VILLASANA

Photojournalist

Danielle's documentary work focuses on human rights, gender, displacement, and health around the world. She’s a National Geographic Explorer, Magnum Foundation awardee, and an International Women's Media Foundation fellow. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic, Al Jazeera, and others. daniellevillasana.com

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BARKIN OZDEMIR

Writer + Editor, GQ Turkey

Barkin is a Turkish author and social media personality. Barkin ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to become the youngest Turk to visit every continent. His storytelling style is aimed to inspire young people to travel and explore everything this world has to offer. He has just published a book based on his journey to Antarctica.  barkinozdemir.com

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ELIZABET KURUMLU

Guide and translator

Elizabet is a longtime licensed guide, translator, and fixer in Turkey (since 1991!) with deep knowledge of its history and cultures. She also works as a location manager and researcher for documentaries and newscasts and guest hosts travel shows. She's worked with National Geographic, Discovery Channel, PBS, BBC, CNN, NY Times, The Times, The Guardian, Vogue,  and others. hailizhere.com

WHERE WE'LL STAY

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ISTANBUL

A 4-star boutique historic hotel in Istanbul's charming Cihangir neighborhood—home to local writers, journalists, actors, and artists. It has stylish rooms and a rooftop terrace with views of the Bosphorus. 

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KAS

We have a scenic coastal retreat with stone cottages, a private beach, and organic garden all to ourselves. The host family has lived here for generations and has lots of stories to share with us.

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WRITING STUDIO

A private studio serves as our main meeting place, classroom, and writing space in Istanbul.

It has spaces to work and

a panoramic terrace

with views of Istanbul's historic skyline. 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

All accommodations
Most breakfasts and dinners
All domestic travel
Guided tours + workshops
Private group writing studio
Personalized writing feedback
A custom reader and workbook
Intimate group size (9 max)

To sign up for a workshop email jenna.scatena[at]gmail.com