In My Opinion: The Opinionated

Personal Essay


Jess Crispin’s opinionated essay workshop at South Australia’s Writers Centre - 6th March in Adelaide, SA. 

Where: SA Writers Centre, Level 2 187 Rundle Street, Adelaide SA

When: 6th March – 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Price: $90pp

Registration required, visit 


The personal, opinionated essay has become strangely controversial. Is it exploitative? Is it just women moping about, revisiting trauma for money? Are we all drowning in a sea of opinion?

And yet we keep reading personal essays because the immediacy, the vulnerability, and the thoughtfulness of a well-crafted essay makes them irresistible.

How, then, can a writer craft something beautiful centred around his or her idea or experience, but avoid the common pitfalls of the genre? 

In this workshop participants will:

  • read several personal essays, both good and bad, old and new
  • discuss the common themes of personal essays, why the market seems to run on misery, and how to maintain one’s dignity when the salacious sells so well
  • learn a short history of the personal essay, from Augustine to Montaigne, to the here and now
  • focus on framing your ideas, opinions, and experiences so that they are clearly heard and evoke the response you are looking for
  • workshop a short work, polishing it up through immediate feedback.

The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats, and Ex-Countries
by Jessa Crispin

When Jessa Crispin was thirty, she burned her settled Chicago life to the ground and took off for Berlin with a pair of suitcases and no plan beyond leaving. Half a decade later, she's still on the road, in search not so much of a home as of understanding, a way of being in the world that demands neither constant struggle nor complete surrender. The Dead Ladies Project is an account of that journey - but it's also much, much more. Fascinated by exile, Crispin travels an itinerary of key locations in its literary map, of places that have drawn writers who needed to break free from their origins and start afresh. Personal and profane, funny and fervent, The Dead Ladies Project ranges from the nineteenth century to the present, from historical figures to brand-new hangovers, in search, ultimately, of an answer to a bedrock question: How does a person decide how to live their life?

Pbk  |  248pp  |  9780226278452  |  2015
University of Chicago Press  |  A$37.99  |  NZ$44.99
203x152mm  |  USA


Jessa Crispin is the editor and founder of the online magazine Bookslut–one of America’s very first book blogs–and the literary journal Spolia. She is the author of The Dead Ladies Project and The Creative Tarot, and has written for The New York Times, Guardian, Washington Post, Los Angeles Review of Books,, Chicago Sun-Times, and Architect Magazine. Most recently she has published Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto, a bracing challenge to contemporary feminism.

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