Literary Portraits: The Art of Profiles and Personality Sketches (with Constance Hale)

Constance Hale

Constance Hale




MONDAYS, JANUARY 22 —FEBRUARY 26  |  Storytellers—whether they are novelists, memoirists, or narrative journalists—know that characters are key to any great yarn. Yet developing characters is harder than you might think. Especially minor ones, where few words must make an impression. But even when we have paragraphs—or an entire book— to capture character, we don’t always hit the nail on the head. Connie Hale, who has made the profile her preferred form, uses readings, in-class exercises, and writing prompts to help you draw people on the page—and draw out important themes. The class will move from short sketches to longer work, which will be workshopped in class. The final project will be a finished piece of your choosing, whether a short vignette, a magazine-style profile, or a portrait integrated into a story. Writers in all genres welcome. Please note that there is no class on Monday, Feb. 19, which gives an additional week to work on the final project.

Constance Hale has transformed “writing reference” shelves with her irreverent books on literary style—which are used in writing classes around the world. Much of this work is captured at A former editor at Wired, Health, and the San Francisco Examiner, her articles and essays, as well as her profiles, have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Afar, The Atlantic, and Smithsonian. In 2016, she published an award-winning biography of a hula pioneer. She directs conferences on narrative journalism and leads workshops across the country. She also edits books and coaches professional writers.


Number of sessions: 5

Time: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Dates: Mondays, January 22, 29; February 5, 12, 26. Note: no class on February 19.

Course fee: $320

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