celebrating Black women writers

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Narrative Essay Writing for Healing & Liberation | 4-Week Workshop

Natasha Elle Thomas Sundays, August 4-25
1p-3p ET
10a-12p PT
12p-2p CT
4 class sessions

By signing up for a class, you agree to our refund policy and code of conduct here.

Narrative Essay Writing for Healing & Liberation offers a creative and sacred space for Black women writers to explore and harness the power of narrative essay writing as ritual, as a transformative and healing practice.

Participants delve into the unique essence of this essay form, understanding its potency in telling our stories, reclaiming voices, disrupting dominant narratives, cultivating solidarity among us, and granting us greater freedom through authentic self-expression.

Tailored to be expansive and inclusive, the course welcomes participants with diverse experiences and varying levels of expertise, ranging from beginners to advanced writers. It provides a balanced learning environment that is both rigorous and supportive, encouraging participants to delve deeply into their narratives.

Over 4 weeks, participants will not only learn how to craft their own narrative essays but also explore the works of such Black women luminaries as Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, bell hooks, Angela Davis, Roxane Gay, Toni Morrison, as well as provocative works of Black women essayists published by midnight & indigo.

The course aims to create a nurturing space where emotional engagement with the work is encouraged, and storytelling becomes a healing process. Active participation, open-mindedness, care, connection, and commitment to our work and to one another will be essential expectations for both the instructor and participants.

All class meetings will be held via Zoom. The link to join your Zoom classroom will be provided on the morning of your class. Please check spam folders if you do not receive an email confirmation upon registration. For more information on how to download or use Zoom, please click here.

Meet Your Instructor:
Natasha Elle Thomas

Natasha Elle Thomas, a writer, educator, and artist, bridges the worlds of social justice, healing arts, creative activism, spirituality, and transformational change. Certified as a Reiki energy worker, she specializes in reclaiming ancestral narratives, practices, rituals, and wisdom traditions for personal and collective healing and liberation. Natasha's writing has graced various publications, including The Hollywood Reporter, The Body is Not an Apology (TBINAA), Womanly Magazine, Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies, The Assisi Institute Journal: Memes & Memories, and more. She also penned the poetic foreword for IMAGN – Increasing Minority Awareness of Genetics Now, co-sponsored by the Black Congressional Caucus and the John Hopkins University Genetics and Public Policy Center. Her work also extends into the realm of arts-integrated education, where she currently serves as a Teaching Artist-in-Residence for Michigan Arts Access (which promotes creativity, education, and accessibility to the arts for youth with disabilities) and for the Race, Equity, Arts, and Cultural History (REACH) Initiative, which aims to establish a national replicable model for arts learning in U.S. schools. For her complete bio and links to her work, visit

Course Takeaways

  • Acquire essential technical writing skills for crafting compelling and impactful narrative essays
  • Learn to embrace vulnerability as a tool for empowerment in both storytelling and self-expression
  • Cultivate connections and a sense of community among fellow Black women writers, nurturing a supportive network
  • Investigate the contemporary and historical significance of narrative essay writing in the realm of Black women's experiences, perspectives, and cultural and creative contributions
  • Engage in reflective analysis to explore the works and legacies of influential Black women luminaries and essayists
  • Realize the potential for transformative healing through self-expression and storytelling within a safe and sacred space
  • Embrace essay writing as a powerful tool for promoting social justice, including racial and gender justice
  • Navigate the intersectionality within narratives, acknowledging the complexities of identity and experiences within storytelling
  • Acknowledge and embrace the legacy of Black women essayists, adding depth and richness to personal narratives and expressions.

Course Expectations

  • Pre-work will be assigned, including readings of selected works provided
  • Ongoing readings and analyses, requiring participants to engage with the material between sessions. Readings are designed to serve as examples, provoke introspection, and pave the way for deeper connections with the material, thereby preparing for our in-class discussions and exercises
  • We'll delve into not only the technical aspects of narrative essay writing but also the emotional work tied to personal and collective healing and liberation
  • Participants will actively workshop their ideas and drafts, offering constructive feedback and receiving guidance to refine their narrative essays

Course Skeleton

  • Week 1:Understanding the Essence of Narrative Essays - We'll immerse ourselves in the realm of narrative essay writing, uncovering its significance as a transformative and healing ritual. We'll learn the fundamentals, structure, and technical elements defining this unique essay form, understanding how it can empower us to tell our stories, reclaim our voices, disrupt prevailing narratives, and express our authentic selves. Through readings of influential Black women writers, we embark on a journey to explore the profound impact of narrative essays
  • Week 2: Crafting Compelling Narratives - Focus on the craft of storytelling, delving into the skills and embracing the vulnerability necessary for creating impactful narrative essays. Participants will engage in exercises and discussions aimed at refining their writing skills and spend time drafting at least one personal essay they will share in later sessions
  • Week 3: Exploring Intersectionality and Collective Narratives - Dive deeper into the multifaceted nature of narrative essay writing, exploring its intersection with Black women's experiences, perspectives, and cultural contributions. Reflective analyses of works by influential Black women luminaries guide us as we navigate through the complexities of identity and collective narratives. In-class discussions and exercises enrich our understanding of the historical and contemporary significance of this form in our personal and cultural healing and liberation
  • Week 4: Our Stories, Our Power: A Celebration - Each participant will share their stories and celebrating the journey they have taken throughout the course. We'll honor the legacy and richness of Black women essayists, culminating in a celebration of self, creative expression, community, sisterhood, solidarity, freedom, and storytelling as a healing process within our safe and nurturing space