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On Sundays We Write: Borrowed Forms

Writing the "Hermit Crab” Essay—Or How to Use Borrowed Forms to Structure Your Work

with Randon Billings Noble

Tickets $20, Preregistration Required

Join Randon Billings Noble to explore a curious new sub-genre of creative nonfiction: the so-called “hermit crab” essay. Hybrids in the truest sense, hermit crab essays borrow their structures from ordinary, extra-literary sources (a recipe, a police report, a pack of cards, an obituary…) to use as a framework for a lyric meditation on the chosen subject. Using borrowed forms is an incredibly liberating way to work—exciting for both new writers as well as more advanced practitioners. In this workshop, we will do a close reading of a short hermit crab essay, discuss the importance of choosing the right “shell,” and generate new work.

Randon Billings Noble is an essayist. Her collection Be with Me Alwaysis forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press in early 2019, and her lyric essay chapbook Devotionalwas published by Red Bird in 2017.  Individual essays have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, listed as notable in Best American Essays 2016, and appeared in The New York Times, The Massachusetts Review, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. Currently she is Reviews Editor at Tinderbox Poetry Journal,and a freelance reviewer for The A.V. Club.