In response to posting my picks, one Writergrrrl asked what my opinion of Clare Dederer’s nonfiction/memoir class, Problems in Overwhelm.
I have no personal experience with Dederer as a teacher. I read her pop culture criticism at Seattle Weekly through the 90s, and was happy to see her well-deserved rise to a national level; New York Times, Slate, etc.
That said, good writers are not always good teachers. Last year, I took a workshop from a celebrated Northwest writer. A $100 nap. In direct contrast, in a workshop with the almost-as-famous Aimee Bender, her energy and commitment really took us somewhere. I came out of the class with a start on a fully weird piece about the polka-dotted nursery where babies go after they miscarry.
I will say that from the looks of things, Dederer’s class has all the makings of a Wendy Call/David Schmader success for writers on the exploratory end of the spectrum. I am enthusiastic about this sentence from her clean-lined class description: “We’ll explore strategies for narrowing and selecting our material.”