Public Writing: An Introduction

Who's it for?

This four-day workshop is intended for academics who are interested in discovering the possibilities of writing for the general public in a variety of nonfiction genres such as essays, op-eds, and reviews. The workshop is appropriate for scholars who have done a modest amount of public writing already, or who are looking for a way to begin.

Who is eligible?

You must have completed a doctoral degree in the humanities or social sciences to be considered for participation.


What will we learn?

We will explore style and structure through writing exercises, readings, discussion, and sharing work. We will also discuss some practical aspects of short-form nonfiction writing, such as thinking about audience, finding a suitable genre and outlet, and getting pieces published. Ideally participants will bring a project they would like to work on during the class.

What's the format?

This workshop will be offered online via Zoom. You must have an internet connection in order to participate. You will be expected to be fully available throughout all four days of the workshop, 17-20 March 2021.  This workshop is capped at a maximum of fifteen participants.


Who is teaching this workshop?

The workshop instructor is Irina Dumitrescu (University of Bonn). Information about her work as a writer is available at:

The workshop will also feature guest appearances by David Perry (University of Minnesota) and Robyn Autry (Wesleyan University).


How much does it cost?

The workshop is offered free of cost to all participants, thanks to the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Humanities. It is a component of the Jackman Humanities Institute's public humanities initiative, Humanities at Large.


How can I apply?

Scroll to the bottom of this page, and click Apply Now.

What will be needed in my application?

  1. You must have an account in the website of the Jackman Humanities Institute; set one up and then log in to your account.
  2. A professional CV that includes information about all of your academic and non-academic writing
  3. A personal statement (2 pages): Where are you  now with writing and in your academic career? How do you see the potential role(s) of public writing in your life and career?
  4. A project proposal (1 page): This may be a sample of work underway, or a description of what you envision writing in this workshop.
  5. A writing sample (any length): This could be a published of unpublished piece of public writing; if this is not feasible, a sample of academic writing that gives insight into your project or your voice.
  6. Equity information will be collected. This is confidential, optional, and does not affect the evaluation of applications.


What's the deadline?

Midnight (EST) on Friday 27 November 2020.


Contact JHI Associate Director Dr. Kimberley Yates at if you have questions about the workshop, or need assistance with the website.