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Openings and Opening Up: The Art of Authenticity

START DATE: Tuesday, August 8th, 5pm to 9:30pm
LOCATION: Piven Theatre, Evanston
Register through Story Studio Chicago HERE


This innovative master class, led by Jill Pollack of StoryStudio Chicago and Deborah Siegel of Girl Meets Voice, offers you the opportunity to work on your story openings and to open up yourself in order to enrich your creations on the page.

Come prepared with a preliminary draft of a personal essay or story to work on during class.

The program is split–Openings and Opening Up–so you’ll have time to work with each instructor. After reading, writing, and workshopping, we’ll gather in the Piven Theatre to hear professional actors read and perform a few of the instructor-selected works.*

The Openings workshop will look at what makes a great story opening or first line. How do we drop a reader into the middle of the action and begin building the mystery to keep her reading? How does an opening scene prepare us for what’s to come? Through a combination of science, reading, and experimentation you’ll revise your story’s opening to grab the reader from the first words.

The Opening Up workshop will help you reach deeper into yourself and the reason you wanted to write this narrative in the first place. When people talk about an “authentic voice,” they are talking about an author’s rich honesty. Writing prompts will help guide you through the process of acknowledging what’s missing in your text and lead you toward articulating the deeper truth. Together, we’ll discern the kinds of expressed vulnerability that can bring a story alive.

*If you’d like your draft to be considered for the evening’s reading, please submit a piece of no more than 1,500 words to info@storystudiochicago.com by August 3.


Jill Pollack is the founder and director of StoryStudio Chicago—a storytelling and writing training center for creative writers and business professionals. In addition to teaching, writing, and forcing people to admit that they can’t live without great stories, Jill oversees programming and training for more than 1,200 students each year. A dramatic arts-trained refugee from the corporate world, Jill founded StoryStudio in 2003 and began developing new approaches to teaching storytelling for business, for the page, for the screen, and for changing technology. Her credo? Don’t Be Boring. She has published three books, and too many articles and blog posts to count. You can catch Jill speaking on the power of stories in our personal and professional lives at Chicago Ideas Week, ChicagoSHRM, Printers Row Literary Festival, and storytelling conferences. She was once again included in the Newcity Lit Top 50 list of literary leaders in Chicago.

Deborah Siegel, PhD is Coach-in-Chief at Girl Meets Voice, Inc., a public voice consultancy offering transformative thought partnership, one-on-one coaching, and creative retreats for individuals and groups. She brings to this work a background in narrative studies and a special interest in amplifying women’s voices in public spaces. Siegel herself is the author of two books (Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild and Only Child), a TEDx speaker, co-founder of She Writes, and a Senior Facilitator with The OpEd Project. A Visiting Scholar at Northwestern University, she’s currently working on a collection of essays about gender and childhood. Her writing has been featured in venues including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, CNN.com, The Forward, Kveller, Slate, The Huffington Post, The American Prospect, Ms., More, and Psychology Today. Learn more at www.girlmeetsvoice.com and www.deborahsiegelphd.com.