University of Iowa

Nancy K. Barry

Nancy K. Barry (Ph.D., University of Illinois) is a playwright and essayist who teaches creative writing, poetry, and nonfiction at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Her essays have appeared in Iowa Woman, the Chicago Tribune, and The Baltimore Sun. In 2010, she transformed a memoir about her year spent teaching writing and undergoing breast cancer treatment into a one-woman show, Lessons from Cancer College, which was produced in several theatres in Iowa and Minnesota.

Instructor Events

This course is designed for writers who work in short personal essays or extended prose memoirs and sometimes find themselves stuck on the varieties of past and present verb tenses, not to mention the pesky “perfect” forms that can sabotage the best of sentences.

Many of us have either a digital archive or a paper-weighted box of letters we have written that capture our voice, our daily dramas (large and small), and sometimes even our most fully-articulated selves. Indeed, sometimes when we read essays, we feel intuitively that they capture the spirit and style of a great letter. In this workshop, we will work to transform the “best bits” of letters we have written (or even received) into essays that transcend the particular time and place of their origin.