BLAISE ALLYSEN KEARSLEY
Hello, it's me. I know the name looks complicated. I would like to help you with that:
My first name is pronounced BLAZE, my middle name is just ALISON, but with some
different letters, and my last name sounds like KEY-ERS-LEE.
That's it for this first section of my website. It's been pretty demanding already.
September 6, 2022
IT'S HERE. I'm thrilled and honored to be included in the new anthology, Nonwhite and Woman: 131 Micro Essays on Being in The World edited by Darien Hsu Gee and Carla Crujido. (Title inspired by the Lucille Clifton poem "won't you celebrate with me.") Badass BIPOC women contributors include Tayari Jones, Deesha Philyaw, Eugenia Kim, and many more. Grab a copy—maybe at Bookshop.org or your local spot. Bezos doesn't need your biz.
Blaise Allysen Kearsley is a New York-based Black-biracial writer and teacher and the creator/producer/host of How I Learned, a long-running storytelling, comedy, and reading series.
Her writing has appeared in Catapult, Longreads, VICE, The Boston Globe, Midnight Breakfast, Electric Literature's The Nervous Breakdown, Oldster, Elle.com, and four anthologies—Nonwhite and Woman, PEREGRINE, Cringe, and Mortified: Real Words. Real People. Real Pathetic.. She has written for several magazines and online outlets dating back to 2001 that are perhaps not worth mentioning by name and probably don't even exist anymore.
She has been mentoring writers since 2016 and has developed in-person, synchronous, and text-based multi-week workshops, webinars, and intensives for creative communities across the country.
She is a contributing editor at Vestal Review, the oldest flash fiction journal on the planet. As a storyteller she has performed at The Moth, Risk, Literary Death Match, Mortified, The Gotham Storytelling Festival, and at various venues that serve booze and sometimes snacks. In another life,, she took a lot of pictures with actual cameras, and some of those pictures were published in places like New York Magazine, Gawker, Playbill, The Morning News, JPG Magazine, and Nerve.
She lives in Brooklyn but if you need her for something somewhere else, maybe she'll go there.
[ select writing
🜃 Words To Call a Sweater (PEREGRINE, Yellow Arrow Journal, Vol. VII, No. 2, 2022)
🜃 A Jet All The Way (Oldster Magazine, 2022)
🜃 The First Time It Happened (Nonwhite and Woman Anthology, Woodhall Press, 2022)
🜃 The Story of My Father's Hands (Catapult, 2022)
🜃 Finding Oneself in 'Surviving the White Gaze' (The Boston Globe, 2021)
🜃 Why Mr. Bauer Didn't Like Me (Longreads, 2019)
[ blaise writers workshop + consulting
My mission as a writing instructor is to help foster the growth of aspiring, emerging, and established creative nonfiction writers by challenging them to not only sharpen existing tools but consider new approaches and to write from a place of investigative curiosity and artistic intuition in order to solve problems, crack the work open, and find the stories begging to be told. Every workshop is a tailored, inclusive, non-judgey environment for working hard and staying soft.
While getting published isn't the end goal for every writer or every project, I'd be remiss not to mention that some wonderful work by current and former students has appeared in Modern Love, Blavity, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Narratively, Bright Flash Literary Review, McSweeney's, Elle.com, Rolling Stone, Lenny Letter, The Lunch Ticket, Dame Magazine, Manifest Station, Refinery29, Texas Monthly, and 11th Street Journal. A gorgeous handful of chapbooks and book-length memoirs have also been unleashed into the world or are forthcoming from Viking, Simon & Schuster, Bottlecap Press, and other publishers.
8-Week BIPOC Writers' Creative Nonfiction Workshop
[ sold out ]
Mondays, September 11th - November 6th
(no class on October 9th);
7:00 - 9:30 pm ET (Zoom).
Limited to 7 writers.
What elements of creative nonfiction craft are calling for attention in your writing? What are the stories that are waiting for you? What challenges and matters of resistance do you grapple with as a unique writer of color? How do you contextualize your experiences on the page?
We'll take a cue from David Mura's book A Stranger's Journey: Race, Identity, and Narrative Craft in Writing as we show up to the page and show up for each other. We will sweat our way through purpose-oriented prompts, discuss peer submissions, cultivate simmering ideas, and consider new approaches.
Special guest speakers will come talk to us about their practice and offer personal insights on writing and life.
$360 if returning for a second workshop.
$350 if returning for a third and beyond.
Sliding scale / low-cost options available.
Learn More / Sign Up
8-Week Intermediate / Advanced Memoir Writing
Tuesdays, September 19th - November 14th (no class on October 10th);
7:00 - 9:30 pm ET (Zoom).Limited to 7 writers.
This workshop is for intermediate and advanced creative nonfiction writers who have projects in the works (or in mind) and want to share pages with their peers to actively engage in and learn from the feedback process.
Each writer will be able to submit work on up to 3 occasions over the course of 8 weeks. There will also be a guest speaker, short reading assignments, and weekly opportunities to generate new pages through in-class exercises.
As a participant, you'll see the merits and challenges of your work from outside perspectives and be exposed to stories different than your own.
Sponsored by Writing Workshops
More Info / Enroll
Write Your Memoir in 12 Weeks
Beginning September 20th; virtual and text-based / asynchronous (Zoom + WetInk)
Limited to 5 writers.
The deal is this. You want to finish a complete draft of your book. Any draft of your book.
Think of your tome not as an ALL-CAPS GOAL but more as a system built ground-up from craft insights, self-knowledge, and your writerly intuition. Gather up all the intentions for writing your memoir.
Consider what you can see yourself actualizing in your own real life, in this real wild world. Let the other intentions fall away. Direct your fear or pride or recklessness or discombobulation (and all of the other things) to the next right step.
Make space and time for getting lost, for unexpected detours, and heavy emotional traffic. Power straight through pages and pages without turning back. Find the road by driving.Submit up to 2,000 words for weekly peer and instructor review. Five one-and-a-half hour Zoom meetups with discussions and write-ins. Lectures with optional prompts posted each week.
Sponsored by Writers.com
Syllabus / Enroll
The Topography of Memory
Wednesday, November 29th + December 6th; 7:00 - 9:00 pm ET (Zoom);
Open to all.
This is a 2-day adaptation of a multi-week workshop. Memory is fluid, faulty, and fallible. How is our writing both hindered and enhanced by the limitations of memory? How can we navigate the gaps in our recall? What do we do when the memories are vague or elusive?
How does memory function in the brain? Where does it live in the body? How do we navigate the ways the limitations of memory hinder our writing? What insights into the writing craft might memory gaps provide?
We'll explore these questions through discussion and writing exercises.
We'll look at new approaches and sharpen existing tools for excavating long- and short-term memories, unearthing core narratives, and important secondary events. What are the brain-encoded stories we need to tell?
In person or remote.
Get individual attention, personalized creative direction and guidance for books, essays, and pieces to pitch for publication.We'll identify your goals and you'll receive thorough critical feedback to manifest your intention. In the universally perpetual quest for accountability and momentum, signing up for 3 sessions at a time is recommended, but tailoring the mentorship for each individual is first and foremost.
Sliding scale for BIPOC, LGBTQ+ people with disabilities.
Payment plans and low-cost options for financial hardship are available.
Free initial consultation
[ things people say:
"Blaise's class made me a stronger writer.
It was the hardest workshop I've ever done, but also one of the most important."
— Jennifer Stewart
"I've taken several workshops over the years, all over the country, and this was by far the best. Blaise is a goddamn treasure."
— Memoir workshop participant
"Blaise believed in me and my writing and showed me how I, too, can believe in myself and my writing. The level of care she provides for her students is unparalleled."
— Tiffany Yo
"I love that the readings center BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ voices. That has been an important and edifying element."
— Kimberly Balsam
"Blaise was really able to build a community on Zoom. This is an incredibly difficult thing to do, and she made it seem so easy."
"Submitting something for publication was one of my goals and that gave me the push I needed to hit the 'send' button. In addition, everything this group taught me about specificity, vulnerability and vivid storytelling made a huge difference. I'm so thankful for our eight weeks together."
— Genevieve (Gwen) Kingston
"This is a fantastic format. The small class size ensures everyone gets ample time and submission opportunities. It is so useful to see what questions come up with multiple readers. It's like a tiny focus group for pinpointing the areas of my writing that need further development."
— Creative nonfiction workshop participant
"Blaise is such a skilled reader and editor, and her notes are always valuable. She offers wonderful perspectives and assembles groups of writers with keen perspectives of their own. Highly recommend."
"Deadlines do wonders for circumventing procrastination. Nothing sharpens the mind like presenting personal work to a great, vetted group of writers."
— Ravi Kroesen
"What Blaise does is so specific and special.
You can't find it in other workshops."
— Jennifer Stewart
"This class has been water in the desert for me."
— Mary Robertson
"If you're looking for a more tailored workshop experience, this is the place."
— Flash nonfiction workshop participant
" 1.) Your exuberance and contagious laughter made everyone feel more open. 2.) My God, revising is your superpower. The before and after is astonishing and I might frame a page or two. I will take anything of yours I can get a spot for."
— Robert Bond, Jr.
"I feel so inspired, enriched, encouraged, and empowered in my writing practice. I've been sitting at my desk since we all logged off just feeling how full of gratitude my heart is—for you, the workshop, and the entire group."
— Adaeze Elechi
"Right after the first class I started paying closer attention to how writers had created characters and how their desires moved stories forward in shows I was watching and novels I was reading. It made me more mindful of the intentionality behind works I like, which will crystalize even more when I write. The writing samples were all new to me and amazing. I’ve reordered my reading list accordingly. I didn’t think I would like the in-class writing exercises but I did. I really liked the time constraints and how they forced me to write from the gut."
— Two-day character development workshop participant
"I genuinely looked forward to each week. The advice you gave sent me back out into the world with confidence and purpose."
— Creative writing workshop participant
"I want to thank you for not only helping me improve my writing but for the confidence
and practical knowledge I got from your classes to polish and submit my work. Your feedback and mentorship have meant so much to me."
"You treat every question with such a genuine desire to give the best possible answer. For someone like me, that means the world."
"Thank you for creating this generous space
for us to try new things and be vulnerable, for the insightful feedback, and for leading us through the last 8 weeks. I'm really grateful."
— Alex Fendrich
"I had to show up for myself and others who counted on me, even when I felt like all I wanted to do was hide under my couch. Being part of this creative group of writers saved me."
— Anna Grundström
"What a pleasure it has been to work with you. You're truly the best, and thank you so much for finding time to work with me."
— Jennifer Taylor-Skinner
[ how i learned
Photo: Jon Boulier
Blaise Allysen's Kearsley's HOW I LEARNED series, a live reading/storytelling/comedy show, was born on the Lower East Side in 2009 and had a 10-year(!) run. The series featured Janelle James, Aparna Nancherla, Alexander Chee, Anna Sale, Ayo Edebiri, Joel Kim Booster, Nore Davis, Dodai Stewart, Jo Firestone, Jami Attenberg, Chloe Caldwell, Ophira Eisenberg, Isaac Fitzgerald, Nick Flynn, Mira Jacob, Rakesh Satyal, Lizz Winstead, Sasheer Zamata, Isaac Oliver, Mike Albo, Phoebe Robinson, Choire Sicha, Dan Kennedy, Rob Sheffield, Rosie Schaap, David Crabb, Kevin Allison, and many, many, many, many, many more.
Named one of "Five Best Comedy Shows Hosted By Women" by CBS New York and one of the Best Storytelling Series and Best Reading Series by Time Out New York.
"Hostess Blaise Allysen Kearsley makes sure to keep it awkwardly funny." -CBS New York
"...Always hilarious, sometimes touching, and without fail entertaining." -Brooklyn Magazine
"This show has renewed my faith in this whole storytelling endeavor and what it means in the world." -David Crabb, Host of The Moth
"Blaise Allysen Kearsley is a charming host with an irrepressible, humming little laugh that seems to be a compromise she’s made with some wicked guffaw within." -LitWrap
And another thing:
Come through for a free two-and-a-half-hour writing block (and the occasional extended write-in). No prompts. No sharing. Just creative energy, accountability, and good vibes. It's like study hall, but better. Pop in for part of the time or stay for the whole thing.
use this form or email email@example.com
Okay, this is the end of my website. You did a great job.
Photo: Adam Paul Verity
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