Writing About Place

Friday, January 26, 2024 to Monday, February 5, 2024

Event Time

China Standard Time:
Friday, January 26; Monday, January 29; Friday, February 2; Monday, February 5
8:00-9:30 pm

Participation Format

*Please download and install the Zoom Application beforehand. Yale Center Beijing’s staff will contact confirmed participants for further testing in advance of the program to ensure a pleasant experience.


  • Four 90-minute online lecture and discussion sessions (a total of 6 hours) over 2 weeks
  • Tailored feedback on the final pieces (after four sessions are completed) from Aaron Reiss
  • Pre-program reading selected by Aaron Reiss
  • An practicum after every session

* Those who attend all of the sessions will each receive a certificate of completion. 

The language of the event will be English.   



  • Middle / high school / university students and anyone who is interested in writing (Recommendation: be at least 14 years old)
  • English language proficiency for meaningful participation during discussions

Registration Components:

  • One “fast take” response about why this program interests you (in English, 140 characters or under)
  • OPTIONAL: English fluency test scores (IELTS or SSAT or SAT or TOEFL)

* Registration is subject to approval. Participants do not need to take an English fluency test to qualify for the program.


  • Early Bird (by January 8): RMB 3,999 
  • Group Discount Price (at least two persons): RMB 4,288 per person
  • Standard Ticket: RMB 5,999

*The registration fee for the event is non-refundable. Unless due to a force majeure reason, Yale Center Beijing will not refund any part of the registration fee if a participant fails to attend the event.


+86 139 1131 9551(周一至周五10:00-19:00)


To apply, scan the QR code below, or click HERE.


The Program 

Writing About Place

A four session introduction to writing about places: the buildings, activities, people, and customs that define them.

Session 1: Finding Stories
Friday, January 26 2024
20:00-21:30 CST

How to find a story worth telling? The first session talks about how to search for stories and when you know you have one. Learn to frame a story based on your audience and connect to bigger themes. In this session, we really learn “how to see”.
Practicum: Participants go out and explore their surroundings to choose the topic for their essay.


Session 2: The Basics
Monday, January 29 2024
20:00-21:30 CST

We cover the fundamentals of the five paragraph essay: structure, topic sentences, supporting “ “evidence”, hooks, and kickers.

Practicum: Participants make an outline of their essay and start research.


Session 3: Making It Beautiful
Friday, February 2 2024
20:00-21:30 CST

This session discusses how to find descriptive language, source colorful quotes, add visuals, and bring in the personal.
Practicum: Participants write a first draft.


Session 4: Refining and Finishing
Monday, February 5 2024
20:00-21:30 CST

We cover the basics of peer editing and self editing and edit some pieces in class.  
Practicum: Participants re-write their essay based on peer-review.



Aaron Reiss '10
Freelance Researcher, Journalist, and Cartographer

Aaron Reiss is a freelance researcher, journalist, and cartographer based in New York City. He publishes work in places like The New Yorker, The New York Times, This American Life, The Atlantic, NPR, The Pulitzer Center, and more. He went to Yale University and majored in Urban Planning and Environmental Studies. Now his work focuses more on interactive journalism - combining different kinds of media (visual and otherwise) to tell rich and complex stories about how people live.

Arts & Humanities

Public Event