Please note that this is an online workshop conducted via Zoom. Participants will be provided information on how to join the online sessions.
“People mistakenly believe the best memoir is the one in which the grossest stuff happens,” Mary Karr says, in her The Art of Memoir interview with The Paris Review. For Karr, subject matter does not make the memoir. What happened is never as interesting as how the memoirist writes about what happened. “How it’s written,” she adds, “counts for something.” In this 6-week memoir class, we will study strategies for how memoir is written. Good memoir, we will learn, is defined by the writer’s use of craft elements like syntax, tone, dialogue, setting, and mood to establish narrative voice and build trust with the reader. We will be working in this class as both readers and writers. As readers, we will look at several memoir openings from writers like Kiese Laymon, Carmen Maria Machado, Cyrus Grace Dunham, and others to see how published authors establish voice to create psychologically and emotionally believable worlds. As writers, we will complete brief generative exercises and workshop openings from our own memoirs. Writers of all levels are welcome and are not required to enter the class with a memoir manuscript already written.