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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Who's Telling Your Life Story? Narration in Memoir

No Longer Enrolling

  • $150.00 Non-Member
  • $130.00 Member

Class Description

The memoirist is asked to play many roles: simultaneously that of author, narrator, and character. And while the roles of author (you, who sits at the keyboard) and character (younger-you, in the scenes you are recollecting) may be easily understood, the role of narrator is both the slipperiest and perhaps the most important. As essayist and memoirist Vivian Gornick writes, “we pull from ourselves the narrator who can shape better than we can the inchoate flow of event into which we are continually being plunged.” The narrator is the one who both makes sense of and problematizes life. Essayist Philip Lopate reminds writers that the narrator must deliver to the reader what they’ve come to the book for: the sense that an active, searching mind lies behind the memoirist’s inquiry. So much for the narrator to do! But who is this crucial construct, and how do you find yours? In this class, participants will discover what a strong narrator can give a memoirist—and how to define and strengthen their own. The class will combine craft lecture, close reading and analysis of published work, and some brief exercises. Participants should bring ten pages of draft material to work with.

Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting!

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!