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

Memoir in Progress

No Longer Enrolling

  • $540.00 Non-Member
  • $520.00 Member

Class Description

Writing the first draft of your memoir can be daunting. Determining its scope, narrative voice, and perhaps the most challenging of all, figuring out how to handle time, are no easy tasks. But guidance in a group setting of peers facing similar questions can help. This class will tackle these big-picture issues and pay close attention to the minutiae of good writing.

Rather than a traditional workshop-structured class (where manuscripts are read and critiqued outside of the classroom for discussion the following week), this class allows students to take turns sharing five-page excerpts, which we will workshop in class ""on the fly."" In the remaining time, we will participate in some in-class exercises, and we'll discuss craft issues such as memory and imagination as it relates to recovering, recreating, and reflecting on the past; sharpening our voice(s) and point of view; shaping characters; using setting and place as a storytelling agent; writing scenes vs. exposition; integrating research; and forging our own form/structure. We will also examine some exemplary memoirs and personal essays, including work by such authors as: Alexander Chee, Cathy Park Hong, Edwidge Danticat, Kiese Laymon, Carmen Maria Machado, Nadia Owusu, Nada Samih-Rotondo, Ocean Vuong, and Jesmyn Ward.

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. Please visit the Resources tab to access the video-conference link.

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!