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Writing and Remembering: A Memoir Workshop

ENGL 435.640
T 5:30-8:10

This workshop will help both new and experienced writers explore the elements that go into creating an effective memoir - the storytelling that allows writers to recreate for their readers the events that helped them shape their inner lives and sense of self. Through exercises and assignments, students will tap into their memories and imagination and learn how not only to validate the stories and the themes of their own lives, but how to write vividly about them. We will focus on details, pace and tone, as well as on revision and on the ethics of how to write "truth" when it may have an impact other people?s lives. We will also mine a deeper understanding of the craft by reading from a wide range of writers, including Joan Didion, Maxine Hong Kingston, Barbara Kingsolver, John Edgar Wideman, William Zinsser, Tobias Wolfe, James Baldwin and Jamaica Kincaid. In addition to in-class writing, students will be asked to maintain writing journals, participate in workshop discussions and peer review, and write and revise work on a weekly basis.