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Come explore Esalen's new 28-day residential study offerings. Our next cohort begins March 11.


The Craft and Art of Effective Memoir Writing Week of February 25-March 2, 2018

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Workshop Details

Memoir writing is one of the most challenging forms of narrative non-fiction. A memoir is by definition revealing, and often intimate. To write about one’s own life in prose that is compelling and engaging demands discipline and a deep self-awareness. In this workshop, aspiring memoirists can learn the art and craft of writing their life stories in authentic, captivating prose.
We will explore questions that every memoirist faces: How accurate is my memory, especially when it comes to events that took place years — even decades — ago? My life is interesting to me, and to those who know me, but how do I make it interesting to a wider readership? How do I navigate the tricky terrain of writing about people who are still alive? How do I turn myself into a reliable narrator, one the reader will come to know and trust?
We will do writing exercises, and each participant will come away from the workshop with at least one polished chunk of prose, as well as a plan for moving forward. Participants should bring whatever writing tools they are most comfortable using: pad and pen/pencil, laptop, index cards, or any combination thereof. Also bring an example of memoir writing you particularly admire for group discussion.
Recommended reading: Hafner, Mother Daughter Me; Fechtor, Stir; Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air.


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