Classes & Workshops

Personal Essay & Memoir Writing (Online)

Instructor(s): Aaron Gilbreath
Beginner Beginner Beginner

You have true stories to tell, and this class will help you tell them. Strong first-person narrative nonfiction is more than anecdotes and memories. In a supportive environment, we’ll talk about the importance of introductory paragraphs, setting scenes, checking facts, and making personal experience universal through themes. We’ll explore memories for material, discuss techniques for interviewing sources, and talk about the value of keeping a notebook. We’ll also read essays by Meghan Daum, James Baldwin, Roxane Gay, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Poe Ballantine, Luc Sante, and Gwendolyn Knapp. You’ll generate and revise new material, and leave class with pages you can work on further. Whether part of a larger memoir or a stand-alone essay, we’ll sculpt the stories that, as Joan Didion said, we tell ourselves in order to live.