Memoir Workshop with Heather Donahue (4/17 – 5/22)

Heather Donahue

Instructor: Heather Donahue
Number of sessions: 6
Meeting time: Tuesdays 6:30-9:00
Dates: 4/17 – 5/22

Course fee: $385 with $100 to reserve space in the class

To register, contact the instructor. All deposits are nonrefundable.

Description: In this six-week workshop we’ll burrow into your life story to find the universal in your particulars. If you’re still at a stage where you’re journaling and not quite sure how to step onto the path toward a publishable memoir, this class is for you. If you’re struggling through a new draft and your voice is sometimes unsteady or you feel like you might be stringing together events and anecdotes without a coherent story, this class is for you too. Guidance will be tailored to each individual student’s level, keeping in mind that sometimes even the most advanced students can use a nudge about basics like details and scene structure. We will often work deep. We will often laugh. It will always be safe, but come brave anyway. That said, don’t confuse this class with therapy. Our focus is to serve the reader a kick-ass story.

Please read Vivian Gornick’s The Situation and the Story and David Shields’ Reality Hunger before the class begins. They’ll be referred to in our workshop discussions. We will discuss perhaps (for me, anyway) one of the most challenging aspects of completing a memoir: time management. We will make time for the other challenges of memoir too, like the delicate dance and occasional crashes of writing about loved ones, the places where memory and narrative hug and where they wrestle, and the moral implications therein. In the last class, we will discuss strategies for finding agents and publishers as well as the new digital options for bringing your story to readers. Not to scare you, but we will also read aloud.

There will be a prize for the students who volunteer to workshop their pages in the first class. You’ll like it. Promise. See you in February.

Instructor Bio: Heather Donahue’s first story, about spider plant babies being severed from their mothers was an elementary school award winner. Still, she got a little bit sidetracked by acting, and after getting a BFA in Theater at the University of the Arts she appeared in the Steven Spielberg miniseries Taken, The Blair Witch Project, Always Sunny in Philadelphia and other things. Her first adult writing prize, as the winner of the Bust Magazine/Good Vibrations erotica contest, was definitely adult. In addition to Bust, her writing has appeared at the Huffington Post, the Orange Coast Review and the interdisciplinary art show “Men Without Names” which is currently traveling through LA, Berlin, and elsewhere. She has participated in the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and studied with Jim Krusoe in Santa Monica. Her memoir, Growgirl, will be published by Gotham/Penguin on January 5, 2012. There’s more at