How to Start a Memoir and Not Stop Halfway Through with Heather Donahue (9/26 – 10/31)


Heather Donahue

Instructor: Heather Donahue


Number of sessions: 6

Meeting time: Wednesdays, 6:30-9:00

Dates: 9/26 – 10/31

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


Contact instructor to register. All deposits are nonrefundable.  

Description: In this six-week class 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 that first 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.

In addition to workshopping student work each week, there will be homework assignments focused on voice, detail selection and scene structure. We will also discuss non-craft topics such as time management, the moral implications of writing about your loved (and not so loved) ones, as well as the slippery slope of compositing characters and recreating hazy things like dialogue. There’s a blog post on my website called “Everything I Currently Know About Writing Memoir” that outlines my approach. It will give you some sense of the tone of my class and whether or not you think it might be right for you. I strive to create a warm, intimate, confidential setting in which people sometimes write about things even their partners and besties don’t know about them. That being said, the class is not therapy. We’ll mine events for insights that offer something to the reader. If you’re down with that and don’t mind the occasional f-bomb drop, we are likely to have a very productive six weeks together. See you in September!

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 in Los Angeles Magazine, 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, was published earlier this year by Gotham/Penguin. She’s currently at work on a novel about love and cancer. There’s more at

[close window]