The Art of Memoir: Drawing Readers Into Your World (with Louise Nayer)

Louise Nayer

Louise Nayer


Number of sessions: 2

Meeting time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Dates: Sundays, September 20 & 27

Course fee: $155

How do you draw readers into the world of your memoir—whether it’s set in a subway station in New York City, or an outpost in Alaska? In this 6-hour intensive class, we’ll go over the basic elements of great memoir writing. Exercises will help you heighten language through sensory detail, learn the difference between scene and summary, and deal with time shifts by using flashback and slow-motion techniques. We will also review the more challenging aspects of point of view, so you can find the right voice and fully engage your readers. What makes certain voices sing off the page? In the second session of the class you’ll learn about how to go deeper into scenes, how to structure a memoir and narrative arc. Excerpts from Judith Barrington’s Memoir Writing and from great memoir writers will be used for inspiration and to help with structure. We will also discuss emotional blocks and ethical concerns about memoir writing. There will be plenty of time for questions.  You’ll leave with a body of writing, many handouts, and the inspiration and determination to keep up a writing schedule. In the second session, there will be a supportive critique session where students bring in work to share. Coffee, tea and snacks provided!

Louise Nayer, MFA, winner of six California Arts Council grants, has taught creative writing for over 30 years. She has published four books. Her most recent book Burned: A Memoir was listed in Oprah Magazine, was a finalist for the USA Book News Award, and won the Wisconsin Library Association Award. She has given readings of her work all over the country and has been interviewed on NPR.

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