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

Louise Nayer




SUNDAYS, JANUARY 21 & 28  |  How do you draw readers into the world of your memoir—whether traveling on a BART train in San Francisco, hiking along the banks of the Merced River in Yosemite, or remembering your first house as a child? In a comfortable environment, 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. There will be plenty of time for questions. The second session will include a supportive critique session where students bring in work to share. You’ll leave with a body of writing, some new writing friends, many handouts, and the inspiration and determination to keep up a writing schedule. Coffee, tea, and snacks will be provided.

Louise Nayer, M.F.A., winner of six California Arts Council grants, has taught creative writing for over 40 years. She is the author of five books. Her last book Burned: A Memoir was an O: The Oprah Magazine Great Read and won the Wisconsin Library Association Award. Her new memoir, Poised for Retirement: Moving from Anxiety to Zen, was published in June 2017. She has also been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, Next Avenue and Rolling Stone. She has given readings of her work all over the country and has been interviewed on numerous radio stations including NPR.


Number of sessions: 2

Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Dates: Sundays, January 21 and 28

Course fee: $160

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