The Nuts and Bolts of Memoir (with Louise Nayer)

Louise Nayer

Louise Nayer




SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20  | How do you draw readers into the world of your memoir—whether it’s a subway station in New York City or an outpost in Alaska? 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 on the page?

In the second part of the class you’ll learn about how to structure a memoir and the importance of narrative arc.

Excerpts from Judith Barrington’s Writing the Memoir and from various 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 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 as well as some new writing friends.

Coffee and snacks provided! One-hour break for lunch. Beginners and intermediate students welcome.

Louise Nayer is the author of five books including two books of poetry.  Burned: A Memoir won the Wisconsin Library Association Award and was an Oprah Great Read. Poised for Retirement: Moving from Anxiety to Zen, part memoir/part self-help, was reviewed in Forbes. She has also published over 40 poems in magazines including Rolling Stone and written for OZY, Wear Your Voice and the San Francisco Chronicle. She has been interviewed widely including on NPR. She is the recipient of six California Arts Council Awards, and she has taught creative writing for over forty years.


Number of sessions: 1

Time: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Date: Sunday, October 20

Course fee: $130

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