Truth, Lies, and Storytelling: Writing Memoir (with Zoe FitzGerald Carter)

Zoe FitzGerald Carter




TUESDAYS, APRIL 4—25  |  In this four-week class, we will cover all the basics of writing memoir, beginning with structure (beginnings, endings, timelines, and story arcs) and ending with more abstract issues of metaphor and theme (what is your story REALLY about?). In between, we will talk about what makes up a strong narrative voice (tone, language, style), how to write convincing dialogue, and why it is important to think of yourself as a character on the page. We will also tackle the question, What is truth in memoir?

Whether your memoir is largely theoretical or fully underway, this class will give you a chance to think both deeply and practically about your work and develop your writing tools. We will have some quick and fun in-class exercises and read excerpts from literary memoirs and first-person essays. Each student will have a chance to submit a short piece of writing for critique by the class. (Critiques are meant to be helpful and supportive; I maintain a strict no-snark zone in my class.)

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you have questions about the class or want to make sure it is a good fit.

Zoe FitzGerald Carter is the author of the memoir Imperfect Endings: A Daughter’s Story of Love, Loss, and Letting Go (Simon & Schuster). The book chronicles her mother’s decision to end her life after living with Parkinson’s disease for many years and the struggle Zoe and her two sisters had coming to terms with that choice. Paula Span of the New York Times said, “I could quote from this book all day,” and People magazine wrote that Imperfect Endings “coaxes beauty from the bleak.” A graduate of Columbia Journalism School, Zoe has written for numerous publications including the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsweek, Salon, and Vogue. Zoe is currently at work on a nonfiction book about race, Facebook, and unexpected kinship. She also performs with local string band Sugartown. Learn more at and on Facebook.


Number of sessions: 4

Time: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Dates: Tuesdays, April 4, 11, 18, 25

Course fee: $315

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