Episode 112: Talking Books with The Stacks host Traci Thomas

Traci Thomas, the Stacks

Rummaging through piles of books has never been more fun than with books podcaster Traci Thomas, whose ebullient personality and searing smarts have grown her show, The Stacks, into a true indie media phenomenon. Whether she’s in a page-by-page read of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, revisiting Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, or getting honest over Iain Reid, Thomas and guests dig up treasures, poring over the best nuggets and helping us understand why we need to discard the worst. Thomas stopped by the Writers Grotto for lunch and visited the GrottoPod for a chat with Susie Gerhard that (spoiler alert!) includes lists of Traci’s favorite fiction and nonfiction titles.

Memoir in a Nutshell (with Julia Scheeres)


Julia Scheeres

Julia Scheeres

Contact: juliascheeres@gmail.com 

Number of sessions: 1

Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 noon

Date: Sunday, January 24

Course fee: $85

This seminar could also be called Everything You Wanted to Know About Memoir But Were Afraid to Ask. We will discuss the elements that go into a successful memoir, including dramatic storytelling, tension, vivid characters, and clear sense of direction.

We will review the basic building blocks of storytelling – scene, summary and musing, and how to navigate the places where memory fails you. We discuss issues that arise from writing about living people. We will also address the publishing business, including how to increase your chances of finding an agent and getting published. This seminar is a good fit for anyone thinking of writing a memoir or in the process of crafting one. There will be plenty of time for questions.

Free coffee and pastries included!

Julia Scheeres‘ memoir, Jesus Land, was a New York Times and London Times bestseller. She is also the author of the award-winning A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown. She contributes to the New York Times Book Review and teaches at creative writing for many venues, including Stanford University.

The Story of You: An Introduction to Memoir (with Julia Scheeres)


Julia Scheeres

Julia Scheeres

Contact: juliascheeres@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 6

Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Date: Thursdays, February 4, 11, 18, 25; March 3 & 10

Course fee: $395

How do we take the messy stuff of life and shape it into literature? That’s the focus of this class. Unlike autobiography—which covers the author’s entire life—memoir zooms in on a specific time period that is both meaningful and dramatic.

This class will study noted works by authors ranging from Sonali Deraniyagala to Tobias Wolff to examine what makes a successful memoir work. Students will learn the components of storytelling: vivid characters, evocative descriptions, crisp dialogue, conflict, subtext, and mood. In a supportive environment, they will synthesize their own material and receive constructive feedback from their peers.

This class is a good fit for writers of any level.

Julia Scheeres is author of the memoir Jesus Land, which was a New York Times and London Times bestseller. She reviews fiction and nonfiction for the New York Times Book Review and has taught writing through many venues, including Stanford University. To learn more: www.juliascheeres.com

Creative Nonfiction: The First 10 Pages (with Julia Scheeres)


Julia Scheeres

Julia Scheeres

Contact: juliascheeres@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 1

Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 noon

Date: Sunday, September 27

Course fee: $85

The first 10 pages of a book are arguably the most important. The author must set up the story, infuse it with drama, and captivate the reader. Crafting a successful opening will help you set the stage for the rest of your book. What works? Strong characters. Artful language. Drama. A clear sense of theme and direction. A mystery.

In this seminar, we will dissect the first 10 pages of two notable works of narrative nonfiction, discussing the underlying structure. We will review the building blocks of story: scene, summary, and musing. You will leave with better understanding of how to craft the opening of your own book. This class is for writers of any level who are writing memoir or narrative nonfiction. Free coffee and pastries included!

Julia Scheeres is the New York Times-bestselling author of the memoir Jesus Land and of A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown. She contributes to the New York Times Book Review and teaches creative writing at many venues, including Stanford University.

Memoir in a Nutshell (with Julia Scheeres)


Julia Scheeres

Julia Scheeres

Contact: juliascheeres@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 1

Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 noon

Date: Sunday, October 25

Course fee: $85

This seminar could also be called Everything You Wanted to Know About Memoir But Were Afraid to Ask. We will discuss the elements that go into a successful memoir, including dramatic storytelling, tension, vivid characters, and clear sense of direction.

We will review the basic building blocks of storytelling – scene, summary and musing, and how to navigate the places where memory fails you. We discuss issues that arise from writing about living people. We will also address the publishing business – including how to increase your chances of finding an agent and getting published. This seminar is a good fit for anyone thinking of writing a memoir or in the process of crafting one. There will be plenty of time for questions.

Free coffee and pastries included!

Julia Scheeres is the New York Times-bestselling author of the memoir Jesus Land and of A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown. She contributes to the New York Times Book Review and teaches at creative writing for many venues, including Stanford University.

Narrative Nonfiction Workshop (with Julia Scheeres)


Julia Scheeres

Julia Scheeres

Contact: juliascheeres@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 6

Time: 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Dates: Tuesdays, June 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28

Course fee: $390

 

This workshop is geared toward intermediate to advanced writers of narrative nonfiction — including memoir — who understand basic storytelling and would like to receive regular feedback on their work. Every week, each writer will read new pages aloud (usually 500 – 1,000 words) and receive an on-the-spot critique from peers. The aim of this workshop is to give participants a regular writing deadline and encouragement as they work toward finishing or polishing their manuscript. Your only homework will be to write, write, write.

Julia Scheeres is the New York Times-bestselling author of the memoir Jesus Land and of A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown.  She reviews books for the New York Times Book Review and has taught creative writing for many venues, including Stanford University.

Creative Nonfiction: Crafting the First 10 Pages of your Memoir or Nonfiction Book (with Julia Scheeres)


Julia Scheeres

Julia Scheeres

Contact: juliascheeres@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 1

Time: 9:00 am – 12 noon

Date: Sunday, May 31

Course fee: $85

The first ten pages of a book are arguably the most important. The author must set up the story, infuse it with drama, and captivate the reader. Crafting a successful opening will help you set the stage for the rest of your book. What works? Strong characters. Artful language. Drama. A clear sense of theme and direction. A mystery.

In this seminar, we will dissect the first ten pages of two notable works of narrative nonfiction, discussing the underlying structure. We will review the building blocks of story: scene, summary and musing. You will leave with better understanding of how to craft the opening of your own book. There will be plenty of time for questions. This class is for writers of any level who are writing memoir or narrative nonfiction. Free coffee and pastries included!

Julia Scheeres is the New York Times-bestselling author of the memoir Jesus Land and of A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown. She contributes to the New York Times Book Review and teaches creative writing for many venues, including Stanford University.