How to Write a Memoir Not About Yourself (1830)

Four Tuesdays: April 3, 10, 17, 24, 7 to 9 p.m. Sold out!

To be added to the class wait list, please email, and be sure to specify which sold-out class you're interested in!

$120 (10% off for members)

This workshop will meet for two hours on four different evenings. The first two meetings will feature a brief lecture, followed by a discussion of the four assigned memoirs. The second two meetings will feature discussions about your own writing. 

Each participant who wishes for their own work, at the instructor's discretion, to be alluded to or discussed, should hand in the opening 5-10 pages (maximum) of their work-in-progress, along with a single paragraph summary of their memoir. These should be made available, anonymously if you prefer, at least a week before our first meeting by emailing the excerpts as Word documents to 

Each required book is a little about its author, but largely about family or someone else. There are many issues to be discussed, including the difference between honest depiction and hagiography, the difference between psychological portraiture and merely chronological description, the often fluid boundary between fact and fiction -- both of which strive for verisimilitude. And also how to find the right narrative tone and 
temperament when dealing with personal experience. 

Additional reading suggestions will be provided. Going Bush, by Kirsty Gunn, which is about the author's passion for Katherine Mansfield, will be provided to all participants, and there will be other hand-outs as I look forward to working with you.

Greene On Capri, Shirley Hazzard
Dora Bruder, Patrick Modiano
Lucian Freud: Eyes Wide Open, Phoebe Hoban (available by special order only, and could take up to two weeks to arrive)
Writing to Save a Life, John Edgar Wideman

*Please come to the first meeting having read all assigned texts. 

Howard Norman has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award. He has received the Lannan Award in literature. For 30 years, he has taught nonfiction and fiction workshops at the University of Maryland, the New York State Writers Institute, and at conferences in Amsterdam and other European cities. His most recent memoir is I Hate To Leave This Beautiful Place. He is completing a memoir about his grandfather, Who Said You Were Supposed To Be Happy.

REFUND POLICY: Please note that we can issue class refunds up until seven (7) days before the first class session.

Greene on Capri: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374527778
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - June 4th, 2001

Dora Bruder Cover Image
By Patrick Modiano, Joanna Kilmartin (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780520218789
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: University of California Press - November 7th, 2014

Lucian Freud: Eyes Wide Open (Icons #3) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781477801185
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Amazon Publishing - November 28th, 2017

Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501147296
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Scribner - October 3rd, 2017