So you have a draft of a memoir, and now you want to shape your story into a compelling narrative. How do you do this without sacrificing the integrity of the story? Which details of your research and/or life should you include? How do you make art out of this mess of details? Our intensive class will examine several fine examples of uniquely structured memoirs, from classics to newer, multi-genre experimental works. We will also work on short exercises to jump-start our creative structuring processes. We will walk away from this class with a renewed sense of purpose and a refreshing sense of opportunity. Our takeaway: The memoir is limitless.
Though students do not need a full manuscript to enter the class, they should have a sense of story and/or a fair amount of research they would like to structure. At the end of the class, each student will receive an email from the instructor including a review of their work in the course and individualized strategies for moving forward with their memoir.
Garrard Conley's first book, Boy Erased: a memoir (Penguin 2016) was a top Oprah.com, Buzzfeed, and L.A. Times nonfiction read and is soon to be a major motion picture from Focus Features (September 2018). His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in TIME, VICE, Virginia Quarterly Review, CNN, and elsewhere. He has been a Bread Loaf and Sewanee scholar and currently teaches the Memoir Incubator program at Grub Street in Boston. His first novel is forthcoming from Riverhead/Penguin. He lives with his husband in Brooklyn.