Illuminating the Past in Memoir

Illuminating the Past in Memoir

Garrard Conley
Non-Fiction
January 23 to February 17, 2017
Tuition Cost: 
$500
Class Size: 
15
Session: 
Winter
Level: 
4-Week Workshop

How do memoirists re-enter the mysteries of past experience?

The answer, for many of us, resides in our ability to 'play' with the past and find enjoyment in exciting literary techniques memoirists and fiction writers have passed down to us. To that end, our writing exercises will focus primarily on imagery and perspective: imagery, because a few carefully curated sensory details can often illuminate the past in extraordinary and surprising ways; perspective, because speaking about the past with authority always involves looking at it from a unique angle. The combined force of these two tools can offer up a fresh take on the past that gives us the distance and freedom to play with our stories and shape them into what they need to become.

We will be considering excerpts from memoirs and other nonfiction pieces (and occasionally excellent autofiction) as a way of solving any problems we have encountered thus far in our memoir writing. Though writers are not required to have completed a draft of a memoir, they should come to the class with fully formed ideas for projects.

Biography

GARRARD CONLEY is the author of the memoir, Boy Erased. His work can be found in TIME, VICE, CNN, Buzzfeed Books, Virginia Quarterly Review, and others. He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Elizabeth Kostova Foundation Writers' Conferences and has facilitated craft classes for Catapult, Grub Street, and the Sackett Street Writers Workshop. Oprah.com chose Boy Erased as one of the Top Ten Memoirs of 2016.

Academic Year: 
2016-2017