Telling Your Story: Permission & the New Memoirist

Elissa Altman's picture
Elissa Altman
Week 4: June 28 to July 3
ORIENTATION: June 28, 6:00-7:30 PM
WORKSHOP: June 29-July 3, 9am-12pm
Discipline: Nonfiction/Memoir
Open to All

Workshop Description 

This workshop is part of MEMOIR & CREATIVE NONFICTION WEEK

The human compulsion to tell our stories makes us who we are; the act of crafting them into engaging personal narrative elevates them beyond the abstract. But the writing of memoir often begins with the daunting questions of permission, story ownership, and intimacy, which together can keep the new memoirist from moving into a place where voice and story are free to emerge. In this workshop, which will be both generative and workshop-focused, we will explore the magic in the mundane and the creation of engaging personal narrative, and tackle bigger craft questions that will enable the new memoirist to move beyond constraints of fear and ownership to a place of creative clarity. Come with the memoir you are working on, a willingness to unravel process and permission, and an acknowledgement that the impulse to tell one's story must be honored.


Please bring to class 10 copies of ten pages, double-spaced, 12pt font, of your memoir project.



Elissa Altman is the award-winning author of three memoirs including the Motherland; Treyf; and Poor Man's Feast. Her work can be found in Narrative, Tin House, the Washington Post, The Rumpus, LitHub, The Guardian, On Being, and has been anthologized for six consecutive years in Best Food Writing. She has appeared live on the TEDx stage, in discussion with Wallace Shawn at The Public Theater in New York, and was a finalist for the Frank McCourt Memoir Prize. She lives in Connecticut with her family.