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CNF 42 W — Family Memoir: Making the Skeletons Dance

Quarter: Spring
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Mar 29—Jun 4
Refund Deadline: Apr 1
Units: 3
Tuition: $910
Instructor(s): Anne Zimmerman
Limit: 20
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Mar 29—Jun 4
10 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 1
3 Units
Anne Zimmerman
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you might as well make it dance. —George Bernard Shaw

In this ten-week, all-levels course devoted to writing the family memoir, our skeletons will dance and our ghosts will howl as we uncover great personal and universal truths through the intimate study of family. We will begin by excavating our memories. Next, we will tackle our people—whether good, bad, or ugly, we will work to render them authentically on the page. Along the way, we will learn how research and interviews can help us write even richer and more authentic prose. Our attempts will be guided by the close reading of Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing, and Longing by Elissa Altman, along with work by Mary Karr, Tara Westover, J.R. Moehringer, and others. Weekly writing prompts will help unlock a larger personal story that we will workshop in the second half of the course. During the quarter, you should expect to write twenty pages of polished work and gain a true understanding of the bigger story and deeper truths that you, as a writer, are hoping to share. After all, every family has a story to tell, and this one is all yours.

Anne Zimmerman, Author

Anne Zimmerman’s first book was An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher. She has compiled and introduced two subsequent collections of Fisher’s work: Love in a Dish…and Other Culinary Delights, and M.F.K. Fisher: Musings on Wine and Other Libations. She has written for Mix, Taste, and Mother magazines, The Kitchn, Tasting Table, and Edible Communities, among other publications.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Judith Barrington, Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art, 2nd Edition (ISBN 978-0933377509)
(Required) Elissa Altman, Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing, and Longing (ISBN 978-0399181603)