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CNF 46 W — Memoir: Turning Your Life into Literature

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): Julia Scheeres
Limit: 20
Status: Closed
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Mar 29—Jun 4
10 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 1
3 Units
Julia Scheeres
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
How do you take the messy stuff of life and shape it into a compelling, streamlined story? The answer—on display in every beautiful, compelling memoir—is both complicated and completely natural. In short, memoir lies at the intersection of fiction and nonfiction, truth and art. In this course, we will explore the boundaries of our own stories. We will dig deep into our memories to identify the best material—the drama, turning points, tension, recurring themes, and story arcs of our lives. We will hone our craft, learning how to create powerful scenes, deft summaries, and insightful reflection and backstory. Along the way, we’ll glean wisdom from close readings of memoirs by Roberto Lovato, Joan Didion, Tobias Wolff, Sonali Deraniyagala, and others. Weekly writing prompts will build toward a ten-page excerpt, which will be workshopped in the second half of the course. Each Friday afternoon (Pacific time), the instructor will host optional "office hours" over Zoom to discuss issues related to writing and the course material. (These casual chats will be recorded for those who can't attend.) Students will come away from this course with a sturdy foundation on which to model the rest of their manuscript.

This course is a great fit for writers of any skill level.

Julia Scheeres, Author

Julia Scheeres is the author of the memoir Jesus Land, which was a New York Times and London Times bestseller and received an Alex Award from the American Library Association. Her second book, A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown, was named a best book of the year by The Boston Globe and the San Francisco Chronicle. She writes for numerous publications, and is a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review. She is a member of the Writers Grotto.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Sonali Deraniyagala, Wave (ISBN 978-0345804310)
(Required) Tobias Wolf, This Boy's Life (ISBN 978-0802136688)