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CNF 96 — Memoir Workshop: Excavating Memory toward Revelation

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 18—Mar 21
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 20
Units: 3
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $745
Instructor(s): Amanda Montei
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Jan 18—Mar 21
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 20
3 Units
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Amanda Montei
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Vivian Gornick wrote that memoir derives its power not from the particular events or experiences the author survives and recounts, but from the growing insight the writer brings to their story over the course of a book. Memoir writing requires the writer to unearth a "single piece of awareness that clarifies only slowly in the writer, gaining strength and definition as the narrative progresses."

In this course, we will explore work by a variety of authors, including Virginia Woolf, Melissa Febos, Kiese Laymon, Maggie Nelson, Leslie Jamison, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Roxane Gay, and Charles Simic, as we consider the many forms such revelations take, from personal essays to then/now memoirs, heroes’ journeys, and bildungsromans. Students will receive prompts each week based on the readings to encourage experimentation and new writing. As we consider how memoir functions as an excavation of memory in search of deeper or more complex truths and revelations, we will also consider how approaching memoir in this way can help writers make choices about how to approach time, memory, point of view, style, and research. Students will have the opportunity to workshop one longer piece of writing (up to 20 pages) for peer and instructor feedback and to submit one revision for feedback to be given at an optional one-on-one with the instructor.

Author; Writing Instructor; Lecturer, Cal State East Bay

Amanda Montei is the author of Touched Out: Motherhood, Misogyny, Consent, and Control, as well as the memoir Two Memoirs and a fiction collection, The Failure Age. She received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and a PhD from the poetics program at SUNY Buffalo. She has been teaching writing at the college level and in various community programs for over a decade. Her writing and criticism explore literary and cultural representations of gender, work, care, sexuality, feminism, creativity, and the body. Her work has been featured at or in The Cut, Slate, Poetry Foundation, The Believer, Vox, The Huffington Post, The Rumpus, Salon, Ms. magazine, and numerous literary journals and scholarly publications.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative (ISBN ‎ 978-0374528584)