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CNF 209 — Memoir Workshop: For Manuscripts in Progress

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 26—Dec 5
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 28
Units: 2
Tuition: $745
Instructor(s): John W. Evans
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 21
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Sep 26—Dec 5
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 28
2 Units
John W. Evans
Please Note: No class on November 21
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
This course will take as its occasion for your creative and critical development an examination of essays in various memoir subgenres, excerpts from memoir books, and a memoir course reader that works across these subgenres. In these readings, we will look at more sophisticated models for writing about your own life in a meaningful way, including hybrids of journalism and personal writing (e.g., The New Yorker style pieces), deep dives into personal subjects that twin with passions or areas of expertise, and lyric forms of the essay. These texts broadly innovate within and outside of the formal traditions you studied in CNF 09: "Writing the Memoir: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants," finding new and exciting ways to represent personal experience. This course will also serve as the continuing examination and practice of new and continuing formal elements. You will write, workshop, present to the class, and revise at least two short essays, one “new or next” piece to follow in some way your work in CNF 09, and working drafts of excerpts from those essays. All workshops will serve as the springboard for our larger class conversation about theme and craft. Throughout the quarter, creative work will be assigned in the form of in-class writing prompts. Critical work will be assigned in the form of written and oral critiques of your colleagues’ essays. A variety of creative prompts, critical exercises, and assigned readings will foster your understanding and appreciation of memoir, as well as your growth as a creative writer.

This course is appropriate for any students who have completed a previous memoir course, including CNF 09: "Writing the Memoir: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants," or who are past the opening chapter of their books and looking for guidance and feedback with issues pertaining to the middle and beyond.

Phyllis Draper Lecturer of Creative Nonfiction and Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

John W. Evans is the author of four books. His latest, The Fight Journal (2023), received the Rattle Prize. Should I Still Wish: A Memoir was selected for the "American Lives" series. Young Widower: A Memoir received the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize and a Foreword INDIES award. The Consolations: Poems was named the 2015 Peace Corps Writers Best Poetry Book. His work has appeared in Slate, The Missouri Review, Boston Review, Zyzzyva, Poets & Writers, and The Best American Essays.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.