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CNF 88 — Memoir Workshop: From Catharsis to Craft

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 27—Dec 6
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 29
Units: 2
Tuition: $745
Instructor(s): Monica Wesolowska
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 22
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Sep 27—Dec 6
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 29
2 Units
Monica Wesolowska
Please Note: No class on November 22
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Is writing memoir cathartic? It can be. After all, to take a reader on an emotional journey, a memoirist must go on that journey first. Just getting one’s feelings onto paper can be a relief. However, in order to write something that affects other people profoundly, a memoirist must eventually move beyond emotion to craft. Craft enables a memoirist to take a deeper dive and use narrative to return to the surface with the truth. This course will give you the tools to take that journey. Each week, you’ll practice a new craft element, including plot, pacing, point of view, and the creation of characters based on the complicated people in your life. Using examples from a wide variety of writers, such as Trevor Noah, Jeanette Walls, Andrew X. Pham, and Sarah M. Broom, you’ll learn to approach tough topics using humor, imagination, research, and empathy. After achieving the aesthetic distance to tell your tale well, you will receive feedback on your own well-crafted piece of memoir in a supportive, rigorous workshop.

Author; Editor

Monica Wesolowska is the author of the memoir Holding Silvan: A Brief Life (named a Best Book of 2013 by The Boston Globe and Library Journal) as well as two children's picture books, Leo + Lea and Elbert in the Air. Her essays and short stories have been published in a wide variety of venues, including The New York Times. A former fellow at the Fine Arts Works Center in Provincetown, she has taught creative writing for over two decades at UC Berkeley Extension, Stanford Continuing Studies, Left Margin LIT, and elsewhere around the Bay Area. She also works one on one with clients as an independent editor.

Textbooks for this course:

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