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CNF 42 W — Memoir Workshop: Making the Skeletons Dance

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 26—Dec 8
Refund Deadline: Sep 29
Units: 3
Tuition: $1000
Instructor(s): Anne Zimmerman
Limit: 19
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 20
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Sep 26—Dec 8
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 29
3 Units
Anne Zimmerman
Please Note: No class the week of November 20
ACCESS 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 all-levels course devoted to writing the family memoir, our skeletons will dance and our ghosts will howl as we uncover personal and universal truths through the intimate study of family. We 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 rich and authentic narratives. Our attempts will be guided by the reading and discussion of The Hero of This Book by Elizabeth McCracken, a genre-bending novel-memoir that embraces the conundrums of writing about the people we love. This course will require regular writing, reading, and participation. Weekly writing prompts will help unlock a larger personal story that will be shared with the cohort in the second half of the course. During the quarter, you should expect to write 20 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’s first book was An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher. She has compiled and published 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.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Judith Barrington , Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art, Second Edit (ISBN 978-0933377509)
(Required) Elizabeth McCracken, The Hero of This Book (ISBN 978-0062971272 )