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CNF 102 — Memoir Workshop: Owning Your Truth

Quarter: Summer
Instructor(s): Suzanne Finnamore
Duration: 4 weeks
Format/Location: On-campus
Date(s): Jul 11—Aug 1
Class Recording Available: No
Class Meeting Day: Thursdays
 
Class Meeting Time: 6:30—9:00 pm (PT)
Tuition: $380
   
Refund Deadline: Jul 13
 
Unit(s): 1
   
Enrollment Limit: 21
  
Status: Open
 
Quarter: Summer
Day: Thursdays
Duration: 4 weeks
Time: 6:30—9:00 pm (PT)
Date(s): Jul 11—Aug 1
Unit(s): 1
Format/Location: On-campus
 
Tuition: $380
 
Refund Deadline: Jul 13
 
Instructor(s): Suzanne Finnamore
 
Enrollment Limit: 21
 
Recording Available: No
 
Status: Open
 
 
Your story matters, and only you can tell it. But how do you start a memoir and keep it going? Do you need to know how it ends or get permission to write it from anyone? (Spoiler: you don’t.)

In this course, students will learn how to turn their best (and worst!) moments into compelling memoirs, embracing coherence and clarity while keeping the joy of writing alive. Using examples from writers like Augusten Burroughs, Darin Strauss, Elizabeth McCracken, and Abigail Thomas, we will deconstruct exactly what entices a reader to be interested in a memoir and what keeps them reading past the opening. We will focus on structure, which sets you free to creatively express your lived truth in the most efficient and effective way. Students will engage in generative short assignments, from two-word prompts to full chapter assignments. In a lively and honest Q&A at the end of each class session, we will discuss the nitty-gritty of how (and when) to edit your work, and seek to unveil the mystery of publication, talking about everything from how to procure a literary agent to overcoming rejection and finalizing a manuscript for submission. Students will be galvanized to own their truth via memoir, walking away with a blueprint to pursue their goals and continue writing their books.

SUZANNE FINNAMORE
Author

Suzanne Finnamore has published four books that have been translated into 20 languages. Her debut novel, Otherwise Engaged, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her book The Zygote Chronicles was a Washington Post Book of the Year in 2002. Her third book, Split: A Memoir of Divorce, was excerpted in The New York Times “Modern Love” column and was a Library Journal Book of the Year. Her fourth book, My Disappearing Mother: A Memoir of Magic and Loss in the Country of Dementia, began as an OpEd column in The New York Times. Finnamore has taught at the Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat with Cheryl Strayed. She received a BA in English literature from UC Berkeley, where she worked closely with Poet Laureate Philip Levine.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Abigail Thomas, Two Pages (ISBN 978-1494420635)