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CNF 46 W — Memoir Workshop: Turn Your Life into Literature

Quarter: Spring
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 1—Jun 7
Refund Deadline: Apr 4
Units: 3
Tuition: $1000
Instructor(s): Julia Scheeres
Limit: 19
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Closed
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Apr 1—Jun 7
10 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 4
3 Units
Julia Scheeres
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
How do you take the messy stuff of life and shape it into a compelling, streamlined story? The answer—on display in every beautiful, compelling memoir—is both complicated and completely natural. In short, memoir lies at the intersection of fiction and nonfiction, truth and art. In this course, we will explore the boundaries of our own stories. We will dig deep into our memories to identify the best material—the drama, turning points, tension, recurring themes, and story arcs of our lives. We will hone our craft, learning how to create powerful scenes, deft summaries, and insightful reflection and backstory. Along the way, we’ll glean wisdom from close readings of memoirs by Roberto Lovato, Joan Didion, Tobias Wolff, Sonali Deraniyagala, and others. Weekly writing prompts will build toward a 10-page excerpt, which will be workshopped in the second half of the course. Each Friday afternoon (Pacific time), the instructor will host optional "office hours" over Zoom to discuss issues related to writing and the course material. (These casual chats will be recorded for those who can't attend.) Students will come away from this course with a sturdy foundation on which to model the rest of their manuscript.

Author; Editor; Book Reviewer

Julia Scheeres has written three books. Her memoir Jesus Land was a New York Times and London Times bestseller. Her narrative history of the Jonestown tragedy, A Thousand Lives, was named a "Best Book of the Year" by several papers and included in The Guardian's "Top 10 Books about the 1970s." Her most recent book, Listen, World!, is a critically acclaimed biography of Hearst columnist Elsie Robinson. A regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review, Scheeres works with private clients as a writing coach. She is a member of The Writers Grotto in San Francisco.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Tobias Wolff, This Boy's Life: A Memoir (ISBN 978-0802149077)
(Required) Sonali Deraniyagala, Wave: A Memoir (ISBN 978-0345804310)