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CNF 82 W — The Art of Remembering: Begin Your Memoir

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 26—Dec 9
Refund Deadline: Sep 29
Units: 3
Tuition: $955
Instructor(s): Anne Zimmerman
Limit: 17
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class the week of November 21
Flex Online(About Formats)
Sep 26—Dec 9
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 29
3 Units
Anne Zimmerman
Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class the week of November 21
Do you have a personal story to share but don’t know where—or how—to begin? This course will help you get started and keep going on a writing project based on real-life experiences. We’ll begin with the basics: What is memoir? Do you have to tell the whole truth? What if you can’t remember certain details? Once we have a working understanding of the genre, we’ll tackle craft. In short, weekly writing assignments shared with classmates, you’ll practice “writing true,” using the same storytelling devices that novelists use—plot, character, scene, voice. Next, you’ll go deeper, working on a long (4,000 words max) submission to workshop with the class. Together, we will study the form of writers, like Mary Karr, who define the genre of memoir, and others, like Joe Brainard, who are less well known but just as influential.

You don’t have to be famous or have led a particularly wild life to tell a good story; you just have to know how to write it well. By the end of the course, you’ll have a small collection of work (at least two scenes, character studies, and a voice-driven piece) along with an expanded story that—like the best memoirs—manages to be both personal and universal at the same time.


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) Beth Ann Fennelly, Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs (ISBN 978-0393356489)