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CNF 09 — Writing the Memoir: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 20—Nov 29
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 22
Units: 3
Tuition: $675
Instructor(s): John W. Evans
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 22
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Sep 20—Nov 29
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 22
3 Units
John W. Evans
Please Note: No class on November 22
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
In this course, we will practice the art and craft of writing memoir: works of prose inspired by the memory of personal experiences and history. Each week, we will match two or three contemporary examples of the genre with one of the groundbreaking historical precedents that shaped the memoir as we read and write it today. In doing so, we will practice many different ways to approach writing our own memoir essays, chapters, and books. The course will also address how we select and write about events from our personal lives. We will read works of memoir by Leslie Jamison, Joan Didion, John Updike, Eavan Boland, and others. About half of our class time will be devoted to the discussion of student work. Students will write in class each week to develop stand-alone short memoir pieces related to the craft concepts we will study. Students will also work incrementally toward a quarter-length memoir project. All students will have the opportunity to present for workshop two shorter writing sketches and one longer draft of a memoir chapter or essay.

Draper Lecturer of Creative Nonfiction and Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

John W. Evans is the author of three books. His latest, Should I Still Wish: A Memoir, was selected for the American Lives series. Young Widower: A Memoir received the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize and a Foreword INDIES award. The Consolations: Poems was named the 2015 Peace Corps Writers Best Poetry Book. His work has appeared in Slate, The Missouri Review, Boston Review, Zyzzyva, Poets & Writers, and The Best American Essays. Evans is also the author of the chapbooks No Season and Zugzwang.

Textbooks for this course:

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