Writing Your Life: Mapping a Memoir (Weekend - Level: All) - Emily Rapp
The memoirist is confronted with many questions: How do I shape my memories and particular journey into a story with universal significance? How do I write about myself as a character? If all memory is an interpretation, then how much responsibility does the writer of memoir have to the factual truth? During our weekend together, we will explore both the craft and ethics of memoir through in-class writing exercises, reading, and lively discussion. The primary goal of this workshop is to help you generate material from your personal experiences while examining the possibilities and pitfalls of memoir as a form, while also giving careful thought to structure and architecture. We will read two books – Half a Life by Darin Strauss, and Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje, so please have these on hand during our weekend together. All other reading material will be provided in class. If you are just beginning your memoir or have a large chunk of material with which to work, this class will help you generate material, deeply consider issues of structure, and help you map out your book.
A former Fulbright scholar and graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Emily Rapp is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir, in addition to many essays and stories in The New York Times,The Los Angeles Times, The Bark, Bellevue Literary Review, The Sun, Body + Soul, StoryQuarterly, Good Housekeeping, The Texas Observer, and other publications. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers' Award, a James A. Michener Fellowship at the University of Texas-Austin, and the Philip Roth Writer-in-Residence fellowship at Bucknell University. She has received awards and grants for her work from the Fine Arts Work Center, the Jentel Arts Foundation, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the Fundacion Valparaiso. She has taught writing in the MFA program at Antioch University-Los Angeles, where she was a core faculty member, the Gotham Writers' Workshop, and UCLA-Extension. She is currently professor of creative writing and literature at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and a faculty member in the University of California-Riverside MFA Program. Her next book, Dear Dr. Frankenstein: A Love Story, is forthcoming from Penguin in 2012.